(b New York, April 17, 1926; d New York, Feb 1, 2007). American writer on jazz and broadcaster. After graduating from Cornell University (BA 1951) he joined the staff of the New Yorker. For the Saturday Review (1953–7) and then for the New Yorker he contributed reviews of jazz concerts, recordings and books, as well as interviews with jazz musicians; many of these articles have been reprinted in a continuing series of books. He has also published poetry. In 1957 he conceived the idea and was adviser for a television programme, ‘The Sound of Jazz’, broadcast live by CBS. Balliett’s writings are eloquent and highly stylized. His interviews portray his subjects with dignity, and his reviews often create effects that parallel those of the music being discussed. At his best, in an assessment of style or a description of an improvisation, Balliett provided insights more penetrating than many formal musical analyses....
William F. Coscarelli
(b Wichita, KS, May 1941). American concert organist. At age five she started piano lessons and at age eleven, after hearing Alexander Schreiner play the Mormon Tabernacle organ, she began organ studies. Bish studied organ with Dorothy Addy, Era Wilder Peniston, Mildred Andrews, and Marie-Claire Alain, studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt, and attended classes with Nadia Boulanger. In 1982 she began her own television series The Joy of Music, which continues to reach a vast worldwide audience every week. She also served as organist at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 20 years.
Bish has won several performance competitions and has been the recipient of prestigious awards. In 1963, while a student at the University of Oklahoma, she won the Mu Phi Epsilon student performance competition and later went on to be a national Mu Phi composition winner. In 1989 she was awarded the National Citation by the National Federation of Music Clubs of America. In ...
[Cecil Valentine ]
(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....
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 Madrid, March 2, 1920). Spanish critic, pianist and composer. At the Madrid Conservatory he studied the piano with Luis Galve and composition with Rogelio del Villar and Conrado del Campo. In 1952 he took over the music section of the Madrid daily Arriba and was appointed head of music programmes of the Spanish National Radio, where he has been particularly successful. He founded the National RO (1953–5), the precursor of the present Spanish Radio and Television SO, which he was instrumental in founding in 1965; he also established the National Radio Choir (later the Spanish Radio and Television Choir), the Cuarteto Clásico of Spanish Broadcasting (1952) and the Barcelona City Orchestra (1967). In 1976 he became director of the music section of the Madrid daily El pais.
Although he began his career as a composer, writing many songs and some film music, Franco has achieved most recognition as a highly sensitive piano accompanist, and is considered the leading critic of his generation in Spain. He is noted for his support of new Spanish composers: in ...
Caroline Polk O’Meara
[Jones, Alexander Roger Wallace ]
(b New York, NY, 1967). American musician and writer. Frere-Jones has performed with his band Ui since the early 1990s, when he also began writing about music for publications including the Village Voice, New York Times, and Spin. Since 2004 he has been the pop music critic at The New Yorker. His columns often cover popular musicians, but he has also been an early champion of many lesser-known groups from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Sleigh Bells. His experience as a professional musician shines in his authorial voice; he writes accessibly and in depth about musical content. Frere-Jones’s controversial 2007 New Yorker article, “A Paler Shade of White,” produced a large amount of support and criticism in the press. The wide-ranging article began with him mourning the absence of African American music traditions in indie rock (centering on the group Arcade Fire) before addressing the question of musical miscegenation, which he claims is sadly absent in most current rock music. Frere-Jones’s clever quips are frequently quoted in the work of other writers, making him something of a critic’s critic....
George J. Grella
(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA 1976), where he played jazz piano, sang, composed chamber music, and organized free-jazz ensembles. He moved to New York and worked as a graphic designer and illustrator, producing work for Paul Bley’s label Improvising Artists and for composer La Monte Young, while making music on the side. Garland followed the twin paths of piano improvisation and composition for chamber ensembles in the minimalist style and later joined Nigel Rollings’s band Ad Hoc Rock; with Rollings he sang and played drums, guitar, and keyboards and appeared at The Kitchen, Carnegie Hall, and in the Noise Fest at White Columns (1981). In ...
(b Belfast, May 5, 1951). Northern Ireland composer, pianist and critic. At Queen's University, Belfast (BMus 1973, MA 1974), he studied composition with Raymond Warren and Adrian Thomas. He also studied the piano with Rhona Marshall at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. In 1988, after a period of school and university teaching he became Music Director and subsequently Performing Arts Director of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Hammond has written for a wide range of media and performers from school children to professionals. His music is direct in expression and tends to eschew excessive complexity. He describes himself as a romantic; the dark side of this comes through in Thanatos (1977), a pioneering work by a Northern Ireland composer in the field of electro-acoustic composition, and the introspective Narcissus (1981). Echoes of Schoenberg and Berg may be felt in his works of the early and mid-1980s, and Hammond's usually strong contact with tonality is here at its most tenuous. German poetry, particularly that of Hesse, has been an important influence. ...
Mark Anthony Neal
(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...
revised by Dennis K. McIntire
(b Berlin, Sept 27, 1930; d Redding, CT, Jan 23, 2002). American harpsichordist, fortepianist and critic, son of Alexander Kipnis. After studying at the Westport School of Music, Connecticut, and at Harvard, he worked as art and editorial director of Westminster Records (1955–9), as director of recorded music for a chain of radio stations based in New York (1959–61) and as a music critic (from 1955). In the meantime he took up the harpsichord professionally. Although essentially self-taught, he was guided and encouraged by a number of musicians, notably Thurston Dart. He made his début in a radio broadcast in New York in 1959 and gave his first recital there in 1962. He performed widely as a soloist with leading orchestras and as a recitalist, touring Europe, Israel, South America, Australia, the Soviet Union and East Asia. His teaching career began in 1964...
(b Brusque, Santa Catarina, March 17, 1928). Brazilian composer, conductor and critic. He began violin studies at an early age with his father, a composer, conductor and founder of the local conservatory. A state scholarship took him in 1943 to Rio de Janeiro, where he studied the violin with Edith Reis at the conservatory and took lessons in harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition with Koellreutter (1944–8). He became an active member of Koellreutter's Música Viva group, winning their prize in 1945 for the Woodwind Trio. In 1948 he won first prize at the Berkshire Music Center competition for Latin American composers. He then studied orchestration and composition with Copland, composition with Mennin at the Juilliard School (1948–9) and the violin with Nowinsky at the Henry Street Settlement School. While in New York he had several of his works performed, and he conducted the New York PO on ...
George J. Grella
(b Albuquerque, NM, April 19, 1957). American composer, performer, instrument builder, and journalist. In high school he learned to play guitar, flute, violin, and percussion. In 1976 he enrolled at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he built a Serge modular synthesizer. He also formed the Fall Mountain ensemble with the reed player Ned Rothenberg and the violinist Jim Katzin. After leaving Oberlin in 1979 without a degree, he toured with Anthony Braxton’s Creative Music Orchestra then settled in New York. There he began playing with John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Wayne Horvitz, and Fred Frith and embarked on an idiosyncratic and individualistic career.
Ostertag’s work is holistic; he has developed his compositions inseparably from the instruments he has designed, the musicians with whom he has collaborated and improvised, and the explicit and passionate political opinions he has sought to express. In 1980 he released his first solo album, Getting a Head...
(b Swinton, nr Manchester, July 26, 1943). Australian composer, pianist, and critic, born in England. He lived in England until 1976 when he migrated to Australia, taking Australian citizenship in 1990. Entering the RCM in 1961, Smalley studied composition with Fricker and John White, whose wide-ranging interests he found especially stimulating, and piano with Antony Hopkins. He also studied composition with Goehr at Morley College, London (1962); with Stockhausen in Cologne (1965–6); and with Boulez during a Darmstadt summer course (1965). In 1968 he was appointed the first artist-in-residence at King’s College, Cambridge, where he subsequently held a three-year research fellowship. During this time he co-founded the live-electronics ensemble Intermodulation with Souster, Peter Britton and Robin Thompson. In 1974 Smalley was artist-in-residence at the University of Western Australia (UWA), returning two years later to become a research fellow and subsequently associate professor (...
Alex Harris Stein
(b Dayton, OH, Oct 14, 1957). American writer, guitarist, and bandleader. He was a staff writer for the Village Voice from 1987 to 2003 (a contributor since 1981) and one of a group of young African Americans writing for the Voice on black culture, politics, and identity. His work focuses on black music and culture from a postmodern, black nationalist perspective and is noteworthy for an unconventional style that Tate describes as blending academic and street culture. One of the first journalists to cover hip hop, he has written about Miles Davis, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, and others. He has contributed to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, VIBE, the Washington Post, Spin, The Nation, Down Beat, and other publications. His books include Flyboy in the Buttermilk (New York, 1992), Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience (Chicago, 2003), and ...
(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...
(b Northwich, Cheshire, May 17, 1912; d York, May 9, 2004). English writer on music and music educationist . He was educated at Christ’s Hospital (1924–30) and read English, music and history as an organ scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge (1930–34; MusB 1933). He was director of music at Stranmillis Teachers Training College, Belfast, from 1934 until 1937, when he took the MusD at Trinity College, Dublin. From 1937 to 1944 he was music adviser to the city of Stoke on Trent. In 1944 he became director of music at Wolverhampton College of Technology; there he also formed a choir which gave many performances, particularly of lesser-known works by Handel. Since 1970 he has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at numerous colleges in the USA.
Young was an exceptionally fluent and prolific writer. His books include short popular biographies and several volumes for younger readers. Many of his more substantial writings are based on a lively, fresh and industrious, if not always highly discriminating, examination of source material; these include original research on Elgar and useful surveys of the British choral tradition and British music generally. As a composer Young was equally prolific: his works include a Fugal Concerto for two pianos and strings (...