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Article

Kenneth R. Snell

Australian firm of publishers. It was started about 1890 in Sydney when Jacques Albert (b Fribourg, 1850; d at sea, 1914) began importing violins. In 1894 he was joined by his son Michel François [Frank] (1874–1962), who became sole proprietor in 1896. He continued to trade as J. Albert & Son and in the early 1900s negotiated Australian publishing rights with overseas music houses for both the American Annuals and Sixpenny Pops series. The firm extended its merchandise to orchestral and brass band instruments but sold this stock in 1932 to Allan’s in Melbourne. Shortly afterwards, J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd was formed to control the music publishing interests of the family. About 1970 the firm began the Albert Edition catalogue of predominantly Australian classical compositions, which now exceeds 500 titles and includes works by Ross Edwards, Margaret Sutherland, Wesley-Smith and Butterley. Alexis François Albert (...

Article

J.A. Fuller Maitland

revised by Peter Ward Jones

English music publishers. Eugene Ascherberg (b Dresden, 1843; d London, 28 May 1908) arrived in England after a period in Australia, and set up in London as E. Ascherberg & Co. by 1879, initially as a piano importer. The firm gradually moved over to music publishing and took over Duncan Davison & Co. in 1886. The firm of Hopwood & Crew (founded in 1860) published popular dance music by Charles d’Albert, Charles Coote (father and son), Waldteufel and others, as well as countless music-hall songs, and it absorbed the firms of Howard & Co. (1899) and Orsborn & Co. (1901) who had similar catalogues. An amalgamation in 1906 led to the formation of Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, and in the same year the firm of John Blockley was also acquired. Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew’s substantial catalogue covered music of every description, but was based mainly on light music. Among its successful stage works were the operettas ...

Article

Peter McCallum

Australian chamber music group. Founded by Murray Khouri and Roger Covell in 1980 as the University of New South Wales Ensemble, it aimed to present varied chamber music programmes with a substantial commitment to new Australian music. The founding personnel were David Bollard (piano), John Harding (violin), Irina Morozova (viola), David Pereira (cello), David Stanhope (horn/second piano) and Murray Khouri (clarinet). Harding was replaced by Dene Olding in 1982 and the flautist Geoffrey Collins joined the group after the departure of Stanhope in 1983. In 1984, with an expanded international touring programme, the name was changed to the Australia Ensemble, reputedly to avoid confusion with groups from Wales. Donald Westlake took over as clarinettist in 1986, and was succeeded by Nigel Westlake (1987), Alan Vivian (1992) and Catherine McCorkill (1995), while Julian Smiles became the group's cellist in 1992. The ensemble is noted for its high performing standards, its variety of repertory and its championship of Australian music. It has toured throughout Australia for Musica Viva and internationally to North and South America, Europe, New Zealand, China, India and Japan. The ensemble's recordings range from Mozart and Beethoven to Dallapiccola and the complete string quartets of Peter Sculthorpe. Its numerous commissions, including works by Gordon Kerry, Roger Smalley, Andrew Schultz, Carl Vine, Nigel Westlake and others, have made a significant contribution to contemporary Australian chamber music....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano firm founded by Octavius Beale (b Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland, 23 Feb 1850; d Stroud, New South Wales, Australia, 16 Dec 1930). Beale came to Australia with his family in 1854. Having been sent back to Ireland for schooling, he returned and was working in a hardware store in Melbourne at age 16. Later he became a partner with Hugo Wertheim in a hardware business that imported sewing machines and German upright pianos. In 1884 he moved to Sydney to set up Beale & Co. Ltd, importing pianos labelled ‘Hapsburg Beale’. In 1893, in Sydney, he established the first piano factory in Australia. In 1902 he opened a new factory at 47 Trafalgar St, Annandale, which became the largest piano factory in the southern hemisphere, employing more than 300 skilled workmen by 1907. The firm also made sewing machines and exported veneers.

Beale & Co. emphasised that their pianos were built to withstand hostile climates and kept quality high and costs low through the use of local skilled labour, Australian timbre, and making most components on site. They promoted the tuning stability and longevity of pianos with their ‘all-iron tuning system’, also known as the Beale–Vader tuning system, patented in ...

Article

Jonas Westover

Australian pop group formed by Barry (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 1 Sept 1946), Robin (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 22 Dec 1949; d London, England, 20 May 2012), and Maurice Gibb (b Douglas, Isle of Man, 22 Dec 1949; d Miami Beach, FL, 12 Jan 2003). They were raised in Manchester, England, until 1958, when the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, where the brothers formed a trio called the Rattlesnakes. They soon began writing their own music, often composed by Barry, and attracting media attention. In 1963 the group signed a deal to record singles as the Bee Gees with Festival Records and two years later released their first album. After moving to Polydor Records, they released two songs, “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “To Love Somebody,” which became hit singles. Both were included on the album Bee Gees 1st (Polydor, ...

Article

Michael Webb

(Tok Pisin for ‘bamboo band’).

Both a struck aerophone (alternatively, an idiophone) comprising a set of three or five tuned bamboo tubes, and the name for an ensemble including these instruments. It was featured in popular music in the Solomon Islands (its place of origin) and parts of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for several decades from the 1970s. The primary instrument is derived from the handheld tuned stamping tube, and comprises a set of 7- to 9-cm-diameter bamboos, open at both ends and graduated in lengths of up to 2 metres, arranged in raft form. A band will include at least three sets; each set is commonly tuned (to a guitar) 1–3–5–6–8 (or 1–3–5), usually in a low register, to sound one of the three primary chords in a given key. With flexible paddles players vigorously slap in succession one open end of each bamboo in a boogie-woogie rhythmic-melodic pattern that outlines a triad; sets alternate according to changes in harmony. The ensemble includes guitars and accompanies harmonized singing. A related Solomon Islands ensemble without guitars yet employing Westernized tuning, involves multiple sets of panpipes, ‘pantrumpets’, and the rack-mounted bass ...

Article

W.D. Jordan

Australian firm of organ builders. It was founded by George Fincham (b London, 25 Aug 1828; d Melbourne, 21 Dec 1910), the pioneer of Australian organ building. The family originated in the English village of Fincham, Norfolk. George’s father Jonathan George Fincham (1796–1863) and grandfather John (b 1754) were both organ builders. In 1901 George’s son Leslie Valentine Hunter (1879–1955) became a partner in the firm, which continued under the direction of Leslie’s son George Bowring (b 1917) and grandson David George (b 31 Jan 1944).

George Fincham was apprenticed to Henry Bevington in London (1843–9) and then worked as foreman for James Bishop & Son, London, and Forster & Andrews of Hull. He emigrated to Australia in 1852, intending to establish an organ-building enterprise; he set up his first factory in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1862...

Article

Roger Covell

Australian chamber music network. Unrivalled in the thoroughness with which it serves a single country (with more than 2000 concerts annually), the network presents ensembles in subscription seasons in Australian capital cities and elsewhere and in regional and school touring. It was founded in Sydney in 1945 and initially funded by a Romanian-born Viennese-educated emigrant musician and inventor, Richard Goldner, as a consortium of string quartets (modelled on the rehearsal practices of Simon Pullman in Vienna), later comprising a core membership of piano (Maureen Jones) and four strings (with Robert Pikler as first violin). The organization then ran into financial difficulties, suspended its activities in 1951 and was revived in 1955 as an entrepreneurial touring vehicle for established and independent ensembles, beginning with the Pascal and Koeckert quartets. Its subscription seasons in Sydney, drawing on much voluntary support, prospered and extended to other capital cities under the honorary stewardship of Charles Berg and Kenneth W. Tribe, with Goldner continuing as artistic director for nearly two decades and Regina Ridge as its dedicated manager. It has taken most of the leading international chamber ensembles to Australia for well-organized and extended tours, sponsored inter-state tours by groups based in Australia, and organized tours abroad for many Australian ensembles, often with support from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia Council, as well as commissioning new works from Australian composers. A number of the most capable of Australian music administrators have filled the office of general manager. Musica Viva Australia has continued to assemble large audiences for major concerts by instrumental and vocal ensembles of many types, including early music groups and modern ensembles led by Reich and Glass, and has supported extensive patterns of regional touring. Since ...

Article

Nixa  

John Snashall

English record company. It was formed in 1950 by Hilton Nixon, a New Zealand businessman. Initial releases were 78 r.p.m. records of popular music from the Paris-based Pacific company, but a recording of two Scarlatti sonatas, played in the Tausig arrangement by Monique de la Bruchollerie, and some choral items sung by Les Chanteurs de St Eustache were also released. In 1951 Nixa started to release Pacific recordings on LPs and classical material from US companies such as Bach Guild, Concert Hall Society, the Haydn Society, Lyrichord, Period, Polymusic, Renaissance and Urania. In late 1952 the first original Nixa recordings were made and these, two Vivaldi concertos for viola d’amore with Harry Danks and the London Ensemble, and Haydn’s symphonies nos.49 and 73 conducted by Harry Newstone, were released in 1953. A joint arrangement with the Westminster label produced outstanding recordings of Holst’s The Planets, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Vaughan Williams’s orchestral pieces, all conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, as well as recordings conducted by Hermann Scherchen and Artur Rodzinski. In ...

Article

Orhan Memed and Maureen Fortey

French/British music publisher and record company. It was named after the rare Australian lyrebird (menura superba or novaehollandiae) and founded in 1932 as Les Editions de l'Oiseau-Lyre (‘The Lyrebird Press’) in Paris by Louise B.M. Dyer, née Smith (1884–1962), an Australian patron of the arts. Her aims were to make available early music that had never been printed in a good modern edition, and to support contemporary composers (Auric, Canteloube, Ibert, d'Indy, Milhaud, Roussel, Sauguet, Britten, Holst and the Australians Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Margaret Sutherland, among others) by commissioning and publishing their works. Her first project was the publication (1932–3) of the complete works of François Couperin to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the composer's death. The 12-volume limited edition that resulted epitomized the quality of subsequent publications in its rigorous scholarship, elegant engraving and modish book design.

After the death of her first husband, Louise Dyer married Joseph (‘Jeff’) B. Hanson (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano manufacturing firm. It was founded by Wayne Stuart (b 28 March 1954, Ulverstone, Tasmania) in 1990 and is based in Newcastle. From 2000, the firm operated independently under the name Piano Australia Pty Ltd in conjunction with J. Albert & Son, an Australian music publishing and production firm. Stuart studied piano technology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and later with Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Steinway, Grotrian-Steinweg, and Louis Renner.

Stuart set out to design a piano combining traditional and new technologies that would increase dynamic range and sustaining power. A core feature is a metal agraffe for string coupling at the bridge that bends the wire in the vertical plane instead of the normal horizontal plane, so as to encourage the wire to vibrate in the same plane as the hammer strike and discourage elliptical and non-vertical oscillations during the decay, thus producing a more regular decay pattern with an even and long sustain....

Article

Alistair Gilkison

New Zealand music publisher . It was established in 1967 by Douglas Lilburn at the School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. Lilburn's aim was to make inexpensive editions of New Zealand music available to conductors, performers, students and libraries worldwide. Preference was given to works which had recordings commercially available from Kiwi Pacific Records. Most publications are facsimile reproductions of composers' original manuscripts but since ...