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Ivana Rentsch

(b Teplice, Czech Republic, Sept 17, 1965). Czech composer, musicologist, and violinist. He studied the violin at the Plzeň Conservatory (1979–85) and then musicology at Prague University (1985–9), and undertook postgraduate studies at Basel University (1989–98). In 2017 he earned the PhD at the Palacký University, Olomouc. Several musicological fellowships and grants have been accorded to him (1988, Czech Music Fund; 1989–92, Eidgenössische Stipendienkommission ESTA/CH; 1998, Paul Sacher Foundation Basel; 2004–17, Czech Science Foundation GAČR (3 times); 2017, Universität Hamburg). Březina is the founding director of the Bohuslav Martinů Institute in Prague (from 1994), and since 2000 the director of the Bohuslav Martinů Complete Edition. The focus of his research, and that of the Bohuslav Martinů Institute, on Martinů, has made it possible to discover very numerous sources for the critical complete edition. His edition of The Epic of Gilgamesh...

Article

N. William Snedden

(b Meerane, Germany, Dec 24, 1881; d Los Angeles, Nov 1, 1961). American orchestrator and composer.

His father Emil Gerstenberger Sr. emigrated to America in 1885 and played the clarinet in John Philip Sousa’s Band about 1895. Gerstenberger Jr. arrived with his mother in 1886. He was a pupil of Edward Mayerhofer in New York, and was overseas intermittently between 1901 and 1912, studying composition under Max Reger (1907–8) and score reading and conducting under Hans Sitt, both of the Leipzig Conservatory. He conducted opera in Würzburg and thereafter accepted a post at the Schlesien Conservatory, Breslau (1908). Returning to New York, he worked for the Henry W. Savage theatrical company (1917) and arranged and orchestrated production music for M. Witmark & Sons (1921). His musicals, many written with Harvard graduate and lyricist James Robert Keen Taylor, include: Off to Europe...

Article

Clive McClelland

(It.: ‘storm’)

A term used for music that exhibits stormy characteristics, particularly in the field of topic theory. Like ombra, disruptive elements feature, including tonal uncertainty, unusual harmonies (especially chromatic chords), insistent repeated notes, tremolando, syncopated rhythms, and contrasts in texture or dynamics, but with a much faster tempo, and with rapid scale passages and tirades (often on strings), driving rhythmic figurations (especially Trommelbass), strong accents, full textures, and robust instrumentation including prominent brass and timpani. From the middle of the 18th century, flat minor keys feature more prominently. Where ombra was intended to promote feelings of awe and horror, tempesta was used to evoke terror and chaos. The two styles are sometimes juxtaposed, as in nos.30 and 31 from Gluck’s ballet Don Juan, in which the statue of the Commendatore pronounces Don Juan’s fate (ombra), and the demons enter to drag him off to hell (tempesta). The equivalent scene in Mozart’s ...

Article

Simon Murphy and Corry Klugkist

(b (region of) Milan, 1717; d The Hague, Jan 17, 1803). Italian cellist and composer. He was solo cellist at the Court of Orange in The Hague. He was highly regarded for his virtuoso cello playing and toured extensively throughout Europe receiving praise for ‘his mellow and beautiful tone’. His music was published by the leading firms of the day. Zappa was of importance to the musical life of the Netherlands, and made a substantial contribution to the quality, vibrancy, and international outlook of The Hague’s 18th-century music scene as a performer, composer, concert organizer, and teacher.

Zappa’s early life remains unclear. Between November 1763 and mid-1764 the Duke of York was one of his students while he was working as a music master in Milan. In the summer of 1764 Zappa embarked on a long period of travel through Europe together with his colleague and friend, the Franciscan priest and chapel master and organist of Como cathedral, ...

Article

Scott Gleason

(Alonzo)

(b Philadelphia, Nov 3, 1935; d New York, April 15, 2020). American jazz double bass player, violinist, and poet. Raised in a working-class, musical family, Grimes started playing the violin at the age of 12, and then the double bass while attending the Mastbaum Technical High School in Philadelphia. He switched fully to the bass when he began studying at the Juilliard School, as one of the first African-American bassists to study with Frederick Zimmermann there (1952–4). In addition to his classical studies in New York he played in rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll bands in Philadelphia, including with Bullmoose Jackson, Willis ‘Gator’ Jackson, and Little Willie John. In jazz, he worked with Arnett Cobb, Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, Lee Morgan, and Bobby Timmons. Grimes did not finish the degree because the commute between Philadelphia and New York proved too arduous, and because he fell in with New York’s jazz scene, his epiphany occurring at the Birdland during a Modern Jazz Quartet show....

Article

Prince  

Griffin Woodworth

[Nelson, Prince Rogers]

(b Minneapolis, MN, 7 June 1958). Popular recording artist, songwriter, and performer.

Known for his prolific output and multi-instrumental proficiency, he released 19 albums of his own music on Warner Bros. before going independent in the late 1990s, and maintains a “vault” of unreleased material. A musician of African American heritage, he has explored and fused diverse musical genres, creating a multiplicity of musical style and personal image that some have interpreted as a postmodern deconstruction of identity and genre. His music has several distinct stylistic periods, but in each he has demanded creative freedom, utilized the latest advances in music technology, and explored themes of racial, religious, sexual, and gender identity.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Prince taught himself piano, guitar, bass, and drums, and in high school led a band which performed in the competitive music scene of the city’s predominantly African American Northside neighborhood. At age 19 he signed a contract with Warner Bros. that allowed him to produce his own recordings....

Article

[‘il Moretto’]

(b Verona, c1577; d Verona, Feb 15, 1637). Italian maestro and composer. He was of modest origins (his stepfather was a cobbler); his nickname (‘the little Moor’) in the Verona documents renders some African or Levant heritage plausible at the very least. Educated in the Verona scuola degli accoliti (which implied taking minor orders), he became a singer at the cathedral under Baccusi in 1603 and also worked for the Accademia Filarmonica from 1602, despite his class status. In 1609, he arranged for a long sabbatical to go to Rome, where he was maestro at S Maria dei Monti (almost a job switch with G.F. Anerio, who went thence to Verona); more importantly, he saw his first works into fairly cheap print, a medium that would underlie his future career. Back in Verona in 1611, he was the cathedral’s second but final choice to be the new ...

Article

Monica F. Ambalal

[Count Guido Pietro]

(b Salto Canavese, Piemonte, Italy, Sept 1, 1886; d Loma Linda, CA, July 26, 1950). Italian accordionist and older brother of the accordionist Pietro Deiro. Deiro was born into an affluent family and inherited the title of ‘Count’. He first learned on diatonic accordions and studied Swiss and French styles while serving in the Italian army. After success in Europe, he emigrated to Washington in 1909 as part of a sponsorship with Ranco-Vercelli Accordions performing at the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The following year, he moved to San Francisco where he found employment with Guerrini accordions, represented their instruments, and toured throughout California. He assisted the company in design improvements of their piano accordions such as adding a fifth row to the bass. Deiro helped to popularize the piano-accordion in America and was signed by Edison and Columbia records. His most known piece, ‘The Sharpshooter’s March’ (1913), featured a new style of bass solo that influenced the future performers ...

Article

Monica F. Ambalal

(b Salto Canavese, Piemonte, Italy, Aug 28, 1888; d New York, Nov 3, 1954). Italian accordionist, composer, and arranger, younger brother of accordionist Guido Deiro. Known as the ‘daddy of the accordion’, he arrived in Washington in 1907 to find work as a coal miner. He began performing in Seattle theatres before continuing on to play Vaudeville circuits with his brother where he played the piano accordion. In 1911 he signed a contract with Victor records and continued to record for them until the 1930s. His repertoire contains a number of American patriotic songs and standards, medleys, Italian folk songs, arrangements of popular Vaudeville tunes, and operatic works. After the decline of Vaudeville, he turned his interests to teaching and opened the Pietro Deiro Accordion School of Greenwich Village, and then established the American Music Publishing Company, for which he composed and arranged a large catalogue of accordion sheet music and popular manuals for accordion technique. In ...

Article

Debra Greschner

(b France, Feb 3, 1880; d Paris, Oct 23, 1923). French composer and organist. He attended the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse (School of Classical and Religious Music). Fourdrain was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied organ with Louis Vierne, Charles-Marie Widor, and Alexandre Guilmant, and received the premier prix for organ. He served as titular organist at Église Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hongrie in Paris from about 1900 to about 1908. After the completion of his formal studies at the Conservatoire, he studied composition with Jules Massenet, who became his mentor. Fourdrain wrote more than a dozen works for the stage. His opéra-comique La Légende du point d’Argentan, with libretto by Henri Cain and Arthure Bernède, premiered at l’Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1907. Other stage works include La Glaneuse (A. Bernède, P. Choudens; Grand-Théâtre, Lyon, 1909), Vercingétorix (A. Bernède, P. Choudens; Opéra, Nice, 1912), and Le Secret de Polichinelle...