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A&M  

David Buckley

American record company. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1962 by the former US army trumpeter Herb Alpert and the promoter-producer Jerry Moss. For first few years, A&M depended largely on revenues from Alpert's own recordings. His easy-listening instrumental music recorded with the Tijuana brass had sold over 20 million copies by 1968, when the company's turnover was $50 million. In 1966 A&M also scored a big success with Sergio Mendes and the Sandpipers' single, Guantanamera. Moss, however, was keen to broaden the appeal of A&M, and began recording such West Coast artists as Captain Beefheart and Dr John. In 1969 the label opened its first British office and by the early 1970s A&M also signed American recording deals with such artists as Procol Harum, The Move, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Cliff and Cat Stevens.

By the 1970s A&M were established as the most successful independent record label in the USA. In ...

Article

Jean M. Bonin

Firm of music publishers. It was founded in New Haven in 1962 by Gary J.N. Aamodt and Clyde Rykken to provide modern critical editions of music of historical interest and artistic integrity for scholars, students, and performers of Western art music. The “Recent Researches” series were launched in 1964 with volumes of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods; it has since expanded to span the history of Western music. Another series is dedicated to oral traditions in music. The series Recent Researches in American Music was initiated in 1977 in collaboration with the Institute for Studies in American Music. In 1968 the firm moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and the same year took over the production and distribution of the Yale University Collegium Musicum series of historical editions. Starting in 1988, the company has served as publisher for Music of the United States of America (MUSA), a set of scholarly editions, in collaboration with the American Musicological Society and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other projects have included A-R Special Publications (for performers) and a three book series co-published with the Music Library Assocation....

Article

Christopher Doll

[ABC]

Record company. Founded in 1955 in New York by American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters, it was coeval with the birth of rock and roll, although a couple of years passed before the label produced hits in that genre, with such songs as Danny and the Juniors’ “At the Hop” (1957) and “Rock and roll is here to stay” (1958). It achieved sustained success with less boisterous pop music, particularly the work of Paul Anka (“Diana,” “Put your head on my shoulder,” and “Puppy Love”). The rest of the company’s output comprised children’s, spoken word, ethnic, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues records.

From the late 1950s the label attracted many successful African-American artists, including Fats Domino and B.B. King; after signing in 1959 Ray Charles scored his first number one pop single in 1960 with “Georgia on my Mind” and his first number one album in 1962 with Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music...

Article

Ableton  

Brandon Smith

Music production software company based in Berlin, with a branch in New York. Ableton (Ableton AG) was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Its main product is a computer program called Live, which was released in 2001. This is a digital audio workstation (DAW) environment for recording audio and MIDI with an emphasis on working in real time, essentially allowing the user to play the software as an instrument. Practically any operation can be controlled via MIDI. Since its introduction, Live has become popular among electronic music artists for its ability to allow spontaneous manipulation of audio in a performance situation. Many manufacturers of MIDI controllers have developed control surfaces for Live, bridging the gap between software and hardware.

Live is equally suited to arranging and production applications, with abilities similar to those of other popular recording platforms such as Cubase and Pro Tools. It can run in tandem with most other DAW systems using the ReWire protocol by Steinberg Media Technologies (the creators of Cubase), allowing Live and other programs to share audio and MIDI information with a host DAW. In many ways Live has redefined the role software and computers in general have had in music creation and production. It was among the first programs able automatically to ‘beat match’ (synchronize audio files with different tempos). An integrated Max/MSP platform (a visual programming language) allows users to program their own virtual instruments by linking together pre-made blocks or ‘objects’. Ableton also produces virtual instrument plug-ins and libraries of samples for their Live platform....

Article

Sandra Jean Graham

From the mid-1830s through the Civil War, abolitionists systematically deployed songs as spiritual weaponry in the fight to eradicate slavery in the United States. Although anti-slavery sentiment was apparent as early as the 1680s, among the Quakers and Mennonites, and gained momentum as anti-slavery legislation was gradually enacted in the North, music became central to the movement only when anti-slavery societies proliferated in the 1830s. With slavery virtually eliminated in the northern states, William Lloyd Garrison engaged northern white abolitionists and African Americans in agitating for slavery’s complete and immediate end, using poetry and music to intensify the evangelical theology and fervor of this moralist crusade. In 1834 he compiled the first anti-slavery songster, A Selection of Anti-Slavery Hymns. To be sung at meetings of the American Anti-Slavery Society (founded by Garrison in 1833) and at monthly Concerts of Prayer, the hymns united formal poetry by white authors with a suggested classic hymn tune (such as “Old Hundred” or “Italian Hymn”). The last hymn in the collection was an exception: written in the voice of a slave, it was topical—decrying repatriation to Africa—and was assigned a popular rather than a sacred tune (John Payne Howard’s “Sweet Home,” ...

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Article

[Amateur Chamber Music Players]

Association founded as the Amateur Chamber Music Players in 1947 by Leonard A. Strauss of Indianapolis as an information center for those who play chamber music at home. Its directory, established in 1949, facilitates the meeting of ensemble participants, who rate their performing proficiency by responding to a detailed questionnaire. Singers and piano-duet players were included in ...

Article

Karen Monson

revised by Michael Baumgartner

Ensemble. Formed in New York in 1961 by the violinist Lewis Kaplan, the Aeolian Chamber Players were the first American ensemble of mixed instruments to perform together on a permanent basis. The group, which first played at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, in October 1961 and made its New York debut shortly thereafter (Town Hall, January 1962), originally consisted of Kaplan, flutist Harold Jones, clarinetist Robert Listokin, and pianist Gilbert Kalish. A cello was added in 1966, with the flute rarely used since 1977. The group has been the resident ensemble at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, since 1964, where the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, co-founded and directed by Kaplan, takes place. Former members of the ensemble include Jennifer Langbaum and Ronald Thomas (cello), and Charles Neidrich and Thomas Hill (clarinet). The present group includes Kaplan (violin), André Emelianoff (cello), and Peter Basquin (piano). The group, which is recognized for its commitment to both traditional and contemporary repertoire, has toured throughout the United States and Europe. At the Salzburg Festival of ...

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was formed in 1931 when the firm of Ernest M(artin) Skinner & Co. acquired the organ department of the Aeolian Co., which had made its reputation building organs with self-playing mechanisms for private houses, changing its name to Aeolian-Skinner. In 1933 there was a reorganization in which G(eorge) Donald Harrison, who had joined Skinner in 1927, became technical director and Skinner’s activities were curtailed. In the same year Skinner, after increasing disagreement with Harrison over tonal matters, began a new company in Methuen, Massachusetts, with his son, Richmond, who had purchased the former Methuen Organ Co. factory and Serlo Hall the previous year.

During the 1930s the Aeolian-Skinner Co. continued to rise in popularity, and in 1940 Harrison became president, succeeding Arthur Hudson Marks (1874–1939), a wealthy businessman who had become its owner and president in 1919. Under Harrison the firm became a leader in the trend away from orchestral tonal practices and towards a more classical sound. It was Harrison who coined the term ‘American Classic’ to refer to this more eclectic type of tonal design. On his death, Joseph S. Whiteford (...

Article

Akwid  

Elijah Wald

Musical group formed in 2002 in Los Angeles. The most successful exponents of the Southern California style known as “banda rap” or “urban regional” music, Akwid is a duo of brothers Francisco and Sergio Gómez. Born in Michoacan and raised in Los Angeles, the Gomezes made their debut in the mid 1990s as English-language rappers Juvenile Style, then switched to Spanish and renamed themselves Akwid (a combination of their deejay pseudonyms, A.K. and Wikid) in 2000.

Their first album gained only lackluster sales, but after they signed with a subsidiary of Univision in 2003, their second, Proyecto Akwid, sold a third of a million CDs. Its sound mixed traditional Mexican music—especially the West Coast brass band style known as banda—with rhythms and studio techniques adapted from gangsta rap. Other groups were attempting similar fusions, but where most had to rely on outside producers, Akwid controlled their own sound and created a particularly organic musical combination, driven by the thump of tuba samples and clever use of familiar ...

Article

Alabama  

David B. Pruett

Country music group. Acknowledged by the Academy of Country Music (ACM) in 1989 as the Artist of the Decade for the 1980s, Alabama is arguably the most celebrated country music group in the history of the genre. Three of the band’s members—lead vocalist Randy Owen (b Fort Payne, AL, 13 Dec 1949), multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cook (b Fort Payne, AL, 27 Aug 1949), and bassist Teddy Gentry (b Fort Payne, AL, 22 Jan 1952)—had been performing their unique blend of southern rock and country pop together throughout the American South since 1969. Beginning in 1974, the group began playing regular shows in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where drummer Mark Herndon (b Springfield, MA, 11 May 1955) became the group’s fourth and final member in 1979, one year before Alabama signed with RCA. The group’s first major label release My Home’s in Alabama (RCA, ...

Article

Carl B. Hancock

State university system with a main campus in Tuscaloosa and satellite campuses in Birmingham and Huntsville. The main campus opened in 1831 and the music department was established in 1918 with the appointment of Robert Lawrence, who taught voice and choir. The first BM degree was awarded in 1938. The music faculty established the Southeastern Composers’ League in 1951 and for 20 years hosted the Regional Composers’ Forum (1951–70). In 1955 Alabama Educational Television’s network telecast of the School of Music’s production of Puccini’s La bohéme was the earliest known live opera broadcast for educational television. Currently the School of Music offers the BM, BA, BS, MA, MM, DMA, EdS, EdD, and PhD degrees in such fields as administration, arranging, composition, conducting, education, jazz studies, musicology, performance, theory, therapy, and church music. In 2009 enrollment surpassed 350 students served by a full-time faculty of 37. Since 1984, over 185 eminent scholars and musicians have held residences in the Board of Trustees’ Endowed Chair in Music program. The University of Alabama System, consisting of three autonomous public universities, was established in ...

Article

Aladdin  

Andrew Flory

Record company. Brothers Edward and Leo Messner founded the company as Philo Records in 1945 and changed the name to Aladdin the next year. Aladdin’s records, which appeared on the Aladdin label and over a half-dozen subsidiaries, were among the most popular “race” (later rhythm-and-blues) records of the time, and represented many facets of African American popular music following World War II. Based in Los Angeles, the company released upbeat boogie by Amos Milburn, such as the 1948 hit “Chicken-Shack Boogie,” and group vocal music by artists like the Five Keys. Blues also appeared on Aladdin by artists such as Charles Brown and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Jazz saxophonist Lester Young also recorded extensively for Aladdin during the 1950s. Several songs released on Aladdin foreshadowed the development of rock and roll, such as Shirley and Lee’s 1956 classic “Let the Good Times Roll.” In 1962, the company was sold to Lew Chudd’s Imperial Records....

Article

George J. Grella Jr.

Ensemble. Originally a group of students performing in new music concerts at the Eastman School of Music, Alarm Will Sound was formed professionally by artistic director Alan Pierson and managing director Gavin Chuck in 2001. The group made its debut in May of that year at Miller Theater, Columbia University, with Desert Music and Tehillim by Steve Reich. After giving several programs, each devoted to a single contemporary composer, the group began to both commission new works—including John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, Wolfgang Rihm’s Will Sound, and David Lang’s Increase—and to perform arrangements of other music, notably Varèse’s Poeme Electronique, by the composer Evan Hause, and the rhythmically complex electronic dance music of Aphex Twin, Mochipet and Autechre, and the Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” all arranged by ensemble musicians. The group also began adding staging and other theatrical elements to their live performances, developed with director Nigel Maister. These took a range of forms, from stage blocking to the musical theater piece ...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Charles Albright (Albrecht by 1864) is listed in Philadelphia city directories from 1863. He was in partnership with Frederick Riekes (as Albrecht & Riekes, 1864–5), with Riekes and Richard T. Schmidt (as Albrecht, Riekes & Schmidt, 1866–74), and with Riekes and Edmund Wolsieffer (as Albrecht & Co., ...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Charles Albright (Albrecht by 1864) is listed in Philadelphia city directories from 1863. He was in partnership with Frederick Riekes (as Albrecht & Riekes, 1864–5), with Riekes and Richard T. Schmidt (as Albrecht, Riekes & Schmidt, 1866–74), and with Riekes and Edmund Wolsieffer (as Albrecht & Co., ...

Article

(b Meadow, TN, Oct 24, 1867; d Birmingham, England, Oct 13, 1920). American revivalist and publisher. He attended Maryville College, Tennessee, and the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago; in 1893 he assisted Moody in his revival at the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. From 1908 he toured with J. Wilbur Champman through the USA, Great Britain, Australia and missionary areas of East Asia. He was noted for his skill in inspiring a congregation to sing enthusiastically and in conducting large choirs. He published a number of revival songbooks and owned the copyrights of several popular gospel hymns, such as Charles H. Gabriel’s ...

Article

Raquel Bustos Valderrama

(b Breslau [now Wrocław], June 8, 1924; d Aug 7, 2005). Chilean composer and educator of German origin. She emigrated to Chile in 1939 and adopted Chilean nationality in 1951. She studied with Frè Focke (1949–53) in Chile and with René Leibowitz and Olivier Messiaen in France in 1954. Through several significant educational projects she contributed to a better public understanding of contemporary music in Chile; she also promoted Chilean musical culture in Europe. Her works won international prizes and she received commissions from patrons and organizations in Europe and the USA. Her music, modernist in style and sometimes using sounds generated by unconventional means, includes two ballets, Las tres caras de la luna (1966) and … a false alarm on the nightbell once answered cannot be made good, no ever (1977–8), and several works for full orchestra, including Cinco epigramas (...

Article

Jonas Westover

Publishing company. Alfred is a family-owned publisher, started in 1922 and headquartered in Van Nuys, California. They are particularly known for their educational music, but since their acquisition of Warner Publishing in 2005, they now own copyrights estimated to be over one million songs. Created by Alfred Piantadosi, the composer and bandleader, to distribute his own songs, it did not take the publisher long to develop a catalog, which included hits such as “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” and “Ragtime Cowboy Joe.” The New York-based company was sold in 1928 to Sam Manus, and he and his family significantly expanded the group’s holdings with a focus in educational materials. Soon after, they developed method books for violin, accordion, guitar, and piano. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library has been adopted worldwide as a fundamental piano text; other “Library” editions are likewise considered important contributions to music pedagogy. Their work for school ensembles is also substantial, with ...

Article

Deena Weinstein

Both an American Detroit-based hard rock band and the adopted name of its singer and main creative force Vincent Damon Furnier (b Detroit, MI, 4 Feb 1946). Cooper was the son of a minister and the nephew of the storyteller Damon Runyon, after whom he was named. He moved to Arizona, where he attended high school and formed the Nazz. This band eventually took the name Alice Cooper and developed an over-the-top, theatrical shock-rock style that influenced a host of other rock performers.

With snide and clever lyrics, Alice Cooper’s style was mainly hard rock, but some tunes were psychedelic and others would be suitable in a Broadway musical. After moving to Michigan, the band scored numerous hits in the early 1970s. Many of the songs were rebellious youth-focused anthems, including “Eighteen” (Warner, 1971) and “School’s Out” (Warner, 1972). Others centered on ghoulish menace or mere gothic gruesomeness like “Dead Babies” (Warner, ...