(b Oss, March 10, 1970). Dutch composer. He trained first as a recording engineer at The Hague Royal Conservatory, taking additional lessons in classical guitar with Antonio Pereira Arias, then went on to study composition with Jurriaan Andriessen, Gilius van Bergeijk and Diderik Wagenaar He quickly gained prominence as a composer of works for soloist and/or ensemble with soundtrack, combining economy of material with discontinuous structures and a theatrical component. In 2002, Van der Aa studied film direction at the New York Film Academy. Starting with the chamber opera One for soprano, video and soundtrack (2002), he has since expanded his activities to include script writing, filmmaking and stage directing. He has received the International Gaudeamus Prize (1999), the Matthijs Vermeulen prize (2004), the Charlotte Köhler Prize (2005), the Siemens Composers Grant (2005) and the Paul Hindemith Prize (...
(b Milan, June 26, 1933; d Bologna, Jan 20, 2014). Italian conductor. Son of the violinist and teacher Michelangelo Abbado, he heard Debussy’s Nocturnes as a small boy and immediately had the ambition to become a conductor. Soon after the war he attended rehearsals by Furtwängler and Toscanini in Milan; his quiet, undemonstrative manner on the podium derives in part from his aversion to the dictatorial approach he witnessed in Toscanini. He first learnt the piano with his father, and studied at the Milan Conservatory until 1955, before going to the Vienna Music Academy to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky. In 1958 he won the Koussevitzky Competition, and a series of concert and operatic engagements in Italy followed. His career was further boosted when he won the Mitropoulos Prize in 1963 and worked for five months with the New York PO. His international success was rapid, and led to his first appearances at the Salzburg Festival in ...
(b Milan, Dec 30, 1954). Italian conductor. He studied at the conservatories in Pesaro and Milan, and with Franco Ferrara in Rome. He made his conducting début with the orchestra of the Accademia di S Cecilia in 1977, and his operatic début, with Simon Boccanegra, in Macerata the following year. His career developed with guest appearances in leading Italian opera houses and regular collaborations with orchestras in Italy, France, Germany and the USA, where he made his début (with the Orchestra of St Luke’s) in 1991. He has also conducted at the Edinburgh Festival (1982) and at festivals in Israel, Lille and Munich. In 1991 Abbado was appointed chief conductor of the Munich RO, a post he held until 1998. Meanwhile, he has consolidated his operatic career with guest engagements at La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Staatsoper in Munich (making his début with a new production of ...
J. Michele Edwards
(b Tokyo, April 18, 1937). Japanese marimba player and composer. After xylophone study with Eiichi Asabuki (1950–59), she earned two degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University, studying composition with Shosuke Ariga and Toshio Kashiwagi as well as percussion with Masao Imamura and Yusuke Oyake. An active professional performer since 1960, she has toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia with annual recital tours since 1981. Through development of new technical skills and by expanding the repertory with over 70 commissions, she has contributed significantly to the status of marimba music, for which she was honoured by induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. After a decade of studio work and orchestral playing, she studied the performances of jazz artists such as Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton in order to develop her own personal style of improvisation as a creative source for composition. Technically challenging yet idiomatic for the marimba, her works generally begin with improvisation and are later notated. Her compositions include wide dynamic ranges, techniques borrowed from folk music traditions and careful voicing of chords. Using four- and sometimes six-mallet technique, she often combines a melodic line with an impressionistic background of rhythmic patterns. Her performances of her compositions and those of other Japanese composers have been very influential on developments in the USA, especially since ...
Jere T. Humphreys
(b New York, March 10, 1945). American music educator and scholar. He received degrees from the University of Connecticut (BS 1966, MA 1968) and the University of Maryland, College Park (PhD 1971). He served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1972–5), Indiana University (1975–82), and Teachers College, Columbia University (1982–). At Teachers College he served as coordinator of music education, chair of the Arts and Humanities Department, and director of the Division of Instruction. He is coauthor (with C.R. Hoffer and R.H. Klotman) of Foundations of Music Education (1984, 2/1994) and coeditor (with L. Custodero) of Critical Issues in Music Education: Contemporary Theory and Practice (2010). He wrote chapters for the Handbook of Music Psychology (1980, 2/1996) and The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning...
(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944; d Cortlandt Manor, NY, Aug 22, 2017). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...
(b Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria, March 15, 1959). Austrian composer. After studying jazz piano at the Graz Hochschule für Musik (1977–9), he studied composition privately with Gösta Neuwirth (1979). He continued his studies at the Vienna Music Academy (1979–82), where his teachers included Haubenstock-Ramati. From 1982 until 1990 he taught at the Kreuzberg Musikschule. His other activities have included founding the ensemble Zwischentöne (1988), and directing the zeit geben I–III, Klangwerkstatt (Berlin, 1990–92) and Insel Musik 24 (Berlin, 1997) festivals. He has served as guest conductor for various ensembles in Vienna and Berlin, and as guest composer at the Graz Institut für Elektronische Musik (1996).
Ablinger has remarked, ‘It is not what is different that counts but what is the same; that is where the One can occur’. This aesthetic posture has led him to compose several series of works in which many of the same elements carry over from one piece to the next. The first piece in his series ...
(b Copenhagen, Dec 23, 1952). Danish composer. He first studied the horn and was later trained in music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He also undertook private studies in composition from Nørgård and Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, among others. Abrahamsen was active for a period in the Gruppen for Alternativ Musik, a forum for musicians who wished to perform new music in alternative forms; the group also aimed to develop socially and politically committed music, and Abrahamsen was thus able to cultivate his interest in political issues expressed through music. (His first symphony was originally entitled Anti-EEC-Sats (‘Anti-EEC Movement’); it became Symphony in C after the composer came to the realization that ‘music cannot be against’.) In 1982 Abrahamsen became a teacher of instrumentation at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He has also been artistic director of the Esbjerg Ensemble since 1988.
The composer’s first works adhered to the style of the Danish ‘new simplicity’ movement of the mid-1960s. For Abrahamsen and other composers such as Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Christiansen and Ole Buck, this stylistic attitude, which marked a break with serial music, was a Danish response to the complexity emanating from central Europe, particularly the circle around the Darmstadt School. In Abrahamsen this aesthetic anchorage came to mean an almost naive simplicity in musical expression, as exemplified in his orchestral piece ...
(b Yerevan, March 8, 1932). Armenian cellist and teacher. She studied first at the Yerevan Central Music School (where her teachers were K. Khizanov and L. Grigoryan) and then with Grigoryan at the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan (1950–53). She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–6) and became a laureate of the H. Wihan International Cello Competition (1955). In 1956 she made her début as a soloist with the Armenian PO, and has performed regularly with the orchestra since then. In 1960 she became professor of cello at the Yerevan Conservatory. She has performed widely in Russia, the USA, Canada and Western Europe, as a soloist and during numerous festivals, specializing in 20th-century works, notably those by Armenian composers. She has given premières of some 100 works, a number of which are dedicated to her. Her playing is distinguished by refinement of intonation, a broad range of colour and a strong dramatic impetus....
[Abrams, Richard Louis]
(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians...
(b March 28, 1936; d Nov 6, 2006). Bulgarian composer and musicologist. He studied composition under Pantcho Vladigerov at the State Conservatoire (now renamed the Pantcho Vladigerov National Music Academy) in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worked as a conductor with the Filip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble, and as a lecturer (from 1966) and professor (from 1990) of symphonic orchestration at the NMA. He served as vice-president of the NMA (1999–2001) and as Minister of Culture (2001–2005).
A composer of symphonic and chamber music, his individual style epitomizes the post-tonal tendencies of the early 20th century; he distanced himself from the Social Realism movement that was imposed upon composers in the countries of Eastern Europe. After 1990 he also wrote cantatas and oratorios, which exhibit an even more radical post-tonal style. He is the author of a number of theoretical studies on symphonic orchestration....
Carmen Helena Téllez
(b Valera, May 7, 1939). Venezuelan cultural administrator. He founded the Venezuelan youth orchestra system. He earned degrees in economics from the Central University of Venezuela (1961) and composition and organ from the José Angel Lamas School of Music, Caracas (1964, 1966). From 1966 to 1974 he occupied various political and administrative positions, was a member of the Venezuelan parliament and worked for the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes.
In the mid-1970s Abreu proposed a new system of youth orchestras coupling the needs of music education with the aim of national affirmation and social assistance for underprivileged young people. This network of orchestras, comprising students of all ages in all regions of the country, revolutionized the training of orchestra musicians but caused controversy among conservatory teachers and established professionals, some of whom questioned the project's empirical emphasis and criticized an arguably insufficient academic support. In spite of controversy and changing political and economic circumstances, the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Caracas, the flagship ensemble of the movement, gradually attained professional status, outranking the traditional orchestras in Venezuela and earning a reputation as the best in Latin America during the 1990s....
(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.
A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...
(b Honolulu, HI, August 13, 1958). American recording artist and performer of Filipino descent. A Filipino American artist, she grew up in National City, CA, and excelled at piano, violin, and percussion during her childhood. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, she played keyboards in various Los Angeles jazz clubs and attracted the attention of Quincy Jones. Having been introduced to traditional Philippine music by Bayani de Leon, she studied kulintang (gong-chime) with Aga Mayo Butocan. The influence of Philippine music may be heard on her first album Adventure (Japan Sony/Epic, 1987), which was released in the United States as Jungle Wave (CBS, 1987). Her single “Adventure” reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Charts in 1988. In the same year Academia received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to found the World Kulintang Institute and Research Studies Center; the institute released the album ...
(b Turin, Sept 26, 1941). Italian violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, took the diploma in 1956 and a postgraduate course with Yvonne Astruc at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. He won the international competitions at Vercelli (1955) and Geneva (1956), and in 1958 both the RAI Spring Trophy and the Premio Paganini international violin competition at Genoa. He toured throughout Europe and North and South America and soon became one of the best-known and most admired Italian violinists of his generation. An instinctive player with an easy, agile and brilliant technique, he is an all-round musician with a repertory ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to contemporary composers, many of whom have written works for him, including Franco Donatoni (Argot for solo violin, 1979) and Xenakis (Dikhtas, 1980). He is considered a fine interpreter of Paganini (whose 24 capriccios and six concertos he has recorded). Accardo has developed an interest in chamber music and is one of the organizers of the ensemble music week held at Naples each year; in ...
Enrique Cordero Rodríguez
(b San José, Aug 24, 1943). Costa Rican composer, ethnomusicologist and baritone. He obtained a teaching diploma and the BA at the University of Costa Rica Conservatory, with singing as his special subject. During 1975–6 he lived in Paris, where he studied singing at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique, Gregorian chant and choral conducting at the Catholic University and ethnomusicology at the Sorbonne. He taught at the Escuela de Artes Musicales of the University of Costa Rica (1976–90; director of the Escuela, 1983–7; dean of the fine arts faculty of the university, 1987–91). In 1994, with the painter Ronald Mills, he co-founded the Centro de Investigaciones y Documentación de Musica y de Artes Plásticas, researching the traditional music of Guanacaste and Limón provinces and of the Costa Rican indigenous people, conducting field studies in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, making recordings, publishing books and articles, and holding lectures and seminars....
(b Bilbao, Spain, Nov 1, 1932). Spanish pianist, active in the United States. He began music studies at an early age at the Bilbao Conservatory and later studied with Nikita Magaloff, Walter Gieseking and Bruno Seidlhofer. After winning awards and international competitions in France, Italy, and Switzerland during his years as a student, Achucarro scored a triumph at the 1959 Liverpool International Piano Concerto Competition. This led to his debut with the London SO, marking the beginning of an extensive career as concert performer that has taken him to over sixty countries where he has performed with over two hundred orchestras, including the Berlin PO, London PO, Tokyo PO, Sydney SO, and La Scala PO. Achucarro made his US debut in 1968 with the Chicago SO under Seiji Ozawa. Since then, Achucarro has performed frequently in recitals and concerts with the premiere American orchestras. Since 1989, Achucarro has held the Joel Estes Chair at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also teaches master classes at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena while continuing to maintain a full touring schedule....
(b Sibiu, Nov 3, 1940; d Munich, May 27, 2006). German composer of Romanian birth. He studied the piano, the organ and theory privately with Franz Xaver Dressler in Sibiu (1950–58). From 1959 to 1964 he studied composition with Toduta at the Cluj Academy of Music where, after receiving his diploma, he remained to teach composition and music theory. In 1969 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany to teach at the Robert Schumann Conservatory, Düsseldorf (1969–72) and attend the Darmstadt summer course (1969). He was appointed to teach theory and composition at the Munich Musikhochschule in 1972, becoming professor of composition there in 1976. His awards included the composition prize of the Prague Spring Festival (1966), the Stuttgart Stamitz prize (1970), the city of Stuttgart composition prize (1971), the Stroud Festival composition prize, the Hitzacker prize (...
Andrea F. Bohlman
(b San Francisco, CA, April 13, 1945). American dance critic. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley (BA 1966), and wrote on the Ballets Russes for her doctorate in comparative literature at Rutgers University (1984). With an enthusiasm for dance that has anchored her prolific career, Acocella was the senior critic and reviews editor for Dance Magazine and became the dance critic for the New Yorker in 1998. She has written about dance for many other publications including the Financial Times, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and the Times Literary Supplement. In her books Acocella demonstrates a sustained interest in connecting the public with artistic personae and their voices, as illustrated in her biography of Mark Morris (1993), the essay collection Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints (2007), and three edited volumes of artists’ writings (...
(b Dresden, Aug 1, 1926; d Dresden Jan 10, 2019). German bass-baritone. As a boy he was a member of the Dresden Kreuzchor, and he studied in the city and at Weimar before making his début at the Dresden Staatsoper in 1949. He joined the Berlin Staatsoper in 1952. That year he made his début in a small role at Bayreuth, graduating to King Henry in 1954 and to Wotan in 1963; his later roles there included the Dutchman, Amfortas, and Hans Sachs. At the Salzburg Festival he was heard as Ochs (1969) and Wozzeck (1972), and at the Vienna Staatsoper he sang the title role in a new production of Don Giovanni in 1972. Also in Vienna he sang a memorable Pizarro in the Beethoven bicentenary production of Fidelio at the Theater an der Wien in 1970, conducted by Bernstein. His other roles included Philip II, King Mark, and La Roche (...