( b Rome, Jan 25, 1960). Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor . Largely self-taught, he conducted his first major concert, of Cavalli's Calisto, in Rome in 1985, with a group of singers that were to form the nucleus of a permanent ensemble, Concerto Italiano. The ensemble's first recording, of Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, was widely acclaimed for its passion and colour, winning a Gramophone award in 1994; subsequent recordings have included madrigals by Monteverdi, Marenzio and Frescobaldi, and vocal works by Lassus. In 1995 Alessandrini founded the complementary Concerto Italiano instrumental ensemble, with whom he has performed and recorded concertos by Bach and Vivaldi, and made an imaginative recording of Bach's Art of Fugue. His other recordings include Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, vocal works by Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pergolesi, and Handel's Roman oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. With Concerto Italiano he has appeared at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe. In ...
(b St Gall, March 17, 1911; d Lausanne, March 17, 1959). Swiss composer, pianist and organist. He began his music studies in Zürich in 1932, for the most part teaching himself; from 1934 to 1937 he studied in Paris with Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, and returned to Switzerland in 1940. Settling in Lausanne, he worked as a concert pianist, composer, music critic and broadcaster. His eclectic style took elements from the varied musical currents of the time, but he retained a basis of sonata form and tonal harmony. He favoured driving rhythms and his writing is complex and compact. (L. Marretta-Schär: Raffaele d’Alessandro: Leben und Werk, Winterthur, 1979)
Dorothy C. Pratt
(b Constantinople, 1881; d Chamonix, July 27, 1954). Armenian cellist. He studied with Grützmacher and while a student played chamber music with Brahms and Joachim. At the age of 17 he appeared as the soloist in Strauss's Don Quixote with the composer conducting and scored a triumph; he was then invited to play concertos with Nikisch and Mahler. In 1901 he settled in Paris, where Casals saw some of his fingerings and recognized that Alexanian shared his own, then revolutionary, ideas on technique and interpretation. Many years' collaboration followed, leading to the publication in 1922 of their joint treatise Traité théorique et pratique du violoncelle and in 1929 of Alexanian's analytical edition of the solo cello suites of Bach. Alexanian was professor of the Casals class at the Ecole Normale de Musique from 1921 to 1937, when he left for the USA. His classes in Paris, Baltimore and New York attracted artists and students from all over the world, and his influence extended far beyond his own pupils (among them Maurice Eisenberg and Antonio Janigro) to such cellists as Feuermann, Cassadó, Piatigorsky and Fournier. He was also a conductor of distinction....
(b Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d Falun, May 8, 1960). Swedish composer, conductor and violinist. He attended the Stockholm Conservatory (1887–91) and then took private lessons with Lindegren (composition) and Zetterquist (violin); from 1887 he also studied painting. A violinist in the Hovkapellet (the opera orchestra, 1890–92), he decided in 1892 to make his career in music. From 1904 to 1957 he conducted the Siljan Choir – a group of five church choirs and regional choirs in Dalarna – and he was the director of other choruses, including the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), with whom he made 22 tours throughout most of Europe. In addition he was Director Musices of Uppsala University (1910–39). A Hugo Alfvén Foundation has been established in Stockholm.
Alfvén's music is distinguished by orchestral subtlety and by a painterly exploitation of harmony and timbre. His output was almost entirely of programme music, often suggested by the Swedish archipelago; he commented that ‘my best ideas have come during my sea-voyages at night, and, in particular, the wild autumns have been my most wonderful times for composition’. A few pieces, often performed, have maintained his reputation: ...
(b Sin-le-Noble, Nord, May 25, 1923). French bassoonist and teacher. A precocious talent, he won a premier prix at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 17. He won a first prize at the Geneva International Competition in 1949 and was appointed to the Paris Opéra the same year. In ...
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...
Lori Burns and Jada Watson
(b Newton, NC, Aug 22, 1963). American alternative-rock singer-songwriter, pianist, and record producer. She emerged in the early 1990s amid a resurgence of female singer-songwriters and has been one of the few well known alternative-rock artists to use the piano as her primary instrument. She attended the preparatory division of the prestigious Peabody Conservatory but left the school at the age of 11. She began to play her own music in nightclubs at 14, chaperoned by her father, who was a preacher. After Amos moved to Los Angeles in her late teens to pursue a recording career, her band Y Kant Tori Read released a self-titled album (Atl., 1987). Although this was unsuccessful, Atlantic Records retained her six-album contract.
Amos’s debut solo album, Little Earthquakes (Atl., 1992), earned her critical acclaim for her vocal expressivity, pianistic virtuosity, and fearless exploration of a wide range of personal themes, notably female sexuality, personal relationships, religion, sexual violence, and coming of age. The album ...
Bill C. Malone
revised by Barry Mazor
[Chester Burton ]
(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...
Raoul F. Camus
(b Port Jefferson, NY, April 15, 1923; d New York, June 26, 1981). American cornet and trumpet player and teacher. Because of damage at birth resulting in a withered right arm, he learned to play on instruments that were specially adapted for left-hand playing. Beginning lessons with his father at age five, by the time he was seven he was already performing as a soloist. At thirteen he studied with Del Staigers, considered one of the world’s great cornet soloists. In 1938 he began lessons with Ned Mahoney, cornet soloist with the Goldman Band, who convinced him to study at the Ernest Williams School of Music. In 1943, at the age of twenty, Burke was invited to join the Goldman Band, playing some 1100 solos over the next 32 years. In addition to the Goldman Band, Burke performed with the Cities Service Band of America (1948–56), the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Baltimore SO....
(b United States). American new Age pianist and producer. He played jazz trumpet and guitar during the 1960s in New York, and has credited John Coltrane as an early influence. He became interested in sonic healing and Eastern religions, both of which became fundamental to the transformation of his musical style. After undergoing a spiritual awakening in 1969 in the Santa Cruz mountains, Halpern developed what he called “anti-frantic alternative” music, releasing his first album, Spectrum Suite, in 1975. It became one of the foundational, and most influential, albums of New Age music. To create what was labeled music for “meditation and inner peace,” Halpern performed slowly unfolding, almost arrhythmic melodies on keyboards and synthesizers. Often using choral backdrops for his minimalist, meandering, and warm sonic environments, he weaves together spiritual growth and musical freedom with the goal of bringing self-actualization and wellness to the listener. He has released over 70 recordings featuring instrumental music as well as guided meditation. These include recordings targeted for specific purposes, such as ...
String quartet. It was founded in Budapest in 1909 by Imre Waldbauer (b Budapest, 13 April 1892; d Iowa City, 3 Dec 1953), János Temesváry (b Szamosújvár, 12 Dec 1891; d Budapest, 8 Nov 1964), the composer and musicologist Antal Molnár (b Budapest, 7 Jan 1890; d Budapest, 7 Dec 1983) and Jenő Kerpely (b Budapest, 1 Dec 1885; d Los Angeles, 1954). Known locally as the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet, it had some 100 rehearsals before giving the premières of the first quartets of Kodály and Bartók in Budapest on 17 and 19 March 1910. Later that year Debussy’s Quartet was performed with the composer present (his only Budapest concert) and in 1911 the ensemble toured the Netherlands. In 1912 Molnár was replaced on viola by another musicologist, Egon Kornstein (b Nagyszalonta, 22 May 1891; d Paris, 3 Dec 1987). The Hungarian Quartet became its country’s leading chamber ensemble, performing the standard repertory as well as introducing home audiences to a wide range of new music. Its other premières included Bartók’s Second, Third and Fourth Quartets and Kodály’s Second. After ...
(b Olomouc, 3 May 1967). Czech violinist. Raised in a musical family, she studied at the People’s School of Art in Opava with Marcela Kuvíková, then at the Ostrava Conservatory with Vítězslav Kuzník and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with the professors Jiří Vlach, Jiří Novák, and Ivan Štraus. She also took part in master classes with Josef Gingold in Greensboro, NC and with Wolfgang Marschner in Weimar. In 1990 she received a scholarship to the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, where she studied with Alberto Lysy.
In 1997, she became a laureate of the Prague Spring International Violin Competition. She has also received the Gideon Klein Prize, the Bärenreiter Prize, the Supraphon Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Prague Spring Foundation Prize. In 2005 she represented the Czech Republic at the World Exhibition in Aichi, Japan, together with the Prague Philharmonic....
German string quartet. It was founded in 1988 by Andreas Seidel and Tilman Büning (violins), Ivo Bauer (viola) and Matthias Moosdorf (cello). Seidel, Büning and Bauer were section leaders in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, who in 1991 gave up their positions to devote themselves full-time to the quartet. In its early years the group studied with Gerhard Bosse, the Amadeus Quartet, Hatto Beyerle and Walter Levin, and won several prizes, including the Busch and Siemens (1991 and 1992). One of the most versatile and technically accomplished of quartets, the Leipzig String Quartet is renowned both for its performances of the Austro-German Classical and Romantic repertory, and for its dedication to contemporary music. In 1991 it initiated its own annual concert series, ‘Pro Quatuor’, at the Gewandhaus, in which it has given the world premières of works by Furrer, Ofenbauer, Rihm, Schleiermacher, Jörg Widmann and others. The group also plays as part of the larger Leipzig-based Ensemble Avantgarde. It has toured extensively in Europe, Africa, Central and South America, Australia, Japan and South-East Asia, including appearances at many of the major festivals. Among its recordings, many of which have won international awards, are the complete quartets of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn (a cycle unsurpassed for its mingled fire and grace), Brahms, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Eisler, and works by Hindemith, Weill, Cage and Berio....
(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....
(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...
British string quartet. It was formed in 1988 by Thomas Bowes and David Angel (violins), Martin Outram (viola) and Michal Kaznowski (cello) and made its début at the Wigmore Hall, London, the following year. Its name derives from the sixteenth-century Brescian violin maker Giovanni Paulo Maggini, one of whose instruments is played by Angel. Bowes left the group in 1992, to be replaced as leader by David Juritz, who in turn was replaced by Laurence Jackson in 1994.
Renowned above all for its passionately expressive performances of British music, the Maggini has made its reputation through frequent concert tours in Britain, Europe and (since 1991) the USA, and through its numerous recordings for Naxos. It has commissioned works from several leading composers, including James MacMillan (his Second String Quartet), Robert Simpson (the Cello Quintet, his last composition) and Eleanor Alberga. In October 2002 it gave the acclaimed première of Peter Maxwell Davies’s First String Quartet at the Wigmore Hall, initiating a project to perform and record a cycle of ten string quartets by the composer. In its British Music series for Naxos the Maggini has recorded works by Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Bax, Bliss, Bridge, Moeran, Walton and Britten. Several of these have won international awards....
Gary W. Kennedy
Member of Marsalis family
(b New Orleans, July 28, 1965). Trombonist and record producer, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played electric bass guitar and took up trombone at the age of 12, and later studied record production and trombone at the Berklee College of Music. After graduating (spring 1989) he performed around New Orleans, and at some point he read English at the University of New Orleans. Having worked with Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Abdullah Ibrahim’s septet Ekaya, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, around spring 1991 Marsalis began leading his own quintet, which has included Mark Turner, the pianist Victor “Red” Atkins, the double bass player Greg Williams, Brian Blade, and his brother Jason Marsalis; in September 1992 he led the group at the reopening of Kimball’s in San Francisco. Between 1993 and 1998 he was a member of Elvin Jones’s Jazz Machine. He moved to New York in ...
[Lincoln Wayne ]
(b LaGrange, GA, June 12, 1936). American guitarist, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur. At age 14 he arrived in Memphis and soon worked with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. His song “This Time” became a hit for Troy Shondell (1961, Liberty). He then worked for Stax Records, overseeing their first three hits. Ousted in 1962, he founded American Studios and assembled a house band, the Memphis Boys. With Dan Penn, he wrote “Dark End of The Street” for James Carr (1966, Goldwax) and “Do Right Woman” for Aretha Franklin (1967, Atl.). He produced works by Elvis Presley, the Gentrys, Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, and many others. In 1972 he moved to Atlanta and then Nashville, where he became prominent in the Outlaw movement, producing Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and cowriting “Lukenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” (1977, RCA) with Bobby Emmons. In 1982...
Olivia Carter Mather
[Alvis Edgar ]
(b Sherman, TX, Aug 12, 1929; d Bakersfield, CA, March 25, 2006). American country musician and businessman. He is widely considered the central figure of the Bakersfield sound, and his dominance of the country charts in the 1960s challenged Nashville’s hegemony and bolstered the West Coast country scene in Bakersfield and Los Angeles. During the 1950s he worked as a guitarist and session player for several Bakersfield artists before signing with Capitol Records in 1957. In 1963 he began a streak of 14 consecutive number-one country hits with “Act Naturally,” which was later covered by the Beatles. Other hits included “Together Again” (1964), “I’ve got a tiger by the tail” (1965), and a cover of “Johnny B. Goode” (1969).
Owens’s songs eschewed themes of hard living and rambling for a portrayal of the male subject as a lonely victim of romance. With his backing band, the Buckaroos, he developed a bright, driving sound which he described as a freight train feel: heavy bass and drums accompanying two Fender Telecaster electric guitars played by Owens and the guitarist Don Rich. The twangy Telecaster sound and high, close harmony of Owens and Rich characterized many of his recordings. The Buckaroos both toured and recorded with Owens, a contrast to country norms. Owens thus established an alternative to the popular “countrypolitan” sound produced in Nashville (he also never joined the “Grand Ole Opry”); in doing so he inspired such country-rock musicians as Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He also marketed himself as a hard-country artist free of pop influence; in ...
Charles K. Wolfe
(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...