1 January 1953 Toshiro Mayuzumi (25) joins two other Japanese composers in founding the Group of Three to promote contemporary music.
Kontraste, a ballet by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (34), is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of NDR, Hamburg. See 24 April 1954.
Suite Hebraïque for viola and orchestra by Ernest Bloch (72) is performed for the first time, in Chicago.
3 January 1953 The Egyptian government institutes a five-year economic plan.
The Eighty-third Congress of the United States convenes in Washington. The Republican Party of President-elect Eisenhower controls both houses. On the floor of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Fred E. Busbey (R-IL) complains about an upcoming performance of Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland (52) as part of festivities surrounding the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower as President of the United States. Busbey feels that Copland is too left wing.
4 January 1953 String Quartet no.3 by Ernest Bloch (72) is performed for the first time, in New York.
5 January 1953 The South Korean ferry Changgyeong sinks off Busan with the loss of 229 people.
After a trial of 18 months, 14 army officers are convicted and one acquitted of plotting to overthrow the government of Pakistan. They are given prison terms.
The West German government extends the patent held by JA Topf and Son, Wiesbaden, for a crematorium furnace for burning corpses. Germans made use of Topf crematoria at Auschwitz.
A federal judge in New York stays the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to give them time to ask for presidential clemency.
En attendant Godot, a play by Samuel Beckett, is first performed, at the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris.
7 January 1953 René Mayer replaces Antoine Pinay as Prime Minister of France.
President Truman announces that the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb.
8 January 1953 Cello Sonata no.3 by Bohuslav Martinu (62) is performed for the first time, in Washington.
9 January 1953 Piano Concerto no.4 by Heitor Villa-Lobos (65) is performed for the first time, in Pittsburgh, the composer conducting.
10 January 1953 Police are sent onto the streets of Karachi after three days of rioting have left 16 people dead and 300 injured. The riots began among student groups.
String Quartet no.1 by George Rochberg (34) is performed for the first time, in McMillin Theatre, New York. The composer also premieres his Twelve Bagatelles for piano. He arrives just before his part of the program, having traveled from Passaic, New Jersey in a blinding snowstorm.
12 January 1953 The New York Music Critics Circle names Francis Poulenc’s (54) Stabat mater as the best choral work of 1952 and Paul Hindemith’s (57) Septet as the best work of chamber music.
13 January 1953 Nine Soviet doctors are arrested and charged with plotting to kill the political and military leaders of the country and spying for American Jewish organizations. Six of the nine are Jewish. The nine are implicated in the deaths of two Politburo members and with conspiracy to kill others. The events are announced in Pravda.
A new constitution is adopted for the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia.
14 January 1953 Josip Broz Tito is named President of Yugoslavia, replacing Ivan Ribar.
Egyptian authorities arrest 25 army officers and 15 civilians in a move to preempt plots to overthrow the government.
Symphony no.7 “Sinfonia antarctica” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) is performed for the first time, at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.
15 January 1953 Otto Verber and Kurt Ponger, naturalized US citizens, are arrested in Vienna and charged with passing sensitive information to Yuri V. Novikov of the Soviet embassy in Washington. Novikov is ordered to leave the US.
British authorities arrest seven ex-Nazis and charge them with plotting to take over West German political parties.
Tancredi, suite for orchestra by Hans Werner Henze (26), is performed for the first time, in Hamburg. See 22 July 1952 and 18 May 1966.
16 January 1953 The arrest of East German Foreign Minister Georg Dertinger is announced in East Berlin.
Prime Minister Mohammed Neguib of Egypt bans all political parties for three years.
The legislature of the Kenya Colony prescribes the death penalty for anyone administering the Mau Mau initiation ceremony.
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Albert Ghiorso, identify the element Fermium in the debris of the thermonuclear explosion set off on 1 November. For security reasons, the discovery must be kept secret.
String Quartet no.6 by Ernst Krenek (52) is performed for the first time, in Darmstadt.
As part of the inaugural celebrations for Dwight Eisenhower, Aaron Copland’s (52) Lincoln Portrait is to be performed in a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington. Today it is announced that through the efforts of Congressman Fred E. Busbey (R-IL) the performance is cancelled because of the composer’s alleged association with “subversive” political organizations. In a statement released to the press, Copland says “My ‘politics’--tainted or untainted’--are certain to die with me, but my music, I am foolish enough to imagine, might just possibly outlive the Republican party.”
17 January 1953 The arrest of Lajos Stoeckler, leader of Hungarian Jews, is announced in Budapest. He is charged with possessing “substantial amounts of American dollars and Swiss francs.”
The Egyptian cabinet extends the absolute rule of Prime Minister Mohammed Neguib for one year.
18 January 1953 East German police raid the homes and businesses of Jews in search of “Zionist spies.”
19 January 1953 The Iranian Parliament extends the decree powers of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh for one year.
Wonderful Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (34) to words of Comden and Green after Fields and Chodorov, is performed for the first time, in the Shubert Theatre, New Haven. See 25 February 1953.
20 January 1953 The first modern translation of the Bible into Korean is published in Tokyo.
1,300 East Germans flee to West Berlin by elevated train just before the East German government closes the line.
Todor Stoyanov Christov is sentenced to death in Sofiya for espionage. Nine other defendants receive prison terms of from six months to twenty years.
Dwight David Eisenhower replaces Harry S. Truman as President of the United States.
21 January 1953 13 “second tier” leaders of the Communist Party are convicted in New York of conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the United States government.
Dr. W. Lou Tandy is relieved of his duties at Kansas State Teachers College for signing a petition asking for clemency for the convicted Communist Party leaders.
22 January 1953 The Crucible by Arthur Miller opens at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York.
23 January 1953 John Luther Adams is born in Meridian, Mississippi.
24 January 1953 Police in Rome break up a demonstration by neo-Fascists. 800 are arrested.
Fünf Orchesterlieder nach Ansichkartentexten von Peter Altenberg by Alban Berg (†17) are performed completely for the first time, in Rome. See 31 March 1913.
25 January 1953 Il figliuol prodigo, an opera by Gian Francesco Malipiero (70) to his own words after Castellano Castellani, is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of RAI. See 14 May 1957.
The Golden Harp for boys chorus by Henry Cowell (55) is performed for the first time, at Ames Methodist Church, Baltimore.
26 January 1953 Almost 2,000 refugees arrive in West Berlin fleeing purges in the East. This is the largest one-day total to date.
The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis announces in New York that it has isolated the three virus strains which cause poliomyelitis. This will make it possible to immunize children against the disease. Credit for the research is given to Dr. Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburgh.
27 January 1953 The Netherlands informs the United States that it will not require any economic assistance during the coming fiscal year.
The British Food Ministry announces that citizens will receive an extra food ration for the coronation period in order that they may celebrate in a “traditionally festive spirit.” The extra ration will consist of one pound (454 grams) of sugar and four ounces (113 grams) of margarine.
The Polish government announces that three men have been sentenced to death in Krakow for spying for the US and the Vatican. One is a priest. Three other priests and a woman are given prison sentences.
William Remington, a former economist for the US Commerce Dept., is convicted on two counts of perjury in federal court in New York. He was charged with lying about his alleged Communist activities in his 1951 perjury trial.
29 January 1953 French forces begin a drive against the Viet Minh by landing a force at Quy Nhon, 320 km north of Saigon.
30 January 1953 Mohammed Bin Indara, a leader of the communist insurgency in Malaya, is executed by the British in Taiping.
31 January 1953 The government of Czechoslovakia is reorganized on the Soviet model.
Six days of storms, high tides, and floods cause death and destruction in the North Sea. The Netherlands lists 1,395 dead, Great Britain 546, and Belgium 23. The British ferry Princess Victoria sinks today between Scotland and Northern Ireland taking 132 people with her. Only 44 survive. The home of Benjamin Britten (39) and Peter Pears at 4 Crabbe Street, Aldeburgh is flooded on the first floor.
After Aaron Copland’s (52) Lincoln Portrait is cancelled from inauguration festivities for Dwight Eisenhower because of the composer’s political views, eminent American historian Bruce Catton writes in The Nation : “So the Copland number was not heard, and if this was in the end something less than a fatal blow to the evil designs of the men in the Kremlin, it at least saved the assembled Republicans from being compelled to listen to Lincoln’s brooding words: ‘Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves.’”
Andrew Welsh Imbrie (31) marries Barbara Cushing, a junior high school teacher, the daughter of a music professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
A Garden Eastward, a cantata for solo voice and orchestra by Hugo Weisgall (40) to words of Moses ibn Ezra (tr. Feist), is performed for the first time, in Baltimore under the baton of the composer.
1 February 1953 NHK begins regular television broadcasting in Japan.
20th Century Fox announces that it is converting all future films to CinemaScope.
2 February 1953 President Eisenhower announces that United States ships will no longer prevent attacks on mainland China from Taiwan.
About 2,600 refugees from East Germany arrive in West Berlin, a one-day record. 25,434 people fled the East in January.
4 February 1953 Eight people are convicted and fined in Johannesburg for inciting blacks to disobey South Africa’s apartheid laws.
6 February 1953 French officials in Indochina announce that their amphibious force sent to Quinhon has been withdrawn.
7 February 1953 Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) marries Ursula Wood, a 31-year-old war widow with whom he has collaborated. It is his second marriage.
The Marriage, a television opera by Bohuslav Martinu (62) to his own words after Gogol, is performed for the first time, over the NBC television network originating in New York.
8 February 1953 Gyula Decsei, Justice Minister of Hungary and a Jew, is removed from office.
Rep. Harold Velde, chairman of the US House Un-American Activities Committee, states in a speech in Philadelphia, “It’s a lot better to wrongly accuse one person of being a Communist than to allow so many to get away with such Communist acts as those that have brought us to the brink of World War III.”
9 February 1953 A bomb is thrown onto the grounds of the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv by anti-Communists protesting the treatment of Jews in the USSR and elsewhere. Three people, including the wife of the Soviet Minister to Israel, are injured. Police round up 30-50 suspects.
The Federal Communications Commission approves the merger of the American Broadcasting Company and United Paramount Theatres, Inc.
10 February 1953 The West German government orders the neo-Nazi Freikorps Deutschland to disband. Four of its leaders are arrested.
A common market for coal, iron ore, and scrap goes into effect between the six members of the European Coal and Steel Community.
Prime Minister Mohammed Neguib of Egypt issues a proclamation naming himself and a 13-member “Army Council of the Revolution” the rulers of the country for the next three years.
11 February 1953 US President Eisenhower refuses clemency to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
Symphony no.4 “Sinfonia Romantica” and Baile for orchestra, both by Carlos Chávez (53), are performed for the first time, in Columbia Auditorium, Louisville, under the baton of the composer.
12 February 1953 The USSR breaks diplomatic relations with Israel over the bombing incident of 9 February.
Great Britain and Egypt sign an agreement in Cairo to grant self-determination for Sudan within three years.
13 February 1953 Trionfo di Afrodite, a scenic concerto by Carl Orff (57) to words of Catullus, Sappho, and Euripedes, is performed for the first time, at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, as part of the first performance of the complete Trionfi, made up of Carmina Burana, Catulli Carmina, and Trionfo di Afrodite.
Ritual Dances from Michael Tippett’s (48) unperformed opera The Midsummer Marriage, are performed for the first time, in the Musiksaal, Basel. See 27 January 1955.
14 February 1953 Two works by Florent Schmitt (82) are performed for the first time: Trois poèmes de Ganzo op.118 for voice and piano, and Clarinet Sextet op.128.
15 February 1953 An earthquake centered at Turud, Iran kills 1,100 people.
Woodwind Quintet by Hans Werner Henze (26) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio Bremen.
16 February 1953 The South African House of Assembly passes the Public Safety Bill, giving the government dictatorial powers.
Charles Seeger, whose wife is Ruth Crawford Seeger (51), is denied a passport by the United States because he is suspected of having been involved with Communists in the 1930s.
Memento: romance de la guardia civil española for vocal soloist, spoken choir, and orchestra by Luigi Nono (29) to words of García Lorca is performed for the first time, in Hamburg conducted by Bruno Maderna (32). See 4 October 1957.
17 February 1953 The Court of Appeals in New York stays the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to give them time for a final appeal to the Supreme Court.
18 February 1953 The Australian House of Representatives confers the title Queen of Australia on Queen Elizabeth II, the first person to hold that title.
The US State Department, on the demand of Senator Joseph McCarthy, removes the works of novelist Howard Fast from Voice of America libraries. Fast recently refused to answer whether he was a communist when questioned by a Senate committee.
19 February 1953 The French National Assembly votes amnesty for 130,000 Alsatians forced into the German army during World War II, some of whom have been found guilty of war crimes.
US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles orders the removal from International Information Administration libraries and Voice of America broadcasts, any music by a communist or communist sympathizer. These include works by Aaron Copland (52), George Gershwin (†15), Roger Sessions (56), Virgil Thomson (56), Roy Harris (55), and Leonard Bernstein (34).
Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu (62) is performed for the first time, in Cleveland.
22 February 1953 It is reported that 26,000 refugees have entered West Berlin since 1 February.
In national elections in Austria, the Socialist Party gains seats at the expense of the three other parties in Parliament, but falls one short of the Peoples Party. The Peoples-Socialist coalition continues.
23 February 1953 The East German government dissolves the Jewish-dominated Leftist Union of Nazi Persecutees.
24 February 1953 Concerto Grosso no.2 by Ernest Bloch (72) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of RAI.
25 February 1953 President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China repudiates his government’s 1945 treaty of friendship and alliance with the Soviet Union.
Eight Kikuyus are hanged by the British for the Mau Mau killing of several Kenyans.
Representatives of Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia initial a treaty of friendship in Athens.
The United States presents before the United Nations ten pieces of evidence that prove involvement by the Soviet Union in Korea.
The Guatemalan government takes 90,000 hectares belonging to the United Fruit Company for redistribution to landless peasants.
Dr. Robert Gorham Davis of Smith College testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee and names 21 people, mostly academics, who he knew as Communist Party members in the 1930s.
Wonderful Town, a musical by Leonard Bernstein (34) to words of Comden and Green after Fields and Chodurov, is performed for the first time in New York, in the Winter Garden. The critics are unanimously positive. See 19 January 1953.
26 February 1953 String Quartet no.1 by Elliott Carter (44) is performed for the first time, in the McMillin Theatre, Columbia University, New York.
27 February 1953 Representatives of the West German government sign an agreement in London with 18 other countries to pay off $3,270,000,000 in debt incurred in 30 countries over the last 35 years.
28 February 1953 Following rumors that Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh is forcing the Shah to leave the country, rioters in Teheran drive Mossadegh from his home.
A West German court grants a posthumous pardon to General Alfred Jodl, hanged as a war criminal at Nuremberg.
Representatives of Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia sign a “treaty of friendship and collaboration” in a ceremony in Ankara.
The Investigations Subcommittee of the US Senate, headed by Joseph McCarthy, opens televised hearings into Communists in the Voice of America.
1 March 1953 Rioting in Teheran intensifies between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.
Symphony no.8 for alto, chorus and orchestra by Henry Cowell (55) is performed for the first time, in Wilmington, Ohio.
Elliott Carter’s (44) Elegy for string orchestra is performed for the first time, in Cooper Union, New York. See 21 August 1946.
3 March 1953 Iranian government forces regain control of the streets in Teheran. Anti-Mossadegh leaders are arrested.
The West German government asks the three western powers to provide military transports for the increasing number of refugees reaching West Berlin. It said that the reduced rate run by Air France, British European, and Pan American bringing 500-800 people a day is inadequate.
Raymond Kaplan, an engineer for the Voice of America, dies when he throws himself in front of a truck in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A suicide note explains that he feared investigation by Senator McCarthy, and that he would be “the patsy for any mistakes…once the dogs are set on you, everything you have done since the beginning of time is suspect.”
4 March 1953 Radio Moscow announces that Joseph Stalin suffered a brain hemorrhage during the night of 1-2 March and is gravely ill. His duties have been taken over by the Council of Ministers and the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
An agreement is signed in Bonn between the Allied High Commission and Alfred Krupp von Bohlen. The Krupp industries are decontrolled provided Krupp sells all holdings in steel, iron, and coal and promise never to enter those pursuits again.
5 March 1953 21:00 Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev dies of a brain hemorrhage, in his Moscow apartment, aged 61 years, ten months, and ten days. His mortal remains will be laid to rest in Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow. The composer dies only a few hours before the country’s leader, and his nemesis for the last twenty years, Joseph Stalin. Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov takes over as General Secretary of the Communist Party.
A Polish air force officer flies his MIG-15 to Bornholm Island and applies to Denmark for political asylum. It is the first MIG ever to come into the possession of a western power.
Concerto for percussion by Ben Johnston (26) is performed for the first time, at the University of Illinois.
6 March 1953 The death of Stalin is announced over Radio Moscow. A new government is empowered: Kliment Efremovich Voroshilov replaces Nikolay Mikhailovich Shvernik as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov replaces Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Panteleymon Kondratyevich Ponomarenko becomes Minister of Culture.
James Dewey Watson and Francis Harry Compton Crick submit a paper to Nature describing the structure of DNA.
7 March 1953 Chinese and North Korean prisoners-of-war riot on Yongcho Island. Order is restored with the deaths of 23 and 42 injuries.
A memorial service for Sergey Prokofiev is held in Moscow at the Central Composers’ Home, attended by Dmitri Shostakovich (46), Aram Khachaturian (49) and other prominent Soviet composers and musicians.
Gurney Kennedy, Chairman of the Composer’s Forum Committee at the University of Alabama, who invited Aaron Copland (52) to take part in the forum, writes to the composer, “I regret to inform you that the recent allegations of Communist sympathies on your part...and the inaugural concert affair in Washington make it inadvisable for us to have you as our guest.”
9 March 1953 After an enormous funeral before 50,000 people, the body of Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin is placed beside Lenin in the mausoleum in Red Square.
10 March 1953 Czechoslovak fighters shoot down an American fighter on the Czech-German border near Regensburg. The pilot parachutes to safety. Czechoslovakia claims that the US plane violated their air space.
The ad hoc Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community accepts a “Draft Treaty embodying the Statute the European Community”, a treaty for political community.
23 members of the film industry who refused to answer questions about Communism by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951, sue the committee members and film studios for $51,750,000 in a California court.
11 March 1953 The French National Assembly votes to pardon 35,000 French citizens convicted of collaboration with Germany during World War II.
Over the next two days, eleven Kikuyus are hanged in Kenya for the Mau Mau killing of a white farmer.
The University of Colorado announces that eight faculty members have been sacked after an internal inquiry into “subversive activities.”
A piano duet version of Samuel Barber’s (43) unperformed ballet Souvenirs is performed for the first time, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. See 12 November 1953 and 15 November 1955.
A Parable of Death for speaker, tenor, chorus and orchestra by Lukas Foss (30) to words of Rilke and Hecht, is performed for the first time, in Columbia Auditorium, Louisville, Kentucky.
12 March 1953 Four days of attacks by Viet Minh forces northwest of Hue begin today. They are repulsed by French troops.
Two Soviet fighters shoot down a British bomber near Luneburg. Five of the seven fliers aboard are killed. The two survivors will die in hospital.
Schlagquartett no.1/3 by Karlheinz Stockhausen (24) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of NDR, originating in Hamburg. See 23 March 1953.
Aaron Copland (52) responds to Gurney Kennedy at the University of Alabama, “It makes clear that freedom of thought is endangered in America if a large university such as yours can be intimidated by the allegations of a single individual.” (Copland/Perlis 2012, 241) See 7 March 1953.
13 March 1953 Medea, a dramatic monologue for mezzo-soprano and orchestra by Ernst Krenek (52) to words of Jeffers after Euripedes, is performed for the first time, in the Philadelphia Academy of Music. It achieves great success.
14 March 1953 Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev becomes acting General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
President Klement Gottwald of Czechoslovakia dies of pneumonia in Prague. He is succeeded as First Secretary of the Communist Party by Antonín Novotny. Antonín Zapotocky becomes acting President.
16 March 1953 Seven employees of New York City municipal colleges are sacked for refusing to answer questions about communist affiliations put by a Senate investigating committee.
17 March 1953 A small nuclear device is detonated by the United States at Yucca Flat, Nevada while 850 soldiers huddle in trenches five km away. Within a short time, the soldiers maneuver through the blast zone.
US Attorney General Herbert Brownell announces that 10,000 naturalized citizens and 12,000 aliens are being investigated for deportation as subversives.
American inventor Robert Abplanalp receives a US patent for a valve mechanism which makes spray cans possible.
18 March 1953 Sir Gerald Templer, British High Commissioner for Malaya, announces the repeal of a regulation allowing the mass detention or deportation of citizens. It was intended to punish entire villages for supporting the communist insurgency.
An earthquake centered in northwestern Turkey kills thousands and leaves 50,000 homeless.
Orb and Sceptre March by William Walton (50) is performed for the first time, in a recording session in Kingsway Hall, London conducted by the composer. See 2 June 1953.
Snow and the Willow, two madrigals for chorus by Kenneth Gaburo (26), are performed for the first time, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
19 March 1953 Mikis Theodorakis (27) marries Myrto Altinoglou, a newly graduated doctor. After ten years of war, imprisonment, and torture, he becomes her first patient.
The West German Bundestag ratifies the European Defense Community treaty and the West German peace contract.
20 March 1953 West German President Theodor Heuss signs his government’s ratification of an agreement with Israel to pay the Jewish state and Jewish organizations $822,000,000 as reparations for Nazi persecutions of Jews. Israel will ratify the agreement in two days.
Four Madrigals for chorus by Thea Musgrave (24) to words of Wyatt are performed for the first time, in St. Andrews, Fife.
21 March 1953 Acting President Antonín Zapotocky replaces Klement Gottwald as President of Czechoslovakia in his own right. Viliam Siroky is named Prime Minister to replace Zapotocky.
22 March 1953 British troops arrest 2,500 Kenyans at Pumwani in a search for Mau Maus.
Williams Mix for eight single-track or four double-track tapes by John Cage (40) is performed for the first time, in a private setting at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Also premiered is Perspectives for piano by Earle Brown (26).
23 March 1953 The South African Supreme Court of Appeals rules that racial segregation is invalid unless equal facilities are provided for all races.
Six Czechoslovaks hijack a Czechoslovak Air Lines DC-3 and fly it to Frankfurt. The plane and remaining passengers will return home 31 March.
The German chemical cartel IG Farbenindustrie is dissolved into five successor companies.
Schlagquartett no.1/3 by Karlheinz Stockhausen (24) is performed for the first time before a live audience, in Munich. See 12 March 1953.
Today through 8 April the House Un-American Activities Committee holds hearings in Los Angeles. 32 members of the entertainment industry refuse to answer questions about alleged Communist activities.
24 March 1953 The United States sets off an atomic device at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. Nine volunteer military officers experience the blast in a one-and-a-half meter trench situated 2,300 meters away.
25 March 1953 British troops arrest 3,500 Kenyans at Thika in a search for Mau Maus.
Today, through 2 April, eight authors testify before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee of Joseph McCarthy. Only two, Grace Lumpkin and Langston Hughes, say anything about alleged Communist elements of their writing. The others refuse to answer questions.
26 March 1953 Mau Maus kill 150 Kikuyus in the village of Lari, near Nairobi, presumably because of their loyalty to the white government.
Dr. Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburgh announces to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in New York that he has developed a vaccine against polio.
27 March 1953 After a period working with Pierre Schaeffer (42) in Paris, Karlheinz Stockhausen arrives in Cologne where the new electronic music studio will open in May.
28 March 1953 Chinese and North Korean negotiators at Panmunjom agree to a UN proposal to exchange sick and wounded prisoners before an armistice is reached.
The new Soviet government orders the release of all prisoners serving terms of five years or less.
29 March 1953 Collective farms in Yugoslavia are now voluntary. Peasants are allowed to return to individual farms if they choose.
30 March 1953 Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai announces a shift in policy. The Chinese now are willing to put off exchange of prisoners not desiring repatriation. They suggest they be sent to a neutral third country to settle the issue.
A former cabinet minister, ten army officers, and three other civilians are convicted of plotting to overthrow the Egyptian government and sentenced to prison.
Werner Egk (51) leaves his position as Professor of Composition and Director of the Hochschule für Musik in West Berlin.
31 March 1953 The UN Security Council nominates Dag Hammarskjöld, the Swedish Foreign Minister, to be the second Secretary-General. He is a surprise compromise.
1 April 1953 Trucking clerk John Reginald Halliday Christie is charged in a London court with the murder of his wife. He is believed to be responsible for the deaths of six women.
2 April 1953 Julius Raab replaces Leopold Figl as Chancellor of Austria.
3 April 1953 Roy Cohn and David Schine, protoges of Senator Joseph McCarthy, arrive in Paris for a two-week tour of American libraries in Europe. They are investigating how much “communist inspired” literature is on the shelves.
4 April 1953 Chen Yi is born in Canton (Guangzhou), China, the daughter of two doctors.
The USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs announces that the nine doctors (six of whom are Jews), accused of plotting the deaths of leading Soviet leaders, have been freed. Six other doctors implicated in the plot have been exonerated.
Following the Soviet lead, Romania announces an amnesty for all prisoners serving terms of less than two years. Longer sentences will be reduced.
Former King Carol II of Romania dies of a heart attack in Estoril, Portugal.
5 April 1953 The British colonial authority in Kenya orders the death penalty for Africans illegally possessing firearms.
6 April 1953 Peace talks resume at Panmunjom, Korea.
In a nationwide radio broadcast, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh calls for stripping all power from the Shah and making him a constitutional monarch.
At his first recording session with Capitol Records, Duke Ellington (53) introduces Satin Doll.
7 April 1953 Mobs supporting Prime Minister Mossadegh and the Shah battle in the streets of Teheran.
The UN General Assembly elects Dag Hammarskjöld as Secretary-General.
Mutability, a cycle for voice and piano by Irving Fine (38) to words of Orgel, is performed for the first time, in the (old) John Hancock Building, Boston the composer at the keyboard.
8 April 1953 Jomo Kenyatta, President of the Kenya African Union, and five others are sentenced to seven years in jail by a British magistrate in Kapenguria for aiding Mau Mau activities.
9 April 1953 Trip on the Galaxy Train, a ballet by Toru Takemitsu (22), is performed for the first time, in Hibiya Public Hall, Tokyo.
10 April 1953 Charles Chaplin surrenders his permit to reenter the United States, in Geneva. He is accused of dubious morality and holding political views disliked by the state.
11 April 1953 The agreement for the repatriation of sick and wounded prisoners is signed at Panmunjom.
Two works by Ernest Bloch (72) are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC originating in London: Sinfonia breve and Concerto Grosso no.2.
Dag Hammarskjöld replaces Trygvie Lie as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ideas of Order for orchestra by Arthur Berger (40) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.
13 April 1953 France announces it has abandoned Samneua, Laos in order to prepare a defense of Laos against the Viet Minh.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming is published in Britain by Jonathan Cape. It is the first appearance of Fleming’s intrepid secret agent, James Bond.
Kurt L. Ponger, a naturalized US citizen, pleads guilty in Washington to charges of spying for the USSR.
14 April 1953 Laos orders mobilization of all men 18-35 to help France fight an invasion by the Viet Minh.
Otto Verber, a naturalized US citizen, pleads guilty in Washington to charges of spying for the USSR.
15 April 1953 Pope Pius XII, speaking in Rome and reversing earlier Catholic positions, approves of psychoanalysis provided certain safeguards are maintained.
Parliamentary elections in South Africa are won outright by the ruling National Party.
Two bombs are thrown in the Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires as President Juan Perón is giving a speech. He is unhurt. Peronist mobs rampage through the city at night attacking opposition targets. Six people are killed, 100 injured.
17 April 1953 Mohammad Ali Bogra replaces Khwaja Nazimuddin as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
British authorities evict 7,000 people from their homes northeast of Nairobi in an area suspected of harboring Mau Maus. In two days, their villages will be destroyed.
Jascha Heifetz is attacked by a man wielding a metal pipe in Jerusalem. The man objected to a concert by Heifetz which included music of Richard Strauss (†3). Heifetz is slightly injured.
18 April 1953 750 businessmen are arrested in Argentina for opposition to the price-enforcement campaign of President Juan Perón.
19 April 1953 A general election in Japan results in a loss of majority for the ruling Liberal Party.
20 April 1953 An exchange of sick and wounded prisoners begins at Panmunjom, Korea.
Viet Minh forces capture Xieng Khouang, Laos.
The Subversive Activities Control Board orders the Communist Party of the US to register with the Justice Dept. as an agency of the USSR.
21 April 1953 Elections in Denmark leave the parties in the Folketing virtually unchanged.
Two aides to Senator Joseph McCarthy, Roy Cohn and David Schine, return to Washington after an 18-day tour of Western Europe. They are investigating alleged waste and disloyalty in the US Information Service. The trip has been strongly criticized in Congress and the US and European press.
22 April 1953 Viet Minh advance columns meet the French defenders of Laos on the Plaine des Jarres.
Harry Partch (51) begins lecturing at San Francisco State College on The Human Ear: Its Ignored Capacities.
The Night is Still for soprano and piano by Kenneth Gaburo (26) to words of Tagore is performed for the first time, in New Orleans.
23 April 1953 Livre d’orgue for organ by Olivier Messiaen (43) is performed for the first time, for the inauguration of the organ in Villa Berg, Stuttgart by the composer.
Admiral Ushakov, a film with music by Aram Khachaturian (49), is released.
Six Songs by Thea Musgrave (24) are performed for the first time, at Glasgow University.
Night Music, the second movement of George Rochberg’s (34) Symphony no.2, is performed for the first time, in New York.
24 April 1953 Viet Minh forces capture the French stronghold of Muong Ngoi, Laos.
Women are allowed to vote for the first time in Pakistan in municipal elections in Karachi. Extra police are ordered out to protect women voters from male hecklers.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth and invested with the Order of the Garter.
British security forces round up 6,000 Kenyans from the village of Kariobangi near Nairobi. They are suspected of complicity with the Mau Maus. Their village is destroyed.
Symphony no.6 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann (47) is performed for the first time, in Munich.
25 April 1953 Nature magazine publishes a one-page article by James Dewey Watson and Francis Harry Compton Crick which begins, “We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid.”
26 April 1953 The resumption of Korean armistice negotiations is announced. The first repatriations of 684 ill and wounded UN troops are completed.
Brigadier General Mahmud Afshartous, Chief of Iran’s National Police and a relative of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, is found dead near Tehran. Missing since 20 April, he was found to be strangled. At least 20 people, some high ranking, are arrested in connection with the crime.
Symphony no.1 by Charles Ives (78) is performed for the first time, in Washington, 55 years after it was completed by the composer. See 19 March 1910.
27 April 1953 General Mark Clark, supreme UN commander in Korea, offers $100,000 to the first North Korean, Chinese, or Soviet pilot to fly a MIG-15 to UN custody.
The Viet Minh proclaim a rival government for Laos.
Negotiators from Egypt and Great Britain begin talks in Cairo on the withdrawal of British troops from the Suez Canal Zone.
The British House of Commons votes to denationalize long-distance road transport.
The $200,000,000 Bemberg industrial concern is nationalized by the Argentine government.
28 April 1953 Goethe-Lieder for female voice and three clarinets by Luigi Dallapiccola (49) is performed for the first time, in Boston.
29 April 1953 Coronation March for orchestra by Arnold Bax (69) is performed for the first time, in a recording session in Kingsway Hall, London. See 2 June 1953.
30 April 1953 British warplanes are used for the first time against the Mau Maus, bombing suspected hideouts in the Aberdare Mountains.
Lord Jowitt, former Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, publishes The Strange Case of Alger Hiss. He questions the conviction of Hiss and blasts the testimony of Whittaker Chambers as “wildly improbable.”
1 May 1953 Viet Minh forces reach to within 15 km of Luang Prabang, Laos.
Food rationing is ended in Austria.
A common market for steel goes into effect between the six members of the European Coal and Steel Community.
2 May 1953 King Hussein of Jordan turns 18 and assumes full control of the government.
3 May 1953 The first round of repatriation of sick and wounded prisoners comes to a close in Panmunjom as the UN completes turning over 6,670 POWs.
Mau Maus attack the village of Getumbiro, killing 19 Kikuyu home guards.
4 May 1953 Five Mau Maus are sentenced to death for killing two British men.
Musician Artie Shaw testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee in New York saying he has never been a member of the Communist Party nor has he ever been disloyal.
The Mighty Casey, an opera by William Schuman (42) to words of Gury after Thayer, is performed for the first time, at the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. See 6 April 1976.
Irmelin, an opera by Frederick Delius (†18) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in New Theatre, Oxford, 61 years after it was composed.
Sonata for horn and piano by Leslie Bassett (30) is performed for the first time, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
5 May 1953 The Indian Parliament approves a law allowing the national government to control all production and distribution and regulate prices.
Chemnitz, East Germany, is renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt.
Police arrest 756 people suspected of Mau Mau affiliation, in the Nairobi marketplace
After twelve years in North America, and the gaining of American citizenship, Bohuslav Martinu (62) sails for Europe.
Jamaica gains internal self-government.
Choreographer Jerome Robbins testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee in New York about alleged Communist activities. He has already “named names.” Playwright Arnaud d’Usseau and director/screenwriter Mortimer Offner refuse to answer questions about Communist affiliations.
Prelude and Fugue op.52 for band by Wallingford Riegger (68) is performed for the first time, in Louisville.
Cantilena One for soprano by Kenneth Gaburo (26) is performed for the first time, at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.
6 May 1953 Viet Minh forces are reported withdrawing north from their gains in Laos.
Talks in Cairo between Egypt and Great Britain over British withdrawal from the Suez Canal Zone break down after ten days.
Italian Communists file suit against Roman Catholic bishops who told their congregations that it is a sin to vote for a Communist candidate in the upcoming general election.
Actor Lionel Stander tells the House Un-American Activities Committee in New York that he is not a Communist but refuses to repeat earlier testimony that he has never been one. He fears this might make him liable to perjury charges by “psychopaths and stool pigeons.”
A heart-lung machine developed by American surgeon Dr. John Gibbon is used successfully for the first time on a human in an operation on 18-year-old Cecilia Bavolek, in Philadelphia.
Die chinesische Nachtigall, a ballet by Werner Egk (52) to his own story after Andersen, is performed for the first time, in the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich.
Sonata for cello op.54 by Vincent Persichetti (37) is performed for the first time, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
7 May 1953 Chinese and North Korean negotiators remove a block to further negotiations when they agree that POWs may be held in neutral custody in Korea.
Screenwriter/director/producer Robert Rossen testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee in New York that he was a Communist from 1937-1947. He name dozens of others who he alleges were also Communists. Broadway producer Lee Sabinson says he is not a Communist but refuses to say if he has ever been one.
US Representative Robert L. Condon is barred from a nuclear weapons test in Nevada as a security risk. Condon, winner of the Silver Star for bravery in battle, believes he was barred because of his political views.
Can-Can by Cole Porter and Abe Burrows opens in New York.
8 May 1953 Mau Maus attack a police camp at Othaya, west of Mt. Kenya. They are repulsed by British colonial troops. The group then moves on to attack Kikuyu home guards at Kairuitha, killing 15 of them.
9 May 1953 The United States sets off an atomic explosion at Yucca Flat, Nevada. Radioactive particles land on St. George, Utah and Mesquite, Nevada, some 160 km away. Residents were asked to stay indoors between 9:00 and 12:00 to avoid radioactivity.
Two Children’s Songs for voice and piano by Witold Lutoslawski (40) to words of Barto are performed for the first time, in Warsaw, the composer at the keyboard.
10 May 1953 A Liberal Party is formed in South Africa. It will campaign for equal rights for all citizens.
Excerpts from Six Dances for string orchestra by Ulysses Kay (36) are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of CBS radio.
11 May 1954 The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as amended by Protocol 11, comes into force.
A tornado strikes Waco, Texas killing 114 people.
12 May 1953 The Royal Navy discloses that naval and marine reinforcements have been sent to Suez.
The Argentine Ministry of Communications suspends the right of three international news services to receive dispatches from abroad for Argentine newspapers.
14 May 1953 Under Milk Wood, a play by Dylan Thomas, is performed for the first time, in a reading at The Poetry Center, New York. Thomas takes two of the parts.
16 May 1953 Associated Press correspondent William Oatis is released in Prague on order of President Antonin Zapotocky. He has been held for two years charged with espionage.
17 May 1953 Viet Minh forces attack Yenvi but are beaten back by the French with heavy losses.
Django Reinhardt dies at Fontainbleau, aged 43.
Voyage for a Theatre, a ballet by William Schuman (42) to a scenario by Graham, is performed for the first time, in the Alvin Theatre, New York. The premiere of Voyage is not scheduled until 18 August but Martha Graham heard a private performance of it and asked Schuman to arrange it for chamber orchestra so she could choreograph it. See 18 August 1953.
Prelude for unaccompanied flute by Ulysses Kay (36) is performed for the first time, at the University of Maine, Orono.
18 May 1953 French forces retake Xiengkhouang, Laos.
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin is published in New York.
19 May 1953 AP correspondent Marc Purdue is ordered to leave Iran by the government. He is accused of spreading “false and provocative news against the interests of Iran.”
Harvard University finds three faculty members “guilty of misconduct” for invoking their rights under the Fifth Amendment while testifying before Congressional committees about communism. They are not sacked.
Argentine government restrictions against three wire services are eased.
20 May 1953 William Walton (51) receives an honorary DMus from Manchester University.
The British colonial government of Kenya bans the Labor Trade Union of East Africa. A new decree gives government officials the right to force labor from native Kenyans for 90 days without pay.
21 May 1953 Prime Minister René Mayer of France resigns after losing a vote of confidence.
22 May 1953 39 Kenyans are hanged for Mau Mau activity by the British colonial authorities.
Aaron Copland (52) receives the following telegram: “You are hereby directed to appear before this committee on Monday May twenty-fifth at 2:30 p.m.--Joe McCarthy, Chairman Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.”
Ill in his Boston hotel room, Igor Stravinsky (70) is visited by Dylan Thomas, there to talk about opera librettos.
From a Lost Continent for piano and chorus by William Grant Still (58) is performed for the first time, in San Jose, California. See 27 March 1955.
24 May 1953 String Quartet no.1 by Ulysses Kay (36) is performed for the first time, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
25 May 1953 KUHT of the University of Houston becomes the first educational television station on a reserved frequency.
The first public demonstration of electronic music anywhere is given at the opening of the music festival of Cologne Radio.
The United States explodes an atomic device at its testing grounds in Nevada after firing it from an artillery piece. The blast is visible in Las Vegas, 100 km away. 90 minutes afterward, 2,500 soldiers are sent into ground zero.
The US Supreme Court votes 7-2 not to review the conviction of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for the third time.
The Harpies, an opera by Marc Blitzstein (48) to his own words, is performed for the first time, at the Manhattan School of Music, 22 years after it was composed.
26 May 1953 The Phi Alpha Theta fraternity suspends its chapter at Amherst College because the chapter pledged non-Aryan members.
Aaron Copland (52) is interrogated for two hours in a private hearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman. As the questioning progresses, it becomes obvious that McCarthy wishes to use Copland to attack the United States Information Agency, which he is convinced is packed with Bolsheviks. Copland is told to be available for a public hearing soon. He will never be called.
Kontra-Punkte no.1 for eleven players by Karlheinz Stockhausen (24) is performed for the first time, in Cologne as part of the opening concert of the electronic music studio at WDR.
27 May 1953 Chinese troops begin a four-day drive, pushing back UN troops north of Seoul.
Officials in West Berlin report a rise in the number of refugees from the East.
Hans Werner Henze’s (26) radio opera after Kafka Ein Landarzt is staged for the first time, in Cologne. See 29 November 1951 and 30 November 1965.
28 May 1953 Food rationing causes 8,000 people to flee to West Berlin in five days.
Voters in Denmark approve a new constitution. It provides for a unicameral parliament, the succession of women to the throne, the raising of Greenland to equal status in the Danish Commonwealth, including representation in Parliament, and the lowering of the voting age from 25 to 23. It will go into effect on 5 June.
The US ambassador to Italy tells the country that aid might be cut off if the wrong people are given power in the upcoming general election.
29 May 1953 Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norkay of Nepal become the first human beings in recorded history to stand on the top of Mt. Everest.
The British colonial government of Kenya seals off the center of the country to combat Mau Maus. In some areas, anyone found moving will be “shot on sight.”
Design for orchestra by Ned Rorem (29) is performed for the first time, in Louisville.
Paysanna for orchestra by Claude Champagne (62), commissioned to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio-Canada.
30 May 1953 Violent demonstrations against a currency devaluation take place throughout Czechoslovakia.
31 May 1954 The British colonial government reimposes a state of emergency in Uganda two months after it was lifted due to an economic boycott by citizens angry at the exile of Kabaka Mutesa II.
1 June 1953 Workers stage anti-Communist strikes in several cities of Czechoslovakia.
President Tito of Yugoslavia abolishes the office of political commissar in the armed forces.
Benjamin Britten (39) is created a Companion of Honour on the coronation list.
Four works for chorus by British composers are performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London, as part of the celebrations for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II: Silence and Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) to words of his wife Ursula Vaughan Williams, What is it Like to be Young and Fair by Arnold Bax (69) to words of Clifford Bax, The Hills by John Ireland (73) to words of Kirkup, and Michael Tippett’s (48) madrigal Dance, Clarion Air to words of Fry.
Suite concertante op.278b for piano and orchestra by Darius Milhaud (60) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio France.
2 June 1953 Variaciones concertantes for chamber orchestra by Alberto Ginastera (37) is performed for the first time, in Buenos Aires.
Five new works by British composers are performed during the coronation ceremonies of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey: Coronation Te Deum for chorus, orchestra, and organ, and Orb and Sceptre Coronation March for orchestra, both by William Walton (51); Coronation March for orchestra by Arnold Bax (69); The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune for chorus, unison chorus, orchestra, and organ and O Taste and See, a motet for chorus and organ to words of the Bible, both by Ralph Vaughan Williams (80). It is the first British coronation to be televised. See 18 March 1953.
3 June 1953 Florence Beatrice Smith Price dies of a stroke at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, aged 66 years, one month, and 25 days.
4 June 1953 Belinsky, a film with music by Dmitri Shostakovich (46), is shown for the first time.
The development of a “breeder reactor” is announced by the head of the US Atomic Energy Agency in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
5 June 1953 A new (fourth) constitution goes into effect in Denmark. Greenland is made a province. Royal succession is now open to women. The upper house of Parliament is abolished.
The Bridal Day, a masque by Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) to words of Wood after Spenser is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of BBC television. The work was composed in 1938-1939 but performance was precluded by the onset of the war.
6 June 1953 Michael Tippett’s (48) Fanfare no.3 for three trumpets is performed for the first time, from St. Ives Church tower, Cornwall.
7 June 1953 General elections take place in Italy. Gains are made by the left and the far right. The ruling Christian Democrats lose 41 seats but remain the largest party. They will form a series of weak coalitions.
The United States creates a system to deny fuel and other facilities to ships bound for mainland China.
8 June 1953 An agreement on the repatriation of all prisoners is signed at Panmunjom, Korea, over the strenuous objections of the South Koreans.
The Soviet Union ends travel restrictions for Austrians traveling between their occupation zone and the other three zones.
The British colonial government outlaws the Kenya African Union. Membership is now a criminal offense. Assets of the organization are seized.
The First International Decade of Experimental Music begins today at UNESCO in Paris. It is organized by the Groupe de Recherces de Musique Concrète de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française and its director Pierre Schaeffer (42) and will last until 18 June.
The BBC charges that television coverage of the recent coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was “marred in the US by the introduction of advertisements.”
The US Supreme Court rules that restaurants in the District of Columbia may not refuse service to “well-behaved and respectable Negroes.”
A tornado strikes Flint, Michigan, killing 116 people.
Gloriana op.53, an opera by Benjamin Britten (39) to words of Plomer after Strachey, is performed for the first time, at Covent Garden before Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family, knights, ministers, and foreign dignitaries. The Earl of Harewood calls it “one of the great disasters of operatic history.” Before the performance, William Walton’s (51) arrangement of God Save the Queen is performed for the first time. Walton is present, along with Ralph Vaughan Williams (80) and Arnold Bax (69).
10 June 1953 The East German government reaches an agreement with Lutheran Bishop Otto Dibelius to stop attacks on church youth groups, release many clergymen, and not touch church property. Further, the government offers amnesty and restitution to returning refugees, credit for private businesses, and ration cards for all regardless of politics.
11 June 1953 In a letter made public today, Dr. Albert Einstein urges all Americans to refuse to testify before Congressional investigating committees. “The reactionary politicians have managed to instill suspicion of all intellectual efforts into the public by dangling before their eyes a danger from without…They are now proceeding to suppress the freedom of teaching and to deprive of their positions all those who do not prove submissive…It is shameful for a blameless citizen to submit to such an inquisition.”
12 June 1953 Communist forces in Korea begin an offensive of over 30,000 men along an 80 km front centered at Kum Song.
13 June 1953 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia goes into exile in Thailand to protest the lack of movement towards independence for his country by France.
14 June 1953 East Germany releases 4,000 political prisoners.
Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito announces the restoration of diplomatic relations between his country and the USSR.
Speaking at Dartmouth College, President Dwight Eisenhower tells students, “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed. How will we defeat communism unless we know what it is and why it has such an appeal for men?” This is widely seen as an attack on Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The Feltrinelli International Music Prize of Rome’s Academy of Lynxes is awarded to Igor Stravinsky (70).
Three Movements for Orchestra by George Perle (38) is performed for the first time, in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
15 June 1953 The Communist offensive in Korea is halted by UN forces. It will slowly dissipate over the next four days.
Construction workers go on strike in East Berlin protesting increased work expectations.
The colonial Supreme Court of Kenya quashes the 8 April conviction of Jomo Kenyatta.
After a week-long offensive in the Aberdare Forest by British and Colonial troops, 125 Mau Maus are reported killed.
A group of prominent Frenchmen, including two former prime ministers and a Nobel Prize winner, appeal to US President Eisenhower for clemency for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
A Donaldson Award for Best Musical Comedy is awarded to Wonderful Town with music by Leonard Bernstein (34).
Incidental music to Anderson’s play The Tall Kentuckian by Norman Dello Joio (40) is performed for the first time, in the amphitheatre of Iroquois Park, Louisville. Mayor Charles Farnsley temporarily suspended the “whites only” policy in the park, in order to allow the city’s blacks to view the play during its run, today through 5 July.
16 June 1953 300 workers demonstrate in East Berlin.
17 June 1953 Thousands of workers demonstrate in East Berlin. Martial law is declared after 20-50,000 rioting workers try to seize the government. Strikes extend to all 270 localities in East Germany. 21 people are killed, many are injured as the government cracks down on the strikes. The authorities agree to the economic demands of the workers but not political demands.
US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas grants an indefinite stay of execution to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They were due to be killed tomorrow. An appeal for clemency to President Eisenhower by President Vincent Auriol of France is made public today.
18 June 1953 South Korean President Syngman Rhee frees over 27,000 anti-Communist North Koreans from prisoner-of-war camps rather than turn them over to a custodial commission.
Egypt officially ends its monarchy and adopts a republican form of government. Mohammed Neguib becomes the first president.
A US Air Force C-124 crashes shortly after takeoff from Tachikawa, Japan. All 129 people on board are killed. Mechanical failure and pilot error are blamed.
19 June 1953 13,000 workers battle police in Magdeburg, East Germany.
The US Supreme Court vacates the stay of 17 June and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Ossining, New York.
Seven Communist Party leaders are convicted in Honolulu of teaching ideas disliked by the state. Over 20,000 dock and plantation workers strike to protest the convictions.
20 June 1953 Communist delegates to the Korean peace talks at Panmunjom break off negotiations because of the mass release of prisoners.
Variations on an Elizabethan Theme for strings is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC Third Programme, conducted by Benjamin Britten (39). Each of the six variations is composed by a different prominent British composer. Contributors include Britten, Michael Tippett (48) and William Walton (51).
Over the next two days, about 10,000 people pay their respects to the family of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg at a funeral home in Brooklyn. Mass demonstrations against the executions take place in Paris, London, and elsewhere. A 15-minute strike of public services occurs in Rome.
22 June 1953 King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, having ended his self-imposed exile in Thailand, sets up operations in Battambang to agitate for independence from France.
The New York Times announces that “several hundred books by more than 40 authors” have been removed from US libraries outside the country.
23 June 1953 French and Colonial troops retake Muong Khoua, north of Luang Prabang, Laos.
A great memorial service is held in West Berlin in honor of those killed in recent rioting in East Germany.
The High Court of Appeals in Paris awards custody of two Jewish boys to their aunt, an Israeli citizen after a dispute of two years with the Catholic guardians of the boys.
Music for Piano 4-19 by John Cage (40) is performed for the first time, at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, to a dance by Merce Cunningham.
24 June 1953 A passenger train derails and plummets down a ravine called Col de Nuages (Hai Van Pass) in northern French Indochina (Vietnam).
25 June 1953 John Reginald Christie, who has confessed to the strangulation of seven women, is convicted in a London court of killing his wife and sentenced to death. He pleaded innocent on the grounds of insanity. He also confessed to killing a woman in 1949, a crime for which the woman’s husband was executed on testimony of Christie.
26 June 1953 Today is the heaviest day of rain in a very rainy June on Kyushu. The resulting floods will kill around 1,000 people. 450,000 houses are destroyed.
Lavrentii Beria, head of the Soviet secret police, is arrested.
29 June 1953 Trio for violin, cello, and piano by David Diamond (37) is performed for the first time, in San Francisco.
30 June 1953 After a cabinet crisis of over five weeks, Joseph Laniel replaces René Mayer as Prime Minister of France.
The first Corvette is produced by Chevrolet in Flint, Michigan.
1 July 1953 Ayatollah Sayed Abolghassem Kashani, an opponent of Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh, is removed as Speaker of the Majlis.
Prince Azzedine, Bey du Camp, the presumed heir to the crown of Tunisia, is murdered in his palace in Tunis by Hedi Ben Brahim Ben Ejebala Djeridi. The assassin said he was paid to do it.
Over the next week, the Senate Investigations Subcommittee questions several authors as to whether they have ever been members of the Communist Party. Many refuse to say.
2 July 1953 IBM announces what it calls the Magnetic Drum Calculator (IBM 650). It is the first computer to be massed produced, but will not be available until next year.
3 July 1953 JB Matthews, executive director of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Investigations subcommittee, publishes an article in American Mercury which declares “The largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States is composed of Protestant clergymen.” A majority of the committee vote to dismiss him but they are overridden by the chairman, Senator McCarthy.
4 July 1953 Imre Nagy replaces Mátyás Rákosi as Prime Minister of Hungary. Nagy announces a program of softening the Party line, giving land back to farmers, slowing the industrialization program, allowing for private enterprise.
7 July 1953 The colonial government of Kenya announces that 241 Mau Maus were killed and 193 captured in operations over the last two weeks. 28 colonial police were killed.
8 July 1953 The US Immigration Service in Chicago orders Jacob Burck deported on charges he was a communist when he last entered the country. Burck is a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
9 July 1953 Soviet and East German authorities remove all blocks to travel between East and West Berlin.
The Bridges at Toko-Ri by James Michener is published in New York.
Cantique de l’espérance for mezzo-soprano, chorus, audience, orchestra, and wind orchestra by Paul Hindemith (57) to words of Claudel, is performed for the first time, in the Palace of Fine Arts, Brussels the composer conducting. It was commissioned by UNESCO. See 4 June 1955.
10 July 1953 Truce negotiations, broken off on 20 June, are resumed in secret at Panmunjom.
East Berlin is opened to West Berlin for the first time since 17 June.
The Soviet government announces that Marshall Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria, former head of Internal Security, has been arrested.
11 July 1953 The United States announces that President Syngman Rhee of South Korea accepts the armistice terms agreed to by other UN allies.
Georg Solti, director of the Frankfurt Opera, says that the US State Department refused to issue him a visa because of charges he was once a member of a communist-sponsored group. Solti denies the charges.
12 July 1953 Martial law is lifted in East Berlin.
13 July 1953 Chinese forces begin an offensive along a 30 km front between Kumsong and Kumhwa.
14 July 1953 27 supporters of Prime Minister Mossadegh resign their seats in the Iranian Majlis. This reduces the membership to below a quorum, making it impossible for the body to meet, and leaves Mossadegh in complete control of the country.
A riot started by North African nationalists at the end of a Bastille Day demonstration in Paris kills seven people and injures 130.
15 July 1953 The “Notting Hill Killer”, John Christie, is hanged at Pentonville Prison.
16 July 1953 UN troops counterattack on the front between Kumsong and Kumhwa, regaining some of the ground lost since 13 July.
19 July 1953 Chanson et Romance for soprano and orchestra by Werner Egk (52) is performed for the first time, in Aix-en-Provence.
20 July 1953 Conlon Nancarrow (40) and his second wife Annette Margolis are divorced.
21 July 1953 Piano Quintet by Ross Lee Finney (46) is performed for the first time, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
23 July 1953 Igor Stravinsky (71) undergoes surgery for the removal of his prostate at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. It is successful.
24 July 1953 Old American Songs, Set II for voice and piano by Aaron Copland (52) is performed for the first time, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the composer at the piano. See 25 May 1955.
25 July 1953 Czechoslovak mechanic Vaclav Uhlik drives through the Czech-German border in a homemade armored car. He carries with him his wife, two children, and four others.
26 July 1953 165 young revolutionaries led by Fidel and Raúl Castro attack the Moncada barracks of the Cuban army in Santiago. Over half of them are killed and the rest, including the two leaders, flee.
27 July 1953 At Panmunjom, an armistice is signed between the United Nations and South Korea on one side, and China and North Korea on the other. A demilitarized zone is established between the two Koreas. All prisoners so desiring will be repatriated within 60 days. Those not desiring repatriation will be held for 90 days by a Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, during which time, each side may attempt to persuade them to return home. Any held after that will be sent to a neutral country.
Thousands of residents of East Berlin begin receiving free food in West Berlin as part of a relief distribution program brought on by food shortages in the East.
28 July 1953 Both sides in Korea begin dismantling their front-line positions to create a demilitarized zone between them.
30 July 1953 Opposing forces in Korea complete their withdrawal to create a demilitarized zone.
Ali Sastroamidjojo replaces Wilopo as Prime Minister of Indonesia.
The USSR announces that it will assume its own costs for the occupation of Austria, as the US has done since 1947. Hitherto, Austria has paid to garrison 44,000 Soviet troops in the country.
Quattro Lettere for bass, soprano, and chamber orchestra by Bruno Maderna (33) to words of a Resistance fighter, a business letter, Kafka, and Gramsci is performed for the first time, in Darmstadt.
1 August 1953 Great Britain joins Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and Nyasaland (Malawi) into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
In order to end killings of innocent civilians by Cuban government troops, Raúl and Fidel Castro surrender to the Cuban authorities.
2 August 1953 Three Dedications to Lorca for chorus by Kenneth Gaburo (27) is performed for the first time, at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Lousiana.
3 August 1953 The first stage of nationwide balloting takes place in Teheran on the continuation of the Majlis. Those voting for and against do so in separate places and each voter is obliged to sign the ballot.
Eight men identified as Communist Party leaders by the FBI are indicted in Philadelphia of conspiring to teach the overthrow of the US government.
Leonard Bernstein (34) submits a sworn affidavit to the FBI that he has “never...knowingly engaged in activities which supported the Communist movement under circumstances which would warrant the conclusion that I engaged in such activities as a result of direction, domination or control exercised over me by the Communist movement.” He swears he never attended meetings of suspect organizations, that he has reformed himself, and that he has voted only for Republicans or Democrats. He swears his loyalty to the United States and disavows all leftist organizations with which he has been associated. This will allow him to receive a passport and work in Hollywood.
4 August 1953 Gangs from East Berlin attempt to disrupt the distribution of food to East Berliners in West Berlin. Police arrest 75 of them.
5 August 1953 Opposing sides in the Korean War begin exchanging prisoners in Panmunjom.
7 August 1953 Public sector workers begin a general strike in France to protest government austerity measures.
10 August 1953 Official returns show 99.9% of Iranian voters back a plan to eliminate the Majlis (parliament). The voting is not secret and voters are required to sign their ballots.
Parliamentary elections in Canada result in a loss of 22 seats for the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. However, they still hold a strong majority of seats.
11August 1953 East Berlin police blockade roads to prevent Soviet zone residents from getting food handouts in West Berlin.
12 August 1953 The USSR explodes a hydrogen bomb for the first time.
An earthquake centered in the Ionian Islands, Greece kills 455 people.
As French Prime Minister Laniel refuses to back down on austerity measures, the strike by public sector workers spreads to private industry.
Leonard Bernstein (34) receives a passport so that he may travel to Italy to conduct.
15 August 1953 The first round of food distribution in West Berlin ends. It is estimated that 2,600,000 food parcels have been given out to East Germans since 27 July.
16 August 1953 The Shah of Iran dismisses Mohammed Mossadegh as Prime Minister. He refuses to go and palace guards delivering the decree are arrested. The Shah flies to Iraq.
Moroccan nationalists supporting the Sultan riot throughout the country. 36 people are killed.
17 August 1953 Hungary announces that two foreigners held for espionage have been freed: Edgar Sanders, a Briton and Vincenzo Sciotto, an Italian.
Pro-Mossadegh mobs go through Teheran destroying statues of the Shah.
Giuseppe Pella replaces Alcide de Gasperi as Prime Minister of Italy.
French Prime Minister Laniel warns that he will not negotiate with unions that do not return to work by tomorrow.
18 August 1953 Soldiers and police turn against the pro-Mossadegh mobs.
Voyage for piano by William Schuman (43) is performed for the first time, in Chicago. See 17 May 1953.
19 August 1953 Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran is removed from office a second time in an army coup engineered by the CIA. He is replaced by Fazlollah Zahedi. About 300 people are killed in the coup, including Foreign Minister Hossein Fatemi and Colonel Ezatollah Mumtaz.
Aaron Copland (52) submits an affidavit to the FBI, denying any past or present membership in the Communist Party.
20 August 1953 The USSR announces that it has successfully exploded a hydrogen bomb.
Former Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh is arrested by Iranian authorities along with three associates.
As armed Berbers converge on Rabat, French authorities depose Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Youssef. The Sultan and his sons are flown out of the country to Corsica.
Five members of the Communist Party are convicted in Pittsburgh of conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the government.
The US Secretary of the Navy orders the elimination of racial segregation among civilian employees of the Navy.
Advance summaries of a new book by Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey of Indiana University reveal that nearly all American women break some sexual taboo. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female shows 50% of women engage in premarital intercourse, while 26% of married women have extra-marital affairs. Other findings show American women to be much more sexually active than generally believed.
21 August 1953 Sidi Moulay Mohammed ben Arafa is proclaimed Sultan of Morocco in Rabat.
A Suite o’Bairnsangs for voice and piano by Thea Musgrave (25) to words of Lindsay, is performed for the first time, in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
22 August 1953 The East African Court of Appeals reinstates the conviction of Jomo Kenyatta and five others. They are required to served their sentences.
Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that the US Post Office is “subsidizing” the Washington Post and its “deliberate falsehoods” by carrying newspapers at reduced rates.
Soleriana for orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo (51) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
23 August 1953 The Internal Security Subcommittee of the US Senate issues a report charging that Soviet agents infiltrated the US government “from the lower ranks to the top-level policy and operating positions.” It said they stole “thousands of diplomatic, political, military, scientific, and economic secrets.”
25 August 1953 Five leaders of the French Communist Party, imprisoned since last October, are ordered released.
27 August 1953 Strikes by public sector workers end in France. Prime Minister Laniel does not give up his austerity plan, but does make concessions to the workers.
About 100,000 East Germans travel to West Berlin to receive the second wave of food parcels from the West.
29 August 1953 An agreement signed today in Phnom Penh gives the Cambodian government of King Norodom Sihanouk authority over police and the judiciary. France retains jurisdiction over French and Chinese citizens.
Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli for strings by Michael Tippett (48) is performed for the first time, in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, the composer conducting.
1 September 1953 The Administrative Tribunal of the United Nations holds that eleven of the 21 US citizens employed the UN who were fired because of US government inquiries about their loyalty, were removed illegally. They rule that four be reinstated. The others are to receive indemnities since they do not want their jobs back.
Francis Poulenc (54) is promoted from Chevalier to the rank of Officer of the Legion of Honor.
A Lincoln Letter for chorus by Ulysses Kay (36) to words attributed to Lincoln, is performed for the first time, in Lincoln, Illinois.
2 September 1953 John Zorn is born in New York.
UN Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjöld refuses to reinstate the four UN employees who won their case yesterday. He suggests that they be given indemnities.
5 September 1953 Great Britain announces it will withdraw two of its three battalions from Austria by January.
Donald Martino (22) marries Mari Rice.
The University of Vermont sacks Dr. Alex Novikoff, a cancer researcher, because he refused to answer questions of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.
6 September 1953 Elections for the West German Bundestag give the Christian Democrats of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer the most seats. They will form a broad coalition with many smaller parties.
Sinfonietta a Brasileira for string orchestra by Ernst Krenek (53) is performed for the first time, in Besançon, France.
8 September 1953 The occupying powers end internal travel restrictions for Austrians.
10 September 1953 400 anti-Communist North Korean prisoners of war riot as they are transferred to neutral (Indian) control at Panmunjom. The soldiers apparently fear that they are being turned over to the North Koreans. Indian troops manage to put down the riot without bloodshed.
Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Leitman of the University of Chicago publish an article in Science announcing their discovery of REM, rapid eye movement, a stage of sleep.
The Swanson Company introduces the first TV Dinner in the United States.
11 September 1953 Antonín Novotny is named First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.
The House Un-American Activities Committee releases testimony that 600 Protestant clergymen are “secret Communist Party members.” The testimony also said that 3,000-4,000 Protestant clergymen are in the “fellow-traveling category.”
12 September 1953 Olafur Thors replaces Steingrimur Steinthorsson as Prime Minister of Iceland.
13 September 1953 Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev is elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union by the Central Committee. He has been acting in that capacity since 14 March.
14 September 1953 500 anti-Communist Chinese prisoners of war riot as they are transferred to neutral (Indian) control at Panmunjom. The soldiers apparently fear that they are being turned over to the Chinese. Indian troops manage to put down the riot without bloodshed.
The Investigations Subcommittee of the US Senate, chaired by Joseph McCarthy, opens hearings in New York on alleged infiltration of the UN by US Communists.
Sexual Activity in the Human Female by Alfred C. Kinsey is published by WB Saunders, Philadelphia.
15 September 1953 The UN General Assembly defeats a proposal to seat the Peoples Republic of China.
16 September 1953 A member of the Polish delegation to the UN resigns his post and asks the US for political asylum.
The Robe, the first film to be made in wide-screen CinemaScope, premieres at the Roxy Theatre in New York City.
21 September 1953 Two former prime ministers of Egypt, Mustafa Nahas and Ibrahim Abdel Hadi, along with eleven other aides of deposed King Farouk, are arrested for conspiring against the republican government.
22 September 1953 In the first Folketing election after the adoption of the 5 June Danish constitution, the ruling Social Democrats of Prime Minister Hans Hedtoft gain 13 seats. The Left-Liberals also make a good showing.
A Roman Catholic bishop, three priests, and a nun are convicted in a military court in Warsaw of spying for the US. They are all given jail sentences.
23 September 1953 The UN in Korea hands over to the Indians the last of their prisoners of war who refuse repatriation. The UN lists a total of 14,699 Chinese and 7,876 North Koreans handed over to the Indians.
Temple University sacks the head of its philosophy department, Dr. Barrows Dunham, because he refused to answer questions of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
24 September 1953 The New York State Board of Regents rules that communists may not be employed in the state’s public schools.
25 September 1953 East Germany announces that the Soviet Union has begun to repatriate German war prisoners.
26 September 1953 Polish authorities arrest Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski for conspiracy against the state and intern him in a monastery.
In three treaties signed today in Madrid, Spain gives the US the right to construct military bases on its territory in return for economic and military aid.
28 September 1953 The New York City Board of Education creates an investigating committee to question all public school employees about “subversive activities.” Any employee not cooperating fully will face disciplinary action.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sacks Dr. Arthur L. Levy because he refused to answer a question of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
29 September 1953 The Radio Eireann Symphony Orchestra devotes an evening to the music of Arnold Bax (69) in Phoenix Hall, Dublin in the presence of the composer. It is the last time he will hear his music.
30 September 1953 Hans Hedtoft replaces Erik Eriksen as Prime Minister of Denmark.
1 October 1953 Andhra Pradesh is created out of the Telugu-speaking areas of Madras state.
Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Abdel Hadi of Egypt is sentenced to death for treason after a secret trial.
Pope Pius XII orders the excommunication of any Roman Catholics who had a hand in the arrest of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski.
3 October 1953 Great Britain sends reinforcements to British Guiana to prevent what they call an attempt to set up a pro-Communist government.
Incidental music to Slowacki’s play Horsztynski by Witold Lutoslawski (40) is performed for the first time, in Teatr Polski, Warsaw.
Between 21:30 and 22:00. Arnold Edward Trevor Bax dies suddenly at the home of Prof. Alyos Fleischmann, "Glen House" in Ballyvolane, Cork of coronary thrombosis and acute pulmonary aedema, aged 69 years, ten months, and 25 days.
6 October 1953 After a private funeral in Cork, the mortal remains of Arnold Bax are laid to rest in St. Finbarr’s Cemetery, Cork.
8 October 1953 Great Britain and the US announce they will withdraw from Zone A of Trieste and turn it over to Italy. They are tired of the impasse between Italy and Yugoslavia over Trieste.
Winter Words op.52, a cycle for voice and piano by Benjamin Britten (39) to words of Hardy, is performed for the first time, at Harewood House, Leeds by Peter Pears and the composer. Britten is suffering from bursitis in his right arm.
9 October 1953 Yugoslavia demands that the Trieste decision announced yesterday be rescinded. Protest demonstrations and riots begin across the country. US and UK interests are invaded and some British and American citizens attacked.
A committee of the American Council on Education adopts a program by which educators can expose those in their midst who hold views disliked by the state.
The governor of British Guiana removes the leftist government of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan, claiming that they are “closely associated” with international communism. The constitution of the colony is suspended.
10 October 1953 Five Communist Party members are convicted in Seattle of conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the government.
Concerto for piano, winds, and strings by Karl Amadeus Hartmann (48) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen. Also premiered is Portrait for strings by Karel Husa (32).
11 October 1953 Le Réveil des Oiseaux for piano and orchestra by Olivier Messiaen (44) is performed for the first time, in the Stadthalle, Donaueschingen. The response is tepid.
Due espressioni per orchestra by Luigi Nono (29) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen.
12 October 1953 General elections in Norway see losses for the ruling Labor Party, but they retain their majority in Parliament.
Música para un códice salmantino, a cantata for bass, chorus, and eleven instruments by Joaquín Rodrigo (51) to words of Miguel de Unamuno, is performed for the first time, at the University of Salamanca.
14 October 1953 Aria and Toccata for two pianos by Norman Dello Joio (40) is performed for the first time, in New York.
15 October 1953 French forces begin a drive south from the Red River Delta into central Vietnam.
16 October 1953 A Vietnam National Congress convened in Saigon by Chief of State Bao Dai rejects the French Union in its present form.
Ernest MacMillan (60) is awarded an honorary LLD from the University of Toronto.
17 October 1953 Women are granted full citizenship rights in Mexico, including the right to vote and hold office.
18 October 1953 Cortège académique for organ by Ernest MacMillan (60) is performed for the first time, at Convocation Hall, Toronto by the composer. The work was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the University of Toronto.
Two works by Igor Stravinsky (71) are performed for the first time, in Los Angeles: Preludium for jazz band and Tango for 19 instruments.
20 October 1953 Carl Orff’s (58) bairische Komödie Astutuli, to his own words, is performed for the first time, in the Munich Kammerspiele.
22 October 1953 French and colonial troops take Phu Nho Quan, 90 km southwest of Hanoi, without resistance.
A treaty giving Laos “independence” within the French Union is signed in Paris by French President Vincent Auriol and Laotian King Sisavang Vong. The Kingdom of Laos is declared independent from France under King Sisavang Vong and Prime Minister Prince Souvanna Phouma.
23 October 1953 Television broadcasting begins in the Philippines on DZAQ-TV.
The constitution of the Central African Federation goes into effect.
The US government announces that 1,456 federal workers have been purged in the four months since the new administration’s security program has been in effect. All but five were appointed during the Truman administration.
Duo Sonata for clarinet and bass clarinet by Gunther Schuller (27) is performed for the first time, in McMillin Theatre of Columbia University. Also premiered is Schuller’s Recitative and Rondo for violin and piano.
24 October 1953 Concerto for two pianos and orchestra by Ernst Krenek (53) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.
25 October 1953 East German Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl dissolves the Art Commission to form the Culture Ministry in order to provide for better party control.
Incantation for tape by Otto Luening (53) and Vladimir Ussachevsky is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the Columbia Broadcasting System, originating in New York.
26 October 1953 East Berlin Radio announces that Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus, German commander at Stalingrad, was released by the Soviets a few days ago and has decided to live in East Germany.
28 October 1953 The French National Assembly responds to the Vietnamese declaration of 16 October by endorsing the colonial policy of Prime Minister Laniel.
The United States Army charges that 29,815 people were murdered, tortured, or subjected to “calculate brutality” during the Korean War by Chinese or North Korean forces. Over half of the victims are civilians. They produce documentary and photographic evidence to substantiate their claims.
The School Board of Shaftsbury, Vermont removes an official state history from its libraries because it is “subversive.” The three members admit they have not read the book.
Incidental music to Iakobson’s play The Angel-Protector from Nebraska by Aram Khachaturian (50) is performed for the first time, in the Moscow Art Theatre.
While in Naples on an Italian sojourn, Arthur Honegger (61) suffers a worsening of his heart condition. A doctor orders him to return immediately to Paris.
30 October 1953 After criticism of his libretto to Johann Faustus, Hanns Eisler (55) writes to the Central Committee of the East German Socialist Party, “After the attack on Faustus I discovered that I had no longer any desire to go on writing music. The extreme state of depression it left me in is something I had hardly ever experienced. But I have no hope now of finding that vital incentive to write music anywhere else than in the German Democratic Republic…I can visualize a place for me as an artist only in that part of Germany which is laying the foundations of Socialism.” (Blake, 392)
Hermit Songs op.29, a cycle for voice and piano by Samuel Barber (43) to anonymous medieval Irish texts, is performed for the first time, in Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, Washington the composer at the keyboard.
31 October 1953 Francis Poulenc (54) receives his decoration as an Officer of the Legion of Honor.
Larry Austin (23) marries Edna Navarro in San Antonio, Texas.
2 November 1953 Foreign ownership of public utilities in Shanghai ends with the expropriation of the only remaining French companies.
A constituent assembly in Pakistan votes to make the country an “Islamic Republic.”
Sonata for two pianos by Francis Poulenc (54) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC.
4 November 1953 Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge dies in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 89.
5 November 1953 US Senator Joseph McCarthy announces there is a “smelly mess” at Harvard University. He says its students are threatened with “indoctrination by Communist professors.”
Serenade for Nikolay Rubinstein’s Nameday for small orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (32) is performed publicly for the first time, in Moscow. See 18 December 1872.
6 November 1953 Three days of rioting by Italians in Trieste are halted by the appearance of US and UK troops. Seven people have been killed, about 60 injured. The rioters demand reunion with Italy.
US Attorney General Herbert Brownell accuses former President Harry Truman of appointing the late Harry Dexter White to executive director of the International Monetary Fund, knowing that White was “a Russian spy.” Truman denies the story.
7 November 1953 French and colonial troops end their 24-day offensive into central Vietnam and return to the Hanoi defense perimeter.
9 November 1953 The Kingdom of Cambodia declares its full independence from France.
King Abdul Aziz III of Saudi Arabia dies at his summer palace in Ta’if, and is succeeded by his son Saud.
Dylan Thomas dies at the age of 39 in St. Vincent's Hospital, New York, following a six-day coma. The immediate cause of death is listed as pneumonia, but his consistent and heavy alcohol intake are contributing factors. An hour later, the news is learned in Los Angeles by Igor Stravinsky (71) who has been talking with Thomas for a long time about an opera libretto. Stravinsky weeps.
President Nathan Pusey of Harvard University responds to Senator Joseph McCarthy by saying that he knows of no communists on his faculty.
10 November 1953 The USSR ends censorship in its occupation zone of Austria.
Five leaders of the United Electrical Workers Union refuse to answer questions put to them by the Internal Security Committee of the US Senate.
Elliott Carter’s (44) Sonata for flute, oboe, cello, and harpsichord is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Recital Hall, New York.
11 November 1953 US Attorney General Herbert Brownell modifies his charge of 6 November by saying he had “no intention of impugning the loyalty of any high official.” Senator Joseph McCarthy calls Truman a liar saying, “he deliberately, knowingly, and without regard for the interests of the country appointed, promoted, and advanced a Communist” spy.
The head of the virus laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley, tells a medical conference in Boston that its researchers, Dr. Howard Bachrach and Dr. Carleton Schwerdt, have isolated and photographed the pure virus of human poliomyelitis.
12 November 1953 An orchestral suite from Samuel Barber’s (43) unperformed ballet Souvenirs is performed for the first time, in Chicago. See 11 March 1953 and 15 November 1955.
13 November 1953 String Quartet no.5 op.92 by Dmitri Shostakovich (47) is performed for the first time, in Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall.
Structures for piano duet by Pierre Boulez (28) is performed completely for the first time, in Cologne. See 4 May 1952.
15 November 1953 Three chamber works by Leslie Bassett (30) are performed for the first time, in Ann Arbor, Michigan: Four Songs for voice and piano to texts of Blake, Herbert, and Robinson, Trio for viola, clarinet, and piano, and Brass Trio for trumpet, horn, and trombone.
Third Quintet op.325 for strings by Darius Milhaud (61) is performed for the first time, at the University of California, Berkeley.
16 November 1953 Former President Harry Truman makes a nationwide radio and television address defending his actions in promoting Harry Dexter White. He calls the 6 November charges of Attorney General Herbert Brownell politically motivated lies. He said it is “now evident that the present administration has fully embraced, for political advantage, ‘McCarthyism’, the corruption of truth, the abandonment of…fair play [and] due process of law…the use of the big lie and the unfounded accusation…in the name of Americanism and security.”
Symphony no.5 by Darius Milhaud (61) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Italian Radio, originating in Turin, the composer conducting.
Hymn and Fuguing Tune no.9 for cello and piano by Henry Cowell (56) is performed for the first time, at the New School, New York. It is part of a major retrospective concert celebrating Cowell’s 25 years at the New School.
17 November 1953 Sakari Severi Tuomioja replaces Urho Kekkonen as Prime Minister of Finland.
US Attorney General Herbert Brownell and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover testify before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and give a view of the White case differing from that of former President Truman. The Subcommittee says it will expand its investigation to eight associates of White.
18 November 1953 Noon. Ruth Crawford Seeger dies of intestinal cancer at 7 West Kirke Street in Chevy Chase, Maryland, aged 52 years, four months, and 15 days. Her mortal remains will be laid to rest in Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Professor Maurice Halperin is suspended by Boston University when his name is linked to Communist espionage in the press.
Incidental music to Chepurin’s play Spring Stream by Aram Khachaturian (50) and Nina Makarova is performed for the first time, in Moscow.
Symphony no.6 by Peter Mennin (30) is performed for the first time, in Louisville.
19 November 1953 Three North Korean soldiers flee across the demilitarized zone and ask UN troops for asylum. The three are sheltered from pursuers from the north.
Plectra and Percussion Dances by Harry Partch (52) are performed for the first time, at the International House, Berkeley, California.
20 November 1953 In an effort to draw off Viet Minh forces besieging the delta, the French drop six battalions of paratroopers at Dien Bien Phu, 320 km inland.
A revised version of Symphony in One Movement by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (35) is performed for the first time, in Brussels. See 3 March 1952.
21 November 1953 Scholars at the British Museum (Natural History) and the Anatomy Department of Oxford University, charge that the skull of “Piltdown Man” discovered in 1912 represents a “most elaborate and carefully prepared hoax.”
Alagoana, Caprichos Brasileiros, a ballet by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (33), is performed for the first time, in a concert setting in Hamburg. See 15 December 1955.
24 November 1953 Tod Machover is born in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of a computer graphics expert and a pianist.
US Senator Joseph McCarthy makes a nationwide radio and television address, answering the criticisms of former President Truman on 16 November. He says that Truman’s definition of “McCarthyism” was identical to the Daily Worker, a communist newspaper. He said Truman’s administration was “crawling with communists.”
27 November 1953 Almost nine months after the death of Stalin, an article appears in Pravda blessing “...the importance of encouraging new departures in art, of studying the artist’s individual style, and...of recognizing the artist’s right to be independent, to strike out boldly on new paths.”
Eugene O’Neill dies in Boston at the age of 65.
28 November 1953 Dissolution op.68/2 for voice and piano by Charles Koechlin (†2) to words of Claudel is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of French Radio.
Improvvisazione no.2 for orchestra by Bruno Maderna (33) is performed for the first time, in Heidelberg.
30 November 1953 The British government withdraws support from Kabaka Mutesa II of Buganda after he called for independence. They transport him to London.
The United States charges in the UN General Assembly that 38,000 UN troops and Korean civilians were victims of atrocities by North Korean and Chinese officials during the Korean War. It further charged that many prison camps where these atrocities occurred were run by Soviets.
1 December 1953 Playboy magazine goes on sale for the first time. The inaugural issue features nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe.
Symphony no.5 by Carlos Chávez (54) is performed for the first time, in Royce Hall Auditorium, Los Angeles the composer conducting.
2 December 1953 811 Japanese citizens, 349 of them civilians, arrive in Japan after spending eight years in Soviet prison camps in Siberia.
After two weeks of tests at Salpetrière Hosital, Claire Messiaen is diagnosed with incurable “cerebral atrophy.”
3 December 1953 Iannis Xenakis (31) marries Françoise Gargouil.
String Quartet no.4 op.83 by Dmitri Shostakovich (47) is performed for the first time, in Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall.
The UN General Assembly adopts (42-5-10) a resolution of grave concern over alleged communist atrocities during the Korean War. It further condemns these atrocities.
Kismet opens on Broadway.
4 December 1953 Val R. Lorwin of the University of Chicago is indicted in Washington for lying to a loyalty board about being a communist while an employee of the State Department.
Hans Werner Henze’s (27) radio opera Das Ende einer Welt, to words of Hildesheimer, is performed for the first time, in Hamburg. See 30 November 1965.
Daniel Gregory Mason dies in Greenwich, Connecticut, aged 80 years and 14 days.
5 December 1953 Meeting in Rome, representatives of Italy and Yugoslavia agree to lessen tension over Trieste by removing troops from their common border.
Great Britain and Iran restore diplomatic relations.
Pierre Boulez (28), Henri Pousseur (24), and Michel Fano travel from Paris to Cologne where Karlheinz Stockhausen (25) plays for them the first parts of Studie I that he has composed.
Music for Anski’s play Le Dibbouk by Darius Milhaud (61) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Radio France.
6 December 1953 Rural Antiphonies for five orchestras by Henry Brant (40) is performed for the first time, in New York.
Henry Cowell’s (56) Rondo for Orchestra is performed for the first time, in Indianapolis.
7 December 1953 Moshe Sharett replaces David Ben-Gurion as Prime Minister of Israel.
Symphony no.1 by Samuel Adler (25) is performed for the first time, in Dallas. The work wins first prize in a competition sponsored by the Dallas Symphony.
9 December 1953 In a major anti-union move, General Electric announces that all communist employees will be fired. The company will define who is a “communist.”
Song for the Lonely for voice and piano by William Grant Still (58) is performed for the first time, in Limoges.
Piano Concerto no.2 by Roy Harris (55) is performed for the first time, in Columbia Auditorium, Louisville, the composer conducting.
10 December 1953 Leonard Bernstein (35) becomes the first American to conduct at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, directing Maria Callas in Medea.
11 December 1953 Viet Minh forces enter Lai Chau in northwest Vietnam without opposition from the French.
15 December 1953 Concerto for cello and small orchestra by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (35) is performed for the first time, in Cologne. It will be reworked as Canto di speranza. See 28 July 1958.
16 December 1953 Over the next week, 11 people refuse to answer questions put to them by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Investigations Subcommittee.
17 December 1953 The Roman Catholic hierarchy of Poland takes a loyalty oath to the Communist Party and the state.
The US Federal Communications Commission approved the “compatible” form of color television for commercial use. This allows programs broadcast in color to be received in black and white on a non-color set.
Symphony no.10 op.93 by Dmitri Shostakovich (47) is performed for the first time, in Leningrad Philharmonic Bolshoy Hall. It is a great success.
18 December 1953 Olivier Messiaen (45) places his wife in a nursing home in La Varenne.
L. Ron Hubbard founds the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey.
Une cantate de Noël for baritone, children’s chorus, chorus, and organ by Arthur Honegger (61) is performed for the first time, in Basel.
21 December 1953 Viet Minh forces strike across the Laotian border in an offensive towards the Mekong at Thakhek.
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco is awarded the Supreme Order of Christ by Pope Pius XII.
The first color broadcast of a commercial television program in the US takes place on the network of the National Broadcasting Company. It is Gian Carlo Menotti’s (42) Amahl and the Night Visitors.
22 December 1953 24 Kikuyus are sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Nairobi for their part in Mau Mau activities last March. 40 others are acquitted.
23 December 1953 Lavrentii Beria, former head of the Soviet secret police arrested in June, is executed in Moscow, along with six others.
24 December 1953 A bridge over the Whangaehu River collapses beneath a Wellington-Auckland express train at Tangiwai, New Zealand. 153 people are killed.
The Anami Oshima Islands are returned to Japan.
An express passenger train crashes into a stationary train at Savice, near Brno Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) 103 people are killed.
The Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission issues its report at the end of the repatriation process. It was intended that the fate of any troops still not repatriated would be handled by a Korean Peace Conference which has not happened. Therefore, they leave the fate of the unrepatriated to the two military commands. 350 UN troops and 22,219 Chinese and North Korean troops are still in custody.
25 December 1953 Fire destroys a shantytown for refugees in Hong Kong. 53,000 people are homeless.
Thailand declares a state of emergency in light of the Viet Minh offensive across Laos.
26 December 1953 A five-day Viet Minh offensive reaches the Mekong at Thakhek, Laos cutting the country in two and establishing themselves on the border with Thailand for the first time.
27 December 1953 John Cage’s (41) “Manifesto on Painting of Bob Rauschenberg” appears in the New York Herald Tribune.
29 December 1953 Laotian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nhouy Abbay resigns because the French did not keep him informed about the Viet Minh offensive.
US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles says the press has exaggerated the significance of the Viet Minh offensive across Laos.
30 December 1953 Ramón Magsaysay y del Fierro replaces Elpidio Quirino y Rivera as President of the Philippines.
31 December 1953 Jack Kerouac decides to devote himself to the dharma.
©2004-2015 Paul Scharfenberger
21 August 2015
Last Updated (Friday, 21 August 2015 05:17)