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Paul Yoon

(b Los Angeles, CA, April 2, 1953). American taiko artist. Of Japanese American descent, he studied drumming, especially jazz and rock, from an early age. He first experienced taiko in the early 1970s and joined Kinnara Taiko in 1975. His interest in taiko was fueled by an emergent sense of his ethnic identity. He went on to study with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1976. Endo felt that it was important to emphasize the Asian aspects of his heritage, and to this end he traveled to Japan in 1980. For the next decade he studied kumi daiko (ensemble drumming), hogaku hayashi (classical drumming), and matsuri bayashi (festival drumming), and he became the first non-native to receive a natori (stage name), Mochizuki Tajiro, in hogaku hayashi. While in Japan, he studied with and was a performing member of Oedo Sukeroku Taiko and Osuwa Daiko. He moved to Honolulu in ...

Article

Stephen Montague

revised by Kelly Hiser

(Arthur )

(b Kankakee, IL, March 22, 1942; d San Rafael, CA, Sept 25, 1996). American composer, trombonist, conductor, and double bassist. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trombone with Robert Gray and composition with Kenneth Gaburo, herbert Brün , and salvatore Martirano (BM in performance 1965). He studied jazz improvisation with lee Konitz and electronic music with richard b. Hervig at the University of Iowa (1970–71). He was a member of the Harry Partch Ensemble (1961–2) and the Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players (1963–6) and was an associate artist at the University of Iowa Center for New Music and New Performing Arts (1969–74). From 1974 to 1984 English lived in Europe, where he performed widely as a soloist and with jazz and new music ensembles, at festivals, and on radio. He collaborated with his wife Candace Natvig, a singer and violinist; in ...

Article

George J. Grella

(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA 1976), where he played jazz piano, sang, composed chamber music, and organized free-jazz ensembles. He moved to New York and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, producing work for Paul Bley’s label Improvising Artists and for composer La Monte Young, while making music on the side. Garland followed the twin paths of piano improvisation and composition for chamber ensembles in the minimalist style and later joined Nigel Rollings’s band Ad Hoc Rock; with Rollings he sang and played drums, guitar, and keyboards and appeared at The Kitchen, Carnegie Hall, and in the Noise Fest at White Columns (1981). In ...

Article

Lars Helgert

(James )

(b Orange, NJ, July 22, 1959). American classical guitarist. He studied guitar first at the Mannes Conservatory Preparatory School and then at the University of Southern California (BM, 1981; MM, 1983) with Pepe Romero. He has recorded and performed since 1980 with the Los angeles guitar quartet of which he was an original member. As a soloist, he began his career with first prizes in the Toronto Guitar Competition (1981) and the Concert Artists Guild New York Competition (1987), and has recorded several solo CDs, including Rondo Alla Turka (1991) and Classical Cool (2003). Classic Mancini (1991), with guitarist Gregg Nestor and several other instrumentalists, is an album featuring chamber music settings of Mancini’s film scores. Kanengiser has published arrangements and transcriptions for solo guitar, including pieces by Gottschalk, Mozart, and Handel, and guitar quartet arrangements of Bizet’s ...

Article

Megan E. Hill

[Seisho ]

(b O’ahu, Territory of Hawai’i, Feb 12, 1912; d Honolulu, HI, March 19, 2011). American sanshin player. Born in Hawai’i to Japanese immigrant parents, he was taken by his mother to her native Okinawa to be raised by his grandparents. There at the age of nine he began playing the Okinawan sanshin. The sanshin is a three-stringed instrument with a skin-covered soundbox, which predates the similar Japanese shamisen. He was given a sanshin by his uncle—also an accomplished player of the instrument—when he returned to Hawai’i in 1925 and began formal instruction in 1933, taking lessons from a number of sanshin grand masters and visiting Okinawa whenever possible. For the next six decades Nakasone performed sanshin at gatherings for the Okinawan community in Hawai’i, playing for festivals and various celebrations. He also taught sanshin in college classes and gave private lessons, led the Okinawan classical music ensemble Seifu Kai, and became the first non-Japanese citizen to receive a teaching certificate from the nationally recognized Nomura Music Academy in Okinawa. Nakasone was on the ethnomusicology faculty at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, from ...

Article

Davide Ceriani

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 14, 1948). American music critic and pianist. He studied piano with Donald Currier at Yale University (BA 1970, MMus 1972) and with Leonard Shure at Boston University (DMA 1982). Tommasini has taught music at Emerson College (1978–86) and given nonfiction writing workshops at Wesleyan University and Brandeis University. He was appointed a staff music critic at the New York Times in 1997, and in 2000 he became the paper’s chief classical music critic. Prior to joining the Times, he covered music and theater for the Boston Globe.

He has published two books on the composer Virgil Thomson: Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (New York, 1986; an expanded, revised version of Tommasini’s DMA dissertation) and the critically acclaimed Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle (New York, 1997). Tommasini’s latest book, released in 2004, is Opera: a Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Works and the Best Recordings...

Article

Martin McCain

(b Asheville, NC, Feb 15, 1948). American bass trombonist. Vernon studied with Bill Hill and Gail Williams at Brevard College and Georgia State University. Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony also served as mentors. Vernon’s orchestral career began in 1971 as bass trombonist with the Baltimore Symphony. A one-year appointment with the San Francisco Symphony in 1980 was followed by a five-season position with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1986, Vernon succeeded his mentor, Edward Kleinhammer, in the Chicago Symphony. He has taught on the faculty of DePaul University and has also served in similar positions at Brevard Music Center, Catholic University, Northwestern University, and the Curtis Institute. Many of Vernon’s students have been appointed to major orchestras including Blair Bollinger with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Vernon has premiered numerous works including Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s and Frank Siekmann’s Concertos for bass trombone and most recently Christian Lindberg’s ...