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Article

Annett Richter

(b Neosho, MO, 15 April 1889; d Kansas City, MO, 19 Jan 1975).

American painter, muralist, illustrator, folklorist, harmonica player. Widely known as a Regionalist painter, Benton repeatedly captures in his art American musicians and scenes of music-making, both urban and rural. As a folklorist, he observed during his sketching trips rural vocal and instrumental traditions of black and white musicians, describing them vividly through word and image in his autobiography, An Artist in America (1937; rev. 4/1983).

Benton created portraits of musicians and composers he knew, among others Missouri Musicians (1931), The Sun Treader (Portrait of Carl Ruggles) (1934), Edgard Varèse (c. 1934), The Music Lesson (1943) [Gale Huntington (1902–93)], Portrait of David Mannes (1949), and The Hymn Singer (The Minstrel) (1950) [Burl Ives]. His Portrait of a Musician (1949) shows a black jazz bassist. His Flute Player (1945) and Jessie with Guitar...

Article

Rufus Hallmark

(b Château de Boncourt, 27–30 Jan 1781; d Berlin, 21 Aug 1838).

German writer and naturalist. He is known in music history chiefly as the poet of the cycle Frauenliebe und Leben, which was set to music by Carl Loewe, Robert Schumann, and others.

Literarily Chamisso is known for his fable Der Wundersame Geschichte von Peter Schlemiehl (a Faustian tale of a man who sells not his soul, but his shadow), his travel account Reise um die Welt, and his numerous poems. Some portray ordinary people of the Biedermeier period in both serious and humorous verse, some are sensational narratives, others exotic tales, some inspired by his travels, and some are ironic poems of a liberal political cast; finally there are his lyrisch-episch cycles of first-person lyrics with a narrative outline, many in a woman’s voice (e.g. Frauenliebe und Leben, Tränen).

In science Chamisso is noteworthy as a collector and cataloguer. As the naturalist on a global circumnavigation of discovery (...

Article

Kaleb J. Koslowski and Caryl Clark

(b Bad Iburg near Osnabrück, 30 Oct 1668; d Hanover, 1 Feb 1705).

Princess of Hanover, Electress of Brandenburg, and Queen in Prussia. Musical culture in and around Berlin flourished at the turn of the 18th century as a direct result of her activities as a musical patron, performer, composer, and collector.

Sophie Charlotte was the only daughter of Ernst August of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Sophie of the Palatinate. She was thrust into a lifestyle of courtly competition from an early age. The court at Osnabrück was relatively obscure, overshadowed by the wealthier and more politically prominent seat at Hanover ruled by her father’s brother, Johann Friedrich. Her mother determined to overcome this by immersing Sophie Charlotte in the arts. As a child she received instruction in singing, courtly dance, and religion, and in French, Italian, English, and Latin. During the 1670s and into the 1680s, the family visited Versailles, Venice, Brussels, and The Hague. These visits included recurring attendance at opera and ballet performances, and provided the foundation for Sophie Charlotte’s cultivation of music as a courtly and sociopolitical tool later at Hanover and Berlin....

Article

(fl 1521–47). South Netherlandish composer, born in Bruges, probably around 1495.

He was the son of the Bruges tegheldecker (roofer/tiler) Jacob de Hondt, who originated from a family of Bruges city roofers, living in the parish of St Jacob. We have no information on Gheerkin’s musical education, in Bruges or elsewhere. The first trace of Gheerkin de Hondt as zangmeester is found in the archives of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where he became coraelmeester on 3 June 1521. He left the church in 1523, and returned for the period from 1 August 1530 to March 1532. On 13 July 1532 he is mentioned as zangmeester of his home church St Jacob in Bruges, where he served until the end of 1539. On 31 December 1539 he received his first payment as zangmeester of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap (‘Confraternity of Our Illustrious Lady’) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a joint position with the chapter of the church of St Jan, for which he had probably already applied in ...

Article

Greece  

Katy Romanou, Thomas J. Mathiesen, Alexander Lingas, Nikos Maliaras, Achilleus Chaldaiakis, John Plemmenos, Pyrros Bamichas, Kostas Kardamis, Sofia Kontossi, Myrto Economides, Dafni Tragaki, Ioannis Tsagkarakis, Kostas Chardas, Manolis Seiragakis, Sotirios Chianis and Rudolph M. Brandl

Katy Romanou

Greeks have a history of over three millennia, during which they inhabited large and varied areas mainly in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The greatest expansion of ancient Greek civilization was achieved with Alexander the Great’s conquests and the establishment of states by his successors during the Hellenistic period. Greek language and civilization, globalized at that crucial moment of change for world history, were vehicles of the new religion that would expand to western Europe. In that same period, and in the Greek language, sciences were perfected in the new centres, such as Alexandria; mechanics, acoustics, and philology contributed to the invention and improvement of musical instruments, the scientific justification of Greek musical concepts, and the preservation in critical editions of the corpus of ancient Greek literature in all fields.

In 200–146 bce the Romans completed the conquest of Greek centres, and in 30 bce, with the conquest of Alexandria, the Roman Empire dominated all the Hellenistic states. In 330 ...

Article

Donna Arnold

(b Makaryev, Kostroma Province, Russia, 20 March/1 April 1896; d Lakewood, NJ, 9 Oct 1985).

Russian émigré choral conductor, founder of the Don Cossack Choir. He studied at Moscow’s Synodal School of Church Singing, and afterwards joined a Don Cossack regiment in the Russian Civil War. Defeated by Bolsheviks and exiled from Russia in 1920, his regiment was interned at a miserable camp near Istanbul. Ordered to found a choir to raise morale, he arranged repertoire from memory and, remarkably, transformed 36 amateur singers into a world-class ensemble. Once liberated, the Don Cossack Choir began a high-profile international career that spanned six decades.

Its concerts, sung in Russian, comprised Russian Orthodox liturgical works and folk, traditional, and soldier songs. Jaroff arranged most of the music. Conducting with minimal hand movements and penetrating facial expressions, he evoked extremely expressive rubatos and dynamic changes that enthralled audiences. The Don Cossacks were particularly renowned for their brilliant technique and superb octavists (whose vocal range extended to an octave below the bass) and falsettists. Jaroff’s unusual inclusion of falsettists was crucial to the choir’s compelling signature sonority and made mixed-choir masterpieces from the Russian canon feasible. Extra-musical factors, especially the very short Jaroff’s strict control of his Cossack giants, fascinated and delighted their fans....

Article

Claire Levy

(b Yambol, 30 March 1933; d Plovdiv, 12 April 2014).

Bulgarian composer and music educator, famous for his work in different genres but mostly for his distinctive contribution to the field of film music. He graduated from the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1961 under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Assen Dimitrov (conducting). Author of the music for over 120 cartoons and more than 40 feature films, Karadimchev also wrote songs for rock bands, marked usually by laconic yet highly attractive melodic lines. His lyrical Byala tishina (‘White Silence’), performed by Georgi Minchev and The Shturtzite, made a particular breakthrough for Bulgarian rock music on the national level by winning the first prize at The Golden Orpheus Pop Music Festival in 1967. And his close collaboration with The Tangra in the early 1980s developed ‘the melodic style of rock’ in songs such as Bogatstvo (‘Fortune’) and Nashiat grad (‘Our Town’). Some of his title songs written for movies such as the 1971...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Sofia, 8 Dec 1934; d Sofia, 12 July 2008).

Bulgarian conductor, composer, pianist, and arranger, of Armenian origins, remembered for his prominent role as a musician and public figure in the development of popular music in Bulgaria. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia (1957) and studied in the Faculty of Theory at the Bulgarian State Conservatory. In 1953 he joined the band Jazz of the Young. By the end of the 1950s he played the piano also at the Satiric Theatre Orchestra and founded Studio 5, a band famous for its supportive role in promoting young singers. Following a similar purpose, later on he initiated Trombata na Vili (‘The Horn of Vili’), a radio contest for discovering new talented pop singers. Since 1960 Kazassian’s music activities have been closely associated with the newly created Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio where he took successively the positions of pianist (1960–65) and conductor (...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Haskovo, 29 June 1896; d Sofia, 31 July 1978).

Bulgarian singer, internationally famous as a schlager performer, nicknamed the ‘Knight of the Upper F’. As a child he was a solo singer in the church choir in the town of Stara Zagora. Later on he went to the military school in Sofia and in 1920 took professional vocal lessons. In 1923 Leshnikoff went to Berlin, where he received a scholarship at the Sternischen Konservatorium. In 1927 he was appointed at the Grosses Schauspielhaus – a review theatre – and in 1928 joined Comedian Harmonists, a newly formed male vocal sextet, to perform the first tenor part. Becoming one of the most popular groups in Europe before World War II, Comedian Harmonists developed a style, based on aspects of German schlager, bel canto opera singing, pleasing tunes influenced by traditional lyrical songs, and Afro-American-derived patterns associated with the blues, gospel, and close harmony vocal techniques. Their records were released by labels including Odeon, Electrola, Columbia, and His Master’s Voice. In ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937).

Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....