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Bruce Johnson

(bSydney, March 31, 1922; dSydney, Aug 11, 1987). Australiansaxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He began to play saxophone in 1933 and joined George Fuller before working as a freelance musician and in wartime entertainment units. Following the war he performed in nightclubs and pit orchestras, and in coffee lounges in Melbourne (1948), then worked in Sydney with the trombonist George Trevare and as a freelance musician. From 1955 he led bands in Sydney hotels, among them the Criterion (1958–65), the Windsor Castle, and the Bellevue. Later he was a member of bands led by Dick Hughes (1979–85) and Alan Geddes (1984–6) and led his own group at the Canberra Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. He retired in 1986 because of ill-health. Acheson’s playing, which was chiefly in dixieland and swing styles, is heard to advantage on Merv Acheson 60th Birthday Concert...

Article

Christopher Fifield

(b Würzburg-Heidingsfeld, Aug 28, 1866; d Darmstadt, Sept 1, 1925). German conductor. He trained as a violist and played in the opera orchestras of Mainz and Schwerin. After touring Australia and New Zealand (1892–5) he went to England in 1895 as musical director of Frank Benson’s Shakespearean company. The following year he returned to Germany and played in the orchestra at the Bayreuth Festival. Here his conducting talents were discovered by Felix Mottl and Cosima Wagner and he acted as an assistant for the festivals of 1896, 1899, 1901 and 1902. After posts in Hamburg, Lübeck and Breslau, Balling succeeded Mottl in 1903 as musical director in Karlsruhe. He was a regular conductor at Bayreuth (1904–14, 1924–5), conducting the Ring, Parsifal and Tristan, and in 1905 gave the first performance in Barcelona of Die Meistersinger. In 1910 he conducted the first Ring performances in Scotland; and in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

(Emerson) [Gay]

(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...

Article

E. Douglas Bomberger

(b Montmédy, France, Aug 9, 1789; d Sydney, Australia, Jan 6, 1856). French harpist, conductor, and composer. A large and imposing man who was among the greatest harpists of the 19th century, Bochsa was denoted by Fétis “as distinguished an artist as he was a miserable man.” Bochsa fled France in 1817 to escape charges of forgery, contracted a bigamous marriage in England, declared bankruptcy in 1824, and eloped with the soprano Anna Bishop in 1839. The two toured Europe in the years following and traveled to New York in 1847. There Bishop’s singing and Bochsa’s playing triumphed over American moral outrage at their lifestyle, and the two achieved success on Broadway and in North American tours that took them to New Orleans in the south, Quebec in the north, and major cities in between. They toured Mexico from June 1849 to May 1850 and California in 1854...

Article

Arthur Jacobs

revised by Noël Goodwin

(Alan)

(b Sydney, Sept 29, 1930). Australian conductor. He studied the piano at the NSW Conservatorium (Sydney) with Lindley Evans, formerly Melba’s accompanist, and in London with Herbert Fryer, and developed a special interest in vocal technique. Having known the soprano Joan Sutherland in Australia, he became her adviser in London and decisively influenced the direction of her vocal and artistic development; they were married in 1954. Although not formally trained as a conductor, he secured engagements to conduct many of his wife’s operatic performances, beginning with Faust in Vancouver in March 1963 following his début at a concert in Rome the previous year, and La sonnambula in San Francisco (September 1964). His Covent Garden début was in March 1964 with I puritani. In 1965 he and Sutherland returned to Australia on a joint tour, he as artistic director and chief conductor of the specially formed Sutherland/Williamson International Grand Opera Company. He made his Metropolitan Opera début in ...

Article

Arthur Jacobs

(b Dunedin, Jan 9, 1896; d London, Jan 18, 1971). New Zealand conductor . After study at the RAM from 1916, he joined the O’Mara Opera Company (a British touring company) as a conductor in 1919, and thereafter was associated with opera for most of his career. After a period at the BBC’s West Region he became a regular conductor of the Vic-Wells (later Sadler’s Wells) Opera from 1932 to 1940, conducting the company’s first productions of such works as Fra Diavolo, Die Meistersinger and Don Carlos. He moved to Covent Garden as conductor of ballet and later (1950–53) of opera and was artistic director of the Australian National Opera in its 1954 and 1955 seasons. From 1956 to 1960 he was musical director of the expanding WNO (conducting Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night and Boito’s Mefistofele, among other works), and then rejoined Sadler’s Wells Opera, retiring in 1968...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[John Joseph, John Jazza]

(b Adelaide, Australia, Jan 5, 1926; d Sarasota, FL, October 28, 2010). Australian vibraphonist, drummer, arranger, composer, and bandleader. He was playing xylophone by the age of six and later studied piano and drums; he became interested in jazz while serving in an RAAF entertainment unit (1944–6). After the war he led groups in Adelaide and played in coffee lounges and at concerts in Melbourne (1947–8). Among his sidemen at this period was Errol Buddle; Brokensha’s playing is well represented by the recording Buddle’s Bebop Boogie (1948, Jazzart 3–4). Extensive touring established his reputation in Australia, and he worked in Sydney (1949–50), Brisbane (1950), where his group disbanded, and Adelaide (1951). With Bryce Rohde he traveled in 1953 to Canada, where he became a founding member of the Australian Jazz Quartet (December 1954, with Rohde, Buddle, and the reed player Dick Healey). Later expanded to a quintet and occasionally to a sextet, the group was extremely successful in the USA; among its albums were ...

Article

Tony Gould

(b Melbourne, Australia, Dec 29, 1933). Australian composer, tenor and soprano saxophonist, and bandleader. He was self-taught as a musician. He formed his first group, a quintet, in 1956, and this quickly became prominent in Australian experimental jazz. Later he led and composed for a number of ensembles, and he recorded numerous albums from 1958 onwards. He toured Europe both with his Australian Jazz Ensemble (1978) and with various groups that performed experimental and newly composed classical works (1980–86). In 1981 Brown established a course in jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts. Having played tenor and soprano saxophone, in the mid-1970s he began to concentrate on the soprano instrument. His activities in the 1980s and 1990s embraced commissions of new works, notably Spirit of the Light (1990), Winged Messenger (1994), and Temple Dreaming (1996), appearances in North America, performances as an unaccompanied soloist in South Africa, and new recordings. In ...

Article

Adrian Jackson

(Vincent )

(b Deniliquin, Australia, July 28, 1944). Australian drummer and bandleader. He began playing traditional jazz with the Red Onions Jazz Band (1960–c1975), which was popular in Melbourne, and toured Europe in 1967 and 1970. From 1970 he explored modern jazz styles, working with the saxophonist Ken Schroder, Vince Jones, and Paul Grabowsky, among others. He also performed with Phil Woods, Milt Jackson, Mal Waldron, Johnny Griffin, Art Hodes, Jay McShann, Wild Bill Davison, and Jimmy Witherspoon. In 1980 Browne formed the quartet Onaje in order to develop an original repertory; the group recorded three albums and performed at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 1992. From the mid-1980s he led bands in both contemporary and traditional genres, the latter including his New Orleans Rascals and the Red Onions, which was reunited occasionally between 1983 and 1996 (notably for a tour of Europe in ...

Article

Harold Rosenthal

(b Melbourne, Jan 28, 1883; d St Albans, Jan 25, 1970). Australian conductor . He studied in London with August Wilhelmj and in Leipzig with Arthur Nikisch. After engagements in Breslau and Görlitz he settled in England and was engaged by the Moody-Manners Opera Company (1914–16) and the Beecham Opera Company (1916–17 and 1919–20). When the latter went into liquidation in 1920, Buesst was one of the prime movers in establishing the British National Opera Company, which he conducted from 1922 to 1928; at Covent Garden in January 1923 he conducted the company’s performance of Hänsel und Gretel, one of the first opera broadcasts. He also conducted the first London performance of Boughton’s Alkestis in 1924. In 1933 he was appointed assistant music director of the BBC and he later taught at the three main London music colleges. He wrote the excellent analysis Richard Wagner: the Nibelung’s Ring: an Act by Act Guide to the Plot and Music...

Article

Roger T. Dean

(b Sydney, May 26, 1942). Australian trumpeter, singer, and bandleader. In 1959 he participated in Sydney Jazz Club workshops. After playing in 1961 with the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, the following year he formed his Olympia Jazz Band in Sydney, which included the guitarist and banjoist Geoff Holden (who had introduced him to jazz), the clarinetist Peter Neubauer, and the double bass player Dick Edser, and which often played at the Brooklyn and Orient hotels. In 1966-7 he performed overseas, among other places in New Orleans and Europe, and recorded with Alton Purnell, Barry Martyn, and Capt. John Handy. Back in Sydney he returned to the Orient Hotel. He recorded Geoff Bull's Olympia Jazz Band (1969, Swaggie 1261) and continued to lead a number of versions of the Olympia Jazz Band. In 1974 he revisited New Orleans, and thereafter he traveled frequently between the two cities; he recorded in New Orleans with several veteran musicians and he organized Australian tours for Purnell and Sammy Price. Bull briefly ran a restaurant in ...

Article

Werner Gallusser

(b Timaru, New Zealand, May 16, 1919; d Perth, Feb 22, 2003). New Zealand conductor, educationist and administrator, resident in Australia. He studied in Dunedin, Otago (MusB 1946) and London, where he won composition prizes at the RAM (1948). He played both the violin and bassoon in his early years, but decided to devote himself to fostering national and international cooperation in music education, working at all levels from pre-school to advanced and adult education. He taught in Dunedin from 1942 to 1953, when he settled in Perth. He was foundation professor and head of the department of music at the University of Western Australia from 1959 to 1984 and, despite the geographical isolation, built up a team of dedicated specialists. In 1967 he founded two successful periodicals: the Australian Journal of Music Education, the official organ of the Australian Society for Music Education, and ...

Article

Graham Hair and Greta Mary Hair

(b Sydney, Jan 19, 1945). Australian composer, conductor and teacher. She studied English and French at the Australian National University (BA 1966) and music with Larry Sitsky at the Canberra School of Music; later she studied at the Kodály Institute in Hungary (Diploma of Music Education 1982). On her return to Canberra in 1983 she founded Gaudeamus, an institute for music teaching and performance for children, youth and adults. She has been particularly involved with composing and conducting vocal music – especially for children’s voices – and her output includes much choral and church music. She has also written many stage works for children, most of them to her own texts, and incidental music for several plays.

(selective list)

Article

Derek Coller

(b Melbourne, Australia, Feb 21, 1931). Australian trombonist and bandleader . Originally a brass-band musician, from 1948 he led his own semiprofessional jazz bands, the Jazz Bandits (1948–50) and the Jazz Kings (1950–62). He began playing professionally in 1962 as a member of the Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band, which visited England in 1963. Collie remained in England and joined the London City Stompers (1963); when he became leader in 1966 the group was renamed the Rhythm Aces. It has performed at festivals and concerts and in theaters throughout the world. During one of its three American tours (1973–5) it won the World Championship of Jazz in Indianapolis (August 1975). In 1984 Collie began touring with a show called “New Orleans Mardi Gras,” in which Ken Colyer and Cy Laurie appeared; from 1986, in addition, he presented “The High Society Show” with many of the same musicians. He has made a large number of recordings as a leader (from ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

[Francis James ]

(b Emmaville, Australia, Sept 10, 1904; d Sydney, 6 or April 7, 1979). Australian bandleader, trombonist, trumpeter, arranger, and singer. From 1922 he worked in Sydney and Melbourne in the bands, among others, of Bill James (1923), Frank Ellis (1924), Walter Beban (1925), Carol Laughner (1926–7), and Linn Smith (1927–8). In England he worked with Jack Hylton, Fred Elizalde, Al Collins, and Al Starita (all 1928–9). Following his return to Australia he played as a sideman and as a leader in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, and during a residency at the Sydney Trocadero (1936–9) he established a reputation as a pre-eminent swing bandleader. He led an army band (1943–5), then played again at the Sydney Trocadero (1946–51, 1954–70), after which he gradually withdrew from musical activities. The finest dance-band and swing musicians in Australia passed through the ranks of Coughlan’s band....

Article

David Tunley

(b Sydney, Feb 1, 1931). Australian musicologist, music critic and conductor. He graduated from the University of Queensland with the BA in 1964 and founded the department of music at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, in 1966 (the university first offered music as an interdisciplinary study before it established an institute of practical studies and music education). He took the doctorate at New South Wales in 1976 and was appointed Chair in 1984. His work covers a broad spectrum and includes writings on 17th-century Italian and 19th-century German and French opera, but his major contribution has been in Australian music. His Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society (1967) is regarded as the classic study on this topic, and his insights into the Australian repertory (and beyond) have been sharpened through his work as chief music critic at the Sydney Morning Herald (from 1960...

Article

Andrew D. McCredie

revised by Samantha Owens

(b Sydney, Australia, April 16, 1887; d Brisbane, Australia, July 31, 1959). Australian conductor, composer, and music collector. He studied with Arthur Mason and Gordon Lavers in Sydney. In 1912 he was appointed organist and choir director at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral and conductor of the choral society in Grafton, New South Wales. After war service he went to London for further study with Frederick Bridge, R.R. Terry, and Charles W. Pearce. He returned to Australia in 1919 and settled in Brisbane, where he served as organist and choirmaster at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1919–32) and the Anglican churches of St Thomas at Toowong (1933) and All Saints, Wickham Terrace (1933–41). He directed the University of Queensland’s Musical Society (1920–30), an association that culminated in what was believed to have been the first Bach Festival in the southern hemisphere, held in ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

revised by Roger T. Dean

[David Frederick ]

(b Freeling, nr Gawler, Australia, Oct 25, 1914; d Adelaide, South Australia, March 24, 2003). Australian composer, bandleader, pianist, arranger, and trombonist. He was first exposed to jazz through recordings, notably those of Duke Ellington. In 1945 he took over the leadership of the Southern Jazz Group, a dixieland band in Adelaide, and in 1946 appeared with it at the first Australian Jazz Convention; the band recorded several times between then and 1950, and Dallwitz remained its leader for its intermittent performances from 1951 to 1961. He then withdrew from jazz, but continued to play (on cello and bassoon) and compose in symphonic, chamber, and light-music contexts. His return to jazz performance and composition was marked by a recording in 1972. From that time he led several concert bands, including the Hot Six, a big band, and a ragtime ensemble – the last reflecting a change in his interests; these different groups provided opportunities for the presentation of his prolific compositional output, which often focused on Australian history. His finest album, ...

Article

Bruce Johnson

(James )

(b Sydney, Aug 22, 1943). Australian bandleader, drummer, composer, and arranger. He first played in pop groups, then from 1959 worked in nightclubs and recording studios. After touring in the USA with the singer Kirby Stone, Si Zentner, and Buddy DeFranco (1967–8) he returned to Australia and, with Ed Wilson, formed the Daly–Wilson Big Band (1969). This group performed and recorded until 1971, then, following a period of inactivity, re-formed in 1973; its personnel included at different times the best Australian big-band and studio musicians of the period. Daly’s work with the band is heard to advantage on My Goodness, from The Daly–Wilson Big Band on Tour (1973, Rep. 4003). After the group disbanded in 1983 Daly formed his own big band the following year; he also worked as a music director in television. He performed occasionally in the 1990s, and then after taking a four-year break from music, resumed performing and bandleading in spring ...