(b Dallas, TX, Jan 26, 1922; d Suffern, NY, Nov 4, 1999). American recorder player, editor, teacher, and conductor. His early musical experience included playing the trumpet in small jazz bands and in Broadway pit bands and arranging music for shows in New York. While studying with erich Katz at the New York College of Music he developed an interest in early music. He learned to play the recorder, crumhorn, sackbut, and viola da gamba and arranged and directed medieval and Renaissance music. He edited music for the American Recorder Society, which published several of his compositions, and later was general editor of the series Music for Recorders (Associated Music Publishers). He took part in the debut of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua under Noah Greenberg in 1953 and rejoined them from 1960 until 1970; during this time he became director of the instrumental consort and assistant director of the Renaissance band. He toured internationally with them and played on many recordings. In ...
(b Antwerp, Belgium, Nov 23, 1897; d Philadelphia, PA, June 12, 1980). Music publisher and conductor of Belgian birth. He was trained at the Antwerp and Amsterdam conservatories and played violin in the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam before coming to the United States in 1920. He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as a viola player and was appointed chorus master and assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company in 1927. In 1926 he opened a music shop in Philadelphia and two years later was joined by Adolph Vogel (a cellist in the Philadelphia Orchestra) in the establishment of the music publishing firm Elkan–vogel . Elkan became first conductor of the Trenton Civic Orchestra in 1933 and conductor and music director of the Philadelphia Ballet Company in 1935; he founded the Dra-Mu Opera Company in 1945. He left Elkan-Vogel in 1952 but opened his own publishing house, Henri Elkan Music Publisher, Inc., in ...
Darlene Graves and Michael Graves
[William J. ]
(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...
James R. Hines, Barbara Turchin, and Nicholas Michael Butler
(b Hesse-Kassel, Germany, c1786; d New York, NY, July 30, 1829). American theater manager, pianist, organist, composer, and music publisher of German birth. He moved to the United States at the end of the 18th century and was probably related to the musician George Gilfert who was in New York as early at 1789. In his first New York advertisement in 1800, he was described as a musician “lately from Europe.” The New York directory of 1805 lists him as a music teacher in that city, but in 1806 he migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, with a number of other theater musicians. He presented his first concert there on 3 March 1807 and quickly became a favorite member of the local music scene. In December 1809 he became the organist of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and in December 1810 he opened a music store in partnership with a fellow German musician, Philip Muck, under the name C. Gilfert and Company. This institution chiefly sold imported instruments, accessories, and music, but in early ...
(b Vienna, Austria, Nov 15, 1894; d Manhasset, NY, April 26, 1982). Music editor, conductor, and teacher of Austrian birth. After initially studying cello, Greissle attended the University of Vienna where he studied musicology with Guido Adler. In 1920 he became a private student of arnold Schoenberg and a rehearsal coach in Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances. In 1921 he married Schoenberg’s oldest daughter Gertrud. As conductor of the Vienna State Opera’s Cantata Society (1924–37) Greissle premiered Schoenberg’s Woodwind Quintet in 1924 and arranged several of his works, including Five Pieces for Orchestra, op.16 for chamber ensemble. After the Anschluss he fled with his family to the United States and settled in New York. There he worked as music editor for G. Schirmer (1938–46) and thereafter for Edward B. Marks. Greissle taught music theory and rehearsal techniques both privately and at Columbia University, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the 92nd Street Y, and the New School for Social Research....
(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 13, 1907; d New York, NY, March 13, 2002). American soprano, music publisher, and concert manager. She studied singing with Ruth Thayer Burnham while attending Abbot Academy, Andover, and later at Wellesley College (BA 1929). After two years as an actress at the Cleveland Playhouse, she sang in Gabriel Pierné’s La croisade des enfants with the Cleveland Orchestra (1932). She was then coached by Eva Gauthier in New York and made her debut there in 1934 at Town Hall in the North American premiere of Handel’s solo cantata La Lucrezia. Three years later she sang Butterfly and Tosca with the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp. After meeting Sibelius in Finland, she returned to the United States and introduced a number of his songs in concert (1938). During World War II Johnson escorted a convoy of refugees from Paris to Spain and as a result of the ordeal lost her voice. She joined the staff of ...
[John Henderson ]
(b Whitehaven, TN, April 8, 1931). American singer-songwriter, producer, publisher, and entrepreneur. He began playing bluegrass while in the military and after his discharge in 1952, played at radio stations in Wheeling, West Virginia, and Boston. While enrolled in Memphis State University (from 1954), he worked nights and weekends at the Eagle’s Nest club. After working briefly for Fernwood Records, he was hired by Sun Records, where he recorded Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, among others. He wrote hits for several of Sun’s artists, including Johnny Cash’s singles “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess things happen that way” (both Sun, 1958).
Clement left Sun in 1960 to became a staff producer for RCA in Nashville. In 1963 he moved to Texas, started a publishing company, and produced Dickey Lee’s hit “Patches” (Smash, 1963). After returning to Nashville in 1965, he discovered and produced Charlie Pride and wrote songs for a variety of country artists, including Pride (“Just between you and me,” RCA Victor, ...
Charles K. Wolfe
(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...
[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]
(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...
(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...