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Ellen Highstein and Nathan Platte

Brass quintet, formed by trombonists Arnold Fromme and Gilbert Cohen in 1960; its present members are Kevin Cobb and Raymond Mase, trumpets; David Wakefield, horn; Michael Powell, tenor trombone; and John D. Rojak, bass trombone. The group gave its first public performance at the 92nd Street Y and made its official New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1962. At that time the brass quintet was little heard in the concert hall, and the ensemble played a major part in introducing audiences to brass instruments in the chamber context. Its commitment to the expansion of the brass chamber literature and its renowned virtuosity, precision, and stylistic accuracy have resulted in the composition of more than 100 new works by such composers as Bolcom, Carter, Thomson, Druckman, Ewazen, Plog, Sampson, Schuller, Schuman, Starer, and Tower. The group's concerts usually include premieres and the performance of “rediscovered” older pieces. The quintet has also explored performance practice on older instruments, and its many recordings include two of 19th-century American brass music played on period instruments. Since becoming the ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival in 1970 and at Juilliard in 1987, the group has played a key role in training members of other prominent brass ensembles, including the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Manhattan Brass Quintet, and Urban Brass Quintet....


Ann Glazer Niren

(b (Mokraia) Kaligorka, Ukraine, 24 April 1885/1887; d Boston, 31 March 1975). Music director, composer, pianist, and organist. Braslavsky likely received early musical instruction from his father, Hersh, a cantor at the Great Synagogue in Uman, Ukraine. Braslavsky later served as a Lieutenant in the Russian army, where he conducted several military bands. He studied at the Kaiserlich-Königliche Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst and the University of Vienna. In Vienna, Braslavsky taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary and conducted the Jewish Choral Society and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, which performed several of his compositions; these early works are unpublished.

In 1928, Congregation Mishkan Tefila of Boston hired Braslavsky to serve as its music director, where he conducted the choir, played organ, and composed Jewish choral works, some of which also remain unpublished. Braslavsky’s music exhibits a synthesis of eastern European synagogue music and Western traditional tonal idioms. Important works include the collection ...


Geoff Thomason

(b Taganrog, Russia, 21 March/2 April 1851; d Manchester, England, 22 Jan 1929). Russian violinist and pedagogue. From 1860 to 1867 he studied with Joseph Hellmesberger at the Vienna Conservatoire, playing in Hellmesberger’s concerts, eventually becoming second violin in his quartet. In Vienna he first met Brahms and the conductor Hans Richter. In 1870 he returned to Russia, where he made the acquaintance of Tchaikovsky and in 1875 was appointed a teacher at the Moscow Conservatoire. From 1878 to 1880 he was the Director of the Kiev Symphony Society. During three years of European touring, 1880–83, he gave the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in December 1881, with the Vienna Philharmonic under Richter. Its originally dedicatee, Leopold Auer, had deemed the concerto unplayable and Tchaikovsky subsequently rededicated it to Brodsky. After his appointment as Professor of Violin at the Leipzig Conservatoire in 1883 Brodsky founded his first string quartet. In Leipzig he gave the premières of works by Grieg and Busoni, with whom he formed lasting friendships. His leadership of Walter Damrosch’s New York Symphony Orchestra, ...


Laurence Libin

Technique employed by wind players to produce a continuous melody or a single, very prolonged sound without interruption to draw breath. The player’s lungs, under diaphragm pressure, inflate the mouth cavity, causing the puffed cheeks to act as a wind reservoir in the manner of a bagpipe’s bag. With the soft palate closed, the cheek muscles force air into the instrument; when this air is nearly exhausted, the player inhales in short, deep intakes through the nose to replenish the lungs. Especially applied to reed instruments but also to such varied winds as conch and Tibetan thigh-bone trumpets, the technique is widespread in folk music traditions; it gained currency in jazz during the 1950s and 1960s, notably in performances by the saxophonists Harry Carney and Roland Kirk, and later by Kenny G. The technique, which admits minor variation, is increasingly required for modern compositions, but players sometimes employ it as an impressive trick (saxophonist Geovanny Escalante has reportedly held a single note for about 90 minutes) or to enable performance of music originally written for bowed strings and requiring long, continuous phrases. Rumours that circular breathing can cause lung damage are unsubstantiated. See ...


Jeremy Leong

(b Vienna, 9 March 1885; d Vienna, 27 May 1964). Austrian Jewish music historian, educator, and critic. In 1912 he graduated from Vienna’s Imperial Academy of Science with a doctoral dissertation entitled Die indische Musik der vedischen und der klassischen Zeit (‘The Indian Music of the Vedic and the Classical Period’) under the supervision of Leopold Shröder. Felber’s dissertation remains an authoritative source for modern scholars interested in the recitation techniques and ethos of early South Asian music. Prior to his arrival in China, he was active in the Indian community in Vienna and had given lectures on Indian music at the Indian Club. Furthermore, he felt privileged to have met the legendary Nobel laureate Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore who was also a noted musician. During their meeting, Tagore shared his views on the aesthetics of European music and Indian classical music with him. After the Anschluss (...


Robert Stevenson, Betty Bandel and Barbara Haws

(b Hartford, CT, 1802; d Paterson, NJ, 2 Sept 1875). Violinist, conductor, and founding president of the Philharmonic Society of New York.

His father, Uri K. Hill, was his first teacher. A member of the second New York Philharmonic (1824–27)—the ensemble known by that name in the 21st century was the third such group to form in New York—Hill played in the orchestra for the Garcia Opera Company performances that included Maria Garcia Malibran. From 1828 to 1835 he was the leader or conductor of the New York Sacred Music Society, which gave the first complete performance in that city of Handel’s Messiah. In June 1835 he sailed for England, the first American musician to travel abroad for the purpose of studying music. During the next two years he spent nine months in Kassel, Germany, studying the violin with Louis Spohr (46 lessons) and composition with Moritz Hauptmann (52 lessons). In London, Hill played in the Drury Lane orchestra and was invited by Felix Mendelssohn to assist in the 1836...


Siv B. Lie and Benjamin Givan

Jazz manouche, also known as ‘Gypsy jazz’, is a musical style based primarily on the 1930s recordings of French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910–53) with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Well-known 21st-century exponents include Biréli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Angelo Debarre, Tchavolo Schmitt, and Adrien Moignard. The style characteristically features stringed instruments (primarily the acoustic steel-stringed guitar, violin, and double bass) in ensembles of between three and six musicians. Repertoire largely comprises American and French popular songs dating from the 1920s and 30s, such as ‘All of Me’, and tunes composed by Reinhardt, such as ‘Minor Swing’, ‘Nuages’, and ‘Django’s Tiger’. Performances consist of accompanying guitarists playing a duple-meter percussive chordal stroke called la pompe over a pizzicato walking bass line while soloists take turns improvising virtuosically on the harmonies of a cyclically repeating form, typically 32 bars long (see ex. 1). Improvised melodies often use techniques derived from Reinhardt’s recordings; eighth notes are swung and tempi vary considerably, sometimes exceeding 300 quarter notes per minute. Jazz manouche originated in the late 1960s, when music inspired by Django Reinhardt’s improvisations and repertoire began to be played in some Romani communities (the term ‘jazz manouche’ was never used during Reinhardt’s lifetime and did not gain currency until around the year ...


Biancamaria Brumana

Translator : Fabio Morabito

(b Florence, 16 July 1804; d Paris, 20 Aug 1863). Italian composer and singing teacher. He settled in Paris about 1830, the year when Antonio Pacini published a collection of six romances dedicated to Maria Malibran. Known as the ‘Bellini of the romance’, Masini wrote over 400 works in this genre intended for the high Parisian society of the July Monarchy. His works were often collected in luxurious albums offered as a gift on the first day of the year. Among Masini’s favourite poets to set to music are Émile Barateau, Amable Tastu, and Laure Jourdain; only a single Masini romance is based on a text by Victor Hugo (Le papillon et la fleur). The success of his romances (published mainly by Latte, Meissonier, and Colombier) was enhanced by the collaboration with famous illustrators such as Jules David and Achille Devéria. The latter provided lithographic illustrations for the editions’ frontispieces, conceived in harmony with the texts and musical settings. Masini’s melodies are elegant, transparent, and light-hearted. They give voice to a Romanticism tinged with melancholy and delicate hues (as one can appreciate in ...


James Chute

(b Denver, 7 Dec 1947; d Green Valley, CA, 5 Dec 2005). Composer and conductor. He studied conducting with Antonia Brico, whose tutelage and encouragement was a decisive influence. While still in high school in Denver, where he was a jazz drummer, he played timpani in her community orchestra and she introduced him to the music of the great composers of the 18th and 19th centuries. He attended Yale University (BA 1969), where he encountered the work of Anton Webern, whose influence was also significant. At Yale, he co-founded the experimental ensemble Not Morton Baby with his brother Martin Mosko and Burr Van Nostrand and studied conducting with Gustave Meier and composition with Donald Martino and Mel Powell. When Powell left Yale to become founding dean of the department of music at the California Institute of the Arts in 1970, Mosko followed him to CalArts, where he studied with Powell, ...


Ryan Dohoney

[Brooks, Pamela]

(b Buffalo, NY, 13 July 1956). Composer, performer, vocalist, and media artist.

Her creative output has focused on the combination of two primary elements: her vocal performance (capable of operatic lyricism as well as extended techniques) and her use of computer technology. Z began experimenting with recording devices in her youth and made pieces that layered her voice with homemade instruments and concrete sounds. She went on to study classical vocal performance at the University of Colorado at Boulder and performed as a singer-songwriter. She relocated to San Francisco in 1984 where she began performing her own inter-media theatrical works and concerts. Her performance pieces have situated her in a field of processed and live sound accompanied by video or projected images.

A prominent feature of Z’s compositional practice is her use of various delay and sound processing technology. Her early works used digital delays, effects units, and samplers that manipulated her voice, MIDI-generated sounds, and samples. In 2000 she began working with Max/MSP software to produce loops and delays, as well as other effects and textures. She has also made use of gesture-based MIDI controllers such as the BodySynth—a set of electrode sensors worn on her body with which she has triggered and manipulated sounds via muscle movements and physical gestures—as well as ...