Brass quintet, formed by trombonists Arnold Fromme and Gilbert Cohen in 1960; its present members are Kevin Cobb and Raymond Mase, trumpets; David Wakefield, horn; Michael Powell, tenor trombone; and John D. Rojak, bass trombone. The group gave its first public performance at the 92nd Street Y and made its official New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1962. At that time the brass quintet was little heard in the concert hall, and the ensemble played a major part in introducing audiences to brass instruments in the chamber context. Its commitment to the expansion of the brass chamber literature and its renowned virtuosity, precision, and stylistic accuracy have resulted in the composition of more than 100 new works by such composers as Bolcom, Carter, Thomson, Druckman, Ewazen, Plog, Sampson, Schuller, Schuman, Starer, and Tower. The group's concerts usually include premieres and the performance of “rediscovered” older pieces. The quintet has also explored performance practice on older instruments, and its many recordings include two of 19th-century American brass music played on period instruments. Since becoming the ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival in 1970 and at Juilliard in 1987, the group has played a key role in training members of other prominent brass ensembles, including the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Manhattan Brass Quintet, and Urban Brass Quintet....
Ellen Highstein and Nathan Platte
Ann Glazer Niren
(b (Mokraia) Kaligorka, Ukraine, 24 April 1885/1887; d Boston, 31 March 1975). Music director, composer, pianist, and organist. Braslavsky likely received early musical instruction from his father, Hersh, a cantor at the Great Synagogue in Uman, Ukraine. Braslavsky later served as a Lieutenant in the Russian army, where he conducted several military bands. He studied at the Kaiserlich-Königliche Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst and the University of Vienna. In Vienna, Braslavsky taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary and conducted the Jewish Choral Society and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, which performed several of his compositions; these early works are unpublished.
In 1928, Congregation Mishkan Tefila of Boston hired Braslavsky to serve as its music director, where he conducted the choir, played organ, and composed Jewish choral works, some of which also remain unpublished. Braslavsky’s music exhibits a synthesis of eastern European synagogue music and Western traditional tonal idioms. Important works include the collection ...
(b Taganrog, Russia, 21 March/2 April 1851; d Manchester, England, 22 Jan 1929). Russian violinist and pedagogue. From 1860 to 1867 he studied with Joseph Hellmesberger at the Vienna Conservatoire, playing in Hellmesberger’s concerts, eventually becoming second violin in his quartet. In Vienna he first met Brahms and the conductor Hans Richter. In 1870 he returned to Russia, where he made the acquaintance of Tchaikovsky and in 1875 was appointed a teacher at the Moscow Conservatoire. From 1878 to 1880 he was the Director of the Kiev Symphony Society. During three years of European touring, 1880–83, he gave the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in December 1881, with the Vienna Philharmonic under Richter. Its originally dedicatee, Leopold Auer, had deemed the concerto unplayable and Tchaikovsky subsequently rededicated it to Brodsky. After his appointment as Professor of Violin at the Leipzig Conservatoire in 1883 Brodsky founded his first string quartet. In Leipzig he gave the premières of works by Grieg and Busoni, with whom he formed lasting friendships. His leadership of Walter Damrosch’s New York Symphony Orchestra, ...
António Jorge Marques and David Cranmer
(b Lisbon, 24 March 1762; d Rio de Janeiro, 17 Feb 1830). Luso-Brazilian organist and composer. He was baptized simply Marcos, son of Manuel de Ascensão, a musician in Lisbon’s Santa Igreja Patriarcal (‘Holy Patriarchal Church’), and Joaquina Teresa Rosa. He was known in his youth as Marcos António, adopting the surnames Fonseca Portugal from his mother in the mid-1780s. On 6 August 1771 he was admitted to the Seminário da Patriarcal, Lisbon, where he studied under João de Sousa Carvalho and most likely José Joaquim dos Santos. In 1780, while still a student, he began writing new music for the liturgical functions of the Santa Igreja Patriarcal, where he obtained his first employment as an organist (August 1782) and composer (formalized only in September 1787 with an increment of 50,000 réis annually, totalling 200,000 réis). These two occupations are referred to in one of the books of the musicians’ guild – the Irmandade de Santa Cecília – on the date of his admission, ...
(b Neosho, MO, 15 April 1889; d Kansas City, MO, 19 Jan 1975). American painter, muralist, illustrator, folklorist, harmonica player. Widely known as a Regionalist painter, Benton repeatedly captures in his art American musicians and scenes of music-making, both urban and rural. As a folklorist, he observed during his sketching trips rural vocal and instrumental traditions of black and white musicians, describing them vividly through word and image in his autobiography, An Artist in America (1937; rev. 4/1983).
Benton created portraits of musicians and composers he knew, among others Missouri Musicians (1931), The Sun Treader (Portrait of Carl Ruggles) (1934), Edgard Varèse (c. 1934), The Music Lesson (1943) [Gale Huntington (1902–93)], Portrait of David Mannes (1949), and The Hymn Singer (The Minstrel) (1950) [Burl Ives]. His Portrait of a Musician (...
Kaleb J. Koslowski and Caryl Clark
(b Bad Iburg near Osnabrück, 30 Oct 1668; d Hanover, 1 Feb 1705). Princess of Hanover, Electress of Brandenburg, and Queen in Prussia. Musical culture in and around Berlin flourished at the turn of the 18th century as a direct result of her activities as a musical patron, performer, composer, and collector.
Sophie Charlotte was the only daughter of Ernst August of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Sophie of the Palatinate. She was thrust into a lifestyle of courtly competition from an early age. The court at Osnabrück was relatively obscure, overshadowed by the wealthier and more politically prominent seat at Hanover ruled by her father’s brother, Johann Friedrich. Her mother determined to overcome this by immersing Sophie Charlotte in the arts. As a child she received instruction in singing, courtly dance, and religion, and in French, Italian, English, and Latin. During the 1670s and into the 1680s, the family visited Versailles, Venice, Brussels, and The Hague. These visits included recurring attendance at opera and ballet performances, and provided the foundation for Sophie Charlotte’s cultivation of music as a courtly and sociopolitical tool later at Hanover and Berlin....
(b Sofia, 8 Dec 1934; d Sofia, 12 July 2008). Bulgarian conductor, composer, pianist, and arranger, of Armenian origins, remembered for his prominent role as a musician and public figure in the development of popular music in Bulgaria. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia (1957) and studied in the Faculty of Theory at the Bulgarian State Conservatory. In 1953 he joined the band Jazz of the Young. By the end of the 1950s he played the piano also at the Satiric Theatre Orchestra and founded Studio 5, a band famous for its supportive role in promoting young singers. Following a similar purpose, later on he initiated Trombata na Vili (‘The Horn of Vili’), a radio contest for discovering new talented pop singers. Since 1960 Kazassian’s music activities have been closely associated with the newly created Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio where he took successively the positions of pianist (...
(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....
(b Prague, 23 June 1914; d Prague, 8 Feb 1945). Czech musicologist, violinist, and music critic. After studying law and arts at Prague University, and the violin at the Prague Conservatoire (1933–7), he became a member of the Czech Philharmonic and of the Pro Arte Antiqua ensemble, and was very active as journalist and critic, editing and writing for Hudební věstník and Smetana, besides contributing articles on musical subjects during the German occupation to České slovo, the party organ of the patriotic, moderate-socialist Česká strana národně sociální. As a musicologist he was wide-ranging, writing on 18th-century music, preparing a catalogue of Dvořák’s works and editing 20th-century Czech operas, besides the items listed below. A provocative review in České slovo of a Smetana concert in 1945 led to his being arrested, tortured, and executed by the German occupying authorities.
(selective list)ed. and trans.: Vlastní životopis V. I. Tomáška...
Angela Mace Christian
(b Hamburg, 14 Nov 1805; d Berlin, 14 May 1847). German composer, pianist, and salon hostess. Fanny Hensel was one of the most prolific female composers of the 19th century, among the first women to write a string quartet, and a life-long proponent of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and her brother, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Hensel was a pianist of rare talent and prodigious memory who dazzled private audiences at her concert series in her Berlin home. She struggled her entire life with the conflicting impulses of authorship versus the social expectations for her high-class status, finally deciding to publish her music only one year before her early death at the age of 41; her hesitation was variously a result of her dutiful attitude towards her father, her intense relationship with her brother, and her awareness of contemporary social thought on women in the public sphere. Hensel’s music reflects her deep reverence for Bach especially, as well as for Beethoven, but also exhibits the fine craftsmanship and lyricism typical of the post-Classical Mendelssohnian style, and her own experimental and inventive approach to form and content. During her lifetime, Hensel’s career, conducted mostly in the private sphere, was overshadowed by the more public exploits of her brother. The true extent of her compositions (over 450 completed compositions and drafts) and her contributions to the Mendelssohnian style have been rediscovered and appreciated in the late 20th and early 21st centuries....