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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 ...

Article

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....

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

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

Mary Cyr

[not Jean-Baptiste]

(b Lunel, 1710; d Paris, Dec 1, 1772). French haute-contre singer, music teacher, cellist and composer. His début in 1733 at the Paris Opéra, according to La Borde, was in the monologue of Pélée, ‘Ciel! en voyant ce temple redoutable’ from Act 3 of Collasse's Thétis et Pélée (1689). He soon joined the Italian troupe, performing in divertissements between the acts of operas. After three years he returned to the Opéra and took several minor roles between 1737 and 1745 in Rameau's works: Un Athlète in Castor et Pollux (1737), Un Songe in Dardanus (1739), Lycurgue in Fêtes d'Hébé (1739), and Tacmas (replacing the well-known haute-contre Tribou) in the third entrée of Les Indes galantes (1743 revival). In 1743 he sang the title role in the première of Boismortier's ballet-comique, Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, with the famous soprano Marie Fel as Altisidore. Two years later he retired from the opera to devote himself to teaching and playing the cello. He became first cellist of the orchestra at the Comédie-Italienne in ...

Article

A. Lindsey Kirwan

revised by Stephan Hörner

(b Dolsenhaim, nr Altenburg, Saxony, 1584; d Ulm, Jan 10, 1656). German composer, singer and teacher. His father having left him little in the way of worldly goods, he went as a young man to Schwandorf, Nördlingen, and then to Augsburg, where his first publication appeared in 1606. The title ‘Kaiserlicher Notar’, which he held from 1624, indicates a legal training. At the end of 1606 he was appointed a tenor in the Stuttgart court chapel and in 1608 acted also as composer to the duke, Johann Friedrich; however, his application for the post of Kapellmeister was unsuccessful. Despite a contemporary report that he was ‘a good musician and a fine composer’, he was dismissed in 1612 when the number of singers in the chapel was reduced. After this he appears to have employed his talents in various directions. Until 1624 he worked as Präzeptor and music director at Bopfingen, near Nördlingen; then for ten years he was Kapellmeister and probably also official scribe to Count Ludwig Eberhard of Öttingen before returning to Augsburg in ...

Article

Robert Fajon

(b Lyons, c1683; d Paris, March 2, 1760). French composer, teacher and opera singer. The main source of information about him is the Parfaict brothers’ Dictionnaire des théâtres, which states that Bouvard entered the Opéra at a very young age to sing soprano parts, with a ‘voice of such a range that its like had never been heard’. After his voice broke, when he was about 16, he spent a couple of years in Rome. He was back in Paris by February 1701, where his first (Italian) air appeared in a collection published by Ballard. In 1702, thanks to the patronage of M. de Francine, the Académie Royale de Musique performed his first opera, Médus, with great success, but in 1706 Cassandre, composed in collaboration with Bertin de La Doué, was a failure. Throughout the years 1701–11 Bouvard regularly published airs in Ballard’s collections, initially airs sérieux...

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

Mikhail Grigor′yevich Byalik

(b Khosrekh, Daghestan, Russia, Nov 16, 1936). Russian composer and singer. Chalayev is a Lak, one of the many tribes inhabiting Daghestan, a mountainous republic on the Caspian Sea. As a boy, he was occupied with traditional peasant labours, but nonetheless mastered the method of throat singing peculiar to Daghestan; because of his penetrating and vibrant voice, he became a favourite participant in festivities in the mountain village of Khosrekh. He later studied foreign languages at the University of Daghestan, and at the age of 18 started taking piano lessons and studying music theory with G.A. Gasanov, who is credited with the foundation of professional Western music in the republic. From 1959 to 1968 he studied at the composition faculty of the Moscow Conservatory under V.G. Fere. He lives in Moscow, spending long periods in Daghestan. He is a People’s Artist of Daghestan (1971) and a People’s Artist of Russia (...