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(b Oss, March 10, 1970). Dutch composer. He trained first as a recording engineer at The Hague Royal Conservatory, taking additional lessons in classical guitar with Antonio Pereira Arias, then went on to study composition with Andriessen family, §3, Gilius van Bergeijk and Diderik Wagenaar He quickly gained prominence as a composer of works for soloist and/or ensemble with soundtrack, combining economy of material with discontinuous structures and a theatrical component. In 2002, Van der Aa studied film direction at the New York Film Academy. Starting with the chamber opera One for soprano, video and soundtrack (2002), he has since expanded his activities to include script writing, filmmaking and stage directing. He has received the International Gaudeamus Prize (1999), the Matthijs Vermeulen prize (2004), the Charlotte Köhler Prize (2005), the Siemens Composers Grant (2005) and the Paul Hindemith Prize (...

Article

J. Michele Edwards

(Kimura)

(b Tokyo, April 18, 1937). Japanese marimba player and composer. After xylophone study with Eiichi Asabuki (1950–59), she earned two degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University, studying composition with Shosuke Ariga and Toshio Kashiwagi as well as percussion with Masao Imamura and Yusuke Oyake. An active professional performer since 1960, she has toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia with annual recital tours since 1981. Through development of new technical skills and by expanding the repertory with over 70 commissions, she has contributed significantly to the status of marimba music, for which she was honoured by induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. After a decade of studio work and orchestral playing, she studied the performances of jazz artists such as Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton in order to develop her own personal style of improvisation as a creative source for composition. Technically challenging yet idiomatic for the marimba, her works generally begin with improvisation and are later notated. Her compositions include wide dynamic ranges, techniques borrowed from folk music traditions and careful voicing of chords. Using four- and sometimes six-mallet technique, she often combines a melodic line with an impressionistic background of rhythmic patterns. Her performances of her compositions and those of other Japanese composers have been very influential on developments in the USA, especially since ...

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Barry Long

(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...

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Andreas Vejvar

(b Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria, March 15, 1959). Austrian composer. After studying jazz piano at the Graz Hochschule für Musik (1977–9), he studied composition privately with Gösta Neuwirth (1979). He continued his studies at the Vienna Music Academy (1979–82), where his teachers included Haubenstock-Ramati. From 1982 until 1990 he taught at the Kreuzberg Musikschule. His other activities have included founding the ensemble Zwischentöne (1988), and directing the zeit geben I–III, Klangwerkstatt (Berlin, 1990–92) and Insel Musik 24 (Berlin, 1997) festivals. He has served as guest conductor for various ensembles in Vienna and Berlin, and as guest composer at the Graz Institut für Elektronische Musik (1996).

Ablinger has remarked, ‘It is not what is different that counts but what is the same; that is where the One can occur’. This aesthetic posture has led him to compose several series of works in which many of the same elements carry over from one piece to the next. The first piece in his series ...

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Anders Beyer

(b Copenhagen, Dec 23, 1952). Danish composer. He first studied the horn and was later trained in music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He also undertook private studies in composition from Nørgård and Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, among others. Abrahamsen was active for a period in the Gruppen for Alternativ Musik, a forum for musicians who wished to perform new music in alternative forms; the group also aimed to develop socially and politically committed music, and Abrahamsen was thus able to cultivate his interest in political issues expressed through music. (His first symphony was originally entitled Anti-EEC-Sats (‘Anti-EEC Movement’); it became Symphony in C after the composer came to the realization that ‘music cannot be against’.) In 1982 Abrahamsen became a teacher of instrumentation at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He has also been artistic director of the Esbjerg Ensemble since 1988.

The composer’s first works adhered to the style of the Danish ‘new simplicity’ movement of the mid-1960s. For Abrahamsen and other composers such as Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Christiansen and Ole Buck, this stylistic attitude, which marked a break with serial music, was a Danish response to the complexity emanating from central Europe, particularly the circle around the Darmstadt School. In Abrahamsen this aesthetic anchorage came to mean an almost naive simplicity in musical expression, as exemplified in his orchestral piece ...

Article

[Abrams, Richard Louis ]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965...

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Angelina Petrova

(b March 28, 1936; d Nov 6, 2006). Bulgarian composer and musicologist. He studied composition under Pantcho Vladigerov at the State Conservatoire (now renamed the Pantcho Vladigerov National Music Academy) in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worked as a conductor with the Filip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble, and as a lecturer (from 1966) and professor (from 1990) of symphonic orchestration at the NMA. He served as vice-president of the NMA (1999–2001) and as Minister of Culture (2001–2005).

A composer of symphonic and chamber music, his individual style epitomizes the post-tonal tendencies of the early 20th century; he distanced himself from the Social Realism movement that was imposed upon composers in the countries of Eastern Europe. After 1990 he also wrote cantatas and oratorios, which exhibit an even more radical post-tonal style. He is the author of a number of theoretical studies on symphonic orchestration....

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Mario Rey

(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.

A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...

Article

Enrique Cordero Rodríguez

(b San José, Aug 24, 1943). Costa Rican composer, ethnomusicologist and baritone. He obtained a teaching diploma and the BA at the University of Costa Rica Conservatory, with singing as his special subject. During 1975–6 he lived in Paris, where he studied singing at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique, Gregorian chant and choral conducting at the Catholic University and ethnomusicology at the Sorbonne. He taught at the Escuela de Artes Musicales of the University of Costa Rica (1976–90; director of the Escuela, 1983–7; dean of the fine arts faculty of the university, 1987–91). In 1994, with the painter Ronald Mills, he co-founded the Centro de Investigaciones y Documentación de Musica y de Artes Plásticas, researching the traditional music of Guanacaste and Limón provinces and of the Costa Rican indigenous people, conducting field studies in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, making recordings, publishing books and articles, and holding lectures and seminars....

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Stefan Fricke

(b Sibiu, Nov 3, 1940; d Munich, May 27, 2006). German composer of Romanian birth. He studied the piano, the organ and theory privately with Franz Xaver Dressler in Sibiu (1950–58). From 1959 to 1964 he studied composition with Toduta at the Cluj Academy of Music where, after receiving his diploma, he remained to teach composition and music theory. In 1969 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany to teach at the Robert Schumann Conservatory, Düsseldorf (1969–72) and attend the Darmstadt summer course (1969). He was appointed to teach theory and composition at the Munich Musikhochschule in 1972, becoming professor of composition there in 1976. His awards included the composition prize of the Prague Spring Festival (1966), the Stuttgart Stamitz prize (1970), the city of Stuttgart composition prize (1971), the Stroud Festival composition prize, the Hitzacker prize (...

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Petr Kofroň and Geoffrey Chew

(b Křemačov, Czech Republic, June 29, 1947; d Valašské Klobouky, July 3, 2009). Czech composer. He studied composition and the piano at the Brno Conservatory (1965–9), and composition at the Janáček Academy in Brno with Ištvan (1969–74) and with Piňos and Ctirad Kohoutek (1976–9). With the exception of a brief period as a teacher at the conservatory in Kroměříž, he lived in seclusion as a village music teacher in Valašské Klobouky.

In the early 1970s Adamík was influenced by the collage and montage techniques of his teacher Ištvan, and combined contemporary idioms with historical elements, notably in Nebeské pastviny (‘Celestial Pastures’, 1972). From the mid-1970s he experimented with unusual instrumental resources: in the Wind Quintet (1979) he used children’s toy instruments in place of their conventional counterparts. Each instrumental part, moreover, is also playable singly. Adamík’s interest in historical models intensified during the 1980s and is evident in compositions such as the Second Symphony (...

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

Kendra Preston Leonard

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 1, 1962). American composer and librettist. He attended New York University, where he won the Paulette Goddard Remarque award for undergraduate playwriting, and the Catholic University of America, from which he received a Bachelor of Music degree in composition in 1990 and was the winner of the Theodore Presser award for outstanding undergraduate composition. He has taught composition at New York University, City University of New York, and American Lyric Theater. Adamo first came to widespread public attention with the première of his opera Little Women (1998), for which he also wrote the libretto, based on the Louisa May Alcott novel. The international success of Little Women led to his appointment as composer-in-residence at the New York City Opera from 2001 through 2006, where he led the company’s VOX: Showcasing American Composers programme; and to his residency as Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2003. Adamo’s music, which embraces a wide variety of 20th- and 21st-century techniques and influences ranging from music-theatre to serialism, has garnered commissions for four full-length operas from the companies of San Francisco, Dallas, and Houston, as well as orchestral and chamber works for Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, Sir James Galway, baritone Thomas Hampson, and the chamber choir Chanticleer. He has served as stage director for a number of his own works, including productions of ...

Article

Sarah Cahill

(Coolidge)

(b Worcester, MA, Feb 15, 1947). American composer and conductor. Known particularly for his operatic works on contemporary subjects, he is considered one of the most frequently performed living composers of concert music.

He studied the clarinet with his father and with Felix Viscuglia, clarinettist with the Boston SO. At the age of ten he began theory and composition lessons, and at 14 he had his first piece performed by the community orchestra with whom he practised conducting. He also performed with the orchestra alongside his father, often appearing before an audience of mentally-handicapped patients at the New Hampshire State Hospital. As a student at Harvard University (1965–71, MA 1972) he studied composition with Leon Kirchner, Earl Kim, Roger Sessions, Harold Shapero and David Del Tredici. During this period he performed occasionally as a clarinettist with the Boston SO.

After moving to San Francisco in 1971...

Article

Josephine Wright

(b Cleveland, Dec 20, 1932). American composer. He attended Oberlin College (BMEd 1955), California State University, Long Beach (MA 1967) and Ohio State University (PhD 1973), and studied privately with Herbert Elwell, Robert Starer, Vittorio Giannini, Leon Dallin, Edward Mattila and Marcel Dick. He has taught at Stillman College (1963–4), Florida A&M University (1968–9) and the University of Kansas (1969–78). His honours include composition awards from the National Association of Negro Women (1963) and the Christian Arts Annual National Competition for Choral Music (1979), fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation (1979) and Yaddo (1980, 1984), and commissions from the Center for Black Music Research, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.

Adams writes in a lyrical style that fuses elements of jazz and black folksong with 20th-century compositional techniques. A few of his works, including ...

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Arnold Whittall

(Joseph Edmund )

(b London, March 1, 1971). English composer. After early success as a performer, winning second piano prize in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1989, he read music at Cambridge (1989–92). His rise to prominence as a composer was rapid, with commissions from the Hallé Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, Almeida Opera and the City of Birmingham SO, combined with various residencies. Adès's connection with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group led to his appointment as its Music Director, and as well as teaching composition at the RAM he became increasingly active as a conductor. In 1999 he received both the Ernst von Siemens Prize and the Grawemeyer Award, and became joint artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival.

Adès's compositions showed exceptional assurance of style and technique from the beginning, and his success had much to do with the unmistakable presence of a personal accent in music which blends vividness of detail with a clear sense of compelling overall design: the inexorable build-up in the third section of ...

Article

Geoffrey Block

(b New York, August 3, 1921; d Southampton, NY, June 21, 2012). American composer and lyricist. Although the son of the distinguished pianist and pedagogue Charles Adler, he received no musical training and instead studied playwriting with Paul Green at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1943. In 1950, after completing service in the navy (1943–6), he began to compose radio programmes and special material with co-composer and lyricist, Jerry Ross (Jerrold Ross; b Bronx, NY, 9 March 1926; d New York, 11 Nov 1955). By 1953 Adler and Ross had written a popular song hit, Rags to Riches, and contributed songs for the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. Over the next two years they composed two critically acclaimed and long-running musicals for Broadway: The Pajama Game(1954), a musicalization of labour relations in a pajama factory, and Damn Yankees (...

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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 ...

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James P. Cassaro

(b New York, May 31, 1955). American composer. A graduate of the Juilliard School (1976), he has taught at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts (1983–1993), at Yale University (1984–5) and in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School (1974–93). In 1992 he was appointed education director and music administrator of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was composer-in-residence at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (1989), Music from Angel Fire (1988) and the 92nd Street Y School Concert Series (1988–90). A prolific composer of chamber music, Adolphe has been the recipient of numerous commissions, including those from the Metropolitan Opera Guild (The Amazing Adventure of Alvin Allegretto), the Concert Artists Guild (Whispers of Mortality) and the Dorian Wind Quintet (Night Journey). His brass quintet, ...

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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 ...