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Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Tehran, Nov 7, 1915; d Los Angeles, March 5, 1994). Armenian musicologist, folklorist and composer. After moving to Yerevan in 1923 he studied composition at the Yerevan Conservatory. From 1944 he taught harmony at the conservatory and completed a second degree at the Institute of Art of the Armenian Academy of Sciences with Kushnaryov, 1945–8. In 1951 he began taking part in folklore expeditions around Armenia and in 1955 he completed his dissertation at the conservatory on Armenian neumatic (khazer) notation. He joined the staff of the Institute of Arts in 1956 and was appointed professor in 1962 at the conservatory, where he also served intermittently as head of the music theory department until 1991. He was made an Honoured Representative of the Arts of Armenia in 1961. He participated in many congresses both within and outside the former Soviet Union, and was highly regarded as a teacher....


Taisiya Shcherbakova

(b Dzhalal-Oglï, nr Tbilisi, Georgia, 9/May 21, 1869; d Minsk, Dec 27, 1964). Belarusian folklorist and composer. He completed his studies in composition with Ippolitov-Ivanov at the Tbilisi Music College (1892), and then worked as a music teacher in Baku and from 1903 in the north-west region of Russia (in the towns of Kovno, Vil′no and Mstislavl′). He headed amateur societies and choirs, and began his work as a folklorist. His first volume of 53 Belarusian songs was published in Vil′no in 1910. His opera Osvobozhdyonnïy trud (‘Emancipated Labour’) was written in Mstislavl′ in 1922 and was staged there by amateurs in the same year.

After 1935 Churkin lived permanently in Minsk and devoted himself to folklore. He recorded around 3000 Belarusian, Lithuanian, Polish, Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaidjani folksongs. These served as sources for many of his instrumental works – three sinfoniettas (1925, 1949...


Jonathan Katz

(b Kapasan, between Udaipur and Chittaurgarh, Rajasthan, India, March 4, 1929). Indian folklorist and scholar of traditional music. His early education was in Udaipur and Jodhpur. Having taken a degree in Hindi at the University of Rajasthan, he first pursued scholarly interests in Hindi literature. In 1961 he founded the Rupayan Sansthan, the Rajasthan Institute of Folklore, at the village of Borunda about 112 km from Jodhpur, and became its director. Here he initiated his life's work of collecting, documenting and preserving the oral traditions of Rajasthani performing arts. The Institute now houses a huge and unparalleled documentary collection of folktales, songs, proverbs and riddles of Rajasthan. For several years Kothari has been a leading force in introducing traditional Rajasthani professional musicians and folksingers such as the Langas and Manganiyars to Indian and Western audiences, travelling with groups of them to Europe. In 1960 he published a volume of criticism in Hindi, ...


David Johnson

(b Denholm, Roxburghshire, Sept 8, 1775; d Batavia [now Jakarta], Indonesia, Aug 28, 1811). Scottish antiquarian and folksong collector. He was a powerful force in Edinburgh's intellectual life from the mid-1790s until his departure for India in 1802. His two outstanding contributions to Scottish folksong scholarship were in helping Walter Scott to collect material for the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802) and editing the 16th-century political tract The Complaynt of Scotland, adding to it a Preliminary Dissertation which, though prone to irrelevance, is a mine of indispensable material about Scottish folk music and Border customs. Leyden also edited the Scots Magazine for a short period, did pioneering philological work on the Scots dialect and on oriental languages, wrote poetry prolifically and was a qualified surgeon.

J. Morton: Poetical Remains of the late Dr John Leyden, with Memoirs of his Life (London, 1819) M.R. Dobie: ‘The Development of Scott's “Minstrelsy”’, ...


Leah Dolidze

(b Kutaisi, 4/Aug 16, 1871; d Tbilisi, Oct 6, 1933). Georgian composer and folklorist. Brought up in a Catholic family in which music occupied an important place, he sang in the church choir at the age of eight and at an early stage learnt to play the organ. In 1887 he moved to Tbilisi, joining a choir founded by the folk-music enthusiast L. Agniashvili. A few years later he entered the Tbilisi Music School, where he studied the horn and started to compose; he then went on to study with Sergey Taneyev at the Moscow Conservatory (1900–03). Returning to Tbilisi (1903), he taught at the Music School and the Georgian Grammar School, and helped to establish the Georgian Philharmonic Society (1905), under whose auspices he later founded a choir and orchestra. He also directed the society’s music school (1908–17...