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Liz Thomson

(Claxton)

(b Maynardville, TN, Sept 15, 1903; d Nashville, TN, Nov 23, 1992). American country singer-songwriter and publisher. He was first influenced by traditional music heard at home, much of it British, and by music at the church where his father was the pastor. His Southern Baptist heritage became evident in the mournful, wailing style of his vocals. A keen sportsman, he was denied a professional athletic career through ill-health, but learnt to play his father’s fiddle. His early career was in so-called medicine shows, and radio appearances with local musicians led to the formation of his first group, the Tennessee Crackerjacks. His first record followed in 1937, and he made his début on ‘The Grand Old Opry’ radio show, subsequently becoming a regular contributor as Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys. His recording of the Carter family classic Wabash Cannonball earned him a gold disc and led to nationwide tours as well as work in Hollywood....

Article

Roxanne R. Reed

(b Anguilla, MS, March 21, 1919; d Hazel Crest, IL, 15 June, 1995). American gospel director, singer, composer, and publisher. Anderson established a career forming and training gospel groups in Chicago. His formative years were spent as one of the original Roberta Martin Singers, one of the premiere gospel groups of the 1930s and 1940s. He left briefly, between 1939 and 1941, to form the first of his many ensembles, the Knowles and Anderson Singers with R.L. Knowles. He rejoined Martin, but ultimately resigned because of the travel demands. In 1947 he formed Robert Anderson and his Gospel Caravan, but after several members left in 1952, he formed a new set of singers that recorded and performed under the name the Robert Anderson Singers through the mid-1950s. Throughout his career, Anderson recorded on a multitude of labels including Miracle and United with Robert Anderson and the Caravans; and later with the Robert Anderson Singers, on Apollo. Anderson wrote, and often sang lead on, many of the songs his groups performed, including “Why Should I Worry” (...

Article

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

Ann Willison Lemke

[Bettine, Elisabeth]

(b Frankfurt, April 4, 1785; d Berlin, Jan 20, 1859). German writer, editor, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist and patron of young artists. Although known today primarily for her writing and her illustrious associates, Bettine was also a talented musician. She composed songs in a simple folk style, choosing texts by poets she knew and loved, including Goethe, Achim von Armin, and her brother, Clemens Brentano. She helped gather songs for Armin and Brentano’s influential collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1806–8) and decades later published a fourth volume based on their notes (ed. Ludwig Erk, 1854). From 1808 to 1809 she studied singing and composition with Peter von Winter and the piano with Sebastian Bopp in Munich. Her first two songs appeared under the pseudonym ‘Beans Beor’ (‘blessing I am blessed’) with Arnim’s literary works. After her crucial meeting with Beethoven in Vienna (May, 1810), she mediated between him and Goethe....

Article

(b Erie, PA, Dec 2, 1866; d Stamford, CT, Sept 12, 1949). American singer, composer, arranger, and music editor. His early music study included piano, voice, guitar, and bass viol. In January 1892 he won a scholarship at the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Among Conservatory faculty who influenced his career were Victor Herbert and Antonín Dvořák, director of the conservatory from September 1892 to April 1895. Burleigh became Dvořák’s copyist and librarian of the Conservatory orchestra, in which he played timpani and bass viol. He sang plantation songs and spirituals for Dvořák that he had learned from his grandfather, a former slave. Dvořák’s Symphony no.9 in E minor, “From the New World,” was written and premiered while Burleigh was at the Conservatory.

In New York Burleigh took his place among prominent African American singers such as soprano Sissieretta Jones (known as the Black Patti). In the years ...

Article

Jerome Roche

(b ?Pavia; fl 1609–29). Italian music editor and singer. Since he was known as ‘magister et reverendo’ he must have taken orders. He was a bass singer in the choir of Pavia Cathedral from 1609 to 1626. He is of greatest interest as the collector of four noteworthy anthologies of north Italian church music published in Venice (RISM 16214, 1624², 1626³ and 16295); all contain motets except the third, which consists of litanies. The volumes include eight works by Monteverdi, seven of which are found in no other printed sources, and ten unica by Alessandro Grandi (i) and four by Rovetta (his earliest published works). Other prominent north Italians represented are Stefano Bernardi, Banchieri – who dedicated his Gemelli armonici (1622) to Calvi – Ignazio Donati, Ghizzolo, Merula, Orazio Tarditi and Turini. Calvi himself contributed motets to the first two and included pieces by his ...

Article

Rodney Slatford and Marita P. McClymonds

[Giovanni Battista; J.B.

(b Venice, 1761; d Bath, Feb 27, 1805). Italian composer, singer, violinist and music publisher. Born of a noble family, he studied the violin, cello and piano. In 1789 his Ati e Cibele, a favola per musica in two short scenes, was performed in Venice. This was soon followed by Pimmalione, a monodrama after Rousseau for tenor and orchestra with a small part for soprano, and Il ratto di Proserpina. Choron and Fayolle reported that, dissatisfied with Pimmalione, Cimador burnt the score and renounced composition. Artaria, however, advertised publication of the full score in 1791 in Vienna and excerpts were published later in London. The work achieved considerable popularity throughout Europe as a concert piece for both male and female singers, being revived as late as 1836. While still in Venice he wrote a double bass concerto for the young virtuoso Dragonetti; the manuscript survives, together with Dragonetti's additional variations on the final Rondo, which he evidently considered too short....

Article

Roben Jones

[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, ...

Article

Argia Bertini

revised by Giulia Anna Romana Veneziano

(b Florence, July 8, 1638; d Florence, Jan 16, 1703). Italian composer, teacher, music editor, theorist, organist and singer. He spent his entire life as a priest in Florence. On 1 August 1663 he was appointed chaplain at the cathedral, S Maria del Fiore, where he was also active as an organist and singer. He was particularly admired as a teacher, and it was this above all that determined the nature of his publications; the numerous reprints particularly of Il cantore addottrinato and Scolare addottrinato bear witness to the popularity of his methods. In these two manuals he sought to establish rules for the effective composition and performance of church music, contributing, according to his contemporaries, to the codification of the ‘true rule of ecclesiastical singing’. However, he is better remembered for his Corona di sacre canzoni and Colletta di laude spirituali, which have great importance for the final phase in the history of the ...

Article

Colin Timms

revised by Graham Dixon

(b Staffolo, nr Ancona, c1570–75; d ?Tivoli, in or after June 1644). Italian music editor, composer and singer, brother of Alessandro Costantini and uncle of Vincenzo Albrici. He served the Bishop of Aquila as a musician from boyhood and sang treble under Palestrina at S Pietro, Rome, where he remained as a tenor until 31 July 1610, having served as a singer at S Luigi dei Francesi in the middle of the decade. In 1610 and 1616 he directed festal music at S Giacomo degli Incurabili. He was maestro di cappella of Orvieto Cathedral from 1610 to 1614 and may have been in Naples when his op.2 was published there in 1615. By then he was in the service of Cardinal Aldobrandini, on whose recommendation he was made maestro di cappella of S Maria in Trastevere, a post he held from October 1615 to some time before ...