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Michel Laplace

(b Paris, Jan 16, 1920). French clarinetist and bandleader. In 1941 he put together a jazz band which by 1943 had been joined by Boris Vian and was considered the first revival band in France. At its peak, in the years 1944–6, Abadie introduced such musicians as Claude Luter, Jef Gilson, and, from 1945, the Fol brothers, who may be heard on Tin Roof Blues (1946, Swing 212) and I’ve found a new baby (1946, Pathé 1013 [EP]). The band was strongly influenced by the Chicagoans and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1949 Abadie assembled a new band with such young players as Benny Vasseur and Jean-Claude Fohrenbach. He then retired from music (1952–63), but from 1965 led a modern-jazz nonet or tentet, which included the tenor saxophonist Paul Vernon (playing in a style influenced by Lester Young), with a repertory consisting of compositions by Ahmad Jamal, John Lewis, John Coltrane, and others....

Article

Edward Greenfield

(b Milan, June 26, 1933; d Bologna, Jan 20, 2014). Italian conductor. Son of the violinist and teacher Michelangelo Abbado, he heard Debussy’s Nocturnes as a small boy and immediately had the ambition to become a conductor. Soon after the war he attended rehearsals by Furtwängler and Toscanini in Milan; his quiet, undemonstrative manner on the podium derives in part from his aversion to the dictatorial approach he witnessed in Toscanini. He first learnt the piano with his father, and studied at the Milan Conservatory until 1955, before going to the Vienna Music Academy to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky. In 1958 he won the Koussevitzky Competition, and a series of concert and operatic engagements in Italy followed. His career was further boosted when he won the Mitropoulos Prize in 1963 and worked for five months with the New York PO. His international success was rapid, and led to his first appearances at the Salzburg Festival in ...

Article

Richard Wigmore

(b Milan, Dec 30, 1954). Italian conductor. He studied at the conservatories in Pesaro and Milan, and with Franco Ferrara in Rome. He made his conducting début with the orchestra of the Accademia di S Cecilia in 1977, and his operatic début, with Simon Boccanegra, in Macerata the following year. His career developed with guest appearances in leading Italian opera houses and regular collaborations with orchestras in Italy, France, Germany and the USA, where he made his début (with the Orchestra of St Luke’s) in 1991. He has also conducted at the Edinburgh Festival (1982) and at festivals in Israel, Lille and Munich. In 1991 Abbado was appointed chief conductor of the Munich RO, a post he held until 1998. Meanwhile, he has consolidated his operatic career with guest engagements at La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Staatsoper in Munich (making his début with a new production of ...

Article

Robert Philip

(b Frankfurt, Jan 19, 1883; d Jena, May 29, 1956). German conductor. He studied at Munich with Ludwig Thuille, Felix Mottl and Anna Langenhan-Hirzel (a pupil of Leschetizky). His first post was as conductor of the amateur Orchestral Society of Munich (1903–4), after which he moved to Lübeck, first as conductor of the Verein der Musikfreunde, and later also as chief conductor at the Städtische Oper (1907–11). He then became music director at Essen (1911–14), after which he went to Cologne as director of the conservatory in succession to Fritz Steinbach, becoming Generalmusikdirektor there in 1918. His tours abroad included frequent concerts with the LSO (from their 1926–7 season to 1937). After 20 years in Cologne he was appointed to succeed Bruno Walter as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, where he remained until 1945. He conducted at the Bayreuth Festival (...

Article

Tibor Tallián

revised by Anna Dalos

(b Budapest, Sept 22, 1882; d Budapest, Feb 11, 1970). Hungarian composer and conductor, grandson of Kornél Ábrányi. He studied composition, the organ and piano at the Budapest Academy of Music, and spent a year with Nikisch in Leipzig. From 1904 he was a theatre conductor in Cologne, and from 1907 in Hanover. In 1911 he returned to Budapest to become conductor at the Royal Hungarian Opera House; he was director there (1919–20) and then at the Budapest Theatre (1921–6). He taught conducting at the Liszt Academy of Music.

Ábrányi was the most prolific Hungarian opera composer of his generation; between 1903 and 1923 five of his operas and a Singspiel were produced at the Budapest Opera House and the City Theatre. Rather than subscribing to the established Hungarian romantic opera style or folklore, Ábrányi composed in a cosmopolitan style. The operas Monna Vanna...

Article

Charles Barber and José A. Bowen

(de)

(b Thessaloniki, Jan 6, 1903; d Salt Lake City, Sept 22, 1993). American conductor of Spanish-Portuguese descent. He was taken to Switzerland at the age of six and studied medicine at the University of Lausanne before, on Busoni’s recommendation, he moved to Berlin in 1922 to study with Weill. He conducted in provincial German theatres and finally in Berlin until 1933, when he moved to Paris to conduct the Balanchine ballet company and the première of Weill’s ballet Die sieben Todsünden. The following year he toured Australia with the British National Opera Company. On the recommendation of Walter and Furtwängler, he was hired by the Metropolitan Opera, making his début with Samson et Dalila in 1936. In an era of specialization, the mainly negative reviews for his mixed repertory of French opera and Wagner forced him out in 1938. He turned to Broadway, where he renewed his association with Weill, conducting the premières in New York of ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Giovanni]

(bSan Girolamo di Lusiana, province of Vicenza, Italy, May 15, 1898; dMilan, Aug 1960). Italianbandleader, saxophonist, and violinist. He was brought up in Switzerland, where he formed a café orchestra with his brother Felice, who played banjo and violin. From 1925 to 1932 he toured Italy, Germany, and Switzerland and made several recordings as a leader for Homocord (1927–8, including Just Once Again, 2514, and Say it with a Red Rose, 2524, both 1928), in which Arthur Briggs may have taken part. Abriani held an engagement in Calcutta from 1932 to 1934, during which time he recorded for HMV’s Twin label. After returning to Europe he toured (1934–9) and made further recordings (1937–9), and then settled in Italy. Although he was not himself a jazz soloist, he often employed excellent jazz players as his sidemen. (A. Mazzoletti: Il jazz in Italia: dalle origini al dopoguerra...

Article

Piero Rattalino

(b Turin, Sept 26, 1941). Italian violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, took the diploma in 1956 and a postgraduate course with Yvonne Astruc at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. He won the international competitions at Vercelli (1955) and Geneva (1956), and in 1958 both the RAI Spring Trophy and the Premio Paganini international violin competition at Genoa. He toured throughout Europe and North and South America and soon became one of the best-known and most admired Italian violinists of his generation. An instinctive player with an easy, agile and brilliant technique, he is an all-round musician with a repertory ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to contemporary composers, many of whom have written works for him, including Franco Donatoni (Argot for solo violin, 1979) and Xenakis (Dikhtas, 1980). He is considered a fine interpreter of Paganini (whose 24 capriccios and six concertos he has recorded). Accardo has developed an interest in chamber music and is one of the organizers of the ensemble music week held at Naples each year; in ...

Article

Jürg Stenzl

(b Bucharest, Oct 18, 1909; d Wabern, nr Berne, March 9, 1960). Swiss conductor . After studying at the Royal Academy in Bucharest and the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, he became Kapellmeister at the Düsseldorf Opera House, and in 1932 chief Kapellmeister and opera director at the German Theatre in Brno. He was chief Kapellmeister at the Berne Municipal Theatre (...

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

Ferenc Bónis and Anna Dalos

(b Szigetszentmiklós, Dec 12, 1896; d Budapest, May 15, 1982). Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher. From 1911 until 1915 he received instruction in organ playing and theory at the Budapest teacher-training college. Then, as a prisoner of war (1916–20), he organized and conducted a men’s choir and an orchestra in Russia. He studied composition at the Budapest Academy of Music under Kodály (1921–25) and conducting in Weingartner’s masterclass in Basle (1933–5). He conducted the orchestra (1929–39) and the choir (1929–54) of the Budapest Academy where he also taught Hungarian folk music, choral conducting and methodology from 1939 to 1959, and where he directed the singing department from 1942 to 1957.

Ádám began his career as a conductor in Budapest in 1929 with a performance of Haydn’s The Seasons. From 1929 until 1933 he was deputy conductor of the Budapest Choral and Orchestral Society. With the male choir Budai Dalárda, which he directed from ...

Article

Jernej Weiss

(b Dobrova, nr Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dec 25, 1877; d Ljubljana, Dec 6, 1936). Slovenian music educator, conductor, and writer on music. Uncle of composer Bojan Adamič. He received his first musical education at the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica society music school, from 1911 to 1912 he studied at the Conservatory in Trieste, and in 1912 he passed the national examination at the Ljubljana Conservatory. During World War I he joined the Austrian Army, and from 1915 to 1920 was a prisoner of war at Tashkent. In 1920 he returned to Ljubljana, where he taught music at the teacher’s college and at the classical gymnasium until his retirement in 1932. From 1925 to 1928 he was conductor of the Orchestral Society at the Glasbena Matica music society, and from January 1928 to December 1929 editor of the Nova muzika (‘New Music’) magazine. He was also active as a music critic and reviewer for the magazines ...

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

Martin Bernheimer

(b Vienna, April 2, 1905; d Ross, CA, Feb 9, 1988). American conductor and opera director of Austrian birth. He was educated at the Musikakademie and university in Vienna, and made his début in 1925 as a conductor for the Max Reinhardt theatre, then conducted at the Volksoper and opera houses in Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. He assisted Toscanini in Salzburg (1936) and went to the USA in 1938 for an engagement with the Chicago Opera. He worked for the San Francisco Opera from 1943 to 1981, initially as chorus master, then as artistic director in 1953 and general director from 1956. Although he occasionally conducted, most of his time was devoted to administrative duties. During his regime the San Francisco Opera grew increasingly adventurous in repertory, and became noted for the engagement of unproven talent and the implementation of modern staging techniques. By 1972 Adler had lengthened the season from five weeks to ten and he also formed subsidiary organizations in San Francisco to stage experimental works, to perform in schools and other unconventional locales, and to train young singers. He retired in ...

Article

Elliott W. Galkin

(b Jablonec, Dec 2, 1899; d Ridgefield, CT, Oct 2, 1990). American conductor. After studying composition and conducting with Zemlinsky at the Prague Conservatory, he became music director of the Bremen Staatsoper (1929–32) and the Ukrainian State Philharmonia, Kiev (1932–7), and also appeared as a guest conductor throughout Europe. He left for the USA in 1939 and made his début with the New York PO in 1940, after which he toured in the USA. From 1949 to 1959 he was music and artistic director of the NBC-TV Opera Company, sharing artistic responsibility with Toscanini. Adler was musical director of the Baltimore SO from 1959 to 1968, and in 1969 became music and artistic director of WNET (National Educational Television). His Metropolitan Opera début was in 1972. He was director of the American Opera Center at the Juilliard School from 1973 to 1981. Adler was a pioneer director of television opera in the USA and commissioned many works for the medium; among them Menotti’s ...

Article

Marie Rolf

(Hans)

(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...

Article

Sven Hansell

revised by Carlida Steffan

(b Venice, 1721 or 1722; d Padua, Oct 28, 1760). Italian composer. After studying with Galuppi, he became maestro di cappella of S Maria della Salute in Venice. In 1745 he left this post to serve the Modenese court as maestro di cappella to the archduchess, where his La pace fra la virtù e la bellezza was performed the following year. Adolfati provided recitatives, choruses and six arias for Hasse’s Lo starnuto d’Ercole (P.G. Martelli). A printed libretto indicates that it was performed with puppets (bambocci) at the Teatro S Girolamo, a very small theatre within the Venetian palace of Angelo Labia, in 1745 and during the carnival of 1746. From 1748 until early 1760 Adolfati was director of music at SS Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa; then he moved to Padua, where he succeeded Rampini as maestro di cappella on 30 May.

Adolfati's music did not please Metastasio, who heard his setting for Vienna of ...

Article

Jennifer Spencer

(b Tobol′sk, 31 Dec/Jan 12, 1821; d St Petersburg, 22 May/June 3, 1898). Russian violinist and composer. He received his musical education from his father, the violinist Yakov Ivanovich Afanas′yev, an illegitimate son of the writer and poet Prince Ivan Dolgorukov. In 1836 he made his début as a violinist in Moscow, and two years later was appointed leader of the Bol′shoy Theatre Orchestra. He resigned in 1841 to become conductor of the serf orchestra maintained by the wealthy landowner I.D. Shepelyov at Vïksa, near St Petersburg. In 1846 he decided to pursue a career as a solo violinist and toured the major provincial cities of Russia, settling in St Petersburg in 1851. There he made occasional appearances as a soloist, and also led the orchestra of the Italian Opera, sometimes deputizing for the regular conductor. In 1853 he became a piano teacher at the Smol′nïy Institute and relinquished his orchestral post. He visited western Europe in ...

Article

Ateş Orga

(b Moscow, Sept 8, 1947). Russian pianist, conductor, writer and poet. A student of Yakov Zak and Emil Gilels at the Moscow Conservatory (1965–73), he won the 1968 Leipzig Bach Competition, four years later taking the gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. After seeking political asylum in Belgium in 1974, he settled in France in 1980, but since 1989 he has returned regularly to his native country for concerts and recordings. Intent on philosophical truths more than absolutes of pianistic finish, placing emotions of the mind and spirit above ‘outward prettiness’, Afanassiev is a provocatively inspirational artist, indebted on his own admission to many of the great individualists of the past: Gilels, Gould, Horowitz, Michelangeli, Rachmaninoff and Sofronitsky all receive tribute in his ‘Homages & Ecstasies’ album (1996). Partial to mono/duographic programming, with a repertory extending from Froberger to Crumb, his extensive discography includes Bach (Book 1 of ...

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 ...