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David Z. Kushner

(b Richmond, VA, 6 Sept 1882; d Richmond, VA, 15 Aug 1963). Pianist and composer.

He attended the University of Virginia (BA 1901) and went on to study in Vienna, where his teachers included Theodor Leschetizky and Karel Navrátil. His early works, among them the Sonata Virginianesque (1906) for violin and piano, and the piano works In the South (1906), At the Fair (1907, a six-movement suite whose first and last movements are titled, respectively, “Hoochie-Coochie Dance” and “Banjo-picker”), and Sonate noble (1908) blend American folk material with traditional contrapuntal techniques, elements that remained important to his compositional style. He made his recital debut in Berlin in 1907 and subsequently performed in Paris, London, and Vienna to great critical acclaim. An interest in and admiration for German culture are manifest in Sonate psychologique (its title was originally in German) completed in ...

Article

Mark Brill

(b Paris, France, 24 Feb 1932; d Paris, France, 26 Jan 2019). French composer, pianist, and arranger, son of the composer Raymond Legrand (b 1908) and brother of the singer Christiane Legrand (b 1930). A musical prodigy he enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11. He attended from 1943 to 1950, studied conducting with Nadia Boulanger and harmony with Henri Chaland, and graduated as a first-prize winner in composition. A Dizzy Gillespie concert in Paris in 1947 awakened his passion for jazz. In the 1950s he became a popular bandleader, singer, and songwriter, and wrote and conducted ballets for Roland Petit. In 1954 he became the bandleader and conductor for Maurice Chevalier and traveled with him to New York. That same year he recorded the album I Love Paris. In the late 1950s his arrangements for the album Legrand Jazz (...

Article

Jon Pareles and Jennifer Matthews

[Randall Stuart]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 28 Nov 1943). Popular singer, songwriter, and pianist. He was born into a musical family: three of his uncles, Alfred, Lionel, and Emil, composed and conducted film scores in Hollywood (see Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman). His family lived in various Southern cities, then, when Newman was seven, they settled in Los Angeles where he began to take piano lessons. He had begun writing songs by the age of 15 and while still in high school he was hired by Metric Music in California as a staff songwriter for a salary of $50 a week. Newman attended UCLA, where he studied music composition but left before completing his degree.

While at Metric, Newman wrote songs that were performed by many artists including the Fleetwoods, Gene McDaniels, and the O’Jays. One of his first songs to be widely recognized is “I think it's going to rain today,” recorded by Judy Collins in ...

Article

Kate Daubney and William Rosar

(b Kremenchuk, Ukraine, 10 May 1894; d London, England, 11 Nov 1979). Composer and pianist of Ukrainian birth.

He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under Blumenfeld and Alexander Glazunov and later in Berlin under Egon Petri, Michael Zadora, and Ferruccio Busoni. He made his debut as a concert pianist in Berlin after World War I and gave the European premiere of George Gershwin's Concerto in F at the Paris Opéra in 1928. In 1929 he accompanied his first wife (the choreographer Albertina Rasch) to Hollywood, where the success of his music for Lost Horizon led to a busy career as a film composer. During World War II he worked mainly on war documentaries, but in 1952 won great renown with his song-based score for High Noon. When he left Hollywood (1968) to settle in London he had worked on approximately 140 films and been nominated 23 times for Academy Awards for both original scoring and songs: he won the award for Best Score for ...

Article

Christopher Palmer

revised by Martin Marks

(Towner)

(b New York, NY, 8 Feb 1932). Composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist.

He learned the piano from the age of eight and after moving to Los Angeles with his family in 1948 studied with the pianist and arranger Bobby Van Eps. He served in the US Air Force (1951–4), orchestrating for and conducting service bands, then moved back to New York, where he studied for a year with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School and played in jazz clubs and recording studios. After returning to the West Coast he enrolled at UCLA and took up private composition studies with Arthur Olaf Andersen and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, among others. From 1956 Williams was a studio pianist in Hollywood and two years later began arranging and composing music for television, contributing the main title to Checkmate (1960; see Thomas and Burlingame). Through the mid-1960s he composed for several series and worked for Columbia Records as a pianist, arranger, and conductor; he also made a number of albums with André Previn. During this period Williams began scoring feature films, with many of his earliest scores for comedies, such as ...

Article

(b Naples, 1717 (?); d Naples, after July 28, 1778). Italian harpsichordist, composer, and maestro di cappella. Son of Giuseppe D’Alessandro, Gennaro studied with Leonardo Leo, according to tenor Anton Raaff. Fétis’ statement that D’Alessandro was born in 1717 is unsourced. On August 21, 1739 he was hired as maestro di coro at Venice’s Ospedale della Pietà, a position he retained until May 13, 1740. He was the first in a distinguished cohort of Neapolitan choirmasters who served at the Pietà during the 18th century, following a local trend started in 1726 by Nicola Porpora at the Ospedale degli Incurabili.

Of the sacred music D’Alessandro composed for the Pietà only incomplete vocal partbooks of a Miserere and a Missa brevis survive in the Fondo Correr of the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice, bearing the names of the soprano (Michielina) and the alto (Placida) among the figlie di coro...

Article

Gregorio Maria Paone

(b Capua, nr Naples, 1803; d Naples, 1860). Neapolitan clarinettist and composer. Ferdinando Sebastiani studied clarinet with Michele Rupp and composition with Fedele Fenaroli at the Real Collegio di Musica di San Sebastiano in Naples, where he eventually became a clarinet teacher himself. He also became principal clarinet of the Orchestra of Teatro San Carlo and of the Reale Cappella Palatina in Naples. As well as his orchestral activity he worked as a soloist and played in Paris, Florence, Vienna, and Naples. He wrote a huge number of pieces, which indicates how at that time even instrumentalists were keen on music composition.

Sebastiani used a particular clarinet made by the Neapolitan instrument maker Gennaro Bosa. A variant of the standard Müller clarinet, the Bosa clarinet required the use of the right thumb in order to make some passages easier, while in the Müller system of fingering the right thumb usually serves only to sustain the instrument....

Article

Ellen Highstein

revised by Nathan Platte

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....

Article

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 ...

Article

Geoff Thomason

(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, ...