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Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Domazlaus Predicator]

(b Bohemia, c. 1300; d c. 1350). Dominican friar and a leading author of liturgical poetry during the period of rising patriotic feelings in Bohemia. Several sequences to Bohemian patron saints appearing after 1300 are attributed to his authorship, among them De superna hierarchia to Corpus Christi (with acrostic ...

Article

[Sister Aimee ]

(b Salford, ON, Oct 9, 1890; d Oakland, CA, Sept 27, 1944). American evangelist, composer, librettist, and hymn writer. Known worldwide as “Sister Aimee,” she founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (FSGC) and built the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California. The daughter of a Canadian wheat farmer, she grew up in the Methodist church and the Salvation Army, from which she inherited a strong preference for hymn singing. The Salvation Army also taught her the value of community service, emphasized the potential of women to be active in the ministry, and demonstrated the importance of vigorous and attractive music in worship services, especially brass bands and popular congregational hymns. After the death of her first husband, the preacher and missionary Robert Semple in Hong Kong in 1910, she settled in New York City, where she became active in religious revival work. In 1912 she married businessman Harold McPherson, but her growing interest in pursuing an evangelical ministry led to their divorce in ...

Article

Nicolae Gheorghiță

(b Achaias, Palaias Patras, Peloponnese, Greece, 1777; d Bucharest, Oct 10, 1821). Greek composer, psaltēs, teacher, historian, poet, copyist, and calligrapher. He studied Byzantine chant with his father Athanasios (the personal physician to Sultan Abdul Hamit (d 1789) and a servant of the Great Church), and with Iakovos Protopsaltēs (d 1800) and Petros Byzantios Fygas (d 1808) at the School of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. In 1797 he settled in Bucharest, taking courses at the Princely Academy and at the same time teaching ecclesiastical chant at Căldărușani Monastery (1797–1809) and the schools of psaltic music in Bucharest (1809–16). He was acknowledged as an excellent performer on the tambur and keman, but also played the piano. He was the author of a musical grammar, The Theoretical and Practical Didaskalia of Church Music Written in Particular for the Tambur and Keman Instruments...

Article

(b Shoah, Ethiopia, 1949). Ethiopian singer, church musician, and liturgical scholar, naturalized American. Seyoum began studying music at the age of eight and attended various religious schools in his homeland. As he grew older, he began to learn new types of performance, including the Bethlehem style of singing, Christian chant, and sacred dance. At 17 years of age, he was already named a quanygeta, or “leader of the right hand side,” an important position among Ethiopian church musicians (also called dabrata). He quickly rose from deacon to marigeta, the leader of the musicians. He spent ten years in Greece learning more about liturgical practices and then came to the United States in 1982. Seyoum settled in Alexandria, Virgina, and joined the Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church in Washington, DC. He became a leader there, and his remarkable musical skills have led to the preservation of many traditional elements of the Ethiopian Christian tradition in America. To codify and disseminate these practices, Seyoum released a six-CD set of liturgical materials. He has memorized the entirety of the Ethiopian Psalter (Dawit) and has intimate knowledge of other sacred books, such as the Ethiopian Hymnary. Seyoum is an expert of instrumental church practices, including those that are tied to the extremely complicated notational system from Ethiopia that includes more than 600 symbols. He is also the only living master of the prayer staff and its movements (an art called ...

Article

Nicolae Gheorghiță

(fl 1665–89, Wallachia). Romanian psaltēs and composer. He studied Byzantine music at the Metropolitan School in Bucharest, being appointed in 1665 to the position of secretary (grămătic) at the Princely Church (Biserica Domnească) of the Annunciation in Bucharest and later to that of protopsaltēs to the Princely Court of Wallachia (Ιωβάσκου Βλάχου και Πρωτοψάλτου της Ουγγροβλαχίας Κούρτης, DK-Kk Gr. MS 4466, f.127), which he held until 1689. The name Vlachos points to the fact that for a period he was also active outside the country, most likely on Mount Athos.

Named in the manuscripts as a pupil of Germanos (fl 1660–85), Iovașcu is the Romanian composer whose musical works, although less numerous than those of his contemporaries and exclusively in the Greek language, enjoyed the widest circulation in the Greek-speaking world, being eagerly copied particularly in the musical codices housed in the libraries of Mount Athos....

Article

Laurie J. Sampsel

(b Cheshire, CT, Aug 29, 1772; d Argyle, NY, April 1850). American psalmodist and singing master, brother to the engraver Amos Doolittle. Eliakim moved to Hampton, New York, around 1800. There he married Hasadiah Fuller in 1811, and the couple had six children. He also lived in Poultney and Pawlet, Vermont, where he taught singing schools. A Congregationalist, Doolittle is remembered primarily for his 45 sacred vocal works. He composed in every genre common during the period, with the exception of the set piece. His most frequently reprinted pieces were his fuging tunes, and his “Exhortation” appeared in print over 40 times by 1820. Doolittle was talented at musically depicting the meaning and mood of the texts he set. Most of his music was published in his own tunebook, The Psalm Singer’s Companion (New Haven, CT, 1806). He also composed a secular tune, “The Hornet Stung the Peacock,” about a naval battle during the War of ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Washington, DC, Nov 21, 1947). American hymn writer and seminary professor. She grew up studying piano, then focused on religious studies as an undergraduate at Southwestern at Memphis University, later called Rhodes College (BA 1969). She earned advanced degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv 1973, DD 1983), the University of Notre Dame (MA 1987), and Boston University (DD 1989). She was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 1974 and served at various churches until accepting the position of professor of worship at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1989. Having written songs as a child, she became interested in writing hymn texts in the mid-1970s. She has written nearly 200 poem-texts, including “Arise, your Light Has Come,” “O Loving Maker of the Earth,” and “When we are Tested,” most of which have appeared in various hymnals and edited collections. Some of her texts have been designed for special occasions, such as “Send us your Spirit” for the ...

Article

Margaret Cayward

(b Castellón de Ampurias [now Empúries], Catalonia, Spain, Dec 16, 1776; d Santa Barbara, CA, June 1, 1846). Spanish musician and Franciscan missionary to Alta California. He entered the Franciscan order in Girona in 1792 and was ordained a priest in Barcelona in 1800. He traveled to New Spain in 1803 and was assigned to the College of San Fernando, the Franciscan missionary college in Mexico City that established and served the Alta California missions. He left Mexico City in February 1806, arriving at Mission San José (near present-day Fremont, California) a few months later. For the dedication in 1809 of the new Mission San José church, he rehearsed daily and directed an ensemble of 30 musicians from the local missions. He served at Mission San José until 1833, when all the northern Alta California missions were transferred to the Franciscan friars of the Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. He served thereafter at Mission Santa Bárbara until his death in ...

Article

J. Bryan Burton

[Goyaałé, Goyathlay, Goyahkla ]

(b New Mexico, 1829; d Fort Sill, OK, Feb 17, 1909). Native American instrument maker, singer, medicine man, prophet, and military leader. He is better known in Western history for his military leadership of Western Apache resistance to reservation life during the 1880s. Goyaałé (“One who yawns”) was given the name Geronimo after an attack on a Mexican village on St. Jerome’s day when terrified Mexican soldiers cried out “Jeronimo” appealing for help from St. Jerome. After his surrender he was held as a prisoner of war, first in St. Augustine, Florida, then in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until his death. His celebrity was such that he often made public appearances, including at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, rode in Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1904, and wrote an autobiography with S.M. Barrett, the Oklahoma superintendent of education.

As a medicine man (Apache: diyan), Goyaałé performed Apache sacred ceremonies and rituals that required the knowledge of a vast repertoire of traditional songs sung during the ceremonies. A number of the songs he created were collected for Natalie Curtis’s ...

Article

John Ogasapian

revised by Barbara Owen

(b Bristol, England, Jan 22, 1830; d Baltimore, MD, May 1, 1915). American priest and musician, son of edward Hodges . He came to New York in 1845 and studied at Columbia College, receiving the AB in 1850 and the MA in 1853. Afterward he entered General Theological Seminary, graduating in 1853, and was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church in 1855. After serving churches in Pittsburgh and Chicago, he became rector of Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey, in 1860 and was honored with a doctorate by Racine College in 1867. In 1870 he became rector of St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, where he served for 35 years, during which he founded an outstanding choir of men and boys. The composer of more than 100 hymn tunes and anthems, he compiled the Book of Common Praise in 1868, was active in the Episcopal Hymnal commissions of 1874...