1787 in music
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- February 1 – A posthumous performance of Antonio Sacchini's Œdipe à Colone at the Paris Opéra results in the previously unsuccessful opera becoming one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire for several decades.
- August 10 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completes his famous serenade Eine kleine Nachtmusik.
- December – Angelo Tarchi is appointed music director and composer at the King's Theatre in London.
- Luigi Boccherini becomes court composer in Berlin.
- Ludwig van Beethoven goes to Vienna, intending to study with Mozart, but his mother's death forces him to return to Bonn.
- Luigi Cherubini settles in Paris.
- Scots Musical Museum, vol. 1
Published popular music
- Muzio Clementi – Two Symphonies, Op. 18
- Giuseppe Gherardeschi – Sonata for Organ "In the Guise of a Military Band..."
- Joseph Haydn
- Leopold Kozeluch
- Three Symphonies, Op. 22
- Three Symphonies, Op. 24
- Moise in Egitto
- Joseph Martin Kraus – Symphony in E minor
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Philip Phile – Violin Concerto (lost)
- Samuel Arnold – Inkle and Yarico (libretto by George Colman the Younger)
- Antoine Ballant – Dobrodetel'nïy volshebnik
- Giuseppe Gazzaniga – Don Giovanni
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Don Giovanni (first performed in Prague in the Estates Theatre, libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte)
- Antonio Salieri – Tarare (libretto by Beaumarchais)
- Vicente Martín y Soler – L'arbore di Diana
- February 13 – James P. Carrell, singing teacher and composer (d. 1854)
- February 24 – Christian Frederik Barth, oboist and composer (d. 1861)
- August 15 – Alexander Aliabiev, composer (d. 1851)
- November 17 – Michele Carafa, composer (d. 1872)
- November 25 – Franz Xaver Gruber, organist and composer of "Silent Night" (d. 1863)
- December 4 – Johan Fredrik Berwald, violinist, conductor and composer (d. 1861)
- date unknown – Catharina Torenberg, violinist (d. 1866)
- February 21 – Antonio Rodríguez de Hita, composer (b. 1722)
- March 30 – Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia, musician, composer and music collector (b. 1723)
- May 28 – Leopold Mozart, violinist, music teacher and composer (b. 1719)
- June – Ignazio Fiorillo, opera composer (b. 1715)
- June 20 – Carl Friedrich Abel, viola da gamba player and composer (b. 1723)
- July 27 – Mary Linley, singer (b. 1758)
- August 5 – François Francoeur, violinist and composer (b. 1698)
- November 15 – Christoph Willibald Gluck, composer (b. 1714)
- November 23 – Anton Schweitzer, opera composer (b. 1735)
- December 9 – Bernhard Joachim Hagen, composer, violinist and lutenist (b. 1720)
- date unknown – Edward Harwood (of Darwen), hymn-writer (b. 1707)