March 18 Dateline

Famous Birthdays

1844 - Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian Composer, and a member of the group of composers known as 'The Five'. A master of orchestration, his best-known orchestral compositions - Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade - he is best-known for these repertoires, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas. Scheherazade, based on Arabian Nights stories which he composed in 1888, is an example of his frequent use of Russian fairy tale and folk subjects. He believed in developing nationalistic style of classical music, along with exotic harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements in a practice known as musical orientalism. (Sheherazade, Op. 35. Uploaded by hfmFRANZLISZTweimar. Accessed March 18, 2015. Orchestra of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar Conductor: Nicolás Pasquet.)

1869 - Neville Chamberlain, Former British Prime Minister

1905 - (Friedrich) Robert Donat - English Film and Stage Actor, best remembered for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, winning for the latter the Academy Award for Best Actor.

1915 - Richard Condon, Political Novelist

1926 - Peter Graves, Film and Television star

1932 - John Updike, Writer

1936 - Frederik Willem de Klerk, Former South African President

1944 - Richard Harold Smith (aka Dick Smith), Australian Entrepreneur, Aviator, Philanthropist, Political Activist.

1964 - Bonnie Blair, Speed Skater

Author Richard Condon
Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk
Actor Peter Graves


Rimsky-Korsakov's Fantasia on Russian Themes. Beautiful melody!

Historical Events

1850 - Henry Wells and William Fargo found American Express. Initially it is a shipping company, but later it becomes a financial institution.

1902 - Tenor Enrico Caruso records 10 arias in Milan from the Gramophone company. He is the first well-known singer to make a record. (Below, Enrico Caruso - O Sole Mio)

1927 - Sergey Rachmaninoff is soloist in the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting. 

1950 - The Belgian Government collapses as the the people vote for the return of King Leopold III from exile in Switzerland. He had been accused of cooperating with the Nazis. He abdicates in favour of his son, Badouin, in 1951.

1962 - The French sign a peace treaty with Algerian rebels toend seven years of war and 130 years of French rule in Algeria.

1965 - Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov is the first man to walk in space, when he leaves the Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes. His spacesuit balloons and he has to let some air out in order to re-enter the spacecraft.

1992 - White South Africans vote in a referendum to end apartheid and to give all South Africans the vote.

Enrico Caruso - O Sole Mio


1. Asiado, Tel. The World's Movers and Shapers. New Hampshire: Ore Mountain Publishing House (2005)
2. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 19th Ed. London: Chambers Harrap, 2011
3. Dateline. Sydney: Millennium House, (2006)
4. Grun, Bernard. The Timestables of History, New 3rd Revised Ed. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone (1991)

©  Posted June 2007.  Updated March 18, 2019.

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