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Susan Au

(b Staten Island, NY, Jan 14, 1923; d Chicago, Oct 29, 2008). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet company director. He began to study dance after meeting Robert Joffrey while on military service in Seattle, and continued this study in New York at the School of American Ballet and with the modern dancers May O’Donnell and Gertrude Shurr. He became a founding member of the faculty of Joffrey’s school, the American Dance Center, and of Joffrey’s first dance group, which later became the Joffrey Ballet. He also performed on Broadway and with New York City Opera. After retiring as a performer in ...

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Eric Blom and Rosemary Williamson

(b Finchley, London, July 22, 1898; d London, Dec 10, 1988). English opera producer, writer and composer. He studied the piano under his mother (both his parents were musicians) from the age of six, and was educated at Tonbridge School (1912–17) and St John's College, Cambridge (...

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Jeff Place

(b Warsaw, Poland, Dec 2, 1905; d New York, NY, Oct 19, 1986). American record producer of Polish birth. He founded the label Asch in New York in 1939, initially to release local Jewish music. He soon expanded to jazz and American vernacular music releasing records by such musicians as Mary Lou Williams, James P. Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger, who subsequently gained widespread acclaim. He then founded Disc (...

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Barry Millington

(b Hertford, April 16, 1950). English director . After a period as staff director for the WNO (1979–84) and Covent Garden (1984–6), and an impressive début with Parsifal for the WNO in 1983, he was responsible for a series of strongly characterized productions both at home and abroad. His ...

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John Bergsagel and Henrik Karlsson

(b Bredaryd, Feb 5, 1925). Swedish music administrator, writer and lexicographer. He studied the double bass, cello, organ and music theory privately and romance languages at Lund University (graduated 1958). He taught French and Spanish at the Malmö Gymnasium (1959–74), and has pursued various musical activities, including posts as music critic of the Malmö newspaper ...

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James Wierzbicki and Elizabeth Forbes

(b Montgomery, AL, April 27, 1943; d St. Louis, Nov 20, 1987). American tenor and director. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory, chiefly with Martial Singher but also with Rosa Ponselle, and made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1971 as Goro. With the Santa Fe Opera from ...

Article

Bill C. Malone

Reviser Barry Mazor

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in ...

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Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ...

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Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (...

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Jonas Westover

(b Chicago, IL, 1887; d Lynbrook, NY, Jan 15, 1938). American librettist, lyricist, and producer. He was the driving force behind many musicals that took place under the auspices of the Shubert brothers in New York from 1911 until his death in 1938...

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Barbara Turchin and Meredith M. Eliassen

(b Boston, MA, June 4, 1811; d Oakland, CA, Nov 29, 1891). American proprietor of music stores and sheet music publisher. From 1833 to 1849, Atwill operated a “Music Saloon” music store and publishing business on Broadway in New York City, using printing plates of the Thomas Birch Company. He married Eliza Dugliss in ...

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Anna-Lise P. Santella

(b Fairfield, ME, Sept 12, 1866; d Los Angeles, CA, April 9, 1948). American violinist and co-founder and business manager of the Fadette Ladies’ Orchestra. Atwood, the daughter of a farmer/merchant father and a milliner mother, began violin lessons at age eight in Fairfield, Maine, but moved to Boston as a teenager to further her study. In ...

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(b Bourmont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, June 7, 1732; d Paris, May 21, 1801). French impresario, singer and dramatist. He first made his name as a singer with the Opéra-Comique (after about 1758), chiefly in artisan roles; no doubt it was to exploit this special talent that he was allowed to put on an ...

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Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was founded by John Turnell Austin (b Poddington, Beds., May 16, 1869; d Hartford, CT, Sept 17, 1948). The son of gentleman farmer and amateur organ builder Jonathan Austin, he emigrated to America in 1889. He first worked for Farrand & Votey of Detroit, rapidly advancing to become foreman. There he first conceived the idea of a radically different system of organ construction called the ‘universal wind-chest’ system; this consisted of an individual-valve chest, the lower portion of which was a walk-in air chamber with regulator. Pipe valves were operated by a thin wooden trace attached to a motor bellows for each note. Stop action was first achieved by sliders; later a pivoting fulcrum affecting the valves was used. Although Farrand & Votey allowed Austin to experiment, they showed no interest in his ideas, and in ...

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John L., Jr. Clark

(b Chattanooga, TN, Sept 19, 1887; d Chicago, IL, July 10, 1972). American jazz and blues pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, and music director. After studying at Roger Williams University (Nashville) and Knoxville College, she performed on the TOBA circuit and toured accompanying her second husband Buster Austin. In the early 1920s Austin moved to Chicago, where for almost 20 years she directed shows for touring stage performers as the music director and bandleader at the Monogram and Joyland theaters. From ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b London, Sept 24, 1888; d London, July 9, 1981). English baritone and director. He studied at Oxford, making his début in 1919 with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, then sang with the O’Mara Opera Company and at the Old Vic. For Oxford University Opera Club (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Saint Lô, May 14, 1942). French director . At Toulouse in 1974 he directed Manon, which won the Cultural Ministry’s prize for best production of the year. He staged Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra at Aix and Le roi d’Ys at Wexford (1975), ...

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(b Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919). Record producer and writer of Armenian descent. He grew up in New York, played piano (from 1930), and studied English literature at Yale University (BA 1941); while a student he began to work as a jazz critic for ...

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Paul R. Laird

(b New York, NY, Dec 26, 1937). American dancer, choreographer, producer, and director. After simultaneous study at Boston University and the Boston School of Ballet, Avian appeared in a touring production of West Side Story. He met MICHAEL BENNETT during the show’s European tour; they became friends and long-time artistic and business partners. Avian was in ...

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Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, March 16, 1915; d Tirana, Albania, Nov 18, 1985). Albanian conductor, composer, and arranger. A major organizer and administrator in state-socialist Albania from the 1940s to the 60s, he received his early training from the pre-war choral and theatre groups active in Korça during the late 1920s and 30s. A talented and precocious youth, Avrazi was named assistant music director in the ensemble Korça Youth (...