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Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...

Article

Susan Feder

revised by Michael Mauskapf

[Pop, Promenade]

Orchestral programs modeled after European promenade concerts of the 19th century, in which light classical music was played while the audience was served refreshments. The development of pops concerts in America reflected an emerging emphasis on the audience and an explicitly articulated division between so-called serious and light classical music propagated by conductor Theodore Thomas and others. Such concerts were traditionally structured in three parts, in which lively pieces—overtures, marches, and galops—were played in the outer sections while the middle section typically included waltzes and occasionally more serious works; encores were a regular feature. These concerts often took place in outdoor venues during the summer season, and featured audience promenades during the intermissions. Initially, works by European composers such as Rossini, Grieg, Liszt, and J. Strauss dominated the programs of pops concerts, but excerpts from musicals and operettas by De Koven and Herbert, among others, soon became a significant component. In general these concerts were understood as a vehicle to reach new audiences and broaden the appeal of orchestras and orchestral music....

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Article

Ian Bradley

English comic-opera collaborators. The impact of the comic operas of the librettist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) in the United States was immediate and lasting. H.M.S. Pinafore, the team’s second significant collaboration, established its transatlantic reputation. In the absence of international copyright agreements, a pirate production opened in Boston on 25 November 1878, exactly six months after the London first night. Within a few months Pinafore mania was sweeping the country. The opera was at one point being performed simultaneously in eight New York theaters within five blocks of each other. By the time the “authorized” version opened at the Fifth Avenue Theater in New York on 1 December 1879, more than 150 productions had played across the United States.

It was a mark of the instant and intense popularity of the first of the major Savoy operas, as Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas became known, that the next work in the canon, ...

Article

Rodolfo Celletti, Valeria Pregliasco Gualerzi and Jonas Westover

(b Barcelona, Spain, June 13, 1879; d New York, NY, July 29, 1943). Spanish mezzo-soprano. She originally studied sculpture, but a suggestion from a family friend turned her interests to piano. A famous story tells of the 16-year-old her being arrested for singing nationalist songs in Barcelona and continuing to sing them in during a jail sentence that interrupted her studies in music. Gay studied with Juan Gay Planella, her first husband, and then in Paris with Ada Adini. She sang in concerts in Brussels with Eugène Ysaÿe, and in 1902 appeared there at the Théâtre de la Monnaie as Carmen. Until the late 1920s she performed at the world’s leading opera houses, including Madrid, Covent Garden, La Scala, the Metropolitan, and Chicago, where she sang regularly between 1910 and 1927. She also appeared throughout South America. Gay was a mainstay of the Boston Opera Company and its short-lived successor (...

Article

Brenda M. Romero

A generic term since the 1950s for dance groups that merge theatrical elements of classical ballet with Mexican folk dances. The use of the term was primarily modeled on the famous Ballet Folclórico de México, founded in 1952 by Amalia Hernández (1917–2000). Mexican dance companies had begun to incorporate regional folk dances into their modern dance and classical ballet theatrical productions by the 1920s, as part of the postrevolutionary Mexican nationalist movement in the arts. By the 1950s, such “staged spectacles” were founded on anthropological and historical research and reflected a “revolutionary nationalism” that celebrated and highlighted the importance of music and dance in Mexican identity. No doubt this was partly in response to increasing anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States. Regional Mexican folk dances have always been practiced by Mexican-American immigrant communities in the United States. With the Chicano social and artistic movement that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, ...

Article

Elizabeth Aldrich

A variation of a popular ragtime dance called the one-step, the Castle Walk was introduced by noted ballroom dancers Irene and Vernon Castle in 1912. The man walks his partner backward and then around the floor. The dance is performed by slightly raising up on the toes at each step, with the knees somewhat stiff....

Article

Karen Monson

(b Antioch, CA, July 28, 1914; d Santa Monica, CA, March 28, 1984). American conductor and composer. After study at California State University, San Jose, he pursued a varied musical life. He directed and recorded light classics with an orchestra made up essentially of members of the Los Angeles PO; his later career as a conductor continued on similar lines, principally with the Glendale (California) SO, which he joined in 1963 and which under him gained national celebrity. He also made guest appearances in concert and on television with leading orchestras in the United States, South America, and Europe. Dragon had many years of experience as a speaker and conductor in radio and television, notably on the network for the armed forces and as music director for more than 25 years (from around 1950) of the Standard School Broadcast music appreciation program: his televised annual Christmas concert with the Glendale SO won an Emmy Award (...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b Naples, Italy, June 21, 1871; d New York, Aug 15, 1952). American conductor, impresario, and composer of Italian origin. He studied music at the conservatory in Naples, and by the age of 17 was conductor of the city’s municipal band. He left this position after eight years to play trombone in another band during its American tour. Encouraged by the wealth of performing opportunities in the USA, he recruited 40 musicians during a trip to Italy in 1902, and then traveled with them to New York, where the band’s opening concert was well received. In the next few years he toured the USA and Canada. He appeared on the Chautauqua circuit from 1910 to 1916. While pursuing his band activities, he organized an opera company in 1918 that continued for five years. The Depression brought about a decline in professional bands, and in 1936 he became conductor of the New York City Symphonic Orchestra, formed under the auspices of the WPA. A year later he became bandmaster of the New York State Symphonic Band, also a WPA group. In ...

Article

Edward A. Berlin

[William]

(b Jacksonville, FL, June 17, 1871; d Wiscasset, ME, June 26, 1938). American lyricist, poet, novelist, anthologist, civil rights leader, and international diplomat. He began his professional life as an educator and lawyer in Florida (one of the early African Americans admitted to the Florida Bar), but in the summer of 1899 he and his brother, composer J(ohn) Rosamond Johnson, went to New York with hopes of finding a producer for their operetta. Although they were unsuccessful in this endeavor, they gained entrance to the musical-theater circles of New York; they formed a collaborative relationship with Bob Cole and became one of the outstanding songwriting teams of the early 1900s. Many of their approximately 200 songs were interpolated in musical comedies; among the most successful were “Nobody’s lookin’ but de owl and de moon” (The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, 1901), “Under the Bamboo Tree” (...