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Article

Lesley A. Wright

[Adrien ]

( b Bayonne, France, June 7, 1828; d Asnières-sur-Seine, France, Aug 13, 1898). French composer, pianist, and teacher . After studying with Leborne, he won the Prix de Rome in 1854. The music section of the Académie praised his envoi, the French opera Don Carlos (1857), for its craftsmanship, fine orchestration, and strong sense of the stage, and in 1858 they awarded him the Prix Édouard Rodrigues for his oratorio Judith, over the only other competitor, Bizet. That year Barthe married mezzo-soprano Anna Banderali.

The Théâtre-Lyrique opened a competition in 1864 on Jules Adenis’s libretto La fiancée d’Abydos, for Prix de Rome winners whose work had not yet reached the stage. Barthe was the unanimous choice of the jury, above Émile Paladilhe and three others. Extensive changes were made during rehearsal and the première took place on 30 December 1865. Critics were largely positive, though they noted resemblances to Meyerbeer, Félicien David, Gounod, and others, and found the libretto somewhat tedious. After a respectable 21 performances (in Paris and Bayonne) the work disappeared from the repertory....

Article

Gaynor G. Jones

(b Lancaster, pa, March 25, 1935). Canadian composer. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music with William Bergsma, Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin and at Harvard University with Leon Kirchner and Roger Sessions. In the 1960s he also studied with Milhaud, Wolpe and Cage. From 1976 to 1980 he taught theory and composition at the University of Western Ontario, then served as Dean of the Faculty of Music (1980–86). He has also had an active performing career as pianist and conductor. His comic opera The Lay of Thrym was written for the Canadian Centennial Commission for Festival Canada and celebrates the Scandinavian origins of a sizeable section of the Canadian population. The libretto, by C. Keith Cockburn, is based on a poem from the Icelandic Elder Edda; Behrens carried out research into Viking literature, art and music in Iceland and Scandinavia in 1965 before composing the opera, which received its première on ...

Article

Frederick Crane

(Thomas )

(b Athol, ma , Jan 6, 1916; d Hadley, ma , March 11, 1975). American composer . He studied at Yale University and with Philip Clapp at the University of Iowa, where he joined the faculty in 1947 and succeeded Clapp as principal professor of composition in 1954. Ten years later he moved to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he served as professor and head of the music department. Bezanson’s honours include an award from the Fromm Foundation (1953) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971). His works fall within the mainstream of 20th-century music in the generation after Stravinsky, Bartók and Hindemith. The style is rooted in diatonicism but has frequently changing scales and tonal centres; shifting major and minor 3rds are common. Standard metres, often irregularly accented, predominate. Besides choral, orchestral and chamber music he composed two operas: Western Child (3, P. Engle), first performed at the State University of Iowa (Iowa City) on ...

Article

A. Dean Palmer

(b Oberlin, oh, Nov 2, 1883; d San Luis Obispo, ca, March 9, 1972). American composer. After completing basic studies in Oberlin and Denver, he received the bachelor’s degree in music at Pomona College, Claremont, California, in 1908. In 1916 he joined the music faculty at Chaffey College, Ontario, California, where he remained until his retirement in 1954. Blakeslee’s only opera, The Legend of Wiwaste [Wewahste], based on a Dakota Sioux legend dealing with tribal customs of betrothal and marriage before the coming of the white man, is cast in late 19th-century Romantic style and reflects in its large orchestral resources the influence of Puccini and Wagner. It also embodies many characteristics of American Indian music: Indian melodies, rhythmic figures inspired by Indian drumming patterns, choruses in parallel octaves, pentatonic scales and orchestral accompaniment in open 4ths and 5ths. First performed in Ontario, California, on 25 April 1924...

Article

Maristella Feustle

(b Berdychiv [Yiddish: Berdichev], Ukraine, April 20, 1881; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1955). American composer born in present-day Ukraine. Bucharoff, who was born Simon Buchhalter, was the son of a Jewish cantor, and his brother, Isadore Buchhalter, also enjoyed a successful career as a pianist and educator in the Chicago area. Bucharoff’s personal papers indicate he was singing in choirs at the age of four or five, and that his family immigrated to the United States when he was 11, settling in New York. There, he studied piano with Paolo Gallico and Leopold Kramer. He later traveled to Europe and studied composition with Stephen Stocker and Robert Fuchs, and piano with Emil Sauer and Julius Epstein at the Vienna Conservatory. Bucharoff joined the faculty of the Wichita (Kansas) College of Music in 1907, and quickly became a respected artist in the area.

Bucharoff relocated to Chicago in the early to mid-1910s. Thereafter, his career focussed more closely on composition than piano performance. He secured the patronage of future Vice President of the United States Charles G. Dawes, and obtained a hearing of his first opera, ...

Article

Oldřich Pukl

(b Vamberk, eastern Bohemia, June 8, 1928; d Prague, March 23, 2000). Czech composer and teacher . He studied at the Prague Conservatory (1943–7) and at the Prague Academy (1949–53), where his composition teachers were Jaroslav Řídký and Václav Dobiáš. From 1953 he worked at the academy, at first as secretary to the composition department and then as lecturer in composition theory. He has progressed from a romantic, folkloric style to a dodecaphony that is only exceptionally atonal. His opera Ostrov Afrodity (‘The Island of Aphrodite’, 1967), for which he wrote his own libretto (after A. Parnis), was performed in Dresden in 1971. This work, inspired by the struggle for independence and social justice in Cyprus in 1955, reveals a wide range of stylistic influences. Its fluid recitative gives the music a somewhat cinematic, sub-pictorial quality.

ČSHS L. Zenkl: ‘O hudebni řeči Jiřího Dvořáčka’ [On Dvořáček’s Musical Speech], ...

Article

Andrew Stiller

(b Haddonfield, nj, March 22, 1927). American composer. She studied the piano privately and taught it at the Philadelphia Musical Academy from 1953. She was married to the composer Romeo Cascarino, from whom she learnt orchestration, and began composing about 1962. Her first opera was commissioned by a suburban Philadelphia ensemble in 1965. The modest success of The Trojan Women spurred further commissions and Garwood gradually became known as an opera composer.

At this stage she studied composition formally with Miriam Gideon, taking the master’s degree at the Philadelphia Musical Academy in 1975; by then she had produced two operas and begun work on a third. Garwood was appointed to the piano faculty of Muhlenberg College (Allentown, Pennsylvania) in 1978, and there wrote Rappaccini’s Daughter, her best-known composition, completing it in 1983 after nearly a decade of work. In 1984 she left Muhlenberg College to devote all her time to composition....

Article

Elise Kirk

[Hollier ]

(b Berkeley, ca , Aug 27, 1924; d Rocklin, ca , Oct 29, 2003). American composer . He studied with Milhaud at Mills College and with Menotti at the Curtis Institute, where he taught composition and assisted Menotti. He was a musical director for the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1960. After teaching at San Jose College (1961–3), he joined the faculty of Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, where he became professor of music and composer-in-residence. His first opera, The Mother (1954), commissioned by the Curtis Institute and first performed there is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale about a mother who makes an arduous journey to rescue her child from Death. Hollingsworth was the youngest composer of his time to write an opera for American national television, La grande Bretèche (NBC, 1957). A popular trilogy was formed when his children’s operas The Selfish Giant...

Article

Martin Brody

(Welsh )

(b New York, April 6, 1921; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 5, 2007). American composer . He studied composition with Roger Sessions (1937–47), and received the BA at Princeton University (1942). After serving in the US Army (1942–6), he continued his studies with Sessions at the University of California at Berkeley (MA 1947). He joined the faculty of Berkeley two years later, and taught there for over 40 years. He was also appointed chairman of the composition department at the San Francisco Conservatory and visiting professor of composition at Brandeis. As a composer, he received numerous honours and awards, including two Guggenheim fellowships, the Brandeis University Creative Arts Medal, and election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He wrote influential analytical and theoretical articles, especially on the music of Sessions and on meter and accent in Beethoven.

Imbrie’s work embodies a sophisticated post-tonal idiom, a preoccupation with contrapuntal textures and an abiding fascination with subtle phrasing details and coherent large forms. He wrote two operas: the first, ...

Article

Severine Neff

(b Sioux City, sd, Dec 13, 1889; d Aptos, ca, July 3, 1965). American composer. As a child he studied the piano and music theory with T. C. Tjaden. At the American Conservatory in Chicago he studied the piano with Heniot Levy and composition with Adolph Weidig. In 1914 he joined the theory and composition faculty of the conservatory, remaining there until 1929. While on leave in Vienna in 1918–19 he studied the piano with Leopold Godowsky and composition with Franz Schreker. Loomis subsequently taught in the USA from 1929 to 1956. A prolific composer, he wrote exclusively in a tonal, chromatic idiom. Chiefly interested in opera, he sought consciously to subordinate the music to the text, which led him to eschew virtuosity in both vocal and instrumental writing. His operas make use of American material, notably poems of Edgar Allan Poe and melodies by Stephen Foster. Yolanda of Cyprus...

Article

Gaynor G. Jones

(b Toronto, Jan 14, 1944). Canadian composer. He studied with John Weinzweig and Gustav Ciamaga at the University of Toronto and with Milton Babbitt at Princeton. In 1973 he was appointed to teach at McGill University, Montreal, where he was later Dean of the Faculty of Music (1986–91). He lived in Berlin (1979–80), and was composer-in-residence in Mannheim in 1984. He was a founder-member of the Montreal new-music society Les Evénements du Neuf, and joined the board of directors of the Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec in 1982.

Rea’s first opera, The Prisoners Play, to a libretto by Paul Woodruff, was commissioned in 1972 by the University of Toronto opera department and had its première on 12 May 1973 at the MacMillan Theatre. A serial work written for children, it combines the magical and enchanted world of Circe with that of discovery in the music. His second opera, ...

Article

Jessica Payette

(Ferrée )

(b New York, NY, Feb 18, 1943). American composer, opera singer, and educator. She studied literature and music at Columbia University, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her primary voice teachers were soprano Helen Merritt and Marina Ahmed Alam, a Hindustani raga singer. She studied composition with vladimir Ussachevsky , whom she first encountered in an undergraduate counterpoint course, and otto Luening . Ussachevsky eventually taught her the methods he developed for studio electronics and became her principal supervisor. During her student years she collaborated with Ussachevsky on film and television scores, including Line of Apogee and Incredible Voyage, which combined pure electronic and concrète sound sources; Shields also embraced this approach for many of her electronic music-theater pieces and operas. Her DMA in composition was conferred in 1975 with the completion of the third segment of a tripartite opera, begun in 1970, entitled The Odyssey of Ulysses the Palmiped...

Article

Lawrence Starr

(Elihu )

(b New York, June 24, 1922). American composer . His principal teachers were Otto Luening, Bernard Wagenaar and Felix Salzer; he also studied with Milhaud in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship (1951–2). After teaching at the Mannes College (1952–7), he joined the faculty of UCLA in 1957 and became professor in 1968. His honours include a Gershwin Award, a Martha Baird Rockefeller Award (1968), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1972–3), a Ford Foundation grant (1975) and two NEA grants (1976, 1978). Travis’s works are characterized by a strong rhythmic impulse and an expanded tonality. He has written two operas, both to his own librettos, on Greek subjects. The Passion of Oedipus (2, after Sophocles) was composed in 1965 and first performed in Los Angeles on 8 November 1968. The Black Bacchants (2; composed 1982), based on The Bacchae...

Article

Elise Kirk

(b Manjing, Jiangsu, April 20, 1935). Chinese composer. He graduated from the Central Institute of Music in Beijing, then for political reasons was sent to Xingjiang, where he worked for 20 years as a farm labourer. In 1979 he became conductor of the Beijing SO; in 1984 he joined the faculty of the Chinese Music Conservatory, where he is professor of composition and director of the Composition Research Centre. A widely recognized Chinese composer, Jin has written in all genres. His operas comprise A Warm Breeze Outside (1980), Savage Land (1987, First International Art and Music Festival, Beijing) and Sunrise (1990). In 1989 Savage Land won a prize at the Third International Music Theater Workshop in Munich. It was given its North American stage première in January 1992 by the Washington Opera (Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC) to great acclaim, the first opera with a Chinese libretto (by Wan Fang, after her father’s play ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Brno, 13 March 1966). Czech composer, pedagogue, and writer on music, son of zdeněk zouhar. He studied composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno (with Miloš Ištván and alois piňos) and musicology at the Masaryk University, followed by post-graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (with Herman Markus Preßl and younghi pagh-paan) and JAMU. He remains an external pedagogue at both these institutions, as well as being active as a researcher at the Palacký University Olomouc (vice-dean starting in 2010), Ostrava University, and Masaryk University.

His brand of postmodernism is surprisingly respectful, using disparate materials in a serious manner, and generally staying with a few pieces of material for the duration of a piece or movement. Often composed in an additive, evolutionary structure, his works are sonically reminiscent of New York post-minimalism, but are very European in their approach to expressivity and emotional intensity. This approach includes both the intense rhythms of ...