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Nicholas Tochka

(Gjoka)

(b Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula, May 22, 1910; d Tirana, Albania, Oct 6, 1985). Albanian pianist, arranger, pedagogue, and composer. Born in an Albanian-speaking enclave in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, she received early training in ballet and piano while growing up in a middle-class merchant family. After relocating to Korça, Albania in 1932, Gjoka became the primary accompanist for the local salon culture, which included the art-song singers Kristaq Antoniu, Mihal Ciko, Tefta Tashko-Koço, and Maria Kraja. She received a degree in piano performance from the Athens Conservatory in 1936. Following World War II, she taught at Tirana’s ‘Jordan Misja’ Arts Lyceum from its founding in 1946, and at the State Conservatory from 1962. In addition to training a generation of Albanian pianists, Gjoka was a tireless promoter of folk songs. During the socialist period, she was among the first women to collect folk songs, which she often arranged as elegant art songs for voice and piano. She also held an appointment at the Theater of Opera and Ballet in Tirana between ...

Article

Ardian Ahmedaja

(b Moscow, Russia, April 15, 1911; d New Hartford, NY, USA, Sept 3, 1963). Russian composer, writer, and organist. He went to school in Prague and Berlin and studied composition in Leipzig. In 1933 he was appointed organist and choirmaster of the catholic Cathedral of Belgrade, working later as director of the Belgrade-Radio Choir. At the same time, he was teaching, collecting local music in the Balkans, and writing about it. In 1942 he was appointed as assistant at the Slavonic institute in Prague and in 1944 he completed his dissertation on drum playing in the Central Balkans, a result of a collaboration with an Albanian folk musician from the Prizren area in Kosovo.

After World War II he was based in a Displaced Persons Camp in Regensburg. In 1950 he moved to Chicago as organist of Salem Lutheran Church, and later to New York, where he taught at Syracuse University. He continued to compose and to write about music, mostly on Russian issues, including the Soviet party’s endeavours to create propaganda around local traditions, e.g. ‘proving’ that the legends and narratives about Lenin, Stalin, et al. had their origin in the folk tradition, an example being the teaching of ‘new’ (fabricated) folk epics to folk singers by Soviet collectors, who were urged by the party to ‘find’ such songs (...

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Alan Walker

In 

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Article

Angelina Petrova

(b Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, Oct 27, 1952). Bulgarian composer, pianist, harpsichord player, and pedagogue. He graduated in piano (under Prof. Sturshenov) in 1977 and in composition under Prof. Hadzhiev. He continued with postgraduate studies under Yvonne Lefébure, Zuzana Růžičková (1983), and Milan Schlechta (1977). He is a prize winner from the A. Casagrande International Piano Competition in Terni, Italy (1976), and holder of the third prize in the piano duo category (1980). He is a keen performer of 17th- and 18th-century music as well as of 20th-century works.

He is a professor of composition (2000) and has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Instrumental Music at the National Music Academy in Sofia (1993–9). He is a composer with an individual style in the sphere of tonal and modal experimentation that combines folklore and features of the contemporary instrumental score. His Piano Concerto no.2 was awarded a prize at the New Music Festival in St Petersburg (...

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Christoph Wolff

Member of Bach family

(18) (b Erfurt, bap. Nov 25, 1676; d Eisenach, June 11, 1749). Composer and organist, son of Johann Aegidius Bach (8). He studied with his father and about 1695 took up his first post, as organist at the Kaufmannskirche in Erfurt; in 1699 he went to Magdeburg, and in 1703 he replaced his kinsman (2) Johann Christoph (13) as town organist and court harpsichordist in Eisenach, a post which Johann Christoph’s son Johann Nicolaus (27) had declined. Repeated rises in salary show the esteem in which he was held, particularly in the court Kapelle, which was directed by Telemann in 1708–12.

His only extant works are instrumental; some of the organ works are in copies made by his pupils in Erfurt, who included J.G. Walther (according to Walther himself). Johann Sebastian Bach evidently valued his orchestral suites, for he had five of them copied (he himself was involved in some of the copying) for his collegium musicum in Leipzig. J.S. Bach’s obituary notice of ...

Article

Christoph Wolff

Member of Bach family

(13) (b Arnstadt, bap. Dec 8, 1642; d Eisenach, bur. April 2, 1703). Composer and organist, son of Heinrich Bach (6). He was probably the most important member of the family before (7) Johann Sebastian (24). He received a thorough musical grounding from his father, and on 20 November 1663 was appointed organist of the Arnstadt castle chapel. Two years later he was invited by the Eisenach town council to apply for the post of organist at St Georg, and after an audition on 10 December 1665 he was appointed to that position and also to the post of harpsichordist in the court Kapelle of the Duke of Eisenach. He retained both positions until his death.

Little is known of his work in the court Kapelle. From 1675 the Kapellmeister was Daniel Eberlin, later to become the father-in-law of Telemann, who also conducted the Kapelle on occasion, and for a short while (...

Article

Christoph Wolff and Peter Wollny

Member of Bach family

(34) (b Eisenach, Jan 28, 1722; d Eisenach, Sept 1, 1777). Composer and organist, son of (5) Johann Bernhard Bach (18). On 16 January 1737 he entered the Thomasschule in Leipzig and became a pupil of his uncle (7) Johann Sebastian (24). After studying law at Leipzig University he returned to Eisenach in 1741 and deputized, without pay, for his ailing father. Plans to go to Frankfurt, Hamburg or Berlin, mentioned in a letter written by his cousin Johann Elias Bach (39), were never realized. In 1748 he became his father's official assistant and the next year his successor. He continued to practise as a lawyer as well, and in addition he was appointed Kapellmeister at the Weimar court in 1756 ‘in view of his well-known skill and musical knowledge’. This entailed regular journeys to Weimar, and during his frequent absences from Eisenach he was permitted to hire a substitute for his organist's duties. When the Hofkapelle was dissolved after the death of Duke Ernst August Constantin in ...

Article

Christoph Wolff

Member of Bach family

(14) (b Arnstadt, bap. Aug 9, 1648, d Gehren, May 17, 1694). Composer, son of Heinrich Bach (6). He received a sound musical education from his father and the Arnstadt Kantor Jonas de Fletin; the latter's influence may account for his early interest in vocal music. In 1665 he succeeded his brother (2) Johann Christoph (13) as organist of the Arnstadt castle chapel. After an audition on 5 October 1673 he succeeded Johann Effler (who later preceded Johann Sebastian as castle organist in Weimar) as town organist in Gehren. He was also active as an instrument maker there and held the important administrative post of town clerk. On 17 October 1707 his youngest daughter, Maria Barbara (b Gehren, 20 Oct 1684), married her distant cousin (7) Johann Sebastian (24).

A pamphlet issued by the Gehren council refers to Johann Michael as a ‘quiet, reserved and artistically experienced subject’; within the family he was considered a ‘skilful composer’ (...

Article

Christoph Wolff

Member of Bach family

(27) (b Eisenach, Oct 10, 1669; d Jena, Nov 4, 1753). Composer and organist, son of (2) Johann Christoph Bach (13). After his early musical training at home, he entered the University of Jena in 1690, pursuing his musical studies with J.N. Knüpfer (son of Sebastian Knüpfer, Thomaskantor in Leipzig). After a journey to Italy, the purpose and duration of which are not known, he succeeded Knüpfer in 1694 as organist of the town church in Jena. The university authorities were however reluctant to allow him to act in addition as organist at the Kollegienkirche, as Knüpfer had done, and it was not until 1719 that he finally took on the double post of town and university organist. In 1703 he had refused an appointment at St Georg, Eisenach, as successor to his father, primarily, no doubt, because of the better salary in Jena, where he lived in modest prosperity. Presumably he was in contact with his relative Johann Georg Bernhard (...

Article

Christoph Wolff and Walter Emery

Member of Bach family

(24) (b Eisenach, March 21, 1685; d Leipzig, July 28, 1750). Composer and organist. The most important member of the family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control are perfectly balanced. While it was in the former capacity, as a keyboard virtuoso, that in his lifetime he acquired an almost legendary fame, it is the latter virtues and accomplishments, as a composer, that by the end of the 18th century earned him a unique historical position. His musical language was distinctive and extraordinarily varied, drawing together and surmounting the techniques, the styles and the general achievements of his own and earlier generations and leading on to new perspectives which later ages have received and understood in a great variety of ways.

The first authentic posthumous account of his life, with a summary catalogue of his works, was put together by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel and his pupil J.F. Agricola soon after his death and certainly before ...

Article

Christoph Wolff and Peter Wollny

Member of Bach family

(45) (b Weimar, Nov 22, 1710; d Berlin, July 1, 1784). Composer and organist, eldest son of (7) Johann Sebastian (24) and Maria Barbara Bach. Trained by his father and endowed with brilliant gifts, he expressed himself in the genres of his time in a sensitive and highly cultivated musical language.

He was baptized on 24 November 1710; his godparents were the Weimar chamberlain Wilhelm Ferdinand von Lynker, Anna Dorothea Hagedorn and Friedemann Meckbach, the last two acquaintances of J.S. Bach from Mühlhausen. Friedemann attended the Lutheran Lateinschule in Cöthen (1717–23), and from 14 June 1723 he was a day-boy at the Thomasschule in Leipzig. On 5 March 1729 he matriculated at Leipzig University, where his father had already registered him as a depositus on 22 December 1723; he attended lectures on law, philosophy, mathematics and other subjects. His early musical education, provided by his father, is documented in the ...

Article

Christoph Wolff and Ulrich Leisinger

Member of Bach family

(84) (b Bückeburg, May 24, 1759; d Berlin, Dec 25, 1845). Keyboard player and composer, son of (11) Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach. He was baptized on 27 May, with Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe standing godfather. W.F.E. Bach was musically educated by his father and Christian Friedrich Geyer, Kantor of the Stadtkirche, Bückeburg. In 1778 he went with his father to London and remained there in the care of his uncle (12) J.C. Bach, making a name for himself as a pianist and keyboard teacher. He appeared at one of the Bach-Abel concerts in Hanover Square as early as 6 December 1778, playing a sonata of his own, and his first keyboard and chamber works were published by leading English firms. Some time after the death of his uncle on 1 January 1782, W.F.E. Bach returned to Germany. His route took him through Paris and the Netherlands, where he met the publisher J.J. Hummel in Amsterdam, and then to north Germany, where he gave concerts in Oldenburg and elsewhere. According to his own account, he stayed for some time with his uncle (9) C.P.E. Bach in Hamburg before settling in ...

Article

Malcolm Gillies

(b Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary [now Sînnicolau Mare, Romania], March 25, 1881; d New York, Sept 26, 1945). Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist and pianist. Although he earned his living mainly from teaching and playing the piano and was a relentless collector and analyst of folk music, Bartók is recognized today principally as a composer. His mature works were, however, highly influenced by his ethnomusicological studies, particularly those of Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak peasant musics. Throughout his life he was also receptive to a wide variety of Western musical influences, both contemporary (notably Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg) and historic; he acknowledged a change from a more Beethovenian to a more Bachian aesthetic stance in his works from 1926 onwards. He is now considered, along with Liszt, to be his country’s greatest composer, and, with Kodály and Dohnányi, a founding figure of 20th-century Hungarian musical culture.

At the time of Bartók’s birth, Nagyszentmiklós was part of the northern end of the ethnically diverse southern Hungarian province of Torontál. There, his father, also Béla Bartók (...

Article

William Drabkin, Joseph Kerman and Alan Tyson

revised by Douglas Johnson and Scott G. Burnham

(b Bonn, bap. Dec 17, 1770; d Vienna, March 26, 1827).German composer. His early achievements, as composer and performer, show him to be extending the Viennese Classical tradition that he had inherited from Mozart and Haydn. As personal affliction – deafness, and the inability to enter into happy personal relationships – loomed larger, he began to compose in an increasingly individual musical style, and at the end of his life he wrote his most sublime and profound works. From his success at combining tradition and exploration and personal expression, he came to be regarded as the dominant musical figure of the 19th century, and scarcely any significant composer since his time has escaped his influence or failed to acknowledge it. For the respect his works have commanded of musicians, and the popularity they have enjoyed among wider audiences, he is probably the most admired composer in the history of Western music....

Article

Ned Quist

revised by Linda L. Giedl

[Schlossberg, Artur ]

(b Hamm, Germany, Sept 27, 1909; d Aurora, CO, May 28, 2002). Composer, musicologist, conductor, and pianist of German birth; naturalized American. Born Artur Schlossberg, he grew up in an orthodox Jewish family. After the Schlossbergs moved to Mannheim in 1919, he was introduced to German organ and choral literature by Arno Landmann, first Kantor (1911–43) of Christuskirche, and received piano instruction from Landmann’s wife. With Mannheim’s proximity to Strasbourg and Alsace-Lorraine, Schlossberg became fluent in French. Shortly after entering the University of Heidelberg in 1928, he applied for musicological studies with medievalist Heinrich Besseler. At the end of three years of intensive work, he submitted his doctoral dissertation (Die italienische Sonate für mehrere Instrumente im 17ten Jahrhundert, diss., U. of Heidelberg, 1932). Later that year he was engaged as a coach and conducting assistant to Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt at the Darmstadt Opera.

Beaten with guns by Adolf Hitler’s Stormtroopers in early ...

Article

George S. Bozarth and Walter Frisch

(b Hamburg, May 7, 1833; d Vienna, April 3, 1897). German composer. The successor to Beethoven and Schubert in the larger forms of chamber and orchestral music, to Schubert and Schumann in the miniature forms of piano pieces and songs, and to the Renaissance and Baroque polyphonists in choral music, Brahms creatively synthesized the practices of three centuries with folk and dance idioms and with the language of mid- and late 19th-century art music. His works of controlled passion, deemed reactionary and epigonal by some, progressive by others, became well accepted in his lifetime.

George S. Bozarth

Brahms was the second child and first son of Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen (1789–1865) and Johann Jakob Brahms (1806–72). His mother, an intelligent and thrifty woman simply educated, was a skilled seamstress descended from a respectable bourgeois family. His father came from yeoman and artisan stock that originated in lower Saxony and resided in Holstein from the mid-18th century. A resourceful musician of modest talent, Johann Jakob learnt to play several instruments, including the flute, horn, violin and double bass, and in 1826 moved to the free Hanseatic port of Hamburg, where he earned his living playing in dance halls and taverns. In 1830, as a condition for gaining citizenship (...

Article

(b Avignon, France, May 18, 1854; d Versailles, France, May 20, 1933). Organist, composer, collector, and writer on musical instruments. Born a count into an old Norman family, he studied organ with Gigout in Paris in the late 1880s and was admitted to the Académie des Sciences Morales, des Lettres et des Arts de Versailles in 1891. Beginning in 1897, de Bricqueville played the organ in the chapel of the palace of Versailles for about 20 years. Writing as a music critic, he enthusiastically promoted Wagner but also appreciated earlier French opera. His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century. He described his private collection of instruments (mainly European of the preceding three centuries) in three published catalogues, the last being Catalogue sommaire de la collection d’instruments de musique anciens formée par le Cte de Bricqueville...

Article

Jennifer Doctor, Judith LeGrove, Paul Banks, Heather Wiebe and Philip Brett

(b Lowestoft,Nov 22, 1913; d Aldeburgh, Dec 4, 1976). English composer, conductor and pianist. He and his contemporary Michael Tippett are among several pairs of composers who dominated English art music in the 20th century. Of their music, Britten’s early on achieved, and has maintained, wider international circulation. An exceedingly practical and resourceful musician, Britten worked with increasing determination to recreate the role of leading national composer held during much of his own life by Vaughan Williams, from whom he consciously distanced himself. Notable among his musical and professional achievements are the revival of English opera, initiated by the success of Peter Grimes in 1945; the building of institutions to ensure the continuing viability of musical drama; and outreach to a wider audience, particularly children, in an effort to increase national musical literacy and awareness. Equally important in this was his remaining accessible as a composer, rejecting the isolationism of the postwar avant garde and developing a distinctive tonal language that allowed amateurs and professionals alike to love his work and to enjoy performing and listening to it. Above all, he imbued his works with his own personal concerns, some of them hidden, principally those having to do with his love of men and boys, some more public, like his fiercely held pacifist beliefs, in ways that allowed people to sense the passion and conviction behind them even if unaware of their full implication. He also performed a fascinating, as well as problematic, assimilation of (or rapprochement with) Asian cultures, attempting an unusual integration of various non-Western musical traditions with his own increasingly linear style....