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Article

Luise Marretta-Schär

(b St Gall, March 17, 1911; d Lausanne, March 17, 1959). Swiss composer, pianist and organist. He began his music studies in Zürich in 1932, for the most part teaching himself; from 1934 to 1937 he studied in Paris with Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, and returned to Switzerland in 1940. Settling in Lausanne, he worked as a concert pianist, composer, music critic and broadcaster. His eclectic style took elements from the varied musical currents of the time, but he retained a basis of sonata form and tonal harmony. He favoured driving rhythms and his writing is complex and compact. (L. Marretta-Schär: Raffaele d’Alessandro: Leben und Werk, Winterthur, 1979)

(selective list)

Article

Rolf Haglund

(Emil)

(b Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d Falun, May 8, 1960). Swedish composer, conductor and violinist. He attended the Stockholm Conservatory (1887–91) and then took private lessons with Lindegren (composition) and Zetterquist (violin); from 1887 he also studied painting. A violinist in the Hovkapellet (the opera orchestra, 1890–92), he decided in 1892 to make his career in music. From 1904 to 1957 he conducted the Siljan Choir – a group of five church choirs and regional choirs in Dalarna – and he was the director of other choruses, including the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), with whom he made 22 tours throughout most of Europe. In addition he was Director Musices of Uppsala University (1910–39). A Hugo Alfvén Foundation has been established in Stockholm.

Alfvén's music is distinguished by orchestral subtlety and by a painterly exploitation of harmony and timbre. His output was almost entirely of programme music, often suggested by the Swedish archipelago; he commented that ‘my best ideas have come during my sea-voyages at night, and, in particular, the wild autumns have been my most wonderful times for composition’. A few pieces, often performed, have maintained his reputation: ...

Article

James L. Jackman

(b ?Milan, c1710; d Frankfurt, c1792). Italian cellist and composer. Although early sources (Eitner, Rudhart) claimed a Milanese origin for Aliprandi, the family has not been definitely traced. One of the numerous Italians who found careers north of the Alps, Aliprandi first appears in the records of the Bavarian court at Munich on 1 October 1731 as a chamber and court musician, with a yearly stipend of 1000 florins. On 22 August 1737 he succeeded G.B. Ferrandini as composer of chamber music; on 11 March 1744 he was promoted to Konzertmeister, with his salary increased to 1200 florins. By 1777 this amount had been reduced to 1105 florins, and in 1778 he retired with a pension of 500 florins. In 1791 he was living in Frankfurt; a petition by his son Bernardo Maria dated May 1793 indicates that he had died by then.

Aliprandi’s works for the Bavarian court opera include ...

Article

James L. Jackman

revised by Valerie Walden

(b Munich, Feb 5, 1747; d Munich, Feb 19, 1801). Italian cellist and composer, son of Bernardo Aliprandi. The young Bernardo probably studied with his father and, like many cellists of the era, would have been familiar with the viol. He began playing the cello for the Munich court between ...

Article

(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.

Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...

Article

Edmond Strainchamps

(b Florence, Nov 16, 1567; d Florence, July 15, 1648). Italian composer and lutenist. Cesare Tinghi, the Medici court diarist, called him (in Solerti) ‘Lorenzo [or Lorenzino] todesco del liuto’, which has encouraged the notion that he may have been German, but his baptismal record confirms that he was from Florence. He entered the ranks of salaried musicians at the Medici court on 15 April 1604 as a lutenist; during the period 1636–7 he was referred to as maestro di liuto. In January 1622 he was appointed guardaroba della musica, and in due course he was also placed in charge of the pages who played, sang and danced in court entertainments. He continued to serve the court until his death. He seems chiefly to have written instrumental music. Only two vocal pieces by him are known: Tu piangi, a madrigal for solo voice and continuo published in Antonio Brunelli's ...

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

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.

Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...

Article

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(b Montreuil-sur-Mer, c1520; d Paris, 1598). French music printer, lutenist and composer. He was born into a wealthy merchant family from northern France. As a young man he entered successively the service of two members of the aristocracy close to the French throne, Claude de Clermont and Jacques II, Baron de Semblançay and Viscount of Tours. In March 1546 he became acquainted with the editor Jean de Brouilly in Paris, bought some properties from him in St Denis and married his daughter Denise (d before 1570). He moved to Brouilly’s house at the sign of Ste Geneviève (later the sign of Mount Parnassus) in the rue St Jean-de-Beauvais – an address which was to become famous as the home of one of the greatest of the French music printing establishments.

On 14 August 1551 Le Roy and his cousin Robert Ballard obtained a privilege from Henri II to print and sell all kinds of music books. Their first publication appeared at the end of the same month. On ...

Article

Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...

Article

Roben Jones

[Lincoln Wayne ]

(b LaGrange, GA, June 12, 1936). American guitarist, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur. At age 14 he arrived in Memphis and soon worked with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. His song “This Time” became a hit for Troy Shondell (1961, Liberty). He then worked for Stax Records, overseeing their first three hits. Ousted in 1962, he founded American Studios and assembled a house band, the Memphis Boys. With Dan Penn, he wrote “Dark End of The Street” for James Carr (1966, Goldwax) and “Do Right Woman” for Aretha Franklin (1967, Atl.). He produced works by Elvis Presley, the Gentrys, Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, and many others. In 1972 he moved to Atlanta and then Nashville, where he became prominent in the Outlaw movement, producing Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and cowriting “Lukenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” (1977, RCA) with Bobby Emmons. In 1982...

Article

Olivia Carter Mather

[Alvis Edgar ]

(b Sherman, TX, Aug 12, 1929; d Bakersfield, CA, March 25, 2006). American country musician and businessman. He is widely considered the central figure of the Bakersfield sound, and his dominance of the country charts in the 1960s challenged Nashville’s hegemony and bolstered the West Coast country scene in Bakersfield and Los Angeles. During the 1950s he worked as a guitarist and session player for several Bakersfield artists before signing with Capitol Records in 1957. In 1963 he began a streak of 14 consecutive number-one country hits with “Act Naturally,” which was later covered by the Beatles. Other hits included “Together Again” (1964), “I’ve got a tiger by the tail” (1965), and a cover of “Johnny B. Goode” (1969).

Owens’s songs eschewed themes of hard living and rambling for a portrayal of the male subject as a lonely victim of romance. With his backing band, the Buckaroos, he developed a bright, driving sound which he described as a freight train feel: heavy bass and drums accompanying two Fender Telecaster electric guitars played by Owens and the guitarist Don Rich. The twangy Telecaster sound and high, close harmony of Owens and Rich characterized many of his recordings. The Buckaroos both toured and recorded with Owens, a contrast to country norms. Owens thus established an alternative to the popular “countrypolitan” sound produced in Nashville (he also never joined the “Grand Ole Opry”); in doing so he inspired such country-rock musicians as Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He also marketed himself as a hard-country artist free of pop influence; in ...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe

(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...

Article

Mike Alleyne

(b New York, NY, Sept 19, 1952). American producer, composer, and guitarist. At the helm of the band Chic , Rodgers and his bass-playing production partner Bernard Edwards (1952–96) epitomized the very best of the disco era while transcending the genre with one of popular music’s most dynamic and cohesive rhythm sections. Individually with highly distinctive guitar licks, Rodgers also successfully transitioned into the 1980s, producing platinum pop records for David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran, and many other major acts. This effectively made him one of that decade’s most highly regarded and commercially bankable industry figures.

Rodgers and Edwards met in 1970, becoming members of the Big Apple Band that backed R&B vocal group New York City in 1973, and eventually formed Chic in 1977, releasing an eponymous debut album that year on Atlantic Records that included the Top Ten hit and gold record “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah).” The follow-up album ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Bridges, Claude Russell ]

(b Lawton, OK, April 2, 1942). American singer, songwriter, keyboard player, and producer. He is well respected for his solo work—a mix of rock, folk, and country music—but his work as a session musician has also brought significant recognition. He began playing piano at the age of four and was playing in clubs in Tulsa as a high school student. His band, the Starlighters, managed to score a spot as the opening act for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1959. Russell moved to Los Angeles the same year and quickly established himself as a session musician, notably with Wrecking Crew, the, the group of musicians Phil Spector used to accompany his artists. With the Wrecking Crew, he accompanied artists such as the Byrds, Herb Alpert, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. The keyboard player on hundreds of recordings, he opened his own recording studio in 1967. He has since been active in almost all fields of popular music, from musician to singer to songwriter to label owner (he founded Shelter Records in ...

Article

Craig Jennex

(b Thunder Bay, ON, Nov 28, 1949). Canadian pianist, composer, musical director, actor, producer, and bandleader. He has been musical director for David Letterman’s late-night shows since 1982. Prior to working with Letterman, Shaffer was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has served as musical director and producer for the Blues Brothers and cowrote the 1980s dance hit “It’s raining men.” He has served as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in ...

Article

Don Cusic

[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]

(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...

Article

Kristine Forney

[Tielman]

(b c1510–1515, Soest, nr Dortmund; d ?Sweden, 1570 or later). Music publisher, composer and instrumentalist, active in the southern Netherlands. His birthdate is based on a document of 1565 which states he was about 50 years old (‘out omtrent L jaren’). His place of birth, also suggested to be Soestdijk, near Utrecht, is clearly in the environs of Cologne (probably Soest in Westphalia): he refers to himself as ‘Tilemannus Susato Agrippinus’ (the Roman name for Cologne) in two publications, he is described in 1561 as ‘Thielman Suzato, geboeren van Coelen’ and in 1563 as one born outside the lands of the Emperor. Further, he was granted a subsidy in 1542 by the city of Antwerp for bringing a new trade from outside. Documentation confirms that he was the son of another Tylman (Thielmanssone); his father may have been the blind musician ‘Tielman dem blynden’ mentioned in a 1508...

Article

Mark Berresford

(Coleman )

(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...

Article

Susan Fast

(Wister )

(b Clarksdale, MI, Nov 5, 1931; d San Marcos, CA, Dec 12, 2007). American songwriter, guitarist, pianist, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. He began playing piano as a boy in Clarksdale, forming the Kings of Rhythm while still in school. His musical education consisted of listening to music and playing with blues musicians such as B.B. King. Turner is often credited with writing and recording the first rock and roll record (according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), “Rocket 88,” although the track was released under the name of Jackie Brenston (a member of Turner’s band who sang and played sax on the record). Recorded in 1951 at Sam Phillips’s Sun Studios in Memphis, this uptempo R&B song provided a template for the rock and roll emerging later in the decade. The modified 12-bar blues form, boogie woogie bass line, percussive piano, guitar distortion, and rowdy sax solo became standard features of songs by Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others....