(b Detroit, MI, Jan 1, 1929; d Detroit, MI, July 2010). American singer, educator, choral director, and composer. He worked tirelessly to promote and preserve the works of African American musicians through coalition building and artistic entrepreneurship by founding the Brazeal Dennard Chorale and cofounding the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s “Classical Roots” concert series in 1976. Dennard attended Highland Park Junior College (1954–56) and he received his undergraduate (1959) and master’s (1962) degrees in music education from Wayne State University. He first gained exposure to music through attending church choir rehearsals with his mother. He studied piano and voice with Dean Robert L. Nolan and later sang with the Robert Nolan Choir. His professional career began at age 17 as conductor of the Angelic Choir at Peoples Baptist Church in Detroit. From 1951 to 1953 he was responsible for the music for all chapel services while serving as a corporal in the US Army in Virginia. Beginning in ...
Eldonna L. May
Jean W. Thomas
(b Darmstadt, Germany, May 4, 1816; d Pittsburgh, PA, Feb 20, 1897). Composer, conductor, performer, merchant, impresario, and teacher of German birth. Kleber immigrated with his family to Pittsburgh around 1832 from Darmstadt, where he was trained in piano and voice. Three years later he launched his long career in Pittsburgh as music “professor” by becoming an instructor at Western Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies. In 1839 he organized a brass band, first known as the Kleber Band, then The Pittsburgh Band, described as the first brass band west of the Alleghenies. That year also marked his entry into the music business with a piano salesroom under the name “Ye Golden Harp.” By 1850 he was operating a growing business in pianos, organs, instruments, and sheet music. The store was a gathering place for the city’s musicians, including Stephen Foster, for whom Kleber served as a mentor.
Fluent in German, French, and Italian as well as English, Kleber acted as an impresario throughout much of his career, serving as a local manager for many European touring artists who were a mainstay of the American concert stage. He also organized concerts for local musicians, featuring himself variously as conductor, pianist, and singer. Considered by some to be brash, aggressive, self-promoting, and combative, he and Augustus, his brother and business partner, gained notoriety as well as a $100 fine each in ...
(b Piraeus, 1897; d Piraeus, 1981). Greek composer, music teacher, conductor, music manager, and historian.
He studied music theory with Geōrgios Lampelet and Armando Marsik at Athens Conservatory, and continued his studies in Leipzig with Fritz Benesevic and Max Steinizer. From 1914, and for several years, he was a teacher of vocal training in several schools and a professor in the Academy of Film Studies, of the Higher School of Cinema. He was a member of the board of the organization ‘Ellēnikon Melodrama’ [Greek Melodrama] and directing advisor; founder and conductor of the choir in the church of the Greek community in Leipzig; and founding member of the board of the Union of the Critics of the Theatre and Music, the organization ‘Arxaion Drama’ [Ancient Drama], the Greek Society of composers, writers, and publishers, among others. He was the director of the journal Mousika Chronika [Musical Chronicles] (...
Leah G. Weinberg
(b Exeter, NH, Nov 8, 1961). American Musician, songwriter, record company founder, and author. Zanes was raised near Concord, New Hampshire, and after attending Oberlin College for one year, moved to Boston. There, Zanes, his brother Warren, the bass player Tom Lloyd, and the drummer Steve Morrell formed the Del Fuegos. The roots-rock band produced five albums between 1984 and 1989, with singles “Don’t Run Wild,” “I still want you,” “Name Names,” and “Move with me Sister.” After the Del Fuegos disbanded and Zanes’s solo album Cool Down Time failed to sell, he began to listen to banjo songs, cowboy tunes, and traditional songs that he remembered from childhood. After his daughter Anna was born, Zanes’s dissatisfaction with the American children’s music market led him to form a family-oriented band that merged folk and rock styles and instrumentation. Initially known as the Wonderland String Band, the New York based-group underwent changes in title and personnel, first to the Rocket Ship Revue, and then to Dan Zanes & Friends. The seven-member band has produced nine albums on Zanes’s label, Festival Five Records, which include original songs as well as folk, traditional, and gospel songs from the United States, Jamaica, Africa, and Mexico. ...
[Jones, (Everett) LeRoi]
(b Newark, NJ, Oct 7, 1934). American writer. He studied piano, drums, and trumpet privately and attended Howard University (BA 1954). In the early 1960s he achieved wide recognition for his poetry and plays and for his writings about jazz, which included articles for Down Beat, Jazz, and Jazz Review; a selection of his writings, many from Down Beat, was published in 1967 as Black Music. His book Blues People (1963), the first full-length study of jazz by a black writer, is both a sociological inquiry, using blues and jazz as a means of understanding how African Americans became assimilated into American culture, and a superb discussion of the cultural context of the music in the United States. Besides his activities as a writer, Baraka has been involved in many black cultural and community projects. He was a founder of the Black Arts Repertory Theater-School, which was in existence from ...
(b Detroit, March 28, 1866; d Chicago, Dec 6, 1945). American violinist, conductor, musical director, teacher, and composer. Bendix was born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Germany. His father William was a music teacher. Bendix began formal study at the Cincinnati College of Music where, at the age of twelve, he performed with the college orchestra, directed by Theodore Thomas. This began a long association between the two men, leading to Bendix’s appointment as first violinist and concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in 1886. In August 1893 Thomas resigned his position as music director of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition following a series of unsuccessful concerts. Bendix took Thomas’s place as conductor of the Exposition orchestra. This created tension between the two men, and Bendix left the Thomas orchestra in 1896. He went on to serve as conductor at the Manhattan Opera House and to conduct orchestras for world fairs in St. Louis (...
William R. Lee
(b Pioneer, IA, Oct 12, 1898; d Chicago, IL, March 11, 1996). American music educator, arranger, and administrator. Isaac graduated from the VanderCook College of Music (BM 1932), the Lewis Institute (BSc 1936), and Northwestern University (MA 1937). He learned to sing in the Chicago public schools and studied piano and organ privately. From 1919 to 1929 he performed as a silent movie organist. When the silent film era ended, Isaac taught at John Marshall High School in Chicago, where he developed an award-winning orchestra (1929–43) before becoming principal of Talcott Elementary School, also in Chicago (1943–64). Noticing an absence of easier pieces for children to play, he began arranging and composing for band and orchestra, producing hundreds of works. Isaac also authored many articles and books on education and on arranging. His arrangements and the famous Merle Isaac String Class Method...
Stephen F. Zdzinski
(b Stromsburg, NE, Aug 27, 1926; d Coral Gables, FL, May 4, 2009). American choral director, teacher, composer, and writer. He earned degrees from the University of Nebraska (BME 1948, MM 1951) and University of Iowa (PhD 1957). He taught music in the public schools of Valentine, Nebraska (1948–52) and Shenandoah, Iowa (1952–5), and at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado (1957–60), and California State University, Hayward (1960–67). He was director of choral activities at the University of Miami (1967–93), where he led the UM Singers on 21 international concert tours and in numerous other performances, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and national conventions of professional organizations. Kjelson also conducted honor choirs in 40 states, and founded and conducted the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami (1970–2006). He was inducted into the Florida Music Educators Association Hall of Fame (...
revised by Robert A. Amchin
(b Lansing, MI, Sept 27, 1890; d La Jolla, CA, Dec 29, 1987). American music educator, composer, organist, and administrator. He attended the University of Michigan (BA 1912, MA 1914), and continued his studies in composition, conducting, organ, and music theory with several teachers in Europe, including Charles-Marie Widor (1913) and Gustav Holst (1925). He spent the bulk of his career at the University of Michigan, where he was a theory teacher and university organist (1914–23), director of the University Choral Union (1923–39), and director (1923–46) and dean (1946–60) of the School of Music. After that he served as dean of the School of Music at the University of Houston (1960–70). Moore was the national director and consultant for the Federal Works Progress Administration Music Project and its successor, the WPA Music Program (...
(b Përmet, Albania, Nov 22, 1963). Albanian composer, ethnomusicologist, and administrator. After early musical training in Përmet and Korça, he studied at the Tirana Conservatory (1984–7), where his teachers included Gaqi, Kushta, Lara, Simoni, and Shupo. Between 1988 and 1991 he worked in Përmet as music director at the Naïm Frashëri Palace of Culture and as artistic director of the Elena Gjika ensemble. He was appointed to teach ethnomusicology and composition at the Tirana Conservatory (now the music faculty of the Academy of Arts) in 1991. In 1993 he founded the New Albanian Music association and in 1997 the Ton de Leeuw International Competition for New Music in Tirana. After receiving the doctorate in ethnomusicology in 1994, he undertook further composition studies with Hufschmidt at the Folkwang Hochschule, Essen (1994–5), followed by postdoctoral studies at Athens University (1996). In 1997 he was appointed director of the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Tirana, and of the State Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances. He resigned in ...