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Milena Bozhikova

(b Vidin, Bulgaria, Sept 12, 1951). Bulgarian composer, conductor, and piano improviser. He was educated at the High School of Music in Sofia (percussion class under Dobri Paliev, 1965–71), and at the State Musical Academy in Sofia (1973–9), majoring in composition under Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Parashkev Hadzhiev, and orchestral conducting under Konstantin Iliev. He made his name as an active jazz pianist and composer, forming his own jazz trio and participating in several international festivals (in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Cuba, Romania, Germany, Portugal, and Yugoslavia). While a student he won the position of conductor at the State Musical Theatre (1977–86), bringing to the stage a number of classical operettas and contemporary musicals. His background also includes courses in conducting under Franco Ferrara (1980, Siena, Italy) and Edward Dawns (1981, Hilversum, Holland), and in composition with Anatol Vieru (...

Article

Ryan Dohoney

(b Paris, France, Oct 20, 1950). American composer, keyboardist, electronic musician, and improviser of French birth; naturalized American; daughter of jazz pianist and drummer Errol Parker. She began studying piano and harmony at age 7 and composing at 12. Lauten received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Institut d’Études Politiques in 1971. The following year she relocated to New York City, where she participated in the burgeoning punk rock scene. Through guitarist Denise Feliu, Lauten met the poet Allen Ginsberg, who would have a significant impact upon her spiritual and musical life.

Lauten’s compositional and improvisational practice is exemplary of the musical aesthetics of downtown New York in the 1970s and 80s. A practitioner of both US popular music and European classical music, Lauten blended the two styles with minimalist experimentalism. Lauten’s studies in New York City brought her into contact with the varied denizens of downtown musical life. She studied Indian raga with ...

Article

Claire Levy

(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....

Article

Greer Garden

(Fr.: ‘carrying of the voice’)

In Baroque vocal and instrumental music, an appoggiatura, particularly one that resolves upwards by a tone or semitone. Deriving from late 16th-century Italian improvisatory practice – Bovicelli's Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (1594/R) contains written-out examples – it became one of the most important graces of French Baroque music. In France it was rarely printed before the late 17th century, but was left to the performer to add extempore. Bacilly explained in his Remarques curieuses sur l'art de bien chanter (1668/R, 4/1681; Eng. trans., 1968) that the accessory note anticipated the beat and took value from the preceding note. Perfection, he continued, lay in its also taking ‘some of the value’ of the note of resolution, as this enabled one to linger on the accessory note.

In his Méthode claire, certaine et facile pour apprendre à chanter la musique (...

Article

Concert venue and gallery, focusing at first on visual art, but soon becoming one of the key locations in the Czech Republic for contemporary and improvised music, sound art, and intermedia work.

Housed in the courtyard of an 1888 neo-Renaissance building in the centre of Prague, the former galvanizing workshop was reconstructed in 1999 by the Linhart Foundation and opened to the public in 2000.

The gallery has offered a regular programme of two monthly concerts, always featuring a local act opening for a foreign guest. Performers have included Thomas Lehn, Franz Hautzinger, Dieb13, and Jim Denley, as well as most musicians on the Czech improvised music scene, and many composer-performers, including Peter Graham, Lucie Vítková, and Miro Tóth[1]. Artists working with sound at the gallery in an installation context have included Jacob Kirkegaard, Phill Niblock, Peter Cusack, and John Grzinich.

Apart from regular exhibitions and concerts, the gallery has also organized long-term residencies for artists, artistic workshops, and discussions. Since ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Bratislava, 16 Oct 1981). Slovak composer, saxophonist, and improviser. Studied composition at the University of Performing arts in Bratislava (VŠMU) (with Jevgenij Iršai and Vladimír Godár) and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (with Michal Rataj), as well as musicology at the Comenius University in Bratislava.

He is unusual in the Czecho-Slovak context for the breadth of his musical and cultural interests – eclecticism and a Schnittkean polystylism are the only unifying elements of his work, perhaps together with relentless demands on the listener’s emotions (in one direction or another). His earlier works betray the influence of Schnittke in their rapid changes and distressed emotiveness interspersed with moments of (ironic?) grandeur, while at other times, his use of explosive improvisation and a range of stylistic contexts brings John Zorn to mind.

He has a close relationship with theatre, both in his operas and video-operas – often made in collaboration with the actor, director, and librettist Marek Kundlák – and in his instrumental music, which doesn’t shy away from theatricality and make-believe. He often treats musics as cultural phenomena, mindful of their history and current position, unafraid to appropriate and explore what he calls the emptied-out or sketched-out worlds that remain in music after the 20th century....

Article

(b Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 22, 1960). Bulgarian pianist and jazz improviser. He graduated in piano from the Lyubomir Pipkov High School of Music in Sofia under Milena Kurteva (1975–9), and the Pantcho Vladigerov National Academy of Music under Yulia and Konstantin Ganevi (1979–84). At the age of 15 he won top prizes at international competitions in the Czech Republic and Italy. As a student he won second prize at the International Senigallia Competition (1979); third in the XXXIII International Busoni Competition (1981); and third prize and silver medal at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels (1983). He won the first prize and grand prize in the Svetoslav Obretenov National Competition (1982). In 1986 and 1987 he received a Fulbright Grant to study with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

From 1988 until 1991 he taught piano at the Pantcho Vladigerov National Academy of Music, Sofia, and, since ...