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Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Darrell Berg

(b Dobitschen, Saxe-Altenburg, Jan 4, 1720; d Berlin, Dec 2, 1774). German musicographer, composer, organist, singing master and conductor. His father occupied an important post as government agent and jurist in Dobitschen. Burney, who visited the Agricolas in 1772, reported that Johann Friedrich’s mother, born Maria Magdalena Manke, ‘was a near relation of the late Mr Handel, and in correspondence with him till the time of his death’; but later Handel research has failed to substantiate this claim.

Agricola began his study of music as a young child. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig, where he studied law; during this time he was a pupil of J.S. Bach and visited Dresden, where he heard performances of Passion oratorios and Easter music by Hasse. In 1741 he moved to Berlin, became a pupil of Quantz, made the acquaintance of C.P.E. Bach, C.H. Graun and other musicians, and embarked on a career that touched many aspects of Berlin’s musical life. He became keenly interested in music criticism and theoretical speculation in Berlin, and his work as a musicographer has proved to be his most lasting accomplishment. In ...

Article

Greg A. Handel

(Eugene)

(b West Hempstead, NY, April 26, 1956). American music educator, choral arranger, editor, and conductor. He was a member of the American Boychoir (1969–71), and received degrees from St Olaf College (BM 1978), the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (MM 1980), and Michigan State University (DMA 1987). He was on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School and now serves on the Board of Trustees. He taught at Calvin College (1980–90) before becoming the fourth conductor of the St Olaf Choir and the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Endowed Professor of Music (1990–). Armstrong is the editor for Earthsongs publications and co-editor of the St. Olaf Choir Series. He chronicled the history of the St Olaf Choir in his doctoral dissertation. He is featured on an instructional video for adolescent singers, Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice (2002...

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

(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

Michael Fend

(Carlo Zanobi Salvadore Maria )

(b Florence, 8/Sept 14, 1760; d Paris, March 15, 1842). Italian, composer, conductor, teacher, administrator, theorist, and music publisher, active in France. He took French citizenship, probably in 1794, and was a dominant figure in Parisian musical life for half a century. He was a successful opera composer during the Revolutionary period, and had comparable success with religious music from the beginning of the Restoration. He was made director of the Paris Conservatoire and consolidated its pre-eminent position in music education in Europe.

In the biographical preface to his work catalogue, compiled in 1831, Cherubini gave 8 and 14 September as his dates of birth, but the records of the baptistery of S Giovanni state that he was born on 14 September (and baptized the following day). He was the tenth of 12 children. It has been claimed that his mother died when he was four years old (Pougin, ...

Article

Leon Plantinga

revised by Luca Lévi Sala

[Clementi, Mutius Philippus Vincentius Franciscus Xaverius]

(b Rome, Jan 23, 1752; d Evesham, Worcs., March 10, 1832). English composer, keyboard player and virtuoso, teacher, music publisher, entrepreneur, and piano manufacturer of Italian birth.

The oldest of seven children of Nicola Clementi (1720–89), a silversmith, and Magdalena (née Kaiser), Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738–92), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710–90), and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740–1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760–1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709–70), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late ...

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

David Nicholls and Joel Sachs

(Dixon )

(b Menlo Park, CA, March 11, 1897; d Shady, NY, Dec 10, 1965). American composer, writer, pianist, publisher, and teacher. Described by Cage as “the open sesame for new music in America,” he was an early advocate for many of the main developments in 20th-century music, including the systematization of modernist techniques, the exploration of timbral resources, and transculturalism.

Many facets of Cowell’s remarkable personality resulted from the unusual circumstances of his upbringing. His father, Harry, had immigrated to British Columbia with his brother after their own father, the Dean of Kildare’s Anglican Cathedral, bought them some land. Finding no satisfaction in farming life, Harry moved to San Francisco in search of a literary career. Henry’s mother Clara (usually called Clarissa) Dixon, a gifted writer, was the daughter of a fundamentalist Midwestern farming family. She had left the church and their community, married, and produced a son called Clarence. After he ran away from home as a teenager, Clarissa fled her stifling small-town life for San Francisco. In the Bay area, she met Harry, with whom she founded a philosophical-anarchist newsletter. As dedicated anarchists, they rejected the heavy hand of government, including what they saw as the homogenizing power of conventional public schooling. They built a little cottage on the still-rural edge of Menlo Park, where Stanford University was being constructed. Henry Cowell was born there, and Menlo Park remained his principal base until ...

Article

Jerome Roche

[Johannes]

(b Veringenstadt, nr Sigmaringen, 1585; d Rottenburg am Neckar, 1654). German music editor, singer, teacher and composer. He studied at the University of Dillingen, one of the main cultural centres of south-west Germany, and in 1610 took a post as singer at St Martin, Rottenburg. This carried with it duties as a schoolteacher: in this capacity he became Rektor of the school in 1622 and in his musical capacity Kapellmeister of the church in 1627.

Donfrid is chiefly interesting as an editor who saw it as his task to propagate in Catholic southern Germany the best and most popular church music by Italian composers of his day. To this end he published five large anthologies at Strasbourg in the 1620s: the tripartite Promptuarii musici, consisting of motets arranged in a liturgical cycle, as had been done by other editors, such as Schadaeus, before him; the Viridarium, devoted to Marian pieces; and the ...

Article

Robert M. Copeland

revised by Dale Cockrell

(b Parsonfield, ME, Aug 3, 1820; d Hyde Park, MA, Sept 29, 1915). American composer, editor, music educator, and conductor. He attended Parsonfield Academy and Effingham Union Academy (NH) as a boy, then matriculated at Dracut Academy (MA), intending to become a physician. His father, a prosperous farmer, had taught him to play the cello, and that sparked an abiding interest in music. He moved to the Boston area in 1841, where he attended singing schools under Benjamin F. Baker and George F. Root. In 1844 he began more formal musical training with Isaac B. Woodbury in Boston, studying voice, piano, organ, and music theory. Emerson moved to Salem, Massachusetts, afterwards, where he taught music privately, was involved in local school matters, and directed a choir. He was later the organist and music director at Bullfinch Street Church, Boston, for four years, then at Second Congregational Church, Greenfield, MA for eight years, while teaching concurrently at Powers’ Institute in Bernardstown. By the 1870s he was devoting himself full time to editing, composing, compiling, and conducting (some 350 festivals and musical conventions); he also sang and was known widely as a lecturer....