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(b Naples, 1717 (?); d Naples, after July 28, 1778). Italian harpsichordist, composer, and maestro di cappella. Son of Giuseppe D’Alessandro, Gennaro studied with Leonardo Leo, according to tenor Anton Raaff. Fétis’ statement that D’Alessandro was born in 1717 is unsourced. On August 21, 1739 he was hired as maestro di coro at Venice’s Ospedale della Pietà, a position he retained until May 13, 1740. He was the first in a distinguished cohort of Neapolitan choirmasters who served at the Pietà during the 18th century, following a local trend started in 1726 by Nicola Porpora at the Ospedale degli Incurabili.

Of the sacred music D’Alessandro composed for the Pietà only incomplete vocal partbooks of a Miserere and a Missa brevis survive in the Fondo Correr of the Conservatorio ‘Benedetto Marcello’ in Venice, bearing the names of the soprano (Michielina) and the alto (Placida) among the figlie di coro...

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Jason A. Wright

(b Birmingham, AL, March 16, 1943; d Manhattan, NY, May 9, 2015). American organist and composer. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Robinson served The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Holy Family Catholic Church, Park Avenue Christian Church, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and Park Avenue Synagogue, all in New York City. He was chair of the organ department and professor of music (1984–2015) at the Manhattan School of Music. Robinson composed music for organ solo, organ and orchestra, chorus (122 compositions for both the Christian and Jewish traditions), and solo voice with organ and/or orchestral accompaniment. Other compositions include music for a film, 9 Variations on a Dance Theme (1966–7) directed by Hilary Harris, a play by Anne Sexton (1973), and an unfinished opera, Scene from Medea: an Opera in Progress (1979). His works were commissioned by houses of worship and concert halls across the United States. Noted commissions include works for the Archbishop of Canterbury (...

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Patrizio Barbieri

(b Gunzing, near Lohnsburg am Inn, Germany, Nov 28, 1669, d Mainz, Germany, April 30, 1728). German priest, philosopher, editor of Latin works of Raymond Lull, and inventor of an enharmonic keyboard. While working at the court of Johann Wilhelm, Prince-Elector of the Palatinate, in Düsseldorf, Salzinger invented and built a keyboard (‘Tastatura nova perfecta’) accommodating the division of the octave into 31 equal parts. His enharmonic harpsichord is mentioned by Joseph Paris Feckler, who reports (1713) that a further two had been ordered: one for the Emperor in Augsburg, the other for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in Florence. Details of this instrument appear in Salzinger’s ‘Revelatio secretorum artis’ (1721), which he published as an introduction to his edition of Lull’s Ars magna et major. This work tells that ‘the Most Serene Elector continuously used this harpsichord for music at court’, and that years earlier the construction of an organ with the same kind of keyboard had begun, only to be halted in ...

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Malcolm Riley

(b Chatham, June 1, 1903; d Bournemouth, May 1, 1946). English organist and composer. The only child of William Thomas Whitlock and Annie Jemima Reeves, he was enrolled as a chorister at Rochester Cathedral, Kent from the age of seven (initially under Bertram Luard-Selby) and later appointed assistant organist there under Charles Hylton Stewart. In 1920, at the age of 16, he won the Kent Scholarship to the RCM, where he studied composition with Stanford and Vaughan Williams and organ with Henry G. Ley. From 1924 to 1928 he was Organist of St Mary’s Church, Chatham, when he was forced, due to ill-health, to cut back his activities. After a short time for treatment at the Midhurst Tuberculosis sanatorium in Sussex he took up the part-time post of Organist of St Matthew’s Parish Church in Borstal, a village near Rochester. His move to Bournemouth in 1930 resulted in greater awareness of his accomplishments both as a performer and composer. There he worked as Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Church until ...