1862 22 August Achille-Claude Debussy born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.
Delius, Klimt born; Halevy (63), Thoreau (45) die; First performances of Beatrice et Benedict (Berlioz), La forza del destino (Verdi); The Companies Act introduced
1863 Cavafy, Mascagni, Edvard Munch , Pierne born; Delacroix (65), Alfred de Vigny (66), Thackeray (52) die; Renan’s La vie de Jesus published; First Salon des Refuses in Paris; Gounod’s Faust produced in London, Dublin and New York; First performances of Les troyens a Carthage (Berlioz), Les pecheurs de perles (Bizet); French troops occupy Mexico; First underground railway completed in London; Poles rebel against Russia
1864 Richard Strauss born; Nathaniel Hawthorne (58), Meyerbeer (73) die; First performance of Mireille (Gounod); Civil war in Japan; Papal Syllabus of Errors
1865 Dukas, Glazunov, Sibelius, W. B. Yeats born; Pierre Proudhon (56) dies; First performance of L’africaine (Meyerbeer), Tristan und Isolde (Wagner); End of American Civil War; Lincoln assassinated; Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded
1866 Busoni, Kandinsky, Satie born; Ruckert (78) dies; Le Parnasse contemporain first published; First performances of The Bartered Bride (Smetana), Mignon (Thomas), Symphony No. 1 (Bruckner); Prussia defeats Austria; Submarine telegraphic cable completed between Ireland and Newfoundland; Alfred Nobel invents dynamite
1867 Claude Debussy family settles in Paris.
Bonnard, Granados, Emil Nolde, Pirandello born; Charles Baudelaire (46) dies; Exposition Universelle in Paris; First performances of Romeo et Juliette (Gounod), La grande duchesse de Ge’rolstein (Offenbach), Cox and Box (Sullivan), Don Carlos (Verdi), Symphony No. 1 (Borodin), Symphony No. I (Tchaikovsky); Dominion of Canada established; Sholes invents the typewriter
1868 Stefan George, Scott Joplin, Vuillard born; Rossini (76) dies; First performances of Mefistofele (Boito), Dalibor (Smetana), Die Meistersinger von Niirnberg (Wagner), Piano Concerto (Grieg), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Saint-Saens); Trade Union Congress founded
1869 Gide, Matisse, Pfitzner, Roussel, Frank Lloyd Wright born; Berlioz (66), Dargomizhsky (56) die; First performance of Das Rheingold (Wagner); Suez Canal opened; Mendelyev devises the periodic table
1870 Florent Schmitt born; Charles Dickens (58) dies; First performance of Die Walkiire (Wagner); Franco-Prussian War; Papal infallibility asserted by First Vatican Council; Education Act makes primary education open to all in Great Britain
1871 Achille visits; Cannes, has piano lessons with Jean Cerutti; March – Manuel joins National Guard; December – On defeat of Commune Manuel is sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Proust, Rouault born; Auber (89) dies; Societe nationale de musique founded; First performances of Aida (Verdi), Rouet d’Omphale (Saint-Saens); Paris Commune; Trades unions legalized in Britain
1872 October Achille enters Paris Conservatoire, in classes of Lavignac and Marmontel.
Diaghilev, Mondrian, Skryabin, Vaughan Williams born; Theophile Gautier (61) dies; Tolstoy completes War and Peace; First performances of L’arlesienne, Djamileh (Bizet), The Stone Guest (Dargomizhsky); Secret ballot introduced in Britain.
1873 Rakhmaninov, Reger, de Severac born; John Stuart Mill (67) dies; First performances of Jeux d’enfants (Bizet), Redemption (Franck), Ivan the Terrible (Rimsky-Korsakov), Symphony No. 2 (Bruckner), Cello Concerto No. 1 (Saint-Saens), Symphony No. 2 (Tchaikovsky); Ashanti War
1874 Wins third prize for solfege; Plays Chopin’s F minor Concerto in Conservatoire concert.
Hoist, Ives, Schoenberg born; Monet’s Impression, Sunrise exhibited; First performances of Boris Godunov (Mussorgsky), La danse macabre (Saint-Saens), Die Fledermaus (Strauss); Bourbons recalled in Spain; Disraeli begins last term of office
1875 Claude Debussy wins second medal for solfege and first certificate of merit for performance of Chopin’s Second Ballade.
Ravel, Rilke, Robert Frost, Thomas Mann , Roger-Ducasse, Hann born; Bizet (37), Corot (79), Sterndale Bennett (59) die; First performances of Carmen (Bizet), Symphonic espagnole (Lalo), Piano Concerto No. 4 (Saint-Saens); Third Republic founded in France; Disraeli wins control of Suez Canal for Britain
1876 Claude Debussy wins first medal for solfege.
Casals, Falla, Monteux, Vlaminck born; First performances of Der Ring des Nibelung (Wagner), Sylvia (Delibes), La Gioconda (Ponchielli), The Kiss (Smetana), Peer Gynt (Grieg’s music to Ibsen’s play), Symphony No. 1 (Brahms); Purcell Society founded; End of the Second Carlist War in Spain; Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone; Custer’s last stand
1877 Claude Debussy wins second prize for piano.
Dohnanyi, Cortot, Dufy, van Dongen born; First performances of L’etoile (Chabrier), Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saens), Symphony No. 2 (Brahms), Symphony No. 2 (Borodin), Symphony No. 3 (Bruckner); Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India; Russia declares war on the Turks; Edison invents the phonograph
1878 Schreker, Masefield, Augustus John, Caplet born; First performances of Symphony No. 4 (Tchaikovsky);
Exposition Universelle in Paris; Bulgaria established as separate principality under Turkey
1879 October Claude Debussy enters Bazille’s class of accompaniment and practical harmony; First surviving compositions date from around this year.
Beecham, Bridge, Delage, E. M. Forster, Ireland, Klee, Respighi born; Viollet-le-Duc (65) dies; First performances of Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), Une education manquee (Chabrier); Jules Grevy elected President of the French Republic
1880 July First prize in practical harmony; Mme von Meck engages him as pianist, travelling to Switzerland and Italy; December – Enters Guiraud’s composition class.
Bloch, Derain, Epstein, Medtner, Pizzetti, Thibaud born; George Eliot (61), Flaubert (59), Offenbach (61), Wieniawski (45) die; First performances of A May Night (Rimsky-Korsakov), Pirates of Penzance (Sullivan)
Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the second time
1881 July Claude Debussy returns to Mme von Meek , this time in Moscow; Accompanist for Mme Moreau-Sainti’s singing class; Meets Blanche Vasnier and dedicates a number of songs to her.
Bartok, Enescu, Leger, Miaskovsky, Picasso born; Carlyle (86), Dostoevsky (60), Mussorgsky (42), Vieuxtemps
(61) die; First performances of Les contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Brahms), Symphony No. 4 (Bruckner); Boers defeat British at Majuba Hill; First Irish Home Rule Bill; In Egypt the Mahdi announces his aim of world domination; Canadian Pacific Railway formed; First electric tram runs in Berlin
1882 May – Claude Debussy plays own music for first time in public; July – Second certificate for counterpoint and fugue; August – Returns to Mme von Meck in Russia, then to Vienna; First versions of ‘En sourdine’ and ‘Clair de lune’, Mandoline; First work published (Nuit d’etoiles)
Braque, Joyce, Kodaly, Malipiero, Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Virginia Woolf born; First performances of The Snow Maiden (Rimsky-Korsakov), Parsifal (Wagner); Britain fighting in Egypt; Cairo occupied
1883 June – Claude Debussy wins second Prix de Rome with setting of Le gladiateur
Ansermet, Bax, Casella, Kafka, Webern born; Manet (51), Wagner (70) die Borodin (53) dies; First performances of Lakme (Delibes), Symphony No. 3 (Brahms)
1884 June – Claude Debussy wins first Prix de Rome with setting of L’enfant prodigue
Modigliani born; Smetana (60) dies; First performances of Manon (Massenet), Le villi (Puccini), Symphony No. 4 (Brahms), Symphony No. 7 (Bruckner), Symphony No. 6 (Dvorak); Fabian Society founded; Invention of Maxim machine-gun; Third Reform Bill
1885 January – Claude Debussy Leaves for Villa Medici in Rome; November – Hears Liszt, who encourages him to listen to works of Palestrina and Lassus ‘L’ombre des arbres’, ‘Chevaux de bois’.
Berg, Klemperer, D. H. Lawrence, Pound, Varese, Wellesz born; Victor Hugo (83) dies; First performances of Symphony No. 7 (Dvorak), The Mikado (Sullivan), Der Zigeunerbaron (Strauss); Khartoum captured: General Gordon killed; Canadian Pacific Railway completed
1886 Claude Debussy finishes symphonic ode Zuleima, first envoi from Rome; severely criticized by the Academie ‘Green’.
Alain-Fournier born; Liszt (75) dies; First performances of Khovanshchina (Mussorgsky), Variations symphoniques (Franck); Daimler produces his first motor-car
1887 February – Claude Debussy returns to Paris; Printemps, ‘C’est l’extase’, ‘Il pleure dans mon cceur’, ‘Spleen’, ‘La mort des amants’; Begins La damoiselle elue.
Rupert Brooke, Chagall, Le Corbusier, Artur Rubinstein, Edith Sitwell, Villa-Lobos born; Borodin (53) dies; First performances of Otello (Verdi); Queen Victoria’s Jubilee
1888 Hears Parsifal and Die Meistersinger at Bayreuth ‘Le balcon’; Begins Petite suite, finishes La damoiselle e’lue.
Durey, T. S. Eliot, T. E. Lawrence born; Allcan (75) dies; First performances of The Yeomen of the Guard (Sullivan), Symphony No. 5 (Tchaikovsky), Le roi d’Ys (Lalo); Pasteur Institute established in Paris; Pneumatic tyre invented
1889 Hears Parsifal, Die Meistersinger and Tristan at Bayreuth; Visits Exposition Universelle in Paris;
‘Harmonie du soir’, ‘Le jet d’eau’, ‘Recueillement’ Petite suite performed and published, begins Fantaisie for piano and orchestra.
Chaplin, Cocteau born; Gerard Manley Hopkins (45) dies; First performances of Don Juan (R. Strauss); Exposition Universelle in Paris: Eiffel Tower completed; Death of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria at Mayerling near Vienna
1890 Begins opera Rodrigue et Chimene and Suite bergamasque, finishes Fantaisie.
Ibert, Frank Martin, Martinfl, Nijinsky, Pasternak born; Van Gogh (37), Cesar Franck (68) die; First performances of Prince Igor (Borodin), Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni), The Queen of Spades (Tchaikovsky); Frazer begins to publish The Golden Bough; Parnell’s divorce scandal splits Irish Nationalists; Charles de Gaulle born
1891 Claude Debussy meets Satie; First set of Fetes galantes.
Bliss, Ernst, Prokofiev born; Delibes (55), Seurat (32) die; Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbenilles published
1892 January – Abandons Rodrigue et Chimene; Begins liaison with Gabrielle Dupont ‘De reve’, ‘De greve’; Begins Prelude, interludes et paraphrase finale pour I’apres-midi d’un faune.
Honegger, Milhaud born; Lalo (69) dies; First performances of I pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Werther (Massenet), Symphony No. 8 (Bruckner)
1893 February – Claude Debussy meets Oscar Wilde; April – La damoiselle e’lue performed; May – Sees Maeterlinck’s Pelleas et Melisande and begins to set it to music; Meets Pierre Louys; December – String Quartet performed ‘De fleurs’, ‘De soir’.
Mayakovsky, Wilfred Owen born; Gounod (75), Tchaikovsky (53), Maupassant (43) die; First performances of Hansel und Gretel (Humperdinck), Manon Lescaut (Puccini), Falstaff (Verdi), Symphony No. 6 (Tchaikovsky); Foundation of Independent Labour Party in Britain
1894 February – Claude Debussy Engaged to singer Therese Roger; March Ysaye gives first all-Debussy concert in Brussels; Engagement broken off; December – Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune performed.
e. e. cummings, Aldous Huxley, Piston, James Thurber born; Chabrier (53) dies; First performances of Symphony No. 1 (Mahler), Thais (Massenet), Symphony No. 5 (Bruckner); Dreyfus convicted of treason; Japan declares war against China
1895 August – Claude Debussy finishes first version of Pelleas; Eluard.
Robert Graves, Hindemith born; Promenade Concerts inaugurated in London by Henry Wood; Oscar Wilde sent to prison; First performances of Till Eulenspiegel (R. Strauss), Symphony No. 2 (Mahler); First commercial showing of moving pictures by Lumiere brothers; Freud publishes his first work on psychoanalysis; Rontgen discovers X-rays; Gillette invents the safety razor
1896 February – First version of ‘Sarabande’ published.
Gerhard, Massine, Scott Fitzgerald, Sessions born; Bruckner (72) dies; First performances of Andrea Chenier (Giordano), La boheme; First performances of Louise (Puccini), Der Corregidor (Wolf); French annex Madagascar; Gold discovered in Klondike
1897 February – Orchestration of two of Satie’s Gymnopedies performed; June – Begins Chansons de Bilitis; December – Begins final version of Nocturnes.
William Faulkner, Thornton Wilder born; Brahms (6+) dies; Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee
1898 June – Claude Debussy prosecuted for debts; Liaison with Gabrielle Dupont ends; ‘Dieu, qu’il la fait bon regarder’, ‘Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain’
Brecht, Eisenstein, Gershwin, Hemingway, Henry Moore born; Aubrey Beardsley (26) dies; Ballad of Reading Gaol (Wilde) published; First performance of Ve’ronique (Messager), Sadko (Rimsky Korsakov); The Curies discover radium; Zeppelin invents rigid airship
1899 October – Marries Rosalie (Lily ) Texier; December – Finishes Nocturnes
Auric, Noel Coward, Alfred Hitchcock, Lorca, Vladimir Nabokov, Poulenc born; Chausson (44), Johann Strauss (74) die; First performances of The Tsars Bride (Rimsky-Korsakov), Enigma Variations (Elgar); Boer War; Aspirin first marketed; Dreyfus retried and again convicted
1900 December – ‘Nuages’ and ‘Fetes’ performed.
Antheil, Copland, Kfenek, Kurt Weill born; Sullivan (59) dies; First performances of Louise (Charpentier), Tosca (Puccini), The Tale of Tsar Saltan (Rimsky-Korsakov), The Dream of Gerontius (Elgar); Opening of Paris Metro; Boer War: relief of Kimberley and of Mafeking; Boxer Rebellion in China; Publication of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams; Gamma rays discovered
1901 April – Becomes music critic for La Revue Blanche; May – Receives written assurance that Pelleas will be performed the following season; October – Nocturnes performed complete.
Giacometti, Malraux, Rubbra, Sauguet born; Verdi (88), Toulouse-Lautrec (37) die; First performances of Rusalka (Dvorak), Feuersnot (R. Strauss), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Rakhmaninov), Symphony No. 4 (Mahler), Symphony No. 6 (Bruckner); Death of Queen Victoria; Marconi transmit radio signals across the Atlantic; Nobel Prizes inaugurated
1902 January – Pour le piano performed; 30 April – Premiere of opera Pelleas et Melisande.
Marlene Dietrich, Ogden Nash, Walton born; Samuel Butler (67) dies; First performances of Adriana Lecouvreur (Cilea), Merrie England (Edward German), Symphony No. 2 (Sibelius), Symphony No. 3 (Mahler); End of Boer War
1903 February Appointed Chevalier of the Legion of Honour Estampes; Begins La mer.
Blacher, Khachaturian, Nicholas Nabokov, Simenon, Waugh born; Gauguin (55), Hug o Wolf (43) die; First performances of The Apostles (Elgar), Symphony No. 9 (Bruckner); First controlled flight in heavier-than-air machine by Wright brothers
1904 June – Abandons Lily for Emma Bardac; Danse sacree et danse profane, Masques, L’isle joyeuse, Trois
chansons de France, second set of Fetes galantes.
Balanchine, Dali, Dallapiccola, Graham Greene, Kabalevsky, Skalkottas born; Chekhov (44), Dvorak (63) die; First performances of Madama Butterfly (Puccini), String Quartet (Ravel), Symphony No. 5 (Mahler); Russo-Japanese War (1904-5); Entente Cordiale between France and Britain
1905 March – Finishes piano score of La mer; August Divorced from Lily; October – Daughter Claude-Emma (Chouchou) born; La mer performed.
Greta Garbo, Jolivet, Koestler, Constant Lambert, Sartre, Rawsthorne, Tippett born; First performances of The Merry Widow (Lehar), Salome (R. Strauss); Law of Separation of Church and State passed in France; Einstein publishes his Special Theory of Relativity; Revolution in Russia
1906 March – Has dinner with Richard Strauss; First set of piano Images performed.
Samuel Beckett, Betjeman, Shostakovich born; Arensky (44), Cezanne (67), Ibsen (78) die; First performances of The Kingdom (Elgar), The Wreckers (Smyth), Symphony No. 6 (Mahler); San Francisco earthquake; Vitamins discovered
1907 January/April – Pelleas performed in Brussels and Frankfurt.
Auden, Moravia born; Grieg (64) dies; First performances of A Village Romeo andAriane et Barbe-bleue (Dukas); Picasso paints Les demoiselles d’Avignon; Publication of Bergson’s Creative Evolution; First helicopter flies
1908 January – Marries Emma Bardac; February – Conducts in London; Pelleas performed in New York, second set of piano Images performed; March – Pelle’as performed in Milan , conducted by Toscanini; December – Children’s Corner performed.
Elliott Carter, Messiaen born; Rimsky-Korsakov (64) dies; First performances of Symphony No. 1 (Elgar), Symphony No. 7 (Mahler); Belgium annexes Congo; First Model T Ford
1909 February – Appointed member of the advisory board of the Conservatoire; Conducts again in London; May Supervises Covent Garden premiere of Pelleas ‘Rondes de printemps’; Begins Clarinet Rhapsody and first book of Preludes.
Proust begins A la recherche du temps perdu; Marinetti and Futurists publish manifesto in Milan; First performances of The Golden Cockerel (Rimsky Korsakov), Elektra (R. Strauss), Il segreto di Susanna (Wolf Ferrari), Piano Concerto No. 3 (Rakhmaninov); Joan of Arc beatified; Bleriot flies across the English Channel
1910 February – Iberia performed; April – Has dinner with Mahler; June – Hears Stravinsky’s The Firebird and meets the composer; October – Father dies; November – Travels to Vienna and Budapest; Trois ballades de Francois Villon; First book of Preludes published.
Anouilh, Samuel Barber, Jean Genet born; Balakirev (74), Tolstoy (82) die; First performances of La fanciulla del West (Puccini), The Firebird (Stravinsky), Violin Concerto (Elgar), A Sea Symphony and Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis (Vaughan Williams), Symphony No. 8 (Mahler); Union of South Africa
1911 May – Le martyre de Saint Sebastien performed; June – Travels to Turin.
Mahler (51) dies; Thomas Mann writes Death in Venice; Bruno Walter conducts posthumous first performance of Das; Lied von der Erde in Vienna; First performances of Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss), Petrushka (Stravinsky), Symphony No. 2 (Elgar), L’heure espagnole (Ravel); Nationalist Republic set up in China under Sun Yat-sen; Vitamins classified; Amundsen reaches South Pole
1912 May – Ballet on Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune performed by Ballets Russes; September – Finishes first version of Jeux; 27 December 100th performance of Pelleas at Opera-Comique.
Cage, Ionesco born; Massenet (70) dies; First performances of Der feme Klang (Schreker), Ariadne auf Naxos, first version (R. Strauss), Pierrot lunaire (Schoenberg), Daphnis et Chloe (Ravel); China becomes a republic; Titanic sinks; Scott’s last expedition to the South Pole
1913 January – Orchestral Images performed complete; May – Jeux performed by Ballets Russes, Loie Fuller gives choreographic version of ‘Nuages’ and ‘Sirenes’; December – Visits Moscow and St Petersburg at invitation of Koussevitsky; Second book of Preludes published.
Britten, Camus, Lutoslawski born; First performances of La vida breve (Falla), Penelope (Faure), Le sacre du printemps (Stravinsky), Piano Concerto No. 2 (Prokofiev); Treaty of Bucharest
1914 February – Visits Rome, The Hague and Amsterdam; July – Last visit to London.
Panufnik, Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams born; Alain-Fournier (28), Liadov (59) die; First performances of The Immortal Hour (Rutland Boughton), A London Symphony (Vaughan Williams); Ezra Pound begins work on his Cantos; Opening of Panama Canal; Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria assassinated at Sarajevo; Outbreak of First World War
1915 March – Mother dies; December – Undergoes operation for cancer; En blanc et noir, Cello Sonata, Etudes, Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp.
Saul Bellow, Arthur Miller, Orson Welles born; Rupert Brooke (28), Skryabin (43) die; Chaplin’s film The Tramp; Henry Ford develops the first farm tractor; Einstein publishes his General Theory of Relativity; Lusitania sunk
1916 October – Begins Violi n Sonata; December – Etudes performed.
Babbitt born; Granados (49), Henry James (73), Reger (43) die; First performances of Savitri (Hoist); Battles of Verdun, the Somme, Jutland
1917 September – Last appearance on concert platform, accompanying Violin Sonata.
Robert Lowell, Sidney Nolan born; Degas (83) dies; First performances of Turandot and Arlecchino (Busoni), Palestrina (Pfitzner), La rondine (Puccini), Parade (Satie); Bolshevik Revolution in Russia; Balfour Declaration
1918 25 March – Debussy dies, aged 55.
Apollinaire (38), Klimt (56), Wilfred Owen (25), Parry (70) die; First performances of The Miraculous Mandarin (Bartok), Il trittico (Puccini), Histoire du soldat (Stravinsky), Classical Symphony (Prokofiev); End of First World War;
Publication of Spengler’s The Decline of the West