(b Philadelphia, PA, July 19, 1843; d Philadelphia, PA, 1918). American pianist, singer, educator, and composer. He studied music with his father Thomas à Becket Sr. (b 17 March 1808; d 6 Jan 1890) and in Philadelphia public schools. The father, a music teacher, actor and composer, wrote Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean. In 1855 Thomas à Becket Jr. performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in a work written by his father. He developed into one of the finest, most sought after accompanists in the city, joining with leading artists and singing groups. Member and president of the Mendelssohn Club, he sang in a series of 35 light operas produced at the Amateur Drawing Room (1868–72) and accompanied the Orpheus Club (1877–98). An important educator, from 1873 until he died à Becket taught and played the organ at Girard College, a residential school for orphaned boys. À Becket became a member of a group of professional musicians who evaluated music teaching methods in the Philadelphia Public Schools. À Becket family archives at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts include diaries (...
Martha Furman Schleifer
John R. Gardner
( b London, 1817; d London, Dec 11, 1863). English composer . She was the eldest daughter of Joseph Glossop, a friend of George IV; she married Gilbert Abbott A’Beckett, a magistrate and humorous writer. Apart from a dozen songs and two waltzes for piano, A’Beckett composed three operas: The Young Pretender...
Giovanni Carli Ballola
revised by Roberta Montemorra Marvin
(b Alessandria, March 20, 1851; d Alessandria, May 2, 1894). Italian organist and composer. He began his musical studies with his stepfather, Pietro Cornaglia. From 1868 to 1871 he attended the Milan Conservatory, studying the piano with Antonio Angeleri and composition with Lauro Rossi and Mazzucato. His graduation exercise, the cantata Caino e Abele, won the first prize and a medal of honour. He toured abroad as a concert pianist, but from 1880 until his death was organist at the cathedral in Alessandria, where he also founded a school of composition, singing and piano, and conducted concerts for the Associazione filarmonica alessandrina. He composed three operas, Isabella Spinola (1877, Milan), Maria di Warden (1884, Venice) and Una partita a scacchi (1892, Pavia), the latter based on Giuseppe Giacosa's popular comedy. In these works, which did not have much success, Abbà Cornaglia remained uninfluenced by the innovatory tendencies of the ‘Scapigliatura’ and of Catalani and by the new ...
revised by John D. Drake and Stephan Hörner
(b Bayreuth, Feb 20, 1761; d Stuttgart, March 2, 1838). German composer, pianist and organist. In 1771 he became a pupil of A. Boroni at the Hohe Karlsschule in Stuttgart, where in 1782 he joined the private band of the Duke of Württemberg as a harpsichordist. On Zumsteeg's death in 1802 he succeeded him as Konzertmeister, and took over the direction of the ensemble until the appointment of J.F. Kranz. By 1815 he held the position of organist at court and director of the official music. In 1832, having completed 50 years' service with the court, he was given a gold medal and a pension.
Most of Abeille's compositions date from the first 30 years of his service at Stuttgart. Besides two sonatas for keyboard with accompanying violin (1783), his published instrumental works include sonatas and other pieces for both piano solo and piano duet, a piano trio, a piano concerto and a concerto for piano duet, which was favourably mentioned by Gerber (...
Anna Amalie Abert
(b Kochowitz, nr Leitmeritz, Bohemia, Sept 20, 1832; d Stuttgart, April 1, 1915). Bohemian composer. After studying at the Prague Conservatory, he was engaged in 1853 as a double-bass player at the Stuttgart Hofkapelle where he then served as Kapellmeister from 1867 to 1888. Between 1852 and 1894 he composed orchestral and chamber music in addition to sacred and secular vocal works. He was most important in the field of operatic composition, his six operas winning him acclaim as one of the masters between Meyerbeer and Wagner. His first opera, Anna von Landscron (1858), was firmly rooted in the German Romantic opera tradition. However König Enzio, produced four years later, clearly showed the influence of French grand opera, which the composer had studied first-hand during a long visit to Paris. He was especially successful in 1866 with his third opera, Astorga, whose less dramatic text allowed scope for his primarily lyrical style to develop. In ...
(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...
Edward F. Kravitt
(b Eilenburg, Dec 22, 1819; d Wiesbaden, March 31, 1885). German composer. His father, a clergyman and an enthusiastic pianist, gave him his first instruction in music; he then went to Leipzig to study theology and music at the university and the Thomasschule. There he made friends with Lortzing, Mendelssohn and Schumann. On the death of his father (1837), he decided to concentrate entirely on music. Though engaged in Bernburg (1841) as Kapellmeister, he soon left for Zürich, distinguishing himself there as an outstanding and immensely popular choirmaster. He was appointed director of nearly all of its numerous choral societies in succession, often winning prizes for them. In 1852 he became conductor at the opera house in Brunswick, which had been designated a national theatre in 1818. He was appointed director of the Hofkapelle in 1855. Faithful to his first love, choral conducting, he developed an international reputation and was invited to conduct in many capital cities of Europe. A spectacular reception awaited him on his tour of the USA (...
(b Santiago, 1863; d Santiago, May 29, 1911). Chilean composer. He studied theory and singing at the National Conservatory, and the organ and composition privately. He was organist at Santiago Cathedral, and occasionally conducted zarzuelas. In 1902 he composed the first act of his opera-ballet Caupolicán; based on the 16th-century poem La araucana by Alonso de Ercilla, the libretto is by Pedro Antonio Pérez and Adolfo Urzúa Rozas. The première of Act 1 took place at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, in June 1902. Acevedo then received an award that enabled him to study in Milan, where he composed the last two acts of Caupolicán. The complete work, comprising three acts and 11 scenes, was given its first performance at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, on 8 December 1942, more than 30 years after the composer’s death. Acevedo also composed masses and other religious works, but the public, devoted to Italian opera at that time, never accepted his music....
José López-Calo and Andrew Lamb
(b La Granja de S Ildefonso, Segovia, March 20, 1837; d Madrid, Feb 21, 1876). Spanish composer. In 1853 he entered the Madrid Conservatory, where his composition teacher was Emilio Arrieta, and in 1858 he won a gold medal for composition. For an opera competition in 1869 he composed, in collaboration with Antonio Llanos (1841–1906), the prize-winning El puñal de misericordia; he also wrote some religious music, most notably a Stabat mater. However, he was influenced mainly by Arrieta towards the composition of zarzuelas. His works in this genre were well received in his time, particularly Sensitiva (1870), but his fame has now been eclipsed by that of contemporaries such as Barbieri and Oudrid (in collaboration with whom he composed El testamento azul) and Caballero (with whom he composed El trono de Escocia).
zarzuelas unless otherwise stated; for more detailed list see GroveO...
(b Naples, Aug 25, 1829; d Portici, nr Naples, Feb 2, 1909). Italian composer and pianist. He studied the piano and composition in his native town, where he spent his entire life. His prolific output of fluently written, light and brilliant pieces (more than 400 works) won great success with the conventional middle class in Naples, which was culturally behind the times and inclined towards the flimsy, often frivolous genre of salon pieces: Acton's works became an indispensable part of the piano repertory of all daughters ‘of good family’ in Bourbon Naples. An amiable figure but of little distinction, he had no following of his own as a teacher, unlike his Neapolitan colleagues Costantino Palumbo and Alfonso Rendano.
(b La Coruña, Aug 24, 1826; d Lóngora, nr La Coruña, Oct 16, 1881). Spanish composer. He studied the piano with Moscheles in London from 1840 to 1844, and possibly also had lessons from Chopin in Paris. On his return to Spain he lived in La Coruña and Madrid, where some of his compositions were performed, and then at his palace of Lóngora, where he dedicated himself wholly to composition. The influence of Moscheles and, particularly, Chopin was decisive throughout his creative life. He composed one opera, Inese e Bianca, which, in spite of his efforts, was never staged. More important are his piano works and songs, the latter clearly influenced by lieder. In his Cantares nuevos y viejos de Galicia (1877) he united the folklore of Galicia with the technique and spirit of Romantic piano music. He also promoted the musical culture of his native province, developing courses and competitions in music....
(b Paris, July 24, 1803; d Paris, May 3, 1856). French composer. He composed more than 80 stage works, some of which, especially those written for the Paris Opéra-Comique, obtained considerable and lasting success.
His father (Jean) Louis Adam (b Muttersholtz, Bas-Rhin, 3 Dec 1758; d Paris, 8 April 1848) was a pianist, composer and teacher; he taught the piano at the Paris Conservatoire from 1797 to 1842 (his pupils included Frédéric Kalkbrenner and Ferdinand Hérold), composed several keyboard sonatas (many with violin accompaniment) as well as lighter works, and wrote a Méthode, ou Principe général du doigté pour le forté-piano and a Méthode du piano du Conservatoire that was translated into German and Italian. Adolphe was not encouraged by his father to become a musician, but, influenced by his friendship with Hérold (12 years his senior), he decided at an early age that he wished to compose, and to compose, specifically, theatre music. He first studied the piano with Henry Lemoine, and at 17 entered the Conservatoire, where he studied the organ with Benoist, counterpoint with Reicha and composition with Boieldieu, the chief architect of his musical development. By the age of 20 he was already contributing songs to the Paris vaudeville theatres; he played in the orchestra at the Gymnase, later becoming chorus master there. In ...
(b Verona, Nov 4, 1878; d Milan, Oct 12, 1946). Italian playwright, librettist and journalist . After graduating in law at the University of Padua he devoted himself to literature, first as theatre critic of the Arena (Verona), then as playwright. His first stage work was the one-act comedy I fioi di Goldoni in Venetian dialect; thereafter he proved remarkably successful in a comic-sentimental vein with such plays as Una capanna e il tuo cuore (1913), Capelli bianchi (1915), Felicità Colombo (1935) and its sequel Nonna Felicità (1936). In 1911 he made the acquaintance of Giulio Ricordi, head of the publishing firm, of whom he left a valuable memoir in his Giulio Ricordi e i suoi musicisti (Milan, 1933, 2/1945 as Giulio Ricordi, amico dei musicisti). It was Ricordi who first put him in touch with Puccini, who briefly considered setting his Spanish-derived libretto ...
(b Čepin near Osijek, Sept 15, 1856; d Osijek, Feb 28, 1934). Croatian agronomist and composer. As a boy, Adamović studied piano in Osijek with Đ. Tišler, D. Hercog, and I. Nepomuk Hummel. He graduated with a degree in agronomy from the Die Hochschule für Bodenkultur [University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences] in Vienna. After a few years of farm management he returned to Vienna to study composition with H. Graedener, R. Gound, and K. Frühling (1890–93). When he returned he held a variety of jobs: delegate of the Croatian-Hungarian Parliament in Budapest; post office director in Đakovo; and an official in a sugar factory in Osijek. Throughout this time he continued to compose. His works are mostly orchestral (Andante religioso, Adagio in F minor, Finis coronat opus) and instrumental (Intermezzo for piano). A smaller amount of vocal music includes forty songs (some set to his own lyrics). He is best known as the author of the first Croatian ballet ...
(b London, Sept 5, 1785; d London, Sept 15, 1858). English organist and composer. At 11 years of age he began to study music under Thomas Busby. He became organist at Carlisle Chapel, Lambeth (1802), at St Paul's, Deptford (1814), and at St George's, Camberwell (1824). On his appointment to the newly rebuilt church of St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street (1833), he retained the Camberwell post and he continued to hold both until his death. He was one of the most prominent organists of his time, and gave many performances of a kind that would now be termed ‘recitals’. He was much in demand at the openings of newly built organs, and from 1817 onwards he supervised and often took part in the periodic evening performances on Flight & Robson's giant ‘Apollonican’ in St Martin's Lane, London.
Adams was a master of the developing art of imitating orchestral effects on the organ. A typical recital of his, at the opening of the new Exeter Hall organ on ...
Malcolm Hamrick Brown
(b St Petersburg, 10/Feb 22, 1846; d Bonn, July 26, 1926). Russian composer and ethnomusicologist. The name Adayevskaya is a pseudonym derived from the notes of the kettledrum (A, D, A) in Mikhail Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila. At the age of eight she started piano lessons with Henselt, continued with Anton Rubinstein and Dreyschock at the St Petersburg Conservatory (1862–4), and later gave concerts in Russia and Europe. She also studied composition at the conservatory with N.I. Zaremba and A.S. Famintsïn and about 1870 began composing choruses for the Imperial Chapel Choir. Two operas followed, Nepri′gozhaya (‘The Homely Girl’)/Doch′ boyarina (‘The Boyar’s Daughter’, 1873) and Zarya svobodï (‘The Dawn of Freedom’, 1877), the latter dedicated to Alexander II but rejected by the censor for its scene of peasant uprising. A comic opera Solomonida Saburova remained in manuscript. A Greek Sonata (...
revised by Alfred Loewenberg and George Biddlecombe
(b London, c1766; d London, Jan 30, 1844). English double bass player and composer. He was the son of an inventor and at an early age he learnt to play several instruments. In 1791 he married the singer Elizabeth Willems (c1785–c1840), granddaughter of H.T. Reinhold (who sang for Handel). During his career Addison pursued various professional musical activities, frequently determined by his wife’s engagements. In 1791 she sang at Vauxhall Gardens and then at Liverpool, where Addison (hitherto a cellist) deputized for a double bass player and settled on this as his preferred instrument. From Liverpool they went to Dublin, where Addison directed the amateur orchestra of a private theatre partly run by the Earl of Westmeath. In 1792 Mrs Addison sang in the oratorios at Covent Garden and appeared at Vauxhall Gardens; Addison wrote the words of two of her songs, set by James Hook. Later he composed songs for her, and claimed she was his pupil (in ...
[Abranovics, Ritter von August]
(b Pera, Turkey, Nov 1, 1830; d Vienna, Oct 20, 1873). Violinist and composer of Croatian and Italian descent. In his childhood he lived in Constantinople, where his father was in the Austrian diplomatic service; his mother was the Contessa Franchini. From the age of 12 he studied in Vienna, and against his father’s will chose an artistic career as a student of Mayseder (violin, 1850–54) and Hoffmann (composition). After 1855 he had a career as an excellent violinist in various cities including Prague, Leipzig and (in 1858) Paris; he married in Pest in 1859. Nevertheless, he always remained close to the spirit of the orient, as is manifested in his literary works (e.g. Orientalische Musik). Among his 120 works there were operas composed to his own librettos, including the spectacular but short-lived Zrinyi (Pest, 1868, after Körner), Martinuzzi (Buda, 1870), choral works (a mass, ...
Lesley A. Wright
(b Paris, June 28, 1823; d Paris, Jan 1900). French playwright and librettist. He studied at the Collège Bourbon (Lycée Condorcet) and began his career as a dramatist with Le fils du bonnetier (1841), a vaudeville written with Ludger Berton. For the next decade, however, he was employed in business and on the editorial staff of the daily newspaper Le corsaire (1847–9). He began writing more vaudevilles and comedies in the 1850s, usually in collaboration with others. He was a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres and secretary of the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.
From 1856 onwards Adenis, in collaboration or alone, produced the librettos for more than two dozen opéras comiques, opérettes and opéras. He worked with Bizet, also a good friend, and with Guiraud and Massenet early in their careers. Contemporary critics occasionally judged his work harshly but he seems to have been generally regarded as competent and dependable, if unoriginal. His sons Eugène and Édouard also wrote plays and librettos; their work is sometimes confused with that of their father....
(b Mosonszentjános, April 20, 1789; d Buda, 1862). Hungarian composer. From 1800 to 1827 he was a church musician in Győr. In 1827 he went to Pest-Buda, where he became a founding member of the Táborsky String Quartet (playing second violin). In 1838 he became regens chori of the Mátyás church in Buda, a post he held until his death. His daughter Adél (1820–99) married Ferenc Erkel and his son Vince (1826–71) became famous as a piano virtuoso in France and Switzerland.
Alder wrote a quantity of vocal and chamber music, much of which was published in his lifetime: a set of variations on a Hungarian theme and a Grande Polonaise for string quartet; a sonata for violin and piano; various piano works, including a sonatina, an ‘easy and agreeable’ fantasia, a set of variations, and a rondo on a theme from Rossini's La Cenerentola...