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Donna Arnold

(b Makaryev, Kostroma Province, Russia, 20 March/1 April 1896; d Lakewood, NJ, 9 Oct 1985). Russian émigré choral conductor, founder of the Don Cossack Choir. He studied at Moscow’s Synodal School of Church Singing, and afterwards joined a Don Cossack regiment in the Russian Civil War. Defeated by Bolsheviks and exiled from Russia in 1920, his regiment was interned at a miserable camp near Istanbul. Ordered to found a choir to raise morale, he arranged repertoire from memory and, remarkably, transformed 36 amateur singers into a world-class ensemble. Once liberated, the Don Cossack Choir began a high-profile international career that spanned six decades.

Its concerts, sung in Russian, comprised Russian Orthodox liturgical works and folk, traditional, and soldier songs. Jaroff arranged most of the music. Conducting with minimal hand movements and penetrating facial expressions, he evoked extremely expressive rubatos and dynamic changes that enthralled audiences. The Don Cossacks were particularly renowned for their brilliant technique and superb octavists (whose vocal range extended to an octave below the bass) and falsettists. Jaroff’s unusual inclusion of falsettists was crucial to the choir’s compelling signature sonority and made mixed-choir masterpieces from the Russian canon feasible. Extra-musical factors, especially the very short Jaroff’s strict control of his Cossack giants, fascinated and delighted their fans....

Article

Cori Ellison

(b Kraków, Jan 27, 1895; d New York, Oct 17, 1985). American conductor of Polish birth. His musical studies were in Kraków and in Vienna with Schreker. He began his career in the opera houses of Darmstadt (1922–5) and Wiesbaden (1925–7). He spent one season at the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his début directing Lohengrin in 1929. Returning to Europe, he was music director of Mannheim Opera (1930–33) and of the Jewish Kulturbund in Berlin (1933–6) until he was compelled to flee Hitler’s Germany; he then conducted in Tokyo from 1937 to 1941. In 1948 he began a long association with New York City Opera, culminating in his appointment as general manager (1952–6). After conducting in Cologne, 1958–9, he returned to the Metropolitan (1961–8), directing 175 performances of 16 operas, chiefly works of Mozart, Strauss and Wagner....

Article

William Y. Elias

[Karl ]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Beit Zayit, nr Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer and conductor of German birth . A pupil of Richard Strauss at the Berlin Academy of Arts, he became a répétiteur at the Berlin Staatsoper, sang at the Hamburg Opera and conducted in Baden-Baden. After settling in Jerusalem in 1933, he became the first music director of the Jerusalem Broadcasting Service in 1936. In 1938 he founded the Israel Radio SO (now Jerusalem SO), and from 1957 to 1962 he was director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Transcription Service. In Germany he was active in reviving Handel’s Rodelinda and in 1944 he organized the first Bach and Handel festival in Jerusalem.

On his arrival in Israel, Salmon became influenced by the folk music of the region, which resulted in such works as the Symphonic Suite on Greek Themes (1943) and the Sephardic Suite...

Article

Roksanda Pejović

(b Sombor, 1794; d Belgrade, 1870). Serbian composer and conductor of Jewish origin. He taught music in Šabac and held a conducting post in Novi Sad. Invited in 1831 to the court of Prince Miloš Obrenović, he founded and directed the prince’s Serbian Orchestra, which played in his Serbian Theatre in Kragujevac and Belgrade. In 1840 he moved with the court to Belgrade, where he was active until 1864. He was the outstanding figure of early Serbian stage life and composed and arranged music for several plays, containing overtures and vocal and instrumental numbers: many of the songs were influenced by Serbian or oriental folktunes and achieved wide popularity. Owing to its musical richness Ženidba cara Dušana (‘The Marriage of Tsar Dušan’; 1840, Kragujevac) is regarded as an opera, although Šlezinger conceived the music to accompany Atanasije Nikolić’s play.

S. Ðurić-Klajn: ‘Razvoj muzičke umetnosti u Srbiji’ [The Development of the Art of Music in Serbia], in ...

Article

Florinela Popa

(b Sighet, Aug 20, 1922; d July 29, 2014). Romanian composer and conductor. He began his study of music at the Lyra Conservatory in Bucharest (1940–42), but was forced to suspend his studies due to restrictions imposed on Jews and to study in private with Alfred Mendelsohn (harmony) and Eduard Lindenberg (orchestral conducting). After the war, he studied at the Bucharest Conservatory (1949–53) with Leo Klepper (composition), Constantin Silvestri (orchestral conducting), and Theodor Rogalski (orchestration). He worked as, among other jobs, artistic adviser to the Bucharest Philharmonic (1971–7) and instructor of choral ensemble performance and conducting at the People’s School of Art in Bucharest (1978–83). He worked as a conductor for several Romanian Philharmonics (Bacău, Ploiești, and Botoșani). He wrote choral, chamber, and symphonic music and concertos in a ‘moderate modern’ style. If his choral writing is characterised by the employment of tonal-modal consonant sounds, his instrumental writing often draws on such techniques as the ison, heterophony, and controlled aleatoricism, as well as elements of dodecaphony and electronic music. He was awarded the composition prize of the ...

Article

Marie Rolf

(Hans)

(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...

Article

Noël Goodwin

[Georgy]

(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 13, 1932; d Cologne, Oct 31, 2002). Israeli conductor of Soviet birth. He studied at the Leningrad Central School of Music and the Leningrad Conservatory, and also with Natan Rakhlin and Kurt Sanderling. In 1956 he was appointed conductor of the Saratov PO; he also taught at the conservatory there and conducted his first operas. The next year he became conductor at Yaroslav, remaining there until his appointment as chief conductor of the Moscow RSO in 1964; his guest engagements included appearances with the Bol′shoy Ballet. Ahronovich left the USSR in 1972 and became an Israeli citizen. After concerts with the Israel PO he began touring, appearing in London with the RPO and with the New York PO in the USA. He made his operatic début in the West with Otello at Cologne, where he was conductor of the Gürzenich Concerts from ...

Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer

(Emanuel)

(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.

MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå

Article

John Beckwith

(b Budapest, April 12, 1919; d Kingston, ON, February 24, 2012). Canadian composer, conductor and pianist of Hungarian birth. He studied with Kodály at the Budapest Academy (1937–41). As a young man he spent a period with other Jewish youths in a forced-labour contingent of the Hungarian Army; his later war experiences – escape, then concealment by friends during the winter of 1944–5 – are described in the memoirs of the novelist Theresa de Kerpely (Teresa Kay). After a season as assistant conductor at the Budapest Opera (1945–6), he went to Paris for further studies in piano (Soulima Stravinsky), conducting (Fourestier) and composition (Boulanger), remaining there for three years. He moved to Canada in 1949 (taking Canadian nationality in 1955), and for three years held a Lady Davis Fellowship and an appointment as assistant professor at McGill University. There he founded the electronic music studio and served for six years as chair of the department of theoretical music. He held grants for electronic music research from the Canada Council (...

Article

Stephen Plaistow

(Davidovich)

(b Gor′kiy [now Nizhniy Novgorod], July 6, 1937). Russian pianist and conductor, naturalized Icelandic. He was born into a musical Jewish family and entered the Moscow Central School of Music in 1945; his teacher there for the next ten years was Anaida Sumbatyan. His first major recital, devoted entirely to Chopin, was in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in April 1955, and later that year he gained second prize at the fifth Warsaw International Chopin Competition. In 1956, now a pupil of Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory, he was awarded first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. While still a student he made his first tour outside the USSR the following year, to East and West Germany. After graduating, it was inescapable that he should be groomed for the second International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962 (the American Van Cliburn having won the first), and he duly restored national honour by carrying off a shared first prize (with John Ogdon). His London début followed in ...