(b Winter Park, FL, July 28, 1935; d Amherst, MA, July 21, 2009). American singer, choral director, educator, and music historian. He studied at Bethune-Cookman College (BA 1957) and the Eastman School of Music (MA 1964, PhD 1973), and was Professor of Music Theory and African-American Music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1973–99). Boyer was a leading authority on African-American gospel music, to which he made contributions as a scholar, editor, performer, and educator. With his brother James, he performed and recorded with major gospel stars and also as The Boyer Brothers duo. At the same time he toured widely as a soloist and directed many gospel choirs, including the Voices of New Africa House Workshop Choir (1973–7) and the Fisk Jubilee Singers during his tenure as United Negro College Fund Distinguished Scholar-at-Large (1985–7). He arranged spirituals and gospel songs and edited ...
(b Athens, Greece, May 5, 1969). Greek musicologist specialising in Byzantine music, university professor, cantor, and choir conductor. Chaldaeakes studied theology at the University of Athens. Due to his musical talent and vast knowledge of church music, he was employed in 1992 in the newly established music department of the same university, to assist professor Gregorios Stathis, the first teacher of Byzantine music in the department. In 1998 he earned the PhD in musicology there, and in 1999 he was elected a faculty member of the music department.
He is a diligent and ingenious researcher, with over 150 publications in Greek and other languages on Byzantine and post-Byzantine music and musicians. His scientific competence is well represented in the voluminous collection of Stathis’ writings that he edited in 2001. Aiming at closer communication between Greek and Western musicologists, he has collaborated with musicologists in the USA, England, Austria, Denmark, and Russia. As of ...
Brenda M. Romero
(b Tlaxiaco, Mexico, Sept 9, 1967). Mexican singer, composer, and anthropologist. She was already well known in Mexico when she emerged in the US mainstream with her performance in the film Frida (2002). Her father was Scottish American and her mother is Mixtec from Oaxaca, thus Downs grew up traveling back and forth between the United States and Mexico and between cultures. She began singing at the age of five and began formal classical voice studies at 14 at Bellas Artes in Oaxaca. She subsequently studied in Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, focusing on Oaxacan highland textiles. In addition to crediting African American music in general, and female singers and the music of jazz in particular, for showing her the many ways in which the voice can be used as an instrument to articulate a wide palette of expressiveness, she credits a range of musical influences, including the Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Meredith Monk (especially her extended vocal techniques), Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane. She has conducted most of her work in collaboration with her husband ...
(b San Francisco, CA, Nov 7, 1875; d Flintridge, CA, Dec 25, 1954). American folklorist, writer, lecturer, music patron, and singer. Born into a wealthy family (her father James Hague was a prominent geologist and mining engineer), she used her inheritance to support her research into Latin American music, particularly Mexican American and Mexican folksong. Prior to moving to Pasadena, California, in 1920, she lived in New York and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She studied music privately in France and Italy, was a member of the New York Oratorio Society, and directed church choirs in New York before she began work as a folklorist and folksinger by the early 1910s (she gave guitar-accompanied folksong recitals in that decade). Hague published numerous collections and studies of Mexican American, Mexican, and other Latin American folksongs; translated (with Marion Leffingwell) Julián Ribera y Tarragó’s Historia de la música árabe medieval y su influencia en la española...
Paul F. Wells
[Joseph C. ]
(b Lake Forest, IL, Oct 20, 1935). American Folklorist and folksinger. He was exposed to folk songs by his parents when he was a child and began to play the guitar as a teenager. His interest in folk music deepened during his undergraduate years at Oberlin College (BA 1957). Among other musical activities while in college he hosted a radio program and served as local agent for the Folkways, Stinson, and Elektra record labels. He pursued graduate studies in folklore (MA 1961) and ethnomusicology at Indiana University and began to hone his skills as a performer in parallel with his academic and archival work there. In 1963 he was hired as librarian at the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress (now the Archive of Folk Culture); this marked the beginning of a 35-year career at that institution. He was promoted to head of the archive in ...
revised by Israel J. Katz
(b Filzburg, nr Libau [now Liepāja, Latvia], June 11, 1882; d Johannesburg, Aug 15, 1938). Jewish cantor and musicologist of Russian birth. Raised in a traditional German Jewish environment, he trained as a cantor in Libau; he also studied briefly at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) where he met Eduard Birnbaum. Later he studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin and at the conservatory and university in Leipzig; his claim to have studied at both institutions with Kretzschmar (history), Zöllner (composition) and Jadassohn (harmony) remains unsubstantiated. He served as cantor at the Adat Jeshurun congregation, Leipzig (1902). From 1903 to 1905 he was a cantor at Regensburg and then after a year in Johannesburg he was persuaded by the president of the Zionist movement, David Wolffsohn, to emigrate to Jerusalem, where he lived from 1906 to 1921. These were decisive years for Idelsohn's research into the diverse musical traditions of the Sephardi and ‘Oriental’ Jewish communities and Muslim and Christian sects. Although his plans in ...
Jeff Todd Titon
(b White Plains, NY, Sept 4, 1925; d Bangor, ME, Aug 1, 2009). American folklorist, folksinger, and song collector. Ives was educated in English (MA, Columbia) and folklore (PhD, Indiana University), and taught for more than 40 years at the University of Maine. His travels in Maine and the Maritime Provinces of Canada brought him into contact with the traditions of local song-making and storytelling, particularly among men working in the woods in lumber camps and as guides. Ives’ reflexive studies of New England song-makers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries show a keen intelligence and generosity of spirit. His eight books concentrated on deceased working-class songsters and storytellers (Larry Gorman, Lawrence Doyle, Wilbur Day, George Magoon, and Joe Scott), and on creativity within traditional forms. He claimed that vernacular literature and song had social and aesthetic values that transcended its sentimentality. His teaching and writing inspired two generations of New England folklorists, and he was active as an educator and public speaker throughout the state of Maine, where he is remembered with affection. He founded the Northeast Archives of Folklore, which later became incorporated into the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, and which houses thousands of recorded interviews, photographs, and artifacts related to traditional music and lifeways in Maine and the Maritimes....
(b Lefkonoiko, May 5, 1904; d Nicosia, May 10, 2004). Cypriot church cantor, Byzantine music scholar, and folk song collector and singer. He studied Byzantine music with Stylianos Hourmouzios in Nicosia (1921–4). He continued his studies in Byzantine music with Ioannis Sakellarides and Spyros Kapsaskis at the National Conservatoire of Athens, where he also studied Western music (1933–4). In 1935 he was appointed chief cantor (protopsaltis) at Agios Ioannis, the archiepiscopal cathedral in Nicosia, where he remained until the end of his life. In 1934 he became the first person to make commercial recordings of Cypriot folk songs. The ten songs he recorded were issued by HMV in Athens. In 1951 he published Kypriaki Laïki Mousa (Cypriot Popular Muse), the largest collection of Cypriot folk songs up to that time, which contained 83 transcriptions in both Byzantine and staff notation.
As a Byzantine music scholar he published 13 books, which covered different aspects of liturgical chanting. He was also the founder of a Byzantine music school in Nicosia (...
(b Manchester, Aug 7, 1963). Palestinian singer, musician and musicologist. Her father came from Ya'bad, near Jenin, her mother from Nazareth, and Kilānī was born in England but brought up in Kuwait. She studied Western classical music as a child and started singing in public at an early age. After graduating in zoology from Kuwait University, she worked as a scientific assistant researcher. At the same time she built her reputation as a concert performer, at first mainly of jazz and then increasingly of Arab music. By the time Kilānī left Kuwait for London in 1989 she was a well-established performer. She has since built up an international career as a leading performer and researcher of Palestinian music. Her repertory includes traditional songs, improvisations and settings of contemporary Palestinian poetry. Through her workshops on music and dance for children, she communicates the Palestinian heritage to younger generations. She has given many concerts in Britain, and has toured North America, Europe and the Middle East. She has also worked as a performer, composer and adviser on numerous films, TV and radio programmes....
(b New York, NY, Sept 22, 1899; d Plainfield, NJ, May 23, 1979). American soprano and folklorist. She studied voice in New York with Cesare Stunai, Henry Russell, and Katherine Opdycke, and made her debut in 1929, as Gounod’s Marguerite, with the Quebec Opera Company, Montreal. During the 1930s, while continuing to sing opera in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere (her roles included Aida, Tosca, and Carmen), she became interested in American folk music and folklore and began collecting songs, particularly from residents of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and the Zuni Indians of New Mexico, about both of which she lectured and wrote articles. Her recital programs (from 1937) ranged from Hopkinson and Billings to MacDowell, Farwell, and Gershwin (often performed from manuscript); she also sang Native American songs in original languages and folksongs from all over North America. A frequent performer on radio, she was the soloist on ...
Hana Breko Kustura
(b Zadar, Croatia, Nov 9, 1966). Croatian musicologist and singer. She graduated in musicology from the Music Academy at Zagreb University (1989), where she also received the Masters degree in 1992. She subsequently moved to France where she completed the PhD in musicology with a dissertation on medieval chant from Montecassino (1998, under the direction of Marie-Noël Colette and Jean Vezin) at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.
She has worked as a research fellow in the Institute for Musicological Research of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb (1989–96); research fellow in the Institute for Medieval Music, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (1999–2000); Maître de conférences in medieval music and co-director of the Master Programme in Medieval Music Performance at the Université de Paris Sorbonne (2000–present, tenure awarded in 2002); and as artistic director and founder of the vocal ensemble Dialogos, which specializes in medieval liturgical repertories (...
( b London, Feb 29, 1908; d London, Sept 29, 1982). English ethnomusicologist and folksinger . At the age of 15 he went to Australia as an assisted migrant, working on sheep stations for nine years. There he learnt bush songs from fellow workers and educated himself in music and the arts. Returning to England in the early 1930s, he associated with the left-wing London artistic set and became a founder member of the Artists International Association (1935). Needing money he signed on as a labourer on a factory ship for the 1937–8 Antarctic whaling season. The trip provided few folksongs, as the crew tended to sing hymns and popular hits. On his return he worked as a BBC scriptwriter and as a journalist on Picture Post. A self-taught ethnomusicologist, he owed much to the work of Brăiloiu and Katsarova. Influenced by A.L. Morton’s A People’s History of England...
( b Rio de Janeiro, Jan 22, 1921). Brazilian musicologist, singer and diplomat . At the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música he studied composition with Oscar Lorenzo Fernândez, singing with Vera Janacopulos and chamber music with Francisco Mignone; concurrently he studied law at the University of Brazil (graduated 1943). After making his operatic début in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (1945), he embarked on a diplomatic career: he served in the Cultural Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized the first collection of music records for distribution abroad, and acted as cultural attaché and ambassador to many countries, including Portugal, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Italy, the USA, Ecuador, Israel, Peru and Germany. He was chairman of the Inter-American Music Council in Washington (1967–9) and of the Second Inter-American Conference of Music Education (Colombia, 1968); he was also the Brazilian delegate to the UNESCO General Conference (Paris, ...
(b Nottingham, Sept 19, 1944). English folk-rock and neo-traditional singer, fiddle player, songwriter and ethnomusicologist. In the early 1960s she was a resident singer at the Nottingham folk club. From 1964 to 1969, she and her husband Bob Pegg ran the traditional club the Sovereign in Leeds, and performed together on the national folk circuit. She introduced to the folk scene the English fiddle style (comprising short choppy bow strokes, double-stopping, drones and no vibrato), learnt from traditional fiddlers, including Jinky Wells, Peter Beresford and Harry Cox.
The Peggs recorded their interpretations of Sydney Carter's songs on And Now it is So Early (Galliard), and their own songs on He Came from the Mountains (Transatlantic, 1971), by which time they had launched the experimental and controversial folk-rock band Mr Fox . Carole Pegg's singer-songwriter album Carolanne (1973) mixed traditional English influences with rock and country music, and featured the guitarist Albert Lee. She went on to form Magus with Graham Bond while continuing to perform solo....
(b Constantinople [Istanbul], May 19, 1866 or 1874; d Athens, July 9, 1949). Greek musicologist, music teacher, cantor, and composer. He was crucial in organizing a systematic teaching of Byzantine music in Greece and in establishing a uniform repertory and mode of interpretation in all church rites. After studying philology and theology in Constantinople and serving there as a cantor and a music teacher, he moved to Athens in 1904 to organize a course of Byzantine music in the Conservatory of Athens, an institution fully adapted to German and French music education. Through his articles (mainly in the music periodicals Phorminx (1901–10) and his own Nea [New] Phorminx (1921–2)), his lectures, and the performances he gave with his students, he was successful in changing prevailing ideas and practices, spreading the concept of the importance of preserving the ‘original’ sources.
The influence of equal temperament over Byzantine music performance was another concern of his. He organized concerts with the string professors of the Conservatory instructing them to use unorthodox tunings. In collaboration with the mathematician Stavros Vrachamis he designed, for teaching purposes, a keyboard of 42 keys in each octave, capable of producing all scales of the Byzantine echoi. An organ and a few harmoniums were constructed in 1924 in G.F. Steinmeyer’s factory in Oettingen in Germany; they were funded by his student Eva Palmer-Sikelianos, the American wife of the poet Angelos Sikelianos. Psachos gave the instruments her name (...
(b Shoah, Ethiopia, 1949). Ethiopian singer, church musician, and liturgical scholar, naturalized American. Seyoum began studying music at the age of eight and attended various religious schools in his homeland. As he grew older, he began to learn new types of performance, including the Bethlehem style of singing, Christian chant, and sacred dance. At 17 years of age, he was already named a quanygeta, or “leader of the right hand side,” an important position among Ethiopian church musicians (also called dabrata). He quickly rose from deacon to marigeta, the leader of the musicians. He spent ten years in Greece learning more about liturgical practices and then came to the United States in 1982. Seyoum settled in Alexandria, Virgina, and joined the Debre Selam Kidist Mariam Church in Washington, DC. He became a leader there, and his remarkable musical skills have led to the preservation of many traditional elements of the Ethiopian Christian tradition in America. To codify and disseminate these practices, Seyoum released a six-CD set of liturgical materials. He has memorized the entirety of the Ethiopian Psalter (Dawit) and has intimate knowledge of other sacred books, such as the Ethiopian Hymnary. Seyoum is an expert of instrumental church practices, including those that are tied to the extremely complicated notational system from Ethiopia that includes more than 600 symbols. He is also the only living master of the prayer staff and its movements (an art called ...
(b Mexico City, Nov 11, 1932). Mexican ethnomusicologist, singer, percussionist and music administrator. She studied at the Colegio Juan de Dios Peza in San Luis Potosí (BA in philosophy and letters), the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City (singing and percussion, 1959–67) and the Idyllwild School of Music of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1965–70). Concurrently she lectured extensively on Mexican folk music in the USA and Europe and pursued a career as a performer. In 1966 she became head of the Sección de Investigaciones Musicales and in 1974 director of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and of the instrument museum of the same institute, where she also inaugurated the annual courses in ethnomusicology (1967–72). As an official researcher of the institute, she has studied and published in the areas of Mexican music history, folklore, dance, and ethnomusicology....
(b Elbasan, Albania, Oct 15, 1932). Albanian musicologist and singer . One of the foremost women in the state-socialist and now post-socialist music field, she has remained active as a performer and then scholar from the 1940s to the 2000s. She was one of the first graduates of Tirana’s Arts Lyceum ‘Jordan Misja’ in 1951. After graduation, she received a scholarship to study voice at the Moscow State Conservatory, where she graduated from the vocal class of Russian soprano Maria Vladimirova in 1956. On her return to Tirana, she was appointed soloist to the recently opened Theatre of Opera and Ballet and, in 1962, pedagogue at the State Conservatory. In 1969, she was named Music Secretary to the Albanian League of Writers and Artists, though her tenure proved short. She was replaced in 1973 during a period of political upheaval in the music field. Stringa’s early activities as a performer were eclipsed by her later career as a teacher and scholar. In the 1970s and 80s, she published many articles and several university textbooks on Albanian music history. She has remained active as a writer and part-time lecturer at the Conservatory into the 2000s. Most recently, she has published biographies of two early Albanian women musicians, Lola (Aleksi) Gjoka (...
Bonnie C. Wade and Inderjit N. Kaur
(b Jahaj, near Baroda, 1897; d Bombay, 1967). North Indian (Hindustani) classical music vocalist, educator, and musicologist. He was born to an impoverished military family. In about 1909 a wealthy Parsi patron sent him for musical training in the Gwalior style of singing to Vishnu Digambar Paluskar’s Gandharva Mahāvidyālaya in Bombay. In 1916 Paluskar assigned Thakur the position of principal of the school’s Lahore branch; there he became acquainted with the Patiala Gharānā style. In 1919 he started his own musical institution, the Gandharva Niketan, in Broach. He regularly performed the patriotic song Vande Matram at the annual sessions of the Indian National Congress and in the 1920s served as president of the Broach District Congress Committee.
Thakur was among the first Indian musicians to perform widely in Europe, and between 1933 and 1954 he gave concerts in many cities. His Khayāl style differed in important ways from the Gwalior ...
revised by Robert Atayan and Aram Kerovpyan
[Gomidas Vartabed; Soghomonian, Soghomon]
(b Kütahya, Turkey, Oct 8, 1869; d Paris, Oct 22, 1935). Armenian composer, ethnomusicologist, choral conductor, singer and teacher. One of the first Armenians to have a classical Western musical education, as well as instruction in the music of his own people, he laid the foundations for a distinctive national style in his many songs and choruses, all of which are deeply influenced by the folk and church traditions of Armenia. His work on Armenian folksong is also of musicological importance.
Robert Atayan, revised by Aram Kerovpyan
Both of his parents (his father Gevorg Soghomonian was a cobbler) had gifts for music and poetry; in 1881, however, the boy was orphaned and sent to Armenia to study at the Gevork’ian Theological Seminary in Vagharshapat (now Edjmiadzine), and was ordained as a celibate priest in 1894, being given the name Komitas (a 7th-century Catholicos who was also a hymn composer). There his beautiful voice and his musical talents attracted notice, and under Sahak Amatuni’s guidance he mastered the theory and practice of Armenian liturgical singing. He also made decisive contact with folksong, to the collection and study of which he gave himself wholeheartedly. When he had only just learnt Armenian modern notation he set about recording the songs of the Ararat valley peasants and immigrant Armenians of other regions. Although he had no knowledge of European music theory, he harmonized these songs for performance with a student choir at the academy. His earliest surviving collection of folk melodies dates from ...