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(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...

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Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

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Sophie Fuller

[Amanda Christina Elizabeth; Ring, Montague]

(b London, March 16, 1866; d London, March 5, 1956). English composer, singer and teacher. An important member of London’s black community, Amanda Ira Aldridge was the daughter of the famous tragic actor Ira Aldridge. In 1883 she won a scholarship to the RCM. A pupil of Jenny Lind, her successful career as a contralto was ended by damage to her throat caused by laryngitis. She then established a distinguished career as a teacher, with pupils that included Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson.

Aldridge started publishing her compositions in her thirties, using the pseudonym Montague Ring. Her surviving works are in a popular style with strong rhythmic appeal. She published over 25 songs, often with words by African-American poets, such as ‘Where the Paw-Paw Grows’ (words by H.E. Downing, 1907) and ‘Summah is de Lovin’ Time’ (P.L. Dunbar, 1925). Her best-known work, Three African Dances, for piano, uses themes with West African origins....

Article

Juan Orrego-Salas

revised by Luis Merino

(b Santiago, Sept 2, 1911; d Santiago, Aug 2, 1954). Chilean composer and pianist. He studied with Allende for composition and Renard for the piano at the Santiago National Conservatory (1923–35), where he then held appointments as coach at the opera department (1935), assistant professor of the piano (1937), professor of analysis (1940), and director (1945). At the same time he taught at the Liceo Manuel de Salas in Santiago. He was secretary-general to the Instituto de Extensión Musical (from 1941), a founder-director of the Escuela Moderna de Música, Santiago (1940), and a member of various arts societies. In 1943 he went to the USA as a guest of the Institute of International Education and in 1953 he was in Europe for the performance of his Wind Sextet at the ISCM Festival. His early compositions show the influences of French music and Chilean folklore; from the late 1940s his work became more Expressionist and abstract....

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Dave Arthur

(b Workington, Cumbria, Jan 13, 1941). English traditional singer, writer and teacher. She began singing American songs in 1957 with a band, Skiffle Group, which eventually adopted a repertory of British traditional songs. From the early 1960s Armstrong, partially sighted, combined a singing career with that of social worker. Influenced by singer Louis Killen, she studied traditional singers and analysed the synthesis of content, style and form in traditional performance. In 1964, she joined Ewan MacColl and Seeger family, §5's Critics Group. In New York in 1973 she attended a Balkan singing class run by Ethel Raim, a meeting that had a long-term influence on her both as a singer and teacher and as an activist in the Women's Movement. In 1975, Armstrong began teaching Voice Workshops which aimed to help singers and non-singers to express themselves through voice and song. Since the late 1980s, she has run joint voice workshops with her husband, Darien Pritchard, a movement and relaxation specialist. A politically committed artist, who frequently performs for women's peace and environmental groups, Armstrong has one of the most distinctive and emotive voices of the Folk Revival....

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Nicholas Tochka

(b Brockton, MA, USA, Nov 4, 1925). Albanian tenor and pedagogue. Born in the large Albanian immigrant colony in New England (USA), Athanasi returned as a child to his parents’ hometown of Korça, where he participated in its vibrant prewar choral, theatre, and sports scenes. During World War II, he performed with resistance groups singing patriotic and partisan songs and, in 1948, he was selected as a soloist in the newly formed National Army Ensemble by director Gaqo Avrazi. Athanasi was among a handful of young men in this ensemble to receive a scholarship to study in the Soviet Union, and following the completion of his degree in vocal performance at the Moscow State Conservatory in 1958, he was appointed soloist at Tirana’s Theatre of Opera and Ballet. He performed leading roles in premières of Albanian operas, and was active as a recitalist, performing a broad range of art music works from the Western European and Albanian repertories as well as arranged folk songs into the 1980s. In ...

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Laurie J. Sampsel

(b Milton, MA, Feb 18, 1760; d French Mills, NY, Nov 23, 1813). American composer, singing master, singer, and tunebook compiler. Babcock lived most of his life in Watertown, MA, where he worked as a hatter. As a teenager he fought in the Revolutionary War, and he died while enlisted in the Army during the War of 1812. He was active primarily as a psalmodist during the period from 1790 to 1810. Babcock was the choir leader at the Watertown Congregational church, sang at and composed music for town events, and taught singing schools there in 1798 and 1804. He may also have been an itinerant singing master in the Boston area. Babcock composed 75 extant pieces, including anthems, set pieces, fuging tunes, psalm, and hymn tunes. Most of his music was first published in his own tunebook, Middlesex Harmony, which was published in two editions (1795...

Article

William E. Boswell

(b Wenham, MA, July 10, 1811; d Boston, MA, March 11, 1889). American teacher, singer, and composer. He sang, directed choirs, and taught music in Salem, Massachusetts, and in 1833 toured the country with a concert company. He then settled in Bangor, Maine, as a businessman, but moved to Boston in 1837 to study music with John Paddon. He was director of music at W.E. Channing’s church for eight years, and succeeded Lowell Mason as superintendent of musical instruction in the Boston public schools in 1841. Also in that year he began holding “musical conventions,” which led to many appearances as soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society, of which he later became vice-president. He founded the Boston Music School and served as principal and head of the singing department until 1868, when he retired and the school closed. He was editor of the Boston Musical Journal for several years. Baker collaborated in compiling over 25 collections of songs, hymns, anthems, and glees, including ...

Article

Laurie Blunsom

(b Paris, ME, Sept 18, 1836; d after 1920). American contralto and teacher. Barry descended from old New England stock dating back to the early Puritans. She began her vocal studies early, and her first public appearances in 1863 were in Boston with the Mendelssohn Quintette Club and the Handel and Haydn Society. She later studied with Luigi Vannucini in Florence, Italy. Barry had significant success as a singer, performing operatic roles and singing oratorios throughout the USA and in Canada and Mexico. Married twice, Barry’s first husband was John S. Cary, brother of the singer Annie Louise Cary. Her second marriage to artist Charles A. Barry in 1868 ended in a sensational divorce in 1873. From 1877, Barry concentrated her musical career on teaching. She continued to be known and respected as a voice teacher in Boston well into her 80s.

G.T. Edwards: Music and Musicians of Maine...

Article

Jessica Payette

(b Brooklyn, NY, 1962). American soprano. Baskerville pursued vocal studies at the institution now known as the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she serves on the vocal faculty. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and was a finalist in the National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers in 1979.

Baskerville is highly regarded as both a jazz vocalist and operatic lead. As a jazz vocalist she appeared in the original Broadway production of Sophisticated Ladies in 1981, a revue celebrating the music of Duke Ellington, and sang “Creole Love Call” in The Cotton Club, a 1984 blockbuster film. She made her Metropolitan Opera House debut in 1985 with the role of Lily in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. In the 1989 remounting of the production she starred as Bess, earning favorable reviews for her expressive vocal nuances. In 1987...