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(b Naples, 1717 (?); d Naples, after July 28, 1778). Italian harpsichordist, composer, and maestro di cappella. Son of Giuseppe D’Alessandro, Gennaro studied with Leonardo Leo, according to tenor Anton Raaff. Fétis’ statement that D’Alessandro was born in 1717 is unsourced. On August 21, 1739 he was hired as maestro di coro at Venice’s Ospedale della Pietà, a position he retained until May 13, 1740. He was the first in a distinguished cohort of Neapolitan choirmasters who served at the Pietà during the 18th century, following a local trend started in 1726 by Nicola Porpora at the Ospedale degli Incurabili.

Of the sacred music D’Alessandro composed for the Pietà only incomplete vocal partbooks of a Miserere and a Missa brevis survive in the Fondo Correr of the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice, bearing the names of the soprano (Michielina) and the alto (Placida) among the figlie di coro...

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Jason A. Wright

(b Birmingham, AL, March 16, 1943; d Manhattan, NY, May 9, 2015). American organist and composer. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Robinson served The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Holy Family Catholic Church, Park Avenue Christian Church, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and Park Avenue Synagogue, all in New York City. He was chair of the organ department and professor of music (1984–2015) at the Manhattan School of Music. Robinson composed music for organ solo, organ and orchestra, chorus (122 compositions for both the Christian and Jewish traditions), and solo voice with organ and/or orchestral accompaniment. Other compositions include music for a film, 9 Variations on a Dance Theme (1966–7) directed by Hilary Harris, a play by Anne Sexton (1973), and an unfinished opera, Scene from Medea: an Opera in Progress (1979). His works were commissioned by houses of worship and concert halls across the United States. Noted commissions include works for the Archbishop of Canterbury (...

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Malcolm Riley

(b Chatham, June 1, 1903; d Bournemouth, May 1, 1946). English organist and composer. The only child of William Thomas Whitlock and Annie Jemima Reeves, he was enrolled as a chorister at Rochester Cathedral, Kent from the age of seven (initially under Bertram Luard-Selby) and later appointed assistant organist there under Charles Hylton Stewart. In 1920, at the age of 16, he won the Kent Scholarship to the RCM, where he studied composition with Stanford and Vaughan Williams and organ with Henry G. Ley. From 1924 to 1928 he was Organist of St Mary’s Church, Chatham, when he was forced, due to ill-health, to cut back his activities. After a short time for treatment at the Midhurst Tuberculosis sanatorium in Sussex he took up the part-time post of Organist of St Matthew’s Parish Church in Borstal, a village near Rochester. His move to Bournemouth in 1930 resulted in greater awareness of his accomplishments both as a performer and composer. There he worked as Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Church until ...

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 ...

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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...

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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....

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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 ...

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Kathleen Sewright

(b Peoria, IL, July 14, 1939). American jesuit priest, educator, and composer. Best known for the post–Vatican II Catholic liturgical congregational music he composed as one of the “St. Louis Jesuits” in the 1960s and 70s, Foley is nevertheless primarily an educator in the field of liturgy. He earned a PhD in Theology (specialty in Liturgy and Aesthetics) from Graduate Theological Union (1993); studied music at the University of Wichita and St. Louis University; and pursued further composition studies with Samuel Dolin, Reginald Smith Brindle, Paul Fetler, and Dominick Argento.

In addition to founding and serving as the director of the St. Louis University Center for Liturgy, Foley has taught liturgy among other courses at the university. His diverse publications include a book, Creativity and the Roots of Liturgy (Pastoral Press, 1994). His dedication to writing prayerful, scripture-based, and accessible vernacular liturgical music for assemblies led naturally to his founding of the National Liturgical Composers Forum....

Article

Aleš Nagode

(b Podnanos (Št Vid) nr Vipava, Slovenia, Sept 28, 1880; d Ljubljana, Slovenia, March 14, 1965). Slovenian composer and church musician. He studied theology in Ljubljana and was ordained in 1903. He studied music with A. Foerster in the Music School of Glasbena Matica. In 1903 he was a deputy organist of St Jacob’s church in Ljubljana. After short service as a chaplain in Vrhnika, he went to Vienna in 1904. He studied organ with R. Dietrich and composition with R. Fuchs at the conservatory. Premrl also read history of music with G. Adler and aesthetics of music with M. Diez at the University of Vienna. In 1908 he finished his studies and returned to Ljubljana. He was a teacher of various subjects, and later also headmaster (1909–41) at the School for Organists, regens chori of the Ljubljana Cathedral (1909–39), and editor-in-chief of the journal ...

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Aleš Nagode

(b Polhov Gradec, Slovenia, March 1, 1796; d Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 24, 1863). Slovenian composer and church musician. He was born into a family of farmers and instrument builders. He studied piano and organ with F. Robert Lesjak, a former choirmaster of a Franciscan convent in Ljubljana and at the time the chaplain at a local manor. At 13 years of age Rihar became parish organist in Polhov Gradec. He attended gymnasium in Ljubljana, earning his living as a piano tuner. He studied at a seminary for priests in Ljubljana and was ordained in 1829. Rihar also took lessons in composition with A. Höller, the choirmaster of the Cathedral, and succeeded him after Höller’s death in 1826. He retained the post of choirmaster until his death, although in his last years he was stricken with severe rheumatism and limited his ability to play the organ. One of his most important tasks was the reorganization of Latin church music in the Ljubljana Cathedral, which had deteriorated in the period of Josephinism and French occupation. He restricted the use of symphonic church music and made the first steps towards Cecilian reform with the introduction of ...