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Article

C.F. Pohl

revised by John D. Drake and Stephan Hörner

(b Bayreuth, Feb 20, 1761; d Stuttgart, March 2, 1838). German composer, pianist and organist. In 1771 he became a pupil of A. Boroni at the Hohe Karlsschule in Stuttgart, where in 1782 he joined the private band of the Duke of Württemberg as a harpsichordist. On Zumsteeg's death in 1802 he succeeded him as Konzertmeister, and took over the direction of the ensemble until the appointment of J.F. Kranz. By 1815 he held the position of organist at court and director of the official music. In 1832, having completed 50 years' service with the court, he was given a gold medal and a pension.

Most of Abeille's compositions date from the first 30 years of his service at Stuttgart. Besides two sonatas for keyboard with accompanying violin (1783), his published instrumental works include sonatas and other pieces for both piano solo and piano duet, a piano trio, a piano concerto and a concerto for piano duet, which was favourably mentioned by Gerber (...

Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Ortrun Landmann

[Jean]

(b c1705; d Dresden, Nov 13, 1779). German composer. He was a Jagdpfeifer at the Dresden court (1733–6), then until his death a violist in the Dresden Hofkapelle. He was also ‘ballet-compositeur’ of the court opera (from c1740), and composer and director of music for the elector’s French theatre (1763–9). According to Burney and Fürstenau, he added ballet music to operas by J.A. Hasse and made an adaptation of Rameau’s Zoroastre (Dresden, 1752); the documents of the Hofkapelle in the Dresden State Archives indicate that he also composed new pieces for various opéras comiques, and in 1756 he published a Recueil d’airs à danser executés sur le Théâtre du Roi à Dresde, arranged for harpsichord. The concertos and chamber works listed under ‘Adam’ in the Breitkopf catalogues may also be attributed to him. Few of his compositions are extant; apart from his arrangements of works by other composers, the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden contains only a concerto in G for flute and strings by him....

Article

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

Ilkka Oramo

(b Forssa, March 9, 1949). Finnish composer. He studied composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara at the Sibelius Academy (diploma, 1971) and in Berlin with Boris Blacher (1971–2). From 1974 to 1988 he taught music theory at the Helsinki University and, as acting professor, composition at the Sibelius Academy (1988–93). Since 1993 he has worked as a freelance composer supported by a state scholarship. His many activities include membership of the board of the Society of Finnish Composers (1974–8, 1982–9 and 1997–2005) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (1996–2005). He also in 1975 co-founded the Society for the Publication of Finnish Music (Edition Pan), later taken over by Edition Fazer. Since 1992 he has been composer-in-residence of the Lahti SO, which has recorded many of his orchestral works under Osmo Vänskä. As a member of the Programme Committees of the Helsinki PO (...

Article

(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...

Article

Corneel Mertens

revised by Diana von Volborth-Danys

(b Antwerp, April 16, 1901; d Liedekerke, May 23, 1987). Belgian composer. He studied with Marinus de Jong at the Antwerp Conservatory. He was musical adviser and conductor of Het Vlaams Volkstoneel (a travelling Flemish theatre company) from 1924 to 1933, and assistant director with the NIR (Belgian National Broadcasting Service – Flemish Section) in Brussels until 1961. Later his activities were limited to music reviews (Het toneel) and composition. He became known for his modern stage music for Vlaams Volkstoneel and Théâtre du Marais. At first his musical style ranked him with the Expressionist school, but during World War II he turned to a more traditional, simple and comprehensible style, which slowly evolved from Expressionism into neo-classicism. Later on he experimented with atonal and serial music.

(selective list)

Article

Michael Talbot

revised by Enrico Careri

(b Bologna, Sept 20, 1685; d Bologna, Feb 18, 1751). Italian composer and violinist. He studied the violin with Carlo Manzolini, and counterpoint with P.M. Minelli and Floriano Arresti. He became a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, in 1705, and from 1709 played the violin in the orchestra of S Petronio. His first set of concertos, published in 1713, were first performed under the composer's direction at the house of Count Orazio Bargellini. In 1721 Alberti was chosen president (principe) of the Accademia Filarmonica, a post to which he was re-elected in 1724, 1728, 1733, 1740 and 1746. A set of violin sonatas, op.2 (1721), was followed by a further set of concertos, collectively entitled ‘Sinfonie’, and issued by Le Cène in 1725 – presumably without the composer's authorization as they are incorrectly designated op.2. (This possibly inadvertent duplication of an opus number led to the renumbering of the violin sonatas as op.3 when published by Walsh shortly afterwards.) From ...

Article

Anthony Newcomb

(b Treviso, c1535; d Ferrara, June 15, 1615). Italian instrumentalist and composer. He came from a family of North Italian musicians that had lived in Treviso since the mid-15th century. His father was the town trumpeter; his uncle and brother were musicians in the courts of Ferrara and Munich respectively. He was one of the three young men brought to the newly founded Accademia degli Elevati in Padua in 1557 as music tutors under Francesco Portinaro. His first published madrigals appeared, together with madrigals by Rore, Portinaro and other members of the group around Rore, in Rore’s fourth book of madrigals for five voices (RISM 1557²³). In 1560 the Accademia degli Elevati was dissolved and Alberti went to work for the Este court at Ferrara. He remained on the salary rolls there, listed among the instrumentalists as ‘Innocentio del Cornetto’, until the dissolution of the court early in ...

Article

(b Bologoye, 22 July/Aug 4, 1905; d Moscow, June 17, 1994). Russian composer and conductor, son of Aleksandr Vasil′yevich Aleksandrov. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Glier, graduating in 1929, and worked as a music director in Moscow clubs (1923–9), music director of the Red Army Theatre (1930–37), lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory (1933–41) and leader of the Soviet Radio Song Ensemble (1942–7). From 1937 to 1946 he was deputy director of the Aleksandrov Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble, which was founded by his father and, after the latter's death, came under his direction. He received the State Prize (1950) and the title People's Artist of the USSR (1958). In Dva p′yesï (‘Two Pieces’) op.1 (1928) for piano he developed a compositional system synthesizing the principle of the 12-note series (with inversions and permutations) with a harmonic set technique and mirror symmetry. Later works, such as the well-known musical comedy ...

Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...

Article

Guy Bourligueux

(b Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, 1893; d Seville, Dec 7, 1970). Spanish composer and organist. He studied with Donostia and others in San Sebastián, with Otaño at the Comillas Seminary, and in Paris with Eugène Cools. In 1919 he was appointed maestro de capilla at Orense Cathedral and then organist at Seville Cathedral, where he became ...

Article

Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg

revised by Martin Anderson

(b Fredrikstad, April 29, 1872; d Oslo, Dec 24, 1932). Norwegian composer, conductor and organist. He studied with Peter Lindeman (organ) and Iver Holter (harmony, counterpoint and composition) at the Christiania Music and Organ School (1888–92), and was then a pupil of Reinecke (composition) and Ruthard (piano) at the Leipzig Conservatory (1892–4). Appointments as organist followed in Drammen (1895–1907) and Oslo (1907–32), where he served at the cathedral from 1916; his First Symphony was completed during a course of study in Berlin in 1897. He was one of those responsible for the foundation of the Norsk Komponistforening, of which he was president from 1921 to 1923. As a member of the Koralbokkomiteen (1922–6) he harmonized most of the melodies in the chorale book of the Norwegian Church, and he edited preludes to all of the chorales. He was active as a choir-conductor, leading the Håndverksangforening (...

Article

August Corbet

revised by Corneel Mertens and Diana von Volborth-Danys

(b Antwerp, Sept 12, 1876; d Antwerp, Oct 5, 1954). Belgian composer and conductor. He studied in Antwerp at the Flemish Music School (later called the Royal Flemish Conservatory) under Peter Benoit and Jan Blockx, and conducting under Eduard Keurvels. In 1903 he became professor at the Conservatory, and was director of that institution from 1934 to 1941, when he retired. He was also active as an orchestral and operatic conductor, and was a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

Alpaerts was one of the outstanding personalities in Flemish musical life, both as conductor and composer; he was also a great teacher and an admirable organizer. As a composer he was, like Paul Gilson and August de Boeck, a typical Flemish representative of the Impressionist school. However, his Impressionism came closer to Richard Strauss and Respighi than to Debussy. An example of this tendency is the symphonic poem ...

Article

Robert Lamar Weaver

(bc1755; dc1829). Italian impresario and librettist. His family was from Vicenza. Though trained as a lawyer, he chose instead to become an actor like his parents, and joined first Pietro Rossi’s company in Venice and then, around 1777, the Compagnia Nazionale Toscana in Florence, directed by Giovanni Roffi. His first tragedy, Le glorie della religione di Malta, had success in many Italian theatres. He succeeded Roffi as impresario of the Teatro del Cocomero in 1785 and served until 1795, visiting Milan for a season in 1792.

Andolfati’s greatest importance lies in his cultivation of Florentine poets and composers for the Cocomero’s musical repertory. His contract there required him to translate French farces into Italian; in addition to the librettos listed below that are almost certainly his work, he probably wrote the otherwise anonymous librettos for most of the farse and some of the intermezzos given at the theatre during his tenure....

Article

Leanne Langley

(bap. London, Dec 28, 1774; d Walton upon Thames, Aug 16, 1852). English librettist and impresario, son of Samuel Arnold. Though trained as an artist, from the mid-1790s he worked with his father at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, writing afterpieces set by the elder Arnold. He himself wrote the words and music for one such work there, Foul Deeds Will Rise (18 July 1804). In 1809, when Drury Lane burnt down and its company moved to the Lyceum in Wellington Street off the Strand, Arnold then became associated with that theatre and began to stage his own plays with music. The Drury Lane company left in 1812 and Arnold retained the Lyceum, naming it the English Opera House during summer seasons. In 1815 he obtained the lease and had the theatre almost completely rebuilt; it was formally opened as the English Opera House on ...

Article

Eric Blom

revised by Rosemary Williamson

(Drew)

(b Finchley, London, July 22, 1898; d London, Dec 10, 1988). English opera producer, writer and composer. He studied the piano under his mother (both his parents were musicians) from the age of six, and was educated at Tonbridge School (1912–17) and St John's College, Cambridge (1919–29), where he read classics and music and became a Fellow. His musical studies were under C.B. Rootham, Henry Moule and Stanford and he was also influenced by E.J. Dent and Maynard Keynes. He made appearances as an actor and singer, from 1926, and from 1929 was a professional actor and producer. An influential figure in English musical-theatrical life for many years, his opera and masque productions cover a remarkably wide historical range: from Locke, Purcell and Handel (Semele, stage première, Cambridge, 1925) to Delius, Janáček (Kaťá Kabanová, British première, London, 1950), Britten, Honegger and Stravinsky (...

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...

Article

Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, March 16, 1915; d Tirana, Albania, Nov 18, 1985). Albanian conductor, composer, and arranger. A major organizer and administrator in state-socialist Albania from the 1940s to the 60s, he received his early training from the pre-war choral and theatre groups active in Korça during the late 1920s and 30s. A talented and precocious youth, Avrazi was named assistant music director in the ensemble Korça Youth (Rinia Korçare) in the early 1930s. During World War II, he organized musical performances in support of the antifascist movement in southern Albania, popularizing partisan and nationalist songs and staging short theatrical works for Communist guerrillas beginning in 1943. Following the war, he first organized the Army Choir (Kori i Ushtrisë) before directing the Artistic Ensemble of the People’s Army (Ansambli Artistik i Ushtrisë Popullore), two groups modelled after the grand choral and instrumental ensembles of the Soviet Red Army. These groups served an important function in the late 1940s and early 50s by training Albania’s first socialist generation of musicians. Many young men who became major figures in Albanian music, including Çesk Zadeja, Tish Daija, and Gjon Athanasi, received scholarships to study abroad following their participation in Avrazi’s ensemble. In addition to his role as a conductor, Avrazi also arranged folk songs and composed a number of cantatas, vocal suites, and other choral works. A prolific song composer, he created a number of partisan songs as well as popular tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots during the 1950s and 60s. He retired with the title the Artist of the People....

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Ravenna, 1863; d Atlantic City, NJ, July 1907). Italian conductor, composer and impresario. His career was largely spent in touring Latin America and the Caribbean, mostly as the conductor for other impresarios, sometimes as both conductor and impresario of his own company.

His four-act opera Ermengarda, to a libretto by P. Martini, had its première at the Teatro Andreani in Mantua on 27 November 1886. Azzali embarked for Colombia in 1891. A six-month season in Bogotá as conductor and musical director for the Zenardo-Lambardi company was followed by an extended tour of the country and another season in the capital in 1893. During that season his Lhidiak (2, V. Fontana), based on an Indian legend, the first opera to be written for Colombia, had its première at the Teatro Colón (12 August). In April 1895 he started another tour that included Guatemala City, Quezaltenango, Bogotá and Medellin. In ...