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Marta Ottlová, Milan Pospíšil, John Tyrrell and Kelly St Pierre

[Friedrich]

(b Leitomischl, Bohemia [now Litomyšl, Czech Republic], 2 March 1824; d Prague, 12 May 1884). Czech composer, conductor, teacher, and music critic often described as the ‘father’ or ‘inventor’ of Czech national music. While his first language was German and his first nationalist compositions were based on Swedish narratives, Smetana asserted himself as composer of specifically Czech music from the 1860s, and his music posthumously became synonymous with a Czech national musical style. Today, Smetana’s eight operas, including Prodaná nevěsta (‘The Bartered Bride’), as well as his cycle of symphonic poems Má vlast (‘My Fatherland’) form the foundation of the Czech classical musical canon. His opera Libuše is also frequently cited as an ‘apotheosis’ of Czech music, especially in conjunction with the first movement of Má vlast, entitled ‘Vyšehrad’.

After his death, Smetana was transformed in the minds of his audiences and advocates from a composer of nationalistic music to a national symbol himself; he and his works became enduring points of reference for Czechs’ ever-shifting borders, politics, administrations, ethnicities, and imagined futures through the 20th century. For this reason, the actual Smetana in many ways has become inseparable from the myth of ‘Smetana’, as later critics and historians molded his life and work to match their needs. The composer’s supposed greatness, genius, Czechness, tragic deafness, and heroism all give voice to the shifting needs, anxieties, and interests of his audiences as much as to the composer himself....

Article

Scott Warfield

(b Jackson, MS, Sept 14, 1910; d New York, NY, Aug 29, 1982). American conductor, composer, arranger, educator, and writer on music. After studying composition at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Engel moved to New York, where he had lessons in composition at the Juilliard School with rubin Goldmark and then privately with roger Sessions . During the late 1930s Engel provided incidental music for plays and dance groups and conducted his own Madrigal Singers under the auspices of the WPA. He conducted the premieres of Kurt Weill’s Johnny Johnson and Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane, and he also led the chorus in the audience at the improvised premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock.

Engel is best known for his work in commercial venues. He supplied vocal and choral arrangements and other forms of incidental music for theatrical and broadcast productions. As a conductor, his most successful shows on Broadway included Gian Carlo Menotti’s ...

Article

Val Wilmer

[Cecil Valentine ]

(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....

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Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...

Article

John Edwin Henken

(b Madrid, Aug 3, 1823; d Madrid, Feb 17, 1894). Spanish composer, musicologist, conductor and critic. Barbieri’s father died in 1823 and the composer used his matronym throughout his life although, in the heated polemic wars of the period, that was sometimes held against him as an Italianate pretence.

Barbieri received his early music training from his maternal grandfather and entered the fledgling Royal Conservatory in 1837, studying the clarinet with Ramón Broca, the piano with Albéniz y Basanta, singing with Saldoni and composition with Carnicer. In 1841 his family moved to Lucena, but Barbieri remained in Madrid, eking out a living as a clarinettist, pianist, teacher and copyist. His earliest compositions were songs and dances, and a paso doble for a militia band in which he played. He also sang baritone roles in Italian operas at the Conservatory and the Teatro del Circo. He wrote the libretto for a one-act zarzuela but did not complete the music in time for its scheduled première in ...

Article

Hans Åstrand

(b Uppsala, March 25, 1902; d Lund, Oct 29, 1983). Swedish composer, conductor, violist and critic. After private studies in Lund he was accepted by Henri Marteau for the latter’s violin masterclass at the German Conservatory in Prague, where he also studied composition with Finke and conducting with Zemlinsky for two years. He then studied musicology with Norlind in Stockholm, with Peter Wagner in Fribourg, Switzerland, and with Sachs in Berlin, taking a licentiate in philosophy at Lund in 1926. He was chief critic of the Sydsvenska dagbladet of Malmö (1930–66, having contributed from Lund from 1923) and co-founder of the Swedish section of the ISCM, serving as its president (1930–62) and as second chairman of the ISCM presidium (1956–9); he was appointed to honorary membership of the ISCM in 1963. He was founder-violist of the Skånekvartetten (1937–48) and the Pianokvartetten av ...

Article

John C.G. Waterhouse

(b Monaco, Jan 14, 1889; d Rome, Dec 8, 1969). Italian composer, conductor and critic. He studied at Turin and with Reger at the Leipzig Conservatory, gaining a diploma there in 1911. In his early 20s he made his début as a conductor in Rome. From 1918 until 1940 he was resident mainly in Paris: Debussian tendencies, already present in his previous works, were reinforced, though he did much to promote modern Italian music. He subsequently returned to Rome, where he worked for Italian radio. Davico’s very uneven output includes several large-scale compositions, some of which achieved success. Yet even in the colourful La tentation de St Antoine and the Requiem per la morte di un povero, which are notable for many refinements and personal touches in detail, there is a certain self-consciousness in overall conception. For Davico was by nature a miniaturist, at his best in his songs. Often conceived on a tiny scale, these have aptly been compared to the Japanese ...