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Article

Judith Rosen and Alan Shockley

[Walter]

(b Pawtucket, RI, 14 Nov 1939). Composer.

Beginning music study with piano lessons at age six, Carlos became one of the early experimenters in electronic music. Carlos, named Walter until after her gender transition in the 1970s, studied composition with Ron Nelson as an undergraduate at Brown University (AB 1962), then continued studies with Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Jack Beeson at Columbia University (MA 1965). From 1964 Carlos served as an adviser to Robert Moog in modifying and perfecting the Moog synthesizer. The synthesizer gained recognition as a musical instrument and became the standard for electronic realizations owing to the enormous popularity of Carlos’s recording Switched-on Bach (1968), which was made on a Moog synthesizer. More than a million copies of the album were sold, and this success spawned follow-up albums composed of other Baroque transcriptions for synthesizer, as well as many albums from other recording artists....

Article

Luiz Mantovani

(Wilhelm Friedrich)

(b Vienna, June 11, 1880; d Vienna, Nov 6, 1953). Austrian composer, arranger, choirmaster, pianist, and piano teacher. As a child, he sang in the boys’ choir of the Heiligenkreuz Abbey, later studying composition privately with two members of Brahms’s circle, Eusebius Mandyczewski and Josef von Wöss. Rebay graduated in 1904 from the Conservatory of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, where he was a prize-winning student of Robert Fuchs. He subsequently worked for 16 years as a choirmaster in Vienna, leading two important choirs in that city: the Vienna Choir Association and the Schubertbund. During these years, Rebay acquired a local reputation as a composer of vocal music and regularly accompanied important Viennese singers, including Hans Duhan of the Vienna State Opera. In 1920, Rebay was hired as a piano teacher at his former school (by now renamed the Vienna Academy for Music and Performing Arts), a post he kept until his retirement in ...

Article

Krin Gabbard

(b Pensacola, FL, Jan 29, 1927; d New York City, April 6, 2013). American pianist and composer. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Donald Shirley showed substantial promise as a pianist at an early age. At the age of 18, he made his début with the Boston Pops Orchestra performing a piano concerto by Tchaikovsky. He later studied music at the Catholic University in Washington. As a composer, he wrote symphonies, concerti, string quartets, works for organ, piano, and violin, a ‘Recorso’ inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and an extended piece for piano that he called ‘an improvisation based on the story of Orpheus in the Underworld’. As a pianist, Shirley hoped to have a career in classical music, but after being told that audiences would not take an African American seriously as a classical artist, he chose to play jazz and popular music. For many years he played in clubs in New York City where he lived in an apartment directly above Carnegie Hall. Performing at Carnegie Hall in ...

Article

Geneva Southall

[Blind Tom]

(b Columbus, GA, 25 May 1849; d Hoboken, NJ, 13 June 1908). Pianist and composer.

He was blind from birth and was bought as a slave with his parents in 1850 by James N. Bethune, a journalist, lawyer, and politician in Columbus. He demonstrated musical aptitude and exceptional retentive skills by his fourth year and was given musical instruction by Bethune’s daughter Mary. He was exhibited throughout the state by his master in 1857, and then hired out to Perry Oliver, a planter of Savannah, who took him on an extensive concert tour throughout the slaveholding states; this included a command performance at Willard Hall in Washington for visiting Japanese dignitaries. His programs included works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frydryk Chopin, Franz Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg, and other European masters, improvisations on operatic tunes and popular ballads, and several of his own published and unpublished compositions. He could perform difficult pieces after one hearing, sing and recite poetry or prose in several languages, duplicate lengthy orations, and imitate the sounds of nature, machinery, and various musical instruments. On the outbreak of the Civil War, he was returned to the Bethunes, who continued to exhibit him in the South to raise money for the Confederacy. After the Bethunes were successful in a guardianship trial in ...

Article

Fabian Huss

(b Brighton, Feb 26, 1879; d Eastbourne, Jan 10, 1941). English composer, violist, and conductor. He entered the Royal College of Music in 1896 as a violin student, before winning a foundation scholarship in 1899 to study composition with C.V. Stanford. During his remaining four years at the College he produced a number of ambitious chamber works, and began to establish a reputation as a chamber musician, particularly as a violist. He was a member of the English, Grimson, and Motto String Quartets. His rising stature was signalled by an invitation to perform with the Joachim Quartet in 1906, and he would perform with many eminent musicians in the next decade. From around 1912 onwards he began to curtail his activities as an instrumentalist, focussing increasingly on conducting and composition; this was partly due to an apprehension that his image as a performer hindered his stature as a composer....

Article

Mary Lou Humphrey

revised by Jonas Westover

(b Paterson, NJ, 20 Feb 1951). Composer.

A graduate of Yale University, where he was the first Lustman Fellow, he gained international recognition in the 1970s as a virtuoso pianist and as the director of Episteme, a chamber ensemble specializing in improvisation. In 1992 Davis became Professor of Music in African American Studies at Harvard, and in 1998 he assumed a full-time professorship at the University of California at San Diego; he has also held academic positions at Cornell and Yale. Best known as an operatic composer, Davis’s works exemplify his aesthetic desire to create an authentic American operatic art form through the use of vernacular musical styles, as well as his attempt to break down the divisions between popular culture and serious art. His other work in the theater includes his collaboration with the choreographer Ralph Lemon and his Broadway debut, in 1993, as the composer for ...

Article

Patricia Surman

(Rose Esther)

(b Aug 26, 1933, Calais, France). French composer and pianist. Raised in a musical family, her mother and father (Jacques Gotkovsky) were violinists; her father played in the Loewenguth Quartet. Her siblings Ivar (piano) and Nell (violin) were accomplished musicians, performing together regularly.

Gotkovsky began composing at the age of eight and studied at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP) and later taught at the CNSMDP and in the US. Composition teachers included Tony Aubin, Nadia Boulanger, and Olivier Messiaen. She has won many composition prizes, most notably the Prix Lily Boulanger (1967). Her oeuvre includes operas, ballets, orchestral and wind band works, concerti, and numerous chamber works. Noted as a wind band composer, significant works in this genre include the Poème du feu (1978), Danses rituelles (1988), Brillante symphonie (1988–1989), Le Chant de la forêt for chorus and wind orchestra (1989), and ...

Article

Matthew Shaftel

(Albert)

(b Peru, IN, 9 June 1891; d Santa Monica, CA, 15 Oct 1964). Composer, songwriter, and lyricist.

One of the most celebrated Broadway and film composers of his era, Porter also penned his own lyrics, which were famous for their wit and sophistication.

The son of Kate Cole, an amateur pianist, and Sam Porter, an amateur guitarist, pianist, and singer, Cole Porter began his musical training at an early age. In addition to singing at the local Lutheran church, Cole studied the violin and the piano, attending the Marion Conservatory in Indiana at age six. He wrote his first song in 1901, “The Song of the Birds,” and his first publication was a short piano work, The Bobolink Waltz (1902). As a youth, he played violin in the conservatory orchestra, provided piano accompaniment for silent movies, and even starred in a school production of Snow White...

Article

Robert William Peck

(b Tel-Aviv, 21 Oct 1949). Composer of Israeli birth. In Israel she studied composition with Alexander Boscovich and Paul Ben Haim, the piano with Miriam Boscovich and Emma Gorochov, and was a student at the Tel Aviv Academy. She was awarded scholarships that enabled her to continue her studies at the American-Israeli Cultural Foundation and the Mannes College of Music, New York (BM 1967), where her principal teachers included Dello Joio and Reisenberg. She pursued further studies with Dorothy Taubman (1970–6) and Ralph Shapey (1976). After serving as artist-in-residence at St Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1972–3), she joined the music department at the University of Chicago in 1973. She has served as composer-in-residence with the Chicago SO (1990–7) and the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1994–7). Her numerous honors include awards from the Rockefeller Fund (1968...

Article

Barbara Garvey Jackson

revised by Dominique-René de Lerma

(b Chicago, IL, 3 March 1913; d Los Angeles, CA, 26 April 1972). Composer, pianist, and teacher. She began musical studies with her mother, whose home was a gathering place for young black writers, artists, and musicians including Will Marion Cook, Lillian Evanti, Abbie Mitchell, and Florence Price. Bonds showed promise early, composing her first work, Marquette Street Blues, at the age of five. In high school Bonds studied piano and composition with Florence Bea Price and later with William Levi Dawson; she received BM and MM degrees from Northwestern University (1933, 1934). She moved to New York in 1939 and in 1940 married Lawrence Richardson. At the Juilliard Graduate School she studied the piano with Djane Herz and composition with Robert Starer. Other teachers included Roy Harris, Emerson Harper, and Walter Gossett.

Bonds first came to public notice when she won the Wanamaker prize in ...