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Alexander Michael Cannon

Cambodian music ensemble. Named for the female celestial figures that adorn Angkor Wat, this music and dance ensemble has featured performances of Cambodian music for audiences in the United States since 1986. Dr. Sam-Ang Sam—a master musician who studied with court and village master musicians in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and who was named a 1994 MacArthur Fellow—established the ensemble with his wife, Chan Moly Sam, a master dancer trained to portray both male (neay rong) and female (neang) dance roles. The artists met in Cambodia and studied at the University of Fine Arts before the rise of the Khmer Rouge. Later, he studied with José Maceda at the University of the Philippines. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1977. They formed the ensemble while he completed his doctoral dissertation on the pinn peat (court music ensemble) at Wesleyan University. Afterward, the ensemble moved to Washington, DC and partnered with the Cambodian-American Heritage Troupe directed by Sam-Oeun Tes, a master dancer who studied with the Cambodian Royal Ballet before moving the United States in ...

Article

Akitsugu Kawamoto

American hip-hop group. It was formed in 1995 in Los Angeles by will.i.am (William James Adams, Jr.; b Inglewood, CA, 15 March 1975; rapping, vocals, various instruments), apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo, Jr.; b Angeles City, Philippines, 28 November 1975; rapping, drums), and Taboo (Jaime Luis Gómez; b Los Angeles, CA, 14 July 1975; rapping, keyboard). The group grew out of Atban Klann (1991–5), a Los Angeles-based group signed for a time to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. The Black Eyed Peas developed an approach that fused elements of global pop, jazz-rock, funk, soul, noise music, and a variety of hip-hop styles. Initially considered somewhat of an underground phenomenon, the Black Eyed Peas achieved worldwide commercial success after being joined by Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson; b Hacienda Heights, CA, 27 March 1975; rapping, vocals) in 2003. The group’s third and fourth albums, Elephunk (2003) and Monkey Business (2005...

Article

William Y. Elias

Israeli piano duo. It was formed in 1952 by Bracha Eden (b Jerusalem, 15 July 1928) and Alexander Tamir (b Vilnius, 2 April 1931). They both studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem (Tamir with Schroeder, Eden with Schroeder and Tal), graduating in 1952; in 1955 they continued studies with Vronsky and Babin at the Aspen Music Festival. They made their début in Israel in 1954, then appeared in New York (1955) and Rome (1956), where they won the 1957 Vercelli Competition; in 1957 they also appeared in London and Paris. They are directors of the Fannie and Max Targ Music Centre, Jerusalem, and senior professors at the Rubin Academy. During the 1990s they began to perform and teach regularly in China, Russia and Poland, and in 1997 they became directors of the International Duo Piano Seminary, established as a joint project of the Warsaw Academy of Music and the Rubin Academy. The duo have had considerable influence on the development of the repertory and have made an important contribution to the revival of neglected works for two pianos and piano duet, including works by Czerny, Clementi, Dussek and Hummel, and the original two-piano version of Brahms’s Piano Quintet in F minor. Their many recordings include the complete music for two pianos and piano duet of Mozart, Schubert and Rachmaninoff, and works by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Poulenc and Lutosławski. Besides many works from the standard repertories they play much contemporary music: in ...

Article

Amy Kazuye Kimura

Balinese dance and music group founded in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area by Michael Tenzer, Rachel Cooper, and I Wayan Suweca. It has since grown into an internationally recognized ensemble that has toured throughout North America and Bali. Under the leadership of its permanent directors and visiting artists from Bali, its members have studied using traditional methods, foregoing written notation, learning instead through imitation and by rote. The group has performed a variety of Balinese dance and music genres, including gender wayang, gong kebyar, bamboo jegog, and angklung. Its repertoire has included traditional works as well as kreasi baru (“new creations”) by Balinese and American artists, commissioned with the support of public and private funding initiatives. The group’s long-standing ties to artistic circles in both the United States and Bali have positioned it as a strongly cross-cultural organization, mutually influencing both American and Balinese musicians and dancers. In addition to performances, the ensemble has hosted educational workshops to share and promote Balinese arts and culture. In ...

Article

Loren Kajikawa

Jazz fusion group. Founded in 1974 by the multi-instrumentalist Dan Kuramoto and the koto player June Okida Kuramoto, Hiroshima took its name from one of two Japanese cities to suffer atomic attack during World War II. It consists of third-generation Japanese Americans and first rose to popularity in the late 1970s amid the Asian American movement, which also provided the impetus for the development of Asian American jazz. Hiroshima’s early sound mixed Japanese instrumentation, notably koto and bamboo flutes, with a blend of electric jazz, funk, and disco soul. In addition to playing a variety of saxophones, flutes, and keyboards, Dan Kuramoto has served as the group’s main arranger and songwriter.

Although Hiroshima’s membership and style have shifted over the years, its most consistent feature has been June Kuramoto’s virtuosic koto playing. At the age of six, she began lessons with the koto sensei Kazue Kudo. Eventually mastering the instrument’s traditional repertoire, she also developed her own approach to improvising....

Article

Wendy F. Hsu

Rock band. Formed at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, the Hsu-nami is an erhu progressive rock band fronted by Taiwanese American erhu player and composer Jack Hsu. Hsu was classically trained in violin. His erhu training included intensive summer lessons in Nanjing, China. The rest of the group is composed of Tony Aichele (guitar), Brent Bergholm (guitar), Dana Goldberg (keyboard), John Manna (drums), and Derril Sellers (bass). The Hsu-nami integrates an amplified “erhu,” a two-string spike fiddle used in Chinese classical and folk music, into an instrumental progressive rock sound. Their music is marked by virtuosic erhu melodies and shredding solos, in place of vocals, intertwined with heavy guitar riffs, funky rhythms, and metal-driven rock drumming. Part of the new-fusion rock movement, the group recasts the sound of its 1960s and 1970s roots.

The band has played alongside international and major recording artists such as Chthonic, Yellowcard, Bowling for Soup, Nightmare of You, and The Parlor Mob. Their music was also featured during the ...

Article

Theodore Levin

A musical ensemble from Tuva, in southern Siberia, which emerged in the 1990s as the pre-eminent international representative of Tuva's musical culture. The name (Tuvan xün xürtü) means literally ‘sun propeller’ and refers to the vertical separation of light rays that in Tuva often occurs just after sunrise or just before sunset. For the members of Huun-Huur-Tu the refraction of light that produces these rays seems analogous to the ‘refraction’ of sound that produces articulated harmonics in Tuvan overtone singing.

Original members of Huun-Huur-Tu (founded in 1992) included Kaigal-ool Khovalyg (b 1960), Albert Kuvezin (b 1965), Sayan Bapa (b 1962) and Aleksandr Bapa (b 1958). Later, Kuvezin and Aleksandr Bapa formed their own ensembles and were replaced by Anatoli Kuular (b 1967) and Alexei Saryglar (b 1966). Huun-Huur-Tu's song arrangements and performance style were shaped by its members' experience in ensembles organized under the aegis of the Soviet Ministry of Culture to perform Tuvan ‘national’ music in pop-inspired forms. Huun-Huur-Tu, however, differs in important ways from its Soviet predecessors. Eschewing the standard Soviet template for ‘national’ music ensembles of electric guitars, bass and drum kit combined with amplified traditional instruments and pop-style vocals, Huun-Huur-Tu emerged as a folk music group much like revivalist folk groups in the West. While all of the members of Huun-Huur-Tu have direct experience of Tuva's pastoral way of life, they learnt most of their repertory from recordings, song collections and fieldwork expeditions rather than through oral transmission from family or neighbours. Huun-Huur-Tu's hallmark musical style is characterized by a seamless mixture of overtone-singing (...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

Israeli ensemble. It was founded in 1972 by the pianist Alexander Volkov, the violinist Menahem Breuer and the cellist Zvi Harell, who was later replaced by Marcel Bergman. Breuer is the leader of the Israel PO and Bergman is its principal cellist; they and Volkov are also active as soloists. The trio's recordings of the complete piano trios of Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann have been highly praised. The repertory of the group also embraces 20th-century works, some by Israeli composers including Oedoen Partos, Yardena Alotin, Yehezkiel Braun and Ebel Erlich, who dedicated his Piano Trio to the ensemble. The trio performs regularly in international festivals, including Edinburgh and Schleswig-Holstein, and has given many recitals for the BBC. Its members give masterclasses at the RAM, London, the Musikhochschule in Munich and elsewhere....

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

Israeli string quartet. It was founded in 1957 as the New Israel Quartet, to distinguish it from an earllier group known as the Israel Quartet. Its original members were Alexander Tal, Mordecai Yuval, Daniel Benyamini and Yaakov Menze, all of whom played in the Israel PO. During the quartet's subsequent history, the membership changed several times. Zeev Steinberg joined as viola in 1959; during the 1970s Tal was replaced by Ilan Gronich and Gronich by Raphael Markus; and in 1978 the word ‘New’ was dropped from its title. In 1999 the ensemble included Yigal Tuneh, Elikum Salzman, Robert Moses and Alexander Kaganowsky. The Israel Quartet has concentrated mainly on 20th-century music, especially by Israeli composers. It has performed more then 50 Israeli works, most of them in premières, by such composers as Oedoen Partos, Mordecai Seter, Artur Gelbrun, Josef Tal, Zeev Steinberg, Abel Ehrlich, Joachim Stutschewsky and others. It has given many concerts abroad, thereby promoting its particular repertory....

Article

J.W. Junker

Rock group. Kalapana are Hawaii’s longest-active rock group, with loyal audiences in Hawaii and Japan. Their instrumentation and lyrics are not specific to Hawaii but their image and overall feeling effectively reflect the zeitgeist of island life. In many regards, the group represents Hawaii’s response to the singer-songwriter and R&B fads of the 1970s. Formed in 1973, Kalapana perform mostly original material full of catchy melodies, strong bass lines, well-crafted bridges, rock-inflected solos, and self-reflexive lyrics or instrumental jams. Founding members were D.J. Pratt (guitar/percussion/vocals), Malani Bilyeu (guitar/bass/vocals), Mackey Feary (guitar/piano/bass/vocals), and Kirk Thompson (keyboards, bass, vocals), joined frequently by Michael Paulo (sax/flute) and Alvin Fejarang (drums). Feary and Bilyeu served as the main songwriters and singers. Early shows at The Toppe Ada Shoppe led to their opening for Cecilio & Kapono and visiting artists. Their self-titled debut album in 1975 was a local sensation, including hits such as “The Hurt,” “Nightbird,” and “Naturally.”...

Article

Andrew C. McGraw

[tek-tek]

Processional ensemble of Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia. The ensemble, developed since 2000, includes up to 20 kentongan (tek-tek) consisting of two tuned lengths of bamboo from 50 to 80 cm long cut in the manner of the calung bar, screwed onto a square frame of bamboo, and carried on a rope strung around the player’s shoulders. The bars are struck with a padded wooden mallet. Up to five musicians play beḍug, large homemade drums constructed from plastic barrels and rubber or plastic heads ranging from 30 to 45 cm in diameter and struck with large padded mallets. A single musician plays several small, one-headed drums and cymbals arranged in the manner of Western marching tom-toms. The melody is played by a single musician on a diatonic set of angklung rattles and doubled on a gambang xylophone. A small suling flute is added along with maracas and Western marching cymbals. The ensemble is played by youth groups in parades, at community centres, and sometimes in organized competitions in which female dancers and MCs are included. Its repertoire includes material adapted from Javanese ...

Article

KISS  

Michael Ethen

[Kiss]

Rock group. Its foundational lineup comprised bassist Gene Simmons (b Chaim Witz, Haifa, Israel, 25 Aug 1949), guitarist Paul Stanley (b Stanley Harvey Eisen, New York, NY, 20 Jan 1952), drummer Peter Criss (b Peter George John Criscuola, New York, NY, 20 Dec 1945), and lead guitarist Ace Frehley (b Paul Daniel Frehley, New York, NY, 27 April 1951). Core members Simmons and Stanley founded the group in 1972, and embraced Criss and Frehley by early 1973. It is difficult to discount their attempts to shock audiences with grotesquerie, studded black leather, platform boots, and individualized Kabuki-like facial makeup. Their concerts showcased pyrotechnics and hydraulics, theatricalized gore, and wooden choreography in contrast with their appealing, well-crafted power pop sound. Supported by loyal fans (“the KISS Army”), the band endured despite a tortuous personnel record of firings, re-hirings, and willful departures.

Neither of their first two albums with the upstart Casablanca record label was commercially viable. KISS broke through in ...

Article

Laba bu  

Margaret J. Kartomi

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[labe buu]

Ensemble of two to four end-blown buffalo horns (bu) and two or three single-head drums (laba), of the central Ngada region of Flores, Indonesia. The horns range from 30 to 40 cm long and each produce one note. The drums, called laba bhegu in Ngada, range from 75 to 80 cm long and 15 to 20 cm in diameter and have a horsehide head affixed to a bamboo body with rattan lacing. They are beaten by a standing musician using two wooden sticks. The ensemble, now rare, formerly performed as soldiers went to war or for ceremonies commemorating war. More recently the ensemble accompanies a war dance performed by men and women....

Article

Letor  

Andrew C. McGraw

(1) Bamboo ensemble of the central Sikka region of Flores, Indonesia. A single performer plays two bamboo stamping tubes (boku) 40 to 50 cm long, one tuned slightly higher than the other. The tubes are closed by a node at the bottom and sounded by hitting them against the ground in alternation. Meanwhile three performers play bamboo idiochord tube zithers (toda), each about 60 cm long and 11 cm in diameter with one string, as in the Balinese guntang. One musician plays three todas; a second musician plays two; and a third musician plays one. They strike the idiochord with thin, unpadded sticks, performing complex interlocking rhythmic patterns. A cracked piece of young bamboo, called a waning ana, is sometimes added to this ensemble, and is struck on the beat with a wooden stick.

A similar ensemble involving four todas, each with its own player, and two drums (...

Article

Meko  

Andrew C. McGraw

Gong and drum ensemble from Roti, Indonesia, named after the highest-pitched gong. The gongs are often cast locally of iron, but some bronze gongs are imported from Java. Eight to ten gongs hang from tree limbs by rope strung through two small holes drilled into their rims, which are about 4 cm deep. They are played by four or five musicians using unpadded wooden mallets. The gongs are divided into four sections. The lowest range, called the ina, with three gongs about 40 cm in diameter, are hung side by side and played by one musician. The middle range, called nggasa, includes two gongs about 35 cm in diameter, hung one above the other. They are played by one musician who damps both gongs by holding the rim in his left hand. The third, highest range is called the leko and includes two gongs about 25 cm in diameter, positioned and damped as the ...

Article

Nancy Yunwha Rao

Instrumental ensemble founded in 1984 by Susan Cheng in New York’s Chinatown. It features Chinese instruments including erhu, yangqin, zheng, pipa, daruan, sanxian, sheng, and dizi. Its members have included Wu man , Tang Liang Xing, and Min Xiao Fen, among others. Performing at museums, schools, and other venues, it has specialized in silk and bamboo music of southern China but has also performed contemporary music. Its concerts from 1990 to 2002 included excerpts or full-staged performances of Cantonese opera. At its height the ensemble performed 100 concerts a year; in the early 2010s it was averaging 50–60.

Music from China has commissioned and performed many new works. By 2011 it had premiered 132 new works by 81 composers, including the winners of its annual international composition competition. In 1987 Chen yi and Zhou long joined Music from China as music directors and composed many significant works for the group. From ...

Article

John Spitzer and Neal Zaslaw

(It.; Fr. orchestre; Ger. Orchester)

‘Orchestra’ has been used in a generic sense to mean any large grouping of instrumentalists. Thus one reads of an Indonesian gamelan orchestra, a Japanese gagaku orchestra, a Chinese drum and gong orchestra, the ‘orchestra’ of a Renaissance intermedio, or even the ‘orchestras’ of the Old Testament. In this article, ‘orchestra’ is treated in a specific and historical sense, as a characteristically European institution that arose in the 17th and 18th centuries and subsequently spread to other parts of the world as part of Western cultural influence. Related information will be found in other articles, for example Concert, Conducting and Instrumentation and orchestration; see also Band .

Analysis of orchestras from the 18th century to the present reveals a series of interrelated defining traits (Zaslaw, 1988, 1993). (a) Orchestras are based on string instruments of the violin family plus double basses. (b) This core group of bowed strings is organized into sections within which the players usually perform the same notes in unison. This practice of doubling string instruments is carried out unequally: there will almost always be more violins than lower strings. (...

Article

Donna Lee Kwon

Originally from Korea, p’ungmul (wind object) is a vibrant form of percussion band music and dance that features the changgo (hourglass drum), the puk (barrel drum), the sogo (hand drum), the ching (large gong), and the kkwaenggwari (small gong). A complete ensemble also includes a double-reed instrument called the t’aep’yŏngso, flag bearers, and character actors called chapsaek. Based in agricultural village life, this music is also referred to as nongak (farmer’s music) and as such is recognized as Important Intangible Cultural Asset no.11 in South Korea. Led by the head kkwaenggwari player, a typical South Korean band ranges from thirty to fifty members, although similar bands in the United States or Canada are often smaller. A distinguishing feature of p’ungmul is the practice of playing the instruments while dancing in various formations. Although all of the members incorporate footwork and rhythmic up-and-down movements, some performers (usually the sogo players) specialize in acrobatic flip-turns and other dazzling moves. Colorful costumes consist of white shirts and pants, contrasting vests or jackets, and banners of red, blue, and yellow that hang over one shoulder and tie at the waist. Performers traditionally wear eye-catching headwear ranging from paper hats decorated with huge flowers to tight-fitting headpieces fitted with long ribbons that are twirled and flipped into a variety of spectacular patterns. According to native beliefs, ...

Article

Terry E. Miller

[bin bādy]

In Cambodia, the primary classical ensemble played at court ceremonies, some Buddhist festivals, to accompany the large shadow theatre, masked drama, and dance drama. Both the ensemble and its name are closely related to similar ensembles in Thailand (piphat) and Laos (sep nyai/piphat). Ensembles vary in size from minimal (five instruments) to large. A basic ensemble consists of ...

Article

Robert C. Provine

[Samullori]

Korean percussion group whose name (roughly meaning ‘playing of four objects’) was adopted for a recently developed genre of Korean traditional music. The first performance of this type of music by the original group took place in February 1978 at the Space Theatre in Seoul, when the members were Kim Duk-soo (Kim Tŏksu, changgo), Kim Yongbae (kkwaenggwari), Lee Kwang-soo (Yi Kwangsu, puk) and Choi Jong-sil (Ch'oi Chongsil, ching). After a number of personnel changes, only Kim Duk-soo (b 1952) remains from the original group. The group had enormous success in Korea and many international tours after 1982, making several recordings and collaborating with jazz, rock and orchestral musicians.

While the music of Samul Nori is largely derived from parts of traditional Korean farmers' band music (nongak or p'ungmul kut), it is played only on two drums and two gongs (rather than by a large band), is played seated on an indoor stage (instead of dancing outdoors), and has a much more developed, professionalized and virtuoso style. The music undergoes constant development and modification, the four most popular pieces being ...