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Article

Henri Vanhulst

(Nicolas Joseph)

(b Bonsecours, Hainaut, Oct 23, 1893; d Uccle, Brussels, Feb 2, 1974). Belgian composer. He studied the organ, the piano and harmony with Alphonse Oeyen, organist of Bonsecours. He continued his studies at the Ecole St Grégoire, Tournai, where he gave his first organ recital in 1912. In 1913 he entered the Brussels Conservatory to study with Desmet (organ), Edouard Samuel (practical harmony) and (from 1915) Lunssens (written harmony). He took a first prize for organ and harmony in 1916 and, after a year’s further work with Paulin Marchand (counterpoint) and Léon Du Bois (fugue), another for counterpoint and fugue. Abandoning the idea of a career as an organist, he went to Gilson for composition lessons (1920–22). In 1921 his First Symphony won the Agniez Prize; in 1921 he took the second Belgian Prix de Rome with the cantata La guerre and was appointed director of the Etterbeek Music School. From ...

Article

Ferenc Bónis and Anna Dalos

(b Szigetszentmiklós, Dec 12, 1896; d Budapest, May 15, 1982). Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher. From 1911 until 1915 he received instruction in organ playing and theory at the Budapest teacher-training college. Then, as a prisoner of war (1916–20), he organized and conducted a men’s choir and an orchestra in Russia. He studied composition at the Budapest Academy of Music under Kodály (1921–25) and conducting in Weingartner’s masterclass in Basle (1933–5). He conducted the orchestra (1929–39) and the choir (1929–54) of the Budapest Academy where he also taught Hungarian folk music, choral conducting and methodology from 1939 to 1959, and where he directed the singing department from 1942 to 1957.

Ádám began his career as a conductor in Budapest in 1929 with a performance of Haydn’s The Seasons. From 1929 until 1933 he was deputy conductor of the Budapest Choral and Orchestral Society. With the male choir Budai Dalárda, which he directed from ...

Article

William Waterhouse

( b 1872; d Switzerland, Jan 1938). Italian flute maker, flautist and composer . He was a flautist at La Scala, Milan, from 1897. In 1910 he invented his ‘Albisiphon’, a vertically-held, Boehm-system bass flute in C, with a T-shaped head, which he described in his Albisiphon: flauto ottava bassa (Milan, 1910). It was used by, among others, Mascagni in Parisina (1913), and Zandonai in Melenis (1912) and Francesca da Rimini (1914). The Dayton Miller Collection (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) possesses two models of an ‘albisiphon baritono’ in C and a tenor in F. There is also an example of another invention which Miller termed ‘half flute in C’ (that part of a regular flute played by the left hand, with a wooden handle for right hand) for which Albisi composed a concerto. He also made flutes in collaboration with the Milanese maker Luigi Vanotti in about ...

Article

Warren Burt

(Rosalie Edith )

(b Geelong, Victoria, Aug 18, 1951). Australian composer, performer, installation and sound artist, instrument inventor, writer, educator, and researcher. Her early education consisted of high school in both Australia and Canada, followed by a BA (1971, Monash University), Dip Ed (1973, Monash), MA (1974, Monash), and PhD (1983, Monash). An interest in experimental music is apparent from her earliest compositions, many of which involve performance in specific places, improvisation, electronics, graphic notation, and the use of self-built and specially built instruments. These include Improvisations in Acoustic Chambers, 1981, and Soft and Fragile: Music in Glass and Clay, 1982. By 1977 an interest in sound installation and sound sculpture had become well established in her work (Winds and Circuits, Surfaces and Cavities), and is an area in which she has continued to the present day, having presented nearly 50 sound installations worldwide.

Bandt has also been involved in creating electro-acoustic works, often in collaboration with broadcasting organizations; work for or with radio forms a significant portion of her output. Many of these works, while using real-world elements, take a more narrative or illustrative approach to their material compared to the abstractionism of much electro-acoustic work. An electro-acoustic work such as ...

Article

Jody Diamond

(b Bay Shore, NY, April 7, 1946). American composer, performer, instrument builder and ethnomusicologist. She received the BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and the MA and PhD from Wesleyan University, where she studied Indonesian and Indian music. She has performed with the ensembles of Philip Glass, Jon Gibson, Alvin Lucier, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. In 1976 she co-founded, with Corner and Goode, the Gamelan Son of Lion, New York, a new music collective and repertory ensemble under her direction. In addition, she has built several Javanese-style iron gamelans, including the instruments used by the Gamelan Son of Lion and Gamelan Encantada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Benary’s compositional output has been primarily in the areas of ensemble and chamber music, and music for the theatre. She has described herself as a ‘part-time minimalist who also likes to write melody’. Many of her works integrate world music forms, structures and instruments with traditional Western materials. Her works for gamelan ensemble, which number more than 30, have been performed internationally. ...

Article

(b Springfield, MA, June 13, 1965). American composer, performer, and instrument maker, based in Oakland, California. She holds the BA in Computer Science and Music from Dartmouth College (1987) and MA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College (1992), and since 1993 has taught electronic music at the College of San Mateo. She performs on french horn and acoustic and electronic instruments of her own design, often with the improvisation ensemble Vorticella. Among her original instruments are amplified rocking chairs, bull kelp horns, Leaf Speakers, the Gliss Glass, and the Sliding Speaker. Her composition Lift, Loft, Lull explores the sonic properties of balloons as resonators in instruments made of metal bars, pipes, plates, and scraps. Bobrowski’s kelp horns (1989 and later) are long, slender conical tubes of natural kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), slowly dried and shaped, and blown like a brass instrument. Leaf Speakers (...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by Kyle Devine

(b Southgate, CA, Apr 17, 1937). American electronic instrument designer and builder, composer, and performer. After graduating from UC Berkeley (BA in physics, 1961) Buchla worked on a variety of projects, including a transistorized hearing aid and a NASA bid to send monkeys on long-term space missions. He also became affiliated with the San Francisco Tape Music Center where, alongside composers like Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, he refined his interest in musique concrète and began searching for electronic alternatives to the laborious and necessarily preplanned cutting and splicing that characterized tape composition. In 1963, with the aid of a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and simultaneously but independently from Robert Moog, he designed and built one of the first voltage-controlled synthesizers, the Modular Electronic Music System (part of the Buchla 100 series). By 1966, the first complete Buchla synthesizer was installed at the Tape Center. He formed Buchla & Associates in Berkeley in the same year to manufacture synthesizers. Apart from a brief period (...

Article

Lyndesay G. Langwill

revised by Rosemary Williamson

(von Ahn)

(b Newcastle upon Tyne, May 19, 1878; d Great Missenden, Nov 2, 1958). English collector and historian of instruments and composer. He was educated in Hanover (1892) and as a Macfarren scholar at the Royal Academy of Music (1893–1902, ARAM 1902), where he studied composition with Corder. After serving as assistant music master at Winchester College (1909–22), he returned to the RAM in 1922 as professor of harmony and counterpoint, becoming a Fellow of the RAM in the same year; he held the professorship until 1940.

Carse’s early compositions include an orchestral prelude to Byron’s Manfred, a dramatic cantata, The Lay of the Brown Rosary and two symphonies; his later works, for student orchestras and beginners, are light, tuneful and individual, and ideally suited to their purpose as teaching material. His reputation, however, rests on his study of the history of instruments and the orchestra, and on his collection of some 350 old wind instruments, which he gave to the Horniman Museum, London, in ...

Article

Mareia Quintero Rivera

(b San Juan, PR, July 10, 1910; d Carolina, PR, July 21, 1996). American Puerto Rican composer, singer, percussionist, dancer, and drum-maker. A master of traditional bomba and plena, he was one the most prominent figures of Afro-Puerto Rican musical folklore in the 20th century. He is also known for his commitment to passing down these traditions to subsequent generations. Together with his wife, Caridad Brenes, a gifted dancer, he raised a family of skilled practitioners and maintained a lifelong practice of teaching in the community of Villa Palmeras, Santurce, the working-class area where they lived.

Cepeda was a key figure in gaining national and international recognition for Afro-Puerto Rican musical genres. In the 1940s he created an ensemble for radio performances, and he later developed a stage version of bomba, which he presented in San Juan’s major hotels. Several of his compositions were popularized by Ismael Rivera and Rafael Cortijo. Cepeda also developed ties with the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, founded in ...

Article

Dale Cockrell and Hugh Davies

(b San Francisco, May 17, 1941). American composer, writer, and instrument maker. He studied composition with Grant Fletcher at Arizona State University (BM 1963) and with Halsey Stevens, Dahl, and Perle at the University of Southern California (MM 1965). He then taught at Kansas State College, California Lutheran College, the Cleveland Institute, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since the early 1970s (particularly from 1979, working at Santa Cruz) he has constructed several percussion instruments for use in his own compositions. The Way (completed 1981) is based on Navajo Indian rituals, and is written in a system of just intonation having 33 notes to the octave. The instruments it uses are mostly of familiar types, and include aluminium bells, a large drum, plastic tubes blown transversely, and musical glasses. There are also parts for several ‘symbiotic’ instruments based on interacting systems of vibration and resonance: the Logsprinoka, for example, consists of a form of nail violin, and long springs stretched over bridges, which are attached to a 2-metre log drum. Some instruments, some with only one note, were made from Navajo prayer stones and other materials obtained from Canyon de Chelley in Arizona. Cope has also explored unconventional playing techniques and prepared instruments....

Article

John Chalmers and Brian McLaren

[O'Hara, Kenneth Vincent Gerard]

(b Portland, OR, May 5, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Feb 13, 1994). American composer, instrument inventor and theorist. He studied the cello, the piano and wind instruments at an early age. A composition student of Charles Wakefield Cadman, he began to compose using quarter-tones and just intonation during the 1930s. Although ill health prevented him from attending college, he taught himself electrical engineering and invented pioneering electro-acoustical instruments, including the microtonal keyboard oboe (1936), the amplifying clavichord (1940), the amplified cello (1941) and the electric keyboard drum (around 1945). During the 1960s he designed and built a 60-tone electronic organ with an ‘elastic tuning’ system that automatically justified traditional musical intervals.

In 1962 M. Joel Mandelbaum’s 19-tone compositions and Ervin Wilson’s microtonal instrument patents introduced Darreg to new tuning systems. He began an intensive programme of musical exploration and discovered that all equal temperaments have uniquely valuable musical properties (‘moods’). To hear these scales, he refretted guitars to 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24 and 31 notes per octave and constructed metallophones with 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24 and 53 notes per octave. During the 1970s he created justly-tuned Megalyra and Kosmolyra amplified steel-guitar-like instruments, the sound of which has been described as ‘tuned thunder’. His last compositions use retunable MIDI synthesizers....

Article

David Roberts

(Seymour)

(b Exmouth, April 23, 1943; d London, Jan 1, 2005). English composer, instrument inventor, performer and writer on music. After reading music at Oxford University (1961–4) he worked with Stockhausen between 1964 and 1966; in the following year he became director of the electronic music studio at Goldsmiths College, London, later becoming its research consultant (1986–91). He was the first Secretary of the International Confederation for Electroacoustic Music (1982–6) and an external consultant for electronic musical instruments at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1986–93). From 1999 he was a part-time researcher in sonic art at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University.

Starting in 1968 he was active in a number of groups specializing in improvisation and the realization of indeterminate scores. From 1967 he devised and constructed over 120 instruments, sound sculptures, sound installations and musical toys, many of which incorporate found objects and cast-off materials. About half, primarily the concert instruments, are electro-acoustic, using mainly contact and magnetic microphones; they include different types of ‘shozyg’ (Davies’s generic name for the instruments he has built using a selection of commonplace sound-producing objects mounted inside everyday containers) and a family of a dozen ‘springboards’ (amplified springs stretched over blockboard). He composed for conventional forces, tape, live electronics and his own instruments, including several music theatre works, and devised environmental music projects and documented unusual sound environments....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b St Joseph, MO, July 11, 1939; d Petaluma, CA, July 9, 2005). American musician, composer, and experimental instrument maker. He was a jazz pianist in Kansas City before turning in the 1960s to playing keyboard with San Francisco rock groups. Disillusioned by commercial work, he began composing ‘fusion’ music and making instruments (often inspired by non-Western models) with which to play it. He described himself as an itinerant flute-maker and sold his popular bamboo flutes and other creations at Bay Area fairs and concerts. Inventions of his include the Wind Wand (a long dowel with a handle and an adjustable cross-piece intersecting a large rubber band stretched over the ends of the dowel; swung in a circle or back and forth, it produces four pitches); Spirit Catcher (a smaller Wind Wand with two rubber bands, producing eight tones); Butu (a section of bamboo with fingerholes, played by striking the bottom on a hard surface and fingering the holes to change the pitch); Groove Stick (a long bamboo scraper), as well as the Tank, the Circular Violin, and a bamboo xylophone. He shared his music and instruments with public school classes, where he was known as ‘Mr. Sound Magic’. In later years DeVore explored improvisation together with like-minded musicians and experimental instrument makers including Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, and Richard Waters. After DeVore’s death many of his instruments were donated to local schools....

Article

Paul R. West

(b Jackson, MI, Oct 8, 1950). American composer, theorist, author, and instrument inventor. He began his career in composition and instrument design in 1970, having received little formal composition training. Interested in just intonation, he founded the performing ensemble Other Music in 1975 with classmates Dale Soules and Henry Rosenthal at the New College of California in San Francisco. The trio originally improvised and also performed from written scores. Inspired by studying intonation with lou Harrison , Doty began working with various metallophones, exploring their justly tuned capabilities. These investigations led to the creation of an American gamelan, which consisted of a set of metallophones, wooden marimbas, bells, and synthesizers that were built or adapted by Doty and four other group members. The instruments were tuned in seven-limit just intonation encompassing a 14-tone-to-the-octave scale developed by Doty and Soules. The Other Music ensemble began to perform on the American gamelan by ...

Article

Charles Corey

(b Los Angeles, CA, Jan 22, 1949; d Princeton, NJ, April 13, 2013).

American composer, conductor, performer, and instrument inventor. Drummond attended the University of Southern California and the California Institute of the Arts, and studied composition with Leonard Stein. He also worked as an assistant for harry Partch in the 1960s and 70s, and in 1990 became the Director of the Harry Partch Instrumentarium. Drummond’s music is microtonal, exploring the unique possibilities of expandable just intonation through the use of standard Western instruments, voice, electronics, Harry Partch’s instruments, and two just-intoned instruments of Drummond’s own invention—the zoomoozophone and the juststrokerods. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1995, and is co-director of Newband, a new music ensemble for which he frequently serves as a performer or conductor.

Drummond’s zoomoozophone, built in 1978, is a metallophone which employs 31 just-intoned pitches per octave. The instrument is based on a g′ of 392 Hz, and has a total range of just over four octaves. Made of aluminum bars, it has a full, resonant sound with a long sustain, and can be played by anywhere from one to four percussionists at a time. The juststrokerods have an even longer sustain; spanning one octave, this instrument contains 13 notes that form a just-intoned version of the equal-tempered chromatic scale. One or both of these instruments are employed in a large number of Drummond’s works as well as those by other composers such as Elizabeth Brown and John Cage....

Article

Graham Lack

(b Karlsruhe, Feb 26, 1954). German composer, instrument builder and performer. He studied saxophone with Ariel Kalma in Paris, Indian classical music with Kamalesh Maitra in Berlin and India and the ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. Durand began constructing wind instruments, mostly built from PVC and plexiglass, in the early 1980s and performs his own music on these, as well as saxophone and ney. He is also active in collaborating with and organizing international music festivals and artist exchanges in the fields of both traditional and avant-garde music in Berlin and elsewhere. Recent collaborations include The Beatless Sax Oldrones, a saxophone quartet specializing in just intonation, and The Armchair Traveller, a group with Sebastian Hilken (cello and percussion), Hella von Plotz (glass harp) and Silvia Ocougne (acoustic guitars). He founded the group The Thirteenth Tribe, and continues to contribute music to theatre, dance, film and radio productions. In ...

Article

Gordon Rumson

(b Aurora, IL, March 9, 1871; d San Francisco, April 15, 1954). American composer, pianist and inventor. A precocious musician, he graduated with ‘unprecedented’ honours from the Königliche Musikschule, Munich (1889), having studied with Rheinberger and Thuille. He settled in San Francisco in 1896, touring widely with Anton Schott, Amalie Materna, David Bispham and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. In 1901 he married the singer Edith Cruzan. He moved back to Germany in 1911, where he established a vocal studio in Berlin and obtained a patent (1912) for a new keyboard design with 60 notes to the octave. After returning to the USA in 1914, he became head of the music department at the University of Virginia (from 1920). His retirement in 1941 coincided with an American patent for the polytone, an instrument using an extended keyboard and allowing for a purer intonation of 3rds and 5ths....

Article

Kathryn Bridwell Briner

(David )

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 27, 1950). American horn player, historical horn maker, music educator, and composer. He studied horn with Ernani Angelucci, John Barrows, Helen Kotas, Ethel Merker, Frank Brouk, and Dale Clevenger. He was appointed assistant principal horn for the Detroit Symphony in 1972, and has also performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978–80), the Cincinnati Symphony (1984–6), the Toledo Symphony (1990–7), and as guest principal horn with the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He has taught the horn at Interlochen Arts Academy, Wheaton College, Oakland University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, the School of Perfection in Mexico City, and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. Greer has written solo pieces for both the modern and natural (valveless) horn, as well as a mass for hunting horns and organ.

Noted for his flexible tone and facile technique, Greer has toured widely as a soloist and has made notable recordings, particularly on the natural horn; those recordings include Beethoven’s Sonata for horn, Brahms’ Trio for horn, violin, and piano, and the horn concertos of Mozart....

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b Redwood City, CA, April 19, 1954). American composer, guitarist, instrument builder, educational technology specialist, and media designer. He attended classes with Robert Sheff, robert Ashley , and terry Riley at Mills College (1972–3) and studied at Canada College in Redwood City (1973–4), California, Cabrillo College in Aptos, California (1974–5), San Francisco State University (1975–6), and Virginia Commonwealth University (1976–7). In the late 1970s he collaborated with Serge Tcherepnin on the construction of the Modular Music System. In the early 1980s he was appointed technical director at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music and in 1989 he became a lecturer at California State University in Hayward; then he taught at Diablo Valley College, Expression College for Digital Arts, and San Jose State University. He held composer residencies at Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (1992), Amsterdam’s Steim (...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b New York, NY, June 19, 1934; d Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany, Feb 9, 1993). American instrument inventor and composer. As a youngster in Brooklyn he was trained in classical music, but turned to jazz drumming and studied composition briefly with John Cage and Earle Brown. From 1962 (working at first in New York, then from about l973 in Asolo, near Vicenza) he constructed many instruments, influenced particularly by his involvement with the Fluxus group in New York. That association began in 1963, the same year some of his experimental instruments were shown at the Betty Parsons Gallery. He concentrated on self-playing instruments operated by small electric motors, to which beaters or lengths of leather bootlace that rotate like propellers are attached; many of them incorporate existing string and percussion instruments (often toys, and including zithers and normal and toy violins and guitars). Both motors and instruments are suspended on long strings or wires; their operation causes them to move around so that the sound varies continuously. Despite the simplicity of the basic idea of nearly all of Jones’s instruments, in most of which sustained sounds are derived from sources that are normally percussive, they produce a surprisingly wide range of delicate and subtle sounds....