(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 His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century.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...
James B. Kopp
Anna E. Kijas
(b Washington, DC, Aug 25, 1960). American pianist, writer, broadcaster, and new music advocate. An extraordinary performer and champion of new American and experimental music, she began formal piano studies at the age of seven with Sharon Mann. At 16, she performed Bach’s D major Toccata at the chamber music festival Sommermusikwochen in Trogen, Switzerland. In 1977, she briefly attended the San Francisco Conservatory before transferring to the University of Michigan and studying English (BA 1985). She serves on the music faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, writes reviews, program notes, liner notes, and articles, and hosts the classical music show Then and Now on public radio station KALW 91.7 FM. In her performances and other activities, she has promoted the work of early 20th-century composers, including Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and contemporary figures such as Kyle Gann, Terry Riley, and Frederic Rzewski, among many others....
(b Rochester, NY, June 12, 1982). American composer, organist, writer, and critic. He was exposed to music from an early age (his paternal grandmother was a music teacher and an Eastman graduate). He began piano lessons at age 3; organ lessons with Bruce Klanderman followed at age 10. It was then that he began to turn his attention to composition. His formal education took place at Harvard (AB, 2000) and Carnegie Mellon (MM, 2006). Among his chief composition teachers were bernard Rands and Judith Weir.
With a voracious interest in the entire history of Western music and an unquenchable drive to compose, Cooman has amassed an enormous body of work (nearly a thousand opus numbers before reaching the age of 30), while pursuing parallel career tracks as an organist specializing in contemporary works (including more than 100 premieres), as a writer on many musical subjects, and as a consultant to other composers. His own music embraces a vast range of styles and genres, sacred as well as secular, from tonal choral anthems to atonal orchestral, solo, and chamber music, from songs to full operas, along with a variety of postmodern hybrids. He has written a large number of occasional pieces, as well as compositions for unusual instrumental combinations, avowing a belief in the value of such utilitarian pieces equivalent to that of more ambitious, large-scale works. Most of his recent music has been composed on commission, and his works are performed frequently throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and elsewhere. Dozens have appeared on recordings....
(b Orléans, Dec 23, 1823; d Paris, Aug 8, 1854). French organist, pianist, composer, pedagogue, and music critic. As a child, Dillon learned harmony and piano from her mother, Elisabeth. Dillon later took lessons from the organist Marius Gueit of the Eglise Saint-Paterne in Orléans, displaying a precocious talent for composition and improvisation. In 1837, she and her mother moved to the Parisian suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Dillon failed to establish a performance career there, but when she was 17, she secured the post of organiste titutlaire at the cathedral in Meaux. She held that post until 1853, the year before her death.
Dillon attracted significant critical attention for her composition Contes fantastiques de Hoffmann (published 1847), which she called a ‘translation’ of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s work. She published this composition under the name ‘Juliette Godillon’, but after multiple reviews referred to her as ‘Juliette G. Dillon’, she assumed the name ‘Juliette Dillon’. In ...
(b Shenandoah, IA, June 2, 1898; d Memphis, TN, Feb 4, 1990). American music critic, conductor, and pianist. He studied at the University of Nebraska (1915–16), Chicago Music College (1920–22, subsequently incorporated into Roosevelt University), and the Gunn School in Chicago (MM 1923). He worked as a music critic for the Chicago Herald and Examiner between 1925 and 1936 and for the Chicago Tribune from 1943 to 1947. Between 1935 and 1943 he served as the Illinois state director of the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Music Project and as a co-conductor of the Illinois SO. In 1947 he became the first full-time music critic for the Los Angeles Times, a position from which he officially retired in 1965. He subsequently contributed to the LA Times as a staff writer and, from 1966 until shortly before his death, as Critic Emeritus. Goldberg was known for his emphatic support of conductors Zubin Mehta and Georg Solti and also for his recollections of such figures as Percy Grainger, Josef Hofmann, Vladimir Horowitz, Lauritz Melchior, and Artur Rubinstein. Trained as a pianist, he was especially knowledgeable about pianists and piano repertory....
Karen M. Bryan
[Douglas, Lena ]
(b Kansas City, KS, 1885; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 24, 1974). American critic, composer, singer, and pianist. After receiving a BSc from Western Ontario University in Quindaro, Kansas, Holt studied at the Chicago Musical College and earned the first MusM in composition awarded to an African American (1918). During the 1920s she performed as a singer throughout Europe, studied composition briefly with Nadia Boulanger, and developed close friendships with Harlem Renaissance figures such as Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes.
While Holt’s career included periods in which she composed (only one of approximately 200 compositions survive) and performed (she sang extensively in private venues during her travels), she always returned to music journalism. She served as critic for The Chicago Defender from 1917–21, becoming the first woman music critic in the United States. During this same period she published Music and Poetry (1919–21), in which she included new compositions (including her own)....
(b New York, NY, Aug 26, 1894; d Cleveland, OH, Jan 4, 1969). American pianist and writer on music, half-brother of frank Loesser . He studied at City College of New York, Columbia University, and the Institute of Musical Art, New York. He made his debut as a pianist in Berlin in 1913 and in New York in 1916, and thereafter toured the United States, Australia, and the Far East. Loesser joined the piano faculty of the Cleveland Institute in 1926; he was head of the piano department there from 1953 until his death. He also wrote program notes for the Cleveland Orchestra (1927–42) and was music critic of the Cleveland Press (1939–56). During World War II Loesser was an intelligence officer with the US Army; after the war he was posted to Japan, where he performed with the Japan SO (1946) and lectured (in Japanese). He was the author of ...
Joseph E. Morgan
(b Baltimore, MD, Sept 12, 1880; d Baltimore, MD, Jan 29, 1956). American journalist and music critic. Mencken’s musical education consisted primarily of piano lessons in his youth. He was a reporter at the Baltimore Morning Herald from 1899 to 1906 before moving to the Baltimore Sun where he worked until he suffered a stroke in 1948. He was primarily known for his coverage of the national political conventions between 1920 and 1948 and his nationally syndicated coverage of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1925.
Mencken’s primary musical outlet as performer occurred during the meetings of the Saturday Night Music Club, an amateur association formed for socializing and musical performance by members of Mencken’s social circle in Baltimore. Mencken preferred composers from the Austro-German traditions, and his writing often championed the musical life of American cities and towns, not least his hometown Baltimore. In 1916, for example, he wrote a number of articles to encourage interest in the newly formed Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the twenties, he also made an annual trip to the Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to review the yearly performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor by the Bethlehem Bach Choir. Despite his penchant for the Westernss canon, his reviews of the folk song collections common to the early 20th century reveal a sophisticated critical approach. For example, in his essay “The Music of the American Negro,” he created a contextually based, complex narrative of the emergence of the American spiritual, proposing the interracial performance of hymns at Southern camp meetings in the 18th century as a possible source for the genre. The stroke that Mencken suffered in ...
John Daverio and Eric Sams
(b Zwickau, Saxony, June 8, 1810; d Endenich, nr Bonn, July 29, 1856). German composer and music critic. While best remembered for his piano music and songs, and some of his symphonic and chamber works, Schumann made significant contributions to all the musical genres of his day and cultivated a number of new ones as well. His dual interest in music and literature led him to develop a historically informed music criticism and a compositional style deeply indebted to literary models. A leading exponent of musical Romanticism, he had a powerful impact on succeeding generations of European composers.
The fifth and last child of August Schumann and Johanna Christiana Schumann (née Schnabel), Robert Schumann was born into a household dominated by literary activity. (There is no evidence for a middle name ‘Alexander’, given in some sources; his birth and death certificates both give ‘Robert Schumann’. Possibly Alexander is a corruption of his teenage pseudonym ‘Skülander’.) His father, an author of chivalric romances and a tireless lexicographer, amassed a small fortune by translating Walter Scott and Byron into German. He was also a book dealer, and Robert, his favourite child, was able to spend many hours poring over the classics of literature....
Ramona H. Matthews
(b Appleton, WI, July 21, 1893; d Neenah, WI, Nov 3, 1975). American pianist, teacher, and writer on music. He was educated at Charleston (South Carolina) College and the University of Wisconsin, and then went to Europe (1920) to study at the University of Madrid and elsewhere, his teachers including the pianist moriz Rosenthal. He settled in Paris to perform, teach, and write, serving as music and drama critic for the Paris Tribune (1921–34) and Paris correspondent for the Musical Digest of New York (1922–9), the Musical Courier of New York (1932–41), the Nuova Italia musicale of Rome, and the Musical Times of London. He was an enthusiastic promoter of concerts of American music in France, and organized the first European festival of American music (Bad Homburg, Germany, 1931). On his return to America (1942) he settled in Appleton to teach and write. He received several honors from the French government for his services to music, and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in ...
(b Brooklyn, NY, April 14, 1948). American music critic and pianist. He studied piano with Donald Currier at Yale University (BA 1970, MMus 1972) and with Leonard Shure at Boston University (DMA 1982). Tommasini has taught music at Emerson College (1978–86) and given nonfiction writing workshops at Wesleyan University and Brandeis University. He was appointed a staff music critic at the New York Times in 1997, and in 2000 he became the paper’s chief classical music critic. Prior to joining the Times, he covered music and theater for the Boston Globe.
He has published two books on the composer Virgil Thomson: Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (New York, 1986; an expanded, revised version of Tommasini’s DMA dissertation) and the critically acclaimed Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle (New York, 1997). Tommasini’s latest book, released in 2004, is Opera: a Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Works and the Best Recordings...