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Warren M. Sherk

(b Pittsburgh, 29 June 1870; d Los Angeles, 23 Jan 1926). American composer, conductor, arranger, and singer. Largely self-taught, his fondness for the theater as a teenager led him to compose an operetta and to a career composing dramatic music. Educated at Pittsburgh Catholic College, he spent two years in Leipzig studying music theory with Reinecke and vocal music with Ewald. Returning to Pittsburgh in 1891, he began teaching voice, singing at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and writing vocal music. He founded the East End Musical Club, a vocal ensemble he also conducted. By 1900 he was settled in New York writing sacred music and art songs, and from 1903 to 1909 employed as an editor and arranger at major music publishers. He gained nationwide exposure as a composer in 1909 with his incidental music for a play, The Climax, which included the expressive “Song of the Soul.” Concert performances of his vocal music ensued....

Article

Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Véronique Roelvink

Gheerken, Gerit, Gerrit, Gerryt, Gheeraert, Geerhart, Gerard, Gerart],[die Hondt]

(fl 1521–47). South Netherlandish composer, born in Bruges, probably around 1495. He was the son of the Bruges tegheldecker (roofer/tiler) Jacob de Hondt, who originated from a family of Bruges city roofers, living in the parish of St Jacob. We have no information on Gheerkin’s musical education, in Bruges or elsewhere. The first trace of Gheerkin de Hondt as zangmeester is found in the archives of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where he became coraelmeester on 3 June 1521. He left the church in 1523, and returned for the period from 1 August 1530 to March 1532. On 13 July 1532 he is mentioned as zangmeester of his home church St Jacob in Bruges, where he served until the end of 1539. On 31 December 1539 he received his first payment as zangmeester of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap (‘Confraternity of Our Illustrious Lady’) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a joint position with the chapter of the church of St Jan, for which he had probably already applied in ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Yambol, 30 March 1933; d Plovdiv, 12 April 2014). Bulgarian composer and music educator, famous for his work in different genres but mostly for his distinctive contribution to the field of film music. He graduated from the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1961 under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Assen Dimitrov (conducting). Author of the music for over 120 cartoons and more than 40 feature films, Karadimchev also wrote songs for rock bands, marked usually by laconic yet highly attractive melodic lines. His lyrical Byala tishina (‘White Silence’), performed by Georgi Minchev and The Shturtzite, made a particular breakthrough for Bulgarian rock music on the national level by winning the first prize at The Golden Orpheus Pop Music Festival in 1967. And his close collaboration with The Tangra in the early 1980s developed ‘the melodic style of rock’ in songs such as Bogatstvo (‘Fortune’) and Nashiat grad (‘Our Town’). Some of his title songs written for movies such as the ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Sofia, 8 Dec 1934; d Sofia, 12 July 2008). Bulgarian conductor, composer, pianist, and arranger, of Armenian origins, remembered for his prominent role as a musician and public figure in the development of popular music in Bulgaria. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia (1957) and studied in the Faculty of Theory at the Bulgarian State Conservatory. In 1953 he joined the band Jazz of the Young. By the end of the 1950s he played the piano also at the Satiric Theatre Orchestra and founded Studio 5, a band famous for its supportive role in promoting young singers. Following a similar purpose, later on he initiated Trombata na Vili (‘The Horn of Vili’), a radio contest for discovering new talented pop singers. Since 1960 Kazassian’s music activities have been closely associated with the newly created Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio where he took successively the positions of pianist (...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Prague, 27 April 1916; d Prague, 20 Jan 1964). Czech composer, musician, and writer on music. Born into a middle-class industrial family – his father was a municipal building consultant – he attended a realschule, with an emphasis on the sciences, and then, from 1933, the Prague School of Commerce. From the mid-thirties, he was active in popular music, particularly jazz and swing. He sang and played the piano and drums, as well as orchestrating, arranging, and composing, with groups such as Orchestr Gramoklubu and Blue Music. After the closure of the universities by the Nazi regime in 1939, he spent a year as a full-time drummer with the newly established Karel Vlach Orchestra, and then began studying composition with Jaroslav Řídký at the Prague Conservatory (1940–45), with whom he also completed the conservatory’s Master School (1945–6).

His compositions were at first dance numbers and popular tunes; chamber pieces for the clarinet and piano, with opus numbers, date from ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Ruse, 7 Nov 1911; d Sofia, 24 Oct 1971). Bulgarian composer, acknowledged as the father of Bulgarian schlager/pop song and a contributor to the acculturation of Western urban mentality in music during the decade before World War II. In 1939 he graduated from the Law Faculty of Sofia University and, in parallel, took lessons in music theory and composition with Pavel Stefanov and Vesselin Stoyanov. Along with his prolific work as a composer in the 1930s and 40s when he wrote numerous vocal and instrumental pieces, including tangos, foxtrots, rumbas, and waltzes, as well as operettas for the Odeon Theatre in Sofia, he was among the founders of the Bulgarian Radio in 1936 and managed the gramophone label London Records (1937–40). Among the most popular of his songs created in the 1950s were Kervanut (‘Caravan’) and Spi, moya malka sinyorita (‘Sleep, My Little Señorita’). However, after World War II the genre of ...

Article

Judith Rosen and Sharon Mirchandani

(b Reedsburg, nr Madison, WI, 21 Oct 1926). Composer. At the Juilliard School she studied piano with Rosalyn Tureck and composition with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti (BS, MS 1951). As an undergraduate she had three compositions performed at a Composer's Forum series in New York. Her Sonata for Piano (1954), written for and recorded by Menahem Pressler, is one of four works commissioned by MGM Records; two commissions by the Harkness Ballet resulted in scores for Abyss (1964) and Bird of Yearning (1967–8). Inspired by two Georgia O’Keeffe paintings, her piano concerto (1968–74) makes effective use of an Indian rāga; it is the first of a series of works, entitled Landscapes of the Mind, that share thematic material and were composed between 1968 and 1979.

Evidence of the continued expansion and enrichment of her musical expression is found in such works as ...

Article

Don C. Gillespie and Alan Shockley

(b New York, NY, 19 March 1954). Composer. He studied at the New England Conservatory (BM 1977, MM 1979) and Princeton University (MFA 1981, PhD 1992), where his teachers included Milton Babbitt and Paul Lansky. In 1991, he joined the music department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remains a professor and has served as department chair. Among his awards are grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (1980), the ACA (1987), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (1994), and commissions from the Fromm Foundation, Newband, the Stony Brook Contemporary Players, the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. In 1990, his microtonal work Continental Drift was performed at the ISCM World Music Days in Oslo. His multimedia chamber opera, ...