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Article

Harald Kisiedu

[Abrams, Richard Louis]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians...

Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

William Aide

revised by Gordana Lazarevich

(b Toronto, March 28, 1906; d Victoria, May 6, 2002). Canadian composer, conductor and violinist. He studied the violin with Luigi von Kunits, Kathleen Parlow and Marcel Chailley, and was a member of the Toronto SO (1923–36) and the Toronto Trio (1938–52). He began composition studies with John Weinzweig in Toronto in 1944 and continued with Charles Jones and Darius Milhaud. In 1952 he became head of the music department at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, where he was appointed composer-in-residence in 1966. His other activities included co-founding the Canadian League of Composers (1951), conducting the Saskatoon SO (1957–60) and serving as a member of the Canada Council (1966–9). His numerous CBC commissions included the Algonquin Symphony (1957–8), Rondino for nine instruments (1961) and an opera, Grant, Warden of the Plains (1967). After his retirement in ...

Article

Bruce Mather

(Morris)

(b Kentville, NS, Aug 28, 1939). Canadian flautist, conductor and composer. He studied with Nicholas Fiore (in Toronto) and Marcel Moyse; later with Rampal and Gazzelloni. He was principal flautist of the Vancouver SO (1958–9) and of the Toronto SO (1965–70). In 1971 he was a prizewinner of the Concours International de Flûte de Paris. In 1964 he formed the Lyric Arts Trio with his wife, the pianist Marion Ross, and the soprano Mary Morrison. He is musical director of New Music Concerts (Toronto) and Music Today (Shaw Festival, Ontario), as well as a soloist whose engagements take him to Europe, North America, Japan and Iceland. In 1977 he was one of 12 instrumentalists invited by Boulez to give a solo recital at IRCAM in Paris. Some 50 works have been wrtten for him by composers including Carter, Crumb, R. Murray Schafer and Takemitsu. Technically adept, he has a pure, intense tone and a finished sense of phrasing. In ...

Article

(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

Don C. Gillespie

(Hugh)

(b Gary, IN, Oct 20, 1944; d Ann Arbor, MI, Sept 17, 1998). American composer, organist and pianist. He attended the Juilliard Preparatory Department (1959–62), the University of Michigan (1963–70) and the Paris Conservatoire (1968–9), studying composition with Ross Lee Finney, George Rochberg and Olivier Messiaen, and the organ with Marilyn Mason. His many commissions and honours included two awards from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Queen Marie-José Prize (for his Organbook I) and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1979 he was selected to represent the USA in UNESCO's International Rostrum of Composers. He joined the composition department at the University of Michigan in 1970, where, as associate director of the electronic music studio, he pursued research into live and electronic modification of acoustic instruments. Through his own modern rag compositions and his performances and recordings of classical ragtime, stride piano and boogie-woogie, which include a recording of the complete works of Scott Joplin, Albright was a principal figure in the revival of interest in ragtime and stride masters. He gave many first performances of organ and piano works by American and European composers and commissioned a series of organ works that has substantially enriched the contemporary repertory for that instrument....

Article

(b Bologoye, 22 July/Aug 4, 1905; d Moscow, June 17, 1994). Russian composer and conductor, son of Aleksandr Vasil′yevich Aleksandrov. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Glier, graduating in 1929, and worked as a music director in Moscow clubs (1923–9), music director of the Red Army Theatre (1930–37), lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory (1933–41) and leader of the Soviet Radio Song Ensemble (1942–7). From 1937 to 1946 he was deputy director of the Aleksandrov Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble, which was founded by his father and, after the latter's death, came under his direction. He received the State Prize (1950) and the title People's Artist of the USSR (1958). In Dva p′yesï (‘Two Pieces’) op.1 (1928) for piano he developed a compositional system synthesizing the principle of the 12-note series (with inversions and permutations) with a harmonic set technique and mirror symmetry. Later works, such as the well-known musical comedy ...

Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...

Article

Guy Bourligueux

(b Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, 1893; d Seville, Dec 7, 1970). Spanish composer and organist. He studied with Donostia and others in San Sebastián, with Otaño at the Comillas Seminary, and in Paris with Eugène Cools. In 1919 he was appointed maestro de capilla at Orense Cathedral and then organist at Seville Cathedral, where he became ...

Article

Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg

revised by Martin Anderson

(b Fredrikstad, April 29, 1872; d Oslo, Dec 24, 1932). Norwegian composer, conductor and organist. He studied with Peter Lindeman (organ) and Iver Holter (harmony, counterpoint and composition) at the Christiania Music and Organ School (1888–92), and was then a pupil of Reinecke (composition) and Ruthard (piano) at the Leipzig Conservatory (1892–4). Appointments as organist followed in Drammen (1895–1907) and Oslo (1907–32), where he served at the cathedral from 1916; his First Symphony was completed during a course of study in Berlin in 1897. He was one of those responsible for the foundation of the Norsk Komponistforening, of which he was president from 1921 to 1923. As a member of the Koralbokkomiteen (1922–6) he harmonized most of the melodies in the chorale book of the Norwegian Church, and he edited preludes to all of the chorales. He was active as a choir-conductor, leading the Håndverksangforening (...

Article

August Corbet

revised by Corneel Mertens and Diana von Volborth-Danys

(b Antwerp, Sept 12, 1876; d Antwerp, Oct 5, 1954). Belgian composer and conductor. He studied in Antwerp at the Flemish Music School (later called the Royal Flemish Conservatory) under Peter Benoit and Jan Blockx, and conducting under Eduard Keurvels. In 1903 he became professor at the Conservatory, and was director of that institution from 1934 to 1941, when he retired. He was also active as an orchestral and operatic conductor, and was a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

Alpaerts was one of the outstanding personalities in Flemish musical life, both as conductor and composer; he was also a great teacher and an admirable organizer. As a composer he was, like Paul Gilson and August de Boeck, a typical Flemish representative of the Impressionist school. However, his Impressionism came closer to Richard Strauss and Respighi than to Debussy. An example of this tendency is the symphonic poem ...

Article

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...

Article

John M. Schechter

revised by Luis Merino

(b Santiago de Chile, June 22, 1922; d Santiago, Feb 3, 1999). Chilean composer and writer. Introduced to music by his father, a cellist, he studied theory and the piano at the Catholic Conservatory from 1935 to 1939. After graduating in civil engineering from the University of Chile (1945), he pursued work in composition with Jorge Urrutia Blondel at the National Conservatory (1948–52). He made his first experiments in electronic music when he was planning music programmes for Chilean Radio (1953–6), and in 1956 created the Experimental Sound Workshop at the Catholic University of Santiago. He taught both at the Catholic University and on the arts faculty of the University of Chile.

Amenábar wrote for the voice, chamber groups, solo instruments, and ensembles, and he composed incidental music for the cinema and theatre. His electro-acoustic music carries special importance: such works as ...

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

Robert Paul Kolt

(b Santiago, Chile, Jan 2, 1963). American composer, guitarist, ethnomusicologist, educator, and producer of Chilean birth. He immigrated to the United States as a child and studied guitar with Joseph Torello, Vincent Bredice, Lou Mowad, and George Aguiar. Amigo enrolled at Florida State University (1980) where he studied classical guitar with Bruce Holzman and William Carter and was active as a performer of popular music. In 1986, he moved to Los Angeles, earning a degree in political science from California State University, Northridge (BA 1995) and degrees in ethnomusicology (MA 1988, PhD 2003) from the University of Calfornia, Los Angeles. He studied in Los Angeles with Kenny Burrell, Gary Pratt, Harihar Rao, and wadada leo Smith. Amigo also performed with African, Arabic, funk, hard rock, free jazz, jazz, and reggae groups, and worked as a session guitarist for Hans Zimmer, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Les Hooper, among others....

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

Eldonna L. May

(b Zanesville, OH, May 12, 1915; d Washington, DC, Nov 24, 2003). American educator, pianist, composer, and arts administrator. The grandson of former slaves, Anderson was a musical prodigy, playing piano and organ professionally while in elementary school. He attended Oberlin College where he studied composition with Herbert Elwell, followed by studies at the Berkshire Music Center with paul Hindemith and at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Anderson received the equivalent of a doctoral degree in 1952 as a fellow of the American Guild of Organists (AAGO and FAGO), and in the 1970s he was awarded four honorary doctorates.

Early in his professional career he taught at the Kentucky State College for Negroes (1939–42), became chairman of the Wilberforce University music department, and directed music programs at Karamu House, a neighborhood arts center for underprivileged residents of the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. He also began a 30-year career as a concert pianist, performing throughout the United States and Europe. Anderson’s appointment as chair of the music department at Antioch College in ...

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...