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Article

John Bergsagel

(Schack Olufsen)

(b Brande, Jutland, April 9, 1893; d Copenhagen, Feb 17, 1949). Danish musicologist. After studying at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music (1910–13), where he graduated as an organist, he was organist and choirmaster at the Luther Church (1914–24) and head of the music division of the Copenhagen Royal Library (1916–21). As a student he attended Hammerich's lectures in music history at Copenhagen University (there was no degree course in music history until 1915) and in 1917 he became the first MA in musicology in Denmark, graduating with a dissertation on the transition from Catholic to Protestant liturgy in Denmark in the 16th and 17th centuries. During his years at the Royal Library he began to study its large collection of Latin liturgical fragments on the basis of which he tried to reconstruct the Danish medieval liturgy and to provide a demonstration of Peter Wagner’s theory of the two traditions, Roman and Germanic, of Gregorian chant. He submitted this as a doctoral dissertation to the university in ...

Article

Stanley Webb

revised by Paul Hale

(Galpin)

(b Edenbridge, Dec 29, 1861; d Salisbury, Sept 11, 1947). English organist. One of the most able cathedral organists of his day, Alcock had the unique distinction of having played in Westminster Abbey at the coronation of three English kings: Edward VII, George V and George VI. After studying under Sullivan and Stainer, he was successively organist at the Chapel Royal, assistant to Sir Frederick Bridge at the Abbey, and then organist of Salisbury Cathedral for 30 years (from 1917 until his death). Much in demand as a recitalist, he was one of the famous ABC trio (Alcock, Thalben-Ball and G.D. Cunningham) who jointly opened the BBC Concert Hall organ in 1932. Two years later he oversaw the rebuilding, with minimal alteration, of the Salisbury ‘Father Willis’ organ at a time when many Willis organs were being completely revoiced. H.C. Colles wrote of ‘his finished technique, cleanness of phrasing and impeccable taste’; he made numerous recordings, many of which were reissued in the 1990s. He had considerable influence as a teacher at the RCM and composed a number of organ and choral works, now rarely performed. He was knighted in ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Westcliff, Essex, March 29, 1906; d Boston, March 10, 1977). American organist of English birth. He studied at the RAM in London. After touring the USA in 1929 as the soloist in an ensemble, he took up residence there in 1930 and became an American citizen in 1937, initially holding church and teaching positions before embracing a career as a recitalist, broadcaster and recording artist that did much to popularize the concert organ and organ music as well as the artist. From 1942 to 1958 he broadcast weekly solo programmes over a nationwide radio network. Originating in the Germanic (now Busch-Reisinger) Museum at Harvard University, these recitals on an Aeolian-Skinner ‘classic style’ organ brought the sound of organ mixtures, mutations and Baroque reeds, as well as the music itself, to many listeners for the first time. Biggs was meanwhile an indefatigable public performer. A product of both activities was the extensive series of recordings, made in the USA and in many European cities, including the ‘Historic Organs of England’, the ‘Mozart Organ Tour’ and the award-winning ‘The Glory of Gabrieli’, the Handel organ concertos (recorded at Great Packington), various Bach projects, and others with instrumental ensembles. Biggs published editions of early music and performed new works (by Hanson, Piston, Quincy Porter, Sowerby and others, with particular emphasis on those for organ and orchestra). His career was marked, then, by interest in organ music of all eras and in many kinds of organs most suitable to its interpretation, and by unfailing energy in performance. He played with most major American orchestras, and in ...

Article

William F. Coscarelli

(Joyce)

(b Wichita, KS, May 1941). American concert organist. At age five she started piano lessons and at age eleven, after hearing Alexander Schreiner play the Mormon Tabernacle organ, she began organ studies. Bish studied organ with Dorothy Addy, Era Wilder Peniston, Mildred Andrews, and Marie-Claire Alain, studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt, and attended classes with Nadia Boulanger. In 1982 she began her own television series The Joy of Music, which continues to reach a vast worldwide audience every week. She also served as organist at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 20 years.

Bish has won several performance competitions and has been the recipient of prestigious awards. In 1963, while a student at the University of Oklahoma, she won the Mu Phi Epsilon student performance competition and later went on to be a national Mu Phi composition winner. In 1989 she was awarded the National Citation by the National Federation of Music Clubs of America. In ...

Article

Malcolm Turner

(b Wigan, Sept 15, 1890; d Aylesbury, May 24, 1979). English organist and educationist. He was a pupil of and assistant organist to Bairstow at Leeds (1907–12), and took the BMus (1908) and DMus (1914) degrees at Durham University, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1909. His first important post, suborganist at Manchester Cathedral (1912–15), was interrupted by war service, after which he was organist at St Michael’s College, Tenbury (1919), and organist and choirmaster of Exeter Cathedral (1919–27). On Nicholson’s retirement from Westminster Abbey in 1928, Bullock succeeded him as organist and Master of the Choristers. In this post he was obliged to provide the music for several royal functions; for the coronation of King George VI (1937) he wrote the fanfares and conducted the choir and orchestra, in acknowledgment of which he was created CVO. He also provided all but one of the fanfares for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

revised by Judi Caldwell

(b Bloomfield, NJ, March 2, 1865; d New York, Dec 8, 1936). American organist. A pupil of Samuel P. Warren, he became organist of First Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey, in 1882. Later (c1890) he studied in Paris with Alexandre Guilmant, and in 1892 he became organist of Old First Presbyterian Church in New York. In 1899 he founded the Guilmant Organ School, apparently the first institution of its kind in the USA. As a teacher Carl advocated, in place of the older, rhythmically slack tradition, the “clean-cut playing of Guilmant.” As a recitalist throughout the USA and abroad and as a teacher of organists, Carl introduced an expanded repertory, a more brilliant technique, and a broader view of church music. The Guilmant Organ School trained hundreds of professional church musicians, many of whom became well known. Although not himself a composer, Carl edited at least ten volumes of organ music between ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Kankakee, IL, May 3, 1885; d Ann Arbor, MI, Feb 19, 1947). American organist. In Chicago he studied with Clarence Dickinson and was organist and music director of Hyde Park Presbyterian Church (1906–9). He studied abroad with Karl Straube in Leipzig (1909–10) and with Alexandre Guilmant in Paris (1910–11) and then returned to Chicago to become organist of Kenwood Church (1911–18). After a lengthy illness, probably tuberculosis, he served for two years (1920–21) as municipal organist in Denver. From 1924 until his death he was university organist and professor at the University of Michigan.

Christian toured extensively as a solo recitalist and a performer with leading American orchestras. At Michigan he taught many pupils who were later prominent. He gave frequent recitals on the large Skinner organ in Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and also arranged performances by visiting recitalists who enriched the musical scene and widened his students’ horizons. A reviewer in ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

revised by Judi Caldwell

(b New Orleans, LA, March 15, 1912; d New Jersey, Sept 30, 1978). American organist. She began to study piano at the age of five and organ at ten, and at fourteen she became an organist at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in her native city. Her first public organ recital was at Christ Church there in 1933. Her early training was with William C. Webb. She studied in the summers of 1935 and 1936 and during the academic year 1937–8 with Palmer Christian at the University of Michigan and then in New York with Charles Courboin and in Paris with Marcel Dupré. She made her New York début in Calvary Church in 1938. In 1939 she became the first woman to give an organ recital in Cadet Chapel at West Point, where she later made a recording. In addition to making extensive concert tours, she taught at Oberlin Conservatory, at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and in New York at Mannes College, the Dalcroze School, and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary; she also taught at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. From ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

revised by Judi Caldwell

(Victor)

(b Easton, PA, Jan 23, 1904; d Los Angeles, CA, July 7, 1971). American organist. The son of a minister, he became organist of St Peter’s Reformed Church in Easton at the age of 11. Charles Davis was his first teacher. After his family moved to California in 1920, he played at Holliston Avenue Methodist Church in Pasadena and studied with Homer Grunn. In 1926–7 he was a pupil of Lynnwood Farnam in New York. From 1929 to 1966 he served as organist and choirmaster of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. He was also head of the Occidental College organ department (1955–68). Mader was active as a recitalist and much interested in the affairs of the American Guild of Organists. His compositions, which span his whole career, include an organ concerto. It is as a teacher of organists, however, that his name endures; he inspired devotion in his students, among whom were David Craighead, Thomas Murray, Orpha Ochse, and Ladd Thomas. His wife, Ruth Goodrich Mader, was also an active organist. The Clarence V. Mader Archive is in the UCLA Music Library; a catalogue was published in ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Eureka, CA, Aug 18, 1905; d Philadelphia, PA, June 1, 1983). American organist. A pupil of Farnam (1924–7), he made his début at Town Hall, New York, in 1926 and graduated from the Curtis Institute in 1934. His career was closely tied to three institutions; from 1927 to 1971 he was organist and choirmaster at Second (later combined with First) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; from 1935 to 1972 he was head of the organ department at the Curtis Institute; and from 1940 to 1965 he held the same post at Westminster Choir College, Princeton. His performances and teaching influenced many young recitalists and church musicians. His wife, Flora Greenwood, a harpist whom he married in 1932, often joined him in recitals. To a splendid innate musical ability he added the attention to rhythm, accuracy, and colorful registration that had been the special marks of Farnam’s playing. He published articles in ...

Article

William Osborne

(b Frome, Somersetshire, England, April 12, 1834; d New York, July 2, 1916). American organist of English birth. He immigrated to New York in 1863 and sang briefly as a volunteer tenor under Henry S. Cutler at Trinity Church. During the next three years he served as organist at several different churches in Philadelphia, but returned in 1866 to succeed Cutler as organist of Trinity Church, serving in that position until 1897. He and Cutler were pioneers who had a formative influence on church music in this country during a period of transition; their aim was to introduce the innovations of the Oxford Movement through choral services sung by well-trained, vested, all-male choirs. In 1870 Messiter began using an orchestra seated at the front of the nave, about 100 meters from the choir in a rear gallery, with separate organs supporting each component. He compiled three books of service music (a ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b Heron Lake, MN, Sept 18, 1897; d New York, Sept 22, 1960). American organist and educator. The son of a Methodist minister, he received the BM degree from the American Conservatory in Chicago in 1920 and the BA from Northwestern University in 1924. He also studied with Wilhelm Middelschulte, Lynnwood Farnam, T. Tertius Noble, and Nadia Boulanger, and at Union Theological Seminary (MSM 1930, DSM 1944). He taught at Northwestern, the Juilliard School, New York University, the Mannes College, and, from 1931, the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary. In 1945 he became director there, following Clarence Dickinson, and was Clarence and Helen Dickinson Professor from 1947 until his death. Porter toured as a recitalist, served in many churches (including the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas in New York), and was organist for several years at the Chautauqua Institution. He and his wife, Ethel K. Porter, were the music editors of the ...

Article

William Osborne

(b Culworth, Northamptonshire, England, Dec 15, 1869; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 8, 1937). American organist of English birth. He was awarded a degree by Queen’s College, Oxford, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in 1890. From 1882 to 1886 he was organist and music instructor at the Magdalen College School, Brackley. In Oxford he served as organist of St George’s (1887–9) and Sts Mary and John (1889–93), organist of Queen’s College (1886–93) and choirmaster of All Saints’, Warwick (1893–4). Sabin then immigrated and settled in San Francisco, where he held appointments at St Luke’s Episcopal Church (1894–1906), Temple Emanu-El (1896–1937) and First Church of Christ, Scientist (1906–37). He became a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists in 1899. He played at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis (...

Article

Ramona H. Matthews

(b Mörlunda, Jan 28, 1866; d Lewiston, ID, Oct 16, 1949). American psychologist and musician of Swedish birth. His family emigrated to the USA in 1869. Having studied the organ as a child, he served as a church organist from the age of 14; he attended Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota (BA 1891), and Yale University (PhD 1895), where he studied psychology and worked as an assistant in the psychological laboratory (1895–7). He was subsequently appointed (1902) to the University of Iowa, where he stayed for the rest of his career, as professor and (from 1905) head of the department of psychology and of the psychological laboratory, and for two periods (1908–37 and 1942–6) as dean of the graduate college. He was a pioneer in experimental psychology, and with his students developed many instruments for the measurement of visual, aural and kinesthetic perception, and for the graphic representation of such aspects of musical performance as rhythm, pitch, timbre and vibrato. This latter information was used in performance analysis, with special emphasis on the vibrato, and eventually influenced Seashore's theories of musical aesthetics....

Article

Martin Stokes

(b Sivrialan, Sivas, 1894; d Sivrialan, Sivas, March 21, 1973). Turkish folk musician who was blind. He was the product of a rural Turkish musical culture shaped by Alevi (heterodox Islamic) mysticism since at least the 15th century and focussed on the music of the bağlama or saz (long-necked plucked lute), played by ritual specialists known as aşık (‘lovers’; see Turkey §II 1.). Veysel was also shaped to a significant extent by the experience of nation-building in the early Turkish Republic, achieving distinction at the Republic’s decennial festival, Cumhuriyet Onuncu Yılı, in Ankara in 1933. His songs attracted the attention of the nationalist intelligentsia for their direct and unadorned expression of national sentiment and a humanistic mysticism; his work, largely improvised around fixed melodic and poetic schemes, was written down and extensively published. Songs such as Dostlar beni hatırlasın and Uzun ince bir yoldayım are widely known throughout Turkey. Along with many rural ...

Article

Vernon Gotwals

(b London, Ont., June 20, 1900; d Fairfield, CT, Sept 21, 1980). American organist of Canadian birth. A graduate of the University of Toronto (1924), he studied organ there with Healey Willan. In 1925 he went to New York to study with Lynnwood Farnam (White had been a boy soprano at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Ontario, where Farnam was organist). He played at Flatbush Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, then at St George’s, Flushing. From 1927 to 1935 he was organist at St James’s in Philadelphia. He taught at various times at Bard College, Pius X School of Liturgical Music, Swarthmore College, Peabody Conservatory, Union Theological Seminary, and Butler University. His most influential post, however, was as organist, and later director of music, at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, New York (1937–58). In 1962 he became director of music at the Church of the Saviour, Syracuse, New York; his last position was at St George’s in Bridgeport, Connecticut....

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

[Roosevelt James]

(b New Orleans or Little Rock, AR, Sept 11, 1933). American organist. He was probably born in New Orleans and grew up in Little Rock, but a conclusive source of information concerning this has yet to be found. His father was a minister of a church in Little Rock and his mother was a missionary and pianist. Willette’s nickname, Baby Face, came from his youthful appearance and small physical stature. He studied piano from 1938 and in his youth played organ in his father’s church. From the early 1950s he worked as a pianist and organist in gospel and rhythm-and-blues groups, touring with, among others, Joe Houston, King Kolax, and Johnny Otis. At some point during these years he made Chicago his home, and while there came to be influenced by local gospel organists; he was also attracted by the recordings of Charlie Parker.

Willette recorded on both piano and organ in a rhythm-and-blues style in ...