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Article

Christopher Palmer, Clifford McCarty, Martin Marks and Nathan Platte

(b New York, NY, 4 April 1922; d Ojai, CA, 18 Aug 2004). Composer and conductor. He was trained as a pianist but also studied composition with Israel Citkowitz, Roger Sessions, Ivan Langstroth and Stefan Wolpe. He attended New York University, then enlisted in the Army Air Corps (1942); he arranged and composed music for some 80 programs for the Armed Forces Radio Service and was a concert pianist for three years after his discharge. Norman Corwin then engaged him to score radio drama, which led to composition for films; Bernstein's third film, Sudden Fear (1952), attracted favorable attention. In 1955, despite suffering career difficulties due to McCarthyism (see Marmorstein), he rose to sudden prominence with his score for The Man with the Golden Arm. In this, as in several scores that followed (e.g. Walk on the Wild Side, 1962), he effectively blended jazz into a modern symphonic idiom to suit gritty stories and contemporary settings. He subsequently became known for his rousing scores for westerns and action films (notably ...

Article

Richard Swift

revised by Steve Metcalf

(Seiko)

(b Seattle, WA, 9 July 1938). Composer. He studied composition with Robert Palmer (i) at Cornell University (MA in English literature 1961, DMA 1965), and continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1962–3), Ernst Pepping in Berlin (1965–6), and Gunther Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center (1966). He joined the faculty of UCLA in 1966 and was associate professor of music until 1976; during those years he founded and directed the Twice Ensemble, conducted the collegium musicum and was composer-in-residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1971–4). He was Andrew Mellon Professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1975 and taught at the California Institute of the Arts (1976). In 1980 he became composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Ballet. He re-joined the UCLA faculty in 1996 and was Visiting Professor in 1999. He has written over 15 film scores and has worked as a consultant and arranger for stage musicals, including Duke Ellington's ...

Article

Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Ryan Dohoney

(b Concord, NH, March 7, 1940; d Cheektowaga, NY, April 9, 2016). American filmmaker, composer, violinist, and media artist. He began playing violin in his youth and studied with Ronald Knudsen. He became fascinated with the physics of sounds and interested in intonation, the harmonic series, long-held tones, and the act of close listening. He attended Harvard University and received an AB in mathematics in 1962. While at Harvard he met Henry Flynt and Christian George Wolff and became involved with the post-Cagean avant garde based in New York. In 1959 Conrad met La Monte Young, who became a frequent collaborator in the mid-1960s. Conrad credited an encounter with the music of 17th-century composer and violinist Heinrich Ignaz Biber in the late 1950s with a profound transformation of his musical thinking, drawing his attention to variable tunings and the role of timbre as an aesthetic concern. Conrad’s exposure to the music of Ali Akbar Khan also heightened his interest in drones as a basis for musical performance....

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Alan Silvestri poses in the press room with the award for outstanding music direction for a series (original dramatic score) for his work on "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" and the award for outstanding main title theme music for his work on "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" at the 2014 Creative Arts Emmys at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles....

Article

Daniele Buccio

(b New York, NY, Aug 5, 1953). American composer and media artist. He studied film and video art at the State University of New York at Buffalo (MA 1976) and composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974–6), and finally alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University (MA 1982). He has directed and composed music for a number of his own ensembles, including the Orchestra of Excited Strings, the first iteration of which formed in 1979. Among the most rock-oriented of minimalist composers, he has experimented with performance techniques, explored original systems of tuning, and modified or created new instruments to achieve specific timbral effects. In 1984 he moved to Berlin, where he became composer-in-residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Since arriving in Europe he has expanded his creative activities: staging multi-day performances (The Memory Projects, 1995–2001); creating installations such as From the Archives...

Article

Sabine Feisst

(b San Diego, CA, May 22, 1953). American composer, media artist, performer, and bio-acoustic researcher. After taking violin and viola lessons with Mary Gerard, James Glazebrook, and Howard Hill and pursuing undergraduate studies in music at San Diego State University, Dunn earned the MFA in new media at the Danube University’s Transart Institute in Krems, Austria (2009). He also studied composition with David Ernst, kenneth Gaburo , Norman Lowrey, and Pauline Oliveros, and served as assistant to harry Partch (1970–74), in whose ensemble he performed for a decade. Engaging in both traditional and experimental compositional approaches, Dunn has conceived music for the concert stage, radio, and film, and explored sound art, including sound installations and soundscape recordings. Dunn has also dedicated himself to studies in acoustic ecology and bio-acoustic research. He has taught at the College of Santa Fe and San Diego State University, where he was director of the Electronic Music Studio. He has served as vice-president of the International Synergy Institute in Los Angeles (...

Article

revised by Martin Marks

[Daniel Robert]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 29 May 1953). Composer, rock singer, arranger, and guitarist. With his brother Richard he formed the theater company the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo in the 1970s, which in 1979 became Oingo Boingo, an eight-piece, new wave band led by Elfman as vocalist and songwriter. During the 1980s the band developed a distinctive synthesizer and horn-based sound; occasionally its songs were featured in youth-market films, such as for the title song of Weird Science (1985), but its ten or so albums had limited commercial success and it formally broke up in 1995.

Beginning in 1985 Elfman also began scoring films, becoming especially well known for his association with the director Tim Burton; after Batman (1989), he became one of Hollywood's most sought-after younger composers. He has worked on nearly all of Burton's films, creating colorful, rhythmically driving and knowingly referential scores, well matched to Burton's surreal style. Elfman has also written the theme music for many television shows, notably “The Simpsons”. Objecting to the overbearing use of sound effects in such action-driven films as ...

Article

David Ades

(Joseph)

(b Toronto, ON, 24 July 1917; d Guernsey, 23 April 2005). Canadian arranger, composer, and conductor. He began his career as a trumpet player in dance bands and later worked for Percy Faith's CBC Orchestra. By 1942 he had composed two symphonies, and in 1944 he came to Britain as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, alongside Glenn Miller and George Melachrino fronting the US and British bands. He took his army discharge in Britain, where Decca contracted him to work with their leading singers such as Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields; the BBC granted him a radio series with his own orchestra. He began composing for the cinema, and early successes out of some 40 scores included Spring in Park Lane, Maytime in Mayfair, and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. The emergence of LPs provided orchestra leaders such as Farnon the opportunity to develop their arranging and composing talents more fully, and his Decca albums from the 1950s have become highly prized by admirers, especially fellow musicians in the United States. Many have acknowledged his influence, including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, and Johnny Mandel. Farnon's light orchestral cameos are among the finest to have been written since World War II, notably ...

Article

Tristian Evans

(b Baltimore, MD, 31 Jan 1937). American composer. Philip Glass is considered one of the founding figures of minimalist music. After studying at the University of Chicago (1952–6) and the Juilliard School (1957–62) he received a Fulbright scholarship that supported him to develop his craft with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1964–6). During this period, he served as Ravi Shankar’s music assistant for the film Chappaqua, which depicts the life of its director and protagonist, Conrad Rooks, and his struggles with drug addiction. On returning to the United States, Glass collaborated with the Chicago-based Kartemquin Film company on Inquiring Nuns and Marco (see Eaton, 2013). This period of soundtrack production was short-lived, however, as he later concentrated on concert music and opera, producing such key works as Music in Twelve Parts (1971–4) and Einstein on the Beach (1975–6)....

Article

revised by Martin Marks

(b Brooklyn, NY, 2 May 1954). Composer. He learned piano as a child and in his teens also played trumpet and sang in a touring blues band. In the 1970s he studied at the Manhattan School with John Corigliano (ii) and later informally with Aaron Copland. His first important works were for classical chamber ensembles. The largest and best known of his concert works is Vietnam Oratorio, first performed in April 1995 to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Its texts are in Vietnamese, Latin, and English and include poems by Yusef Komunyakaa. Its style is decidedly modern, and the eclectic vocal and instrumental writing includes a prominent solo cello part written for Yo-Yo Ma.

Since the late 1980s Goldenthal has also composed stage and film scores. Of particular interest are his collaborations with the theater director Julie Taymor, his longtime personal companion; these include popular productions of plays by Gozzi for the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a critically acclaimed revival of the oratorio-like ...

Article

revised by Martin Marks

[Jerrald]

(b Los Angeles, CA, 10 Feb 1929; d Beverly Hills, CA, 21 July 2004). Composer and conductor. In the 1940s he studied the piano with Jakob Gimpel and theory and composition with Castelnuovo-Tedesco; he also attended Los Angeles City College, as well as Rózsa’s classes at the University of Southern California. In the 1950s he worked primarily for CBS, composing and conducting music first for radio, then for television. His television credits include numerous scores for such live dramatic programs as Climax! and Playhouse 90, as well as for episodes of long-running series such as Gunsmoke and The Twilight Zone. Although he continued to write for television with some frequency during the 1960s and 70s, after 1962 he mostly scored feature films. Over four decades he completed scores for more than 160 films and collaborated repeatedly with directors including Schaffner, Ridley Scott, Dante, Verhoeven and Schepisi. He worked closely with two outstanding orchestrators, Arthur Morton and Alexander Courage....

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

Geoffrey Block

(Frederick)

(b New York, NY, 2 June 1944; d Los Angeles, CA, 6 Aug 2012). Composer. After demonstrating precocious talent, he became the youngest student to attend the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied piano reluctantly from 1951 to 1965; while still there, he worked as a rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl (1964). In 1965 he attained early success as a popular songwriter when two songs he composed with a high school friend, Howard Liebling, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” and “California Nights,” were recorded by Lesley Gore; one other song he composed as a teenager, “Travelin’ Life,” was recorded years later by Liza Minnelli, another high school friend, on her first album. Concurrently with his studies in music at Queens College, from which he graduated in 1967, Hamlisch was employed for two seasons as a vocal arranger and rehearsal pianist for a wide variety of acclaimed performers on ...

Article

revised by James Wierzbicki

(Warren)

(b Cambridge, MA, 27 March 1920). Conductor, arranger, harmonica player, and composer. He began his professional career in 1938 as a performer and arranger with the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals. His arrangements for this ensemble brought him to the attention of commercial musicians, and within a few years he was working as an orchestrator for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios on musical films that included Girl Crazy, Meet me in St. Louis, and As Thousands Cheer. After returning to Boston, where he was music director of the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra in the late 1940s, Hayman was named principal arranger for the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1950. In the decades that followed he served as music director for numerous leading entertainers, including Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Olivia Newton-John, and Bobby Vinton. His tune “Ruby” (from the soundtrack for the film Ruby Gentry [1953...

Article

Bill Dobbins and Barry Long

[Herbert Jeffrey]

(b Chicago, IL, 12 April 1940). Jazz pianist, keyboard player, and composer. He was born into a musical family and began studying piano at the age of seven. Four years later he performed the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto no.5 with the Chicago SO in a young people's concert. He formed his own jazz band while attending Hyde Park High School; his early influences were from Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and the harmonies of Clare Fischer, Gil Evans, and Ravel. Hancock began studies at Grinnell College with a double major in music and engineering, the latter an early interest that later was manifested in his groundbreaking synthesizer work. He switched to composition in his junior year, and by the time he left Grinnell in 1960 he was already working in jazz clubs in Chicago with Coleman Hawkins. The trumpeter Donald Byrd invited him to join his quintet and move to New York, where during Hancock's first recording session with the group, Blue Note was sufficiently impressed to offer him his first date as a leader, in ...

Article

Durrell Bowman

(Roy)

(b Los Angeles, 14 Aug 1953; d Santa Barbara, CA, 22 June 2015). American film composer and conductor. The son of the Bohemian American production designer Harry Horner, James Horner studied at the RCM, where his teachers included György Ligeti. He moved to California in the early 1970s and attended the University of the Pacific and then USC. He then earned the master’s degree in composition and music theory at UCLA, where he also taught music theory and worked on a doctorate; his professors included Paul Chihara. In 1978 Horner scored a series of films for the American Film Institute (including The Watcher), and in 1979 he began scoring feature-length films, including work for B-movie producer Roger Corman.

Horner often incorporates electronic elements, choral or solo vocal music (including wordless female voices), and Celtic and other ‘world music’ elements. He has scored a large number of science fiction and action films, and also many dramas and children’s films, totaling nearly one hundred feature film scores as of ...

Article

Mark Brill

(Alexis)

(b Lyons, France, 13 Sept 1924; d Malibu, CA, 28 March 2009). French composer. He studied engineering at the University of Lyons and at the Sorbonne, then attended the Paris Conservatoire, studying percussion with Passerone and composition with Honegger and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the ondes martenot. He served in the army during World War II, and in the late 1940s played percussion in the navy band, with the Orchestre Radio-Symphonique, and with the Compagnie Renaud-Barrault, where he became friends with Boulez and Delerue. When Jean Vilar became director of the Théâtre National Populaire, he made Jarre his musical director, resident composer, and conductor. In 1952 Georges Franju asked him to write the score for Hôtel des invalides. The film went on to become a minor classic, and Jarre turned henceforth almost exclusively to film music, writing scores for many French directors, including Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Paul Rappeneau. His score for ...

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Josef Vostarek

In 

American movie composer and conductor of the Passion of the Christ Symphony John C. Debney during the premiere at the 57th Smetana's Litomysl Opera festival on June 21, 2015 in Litomysl, Czech Republic.

Photo/Josef Vostarek (CTK via AP Images)

Article

Leonidas Economou

(b Trikala, Greece, April 7, 1922; d Athens, Greece, April 8, 1990). Greek composer and lyricist. He was of middle-class origin and finished high school in 1941. He became fascinated with rebetiko and the music of the refugees from Asia Minor, and he was also influenced by religious Byzantine and folk music. From 1941 until 1947 he worked as a bouzouki player in taverns and nightclubs in Trikala and especially Thessaloniki. He was lauded for his first recorded compositions, made in 1947 and including the emblematic laïko song Nychtose choris fengari (‘The Night Fell with No Moon’), which were invested with various social and political meanings as a result of the civil war. In the following years he cooperated with several important laïko creators, and had dozens of hits in the late rebetiko style with singers like Haskil, Tsaousakis, and Bellou, and in grieving or Indian style with singers like Kazantzidis, Gavalas, Angelopoulos, Menidiatis, and Lydia. From ...