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(b Frankfurt, Sept 11, 1903; d Brig, Switzerland, Aug 6, 1969). German writer on music and philosopher. The son of a businessman of Jewish extraction, Oscar Alexander Wiesengrund, and a professional singer of Catholic Corsican origin, Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana, he adopted his mother's name in the 1920s, initially as Weisengrund-Adorno, dispensing with the hyphen in 1938. In 1937–8 he also wrote briefly under the pseudonym Hektor ‘Rottweiler’.

Strongly influenced by Ernst Bloch's Vom Geist der Utopie and Georg Lukács's Theorie des Romans while still at school, and having had a musical upbringing, with piano, violin and composition lessons from an early age, in 1921 he went on to study philosophy (with Hans Cornelius) at the University of Frankfurt with musicology, sociology and psychology as subsidiary subjects, continuing composition studies with Bernhard Sekles and piano with Eduard Jung. During his student years he became friendly with the philosopher Max Horkheimer and the literary critic Walter Benjamin, who both had considerable influence on his development. Three years after starting university he took the doctorate with a dissertation on Husserl (...

Article

John Beckwith

(b Budapest, April 12, 1919; d Kingston, ON, February 24, 2012). Canadian composer, conductor and pianist of Hungarian birth. He studied with Kodály at the Budapest Academy (1937–41). As a young man he spent a period with other Jewish youths in a forced-labour contingent of the Hungarian Army; his later war experiences – escape, then concealment by friends during the winter of 1944–5 – are described in the memoirs of the novelist Theresa de Kerpely (Teresa Kay). After a season as assistant conductor at the Budapest Opera (1945–6), he went to Paris for further studies in piano (Soulima Stravinsky), conducting (Fourestier) and composition (Boulanger), remaining there for three years. He moved to Canada in 1949 (taking Canadian nationality in 1955), and for three years held a Lady Davis Fellowship and an appointment as assistant professor at McGill University. There he founded the electronic music studio and served for six years as chair of the department of theoretical music. He held grants for electronic music research from the Canada Council (...

Article

Stephen Plaistow

(Davidovich)

(b Gor′kiy [now Nizhniy Novgorod], July 6, 1937). Russian pianist and conductor, naturalized Icelandic. He was born into a musical Jewish family and entered the Moscow Central School of Music in 1945; his teacher there for the next ten years was Anaida Sumbatyan. His first major recital, devoted entirely to Chopin, was in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in April 1955, and later that year he gained second prize at the fifth Warsaw International Chopin Competition. In 1956, now a pupil of Lev Oborin at the Moscow Conservatory, he was awarded first prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. While still a student he made his first tour outside the USSR the following year, to East and West Germany. After graduating, it was inescapable that he should be groomed for the second International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962 (the American Van Cliburn having won the first), and he duly restored national honour by carrying off a shared first prize (with John Ogdon). His London début followed in ...

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Alan Blyth

(b Buenos Aires, Nov 15, 1942). Israeli pianist and conductor. He was first taught by his parents and made his début as a pianist in Buenos Aires when he was seven. In 1951 the family moved to Europe where he played at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and thence to Israel. Back in Salzburg in 1954, he met Edwin Fischer and Furtwängler, both major influences on his future career. Studies at the Accademia di S Cecilia in Rome and with Boulanger completed his education.

Barenboim made his British début as a soloist in 1955 and his American début two years later, and first conducted, in Israel, in 1962. From 1964 he worked for some years with the English Chamber Orchestra as conductor and pianist, recording with them symphonies by Mozart and Haydn, and a series of Mozart piano concertos. Meanwhile he began an international career as a conductor. He directed the South Bank Summer Festival in London (...

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David Fanning

(b Moscow, April 3, 1948). American pianist of Russian birth. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Lev Oborin from 1965 to 1971, and took part in the Russian premières of works by Ligeti, Berio, Stockhausen and Cage, as well as the first performances of Denisov’s Ode and Schnittke’s ...

Article

Helen Metzelaar

(Marie Clémence)

(b Maastricht, Dec 1, 1905; d Brunssum, March 1, 1982). Dutch composer and pianist. After gaining a teaching certificate in 1927, she studied the piano with Maria Gielen and composition with Henri Hermans. She made her début with the Maastricht city orchestra (conducted by Hermans) in 1928, both as a soloist in Mozart's Piano Concertok488 and as a composer with her Drie schetsen for chamber orchestra. From 1929 to 1942 and from 1944 to 1947 she regularly performed with this orchestra. During World War II she refused to sign a ‘non-Jewish declaration’, and consequently resigned from the Maastricht city orchestra. In 1932 she was appointed teacher of theory and piano at the music school in Heerlen, where she worked until 1972. She travelled to Paris each summer from 1930 to 1937 to study with Milhaud.

Some of Bonhomme's compositions are late Romantic in style, showing the influence of Franck, others are French Impressionistic in harmony and instrumentation, reminding one more of Ravel and Roussel than of Milhaud. Her earliest works, such as the ...

Article

Bryce Morrison

(b Rio de Janeiro, April 22, 1948). Brazilian pianist of Russian-Jewish extraction. He studied with Jacques Klein (a student of William Kapell) in Rio de Janeiro and later with Bruno Seidlhofer and Dieter Weber in Vienna. In 1972 he won first prize in the Busoni International Competition and made his début at the Wigmore Hall, London. Wary of instant acclaim, however, he declined Deutsche Grammophon's offer of a contract and in 1976 returned to Brazil, where he gave concerts and taught maths and physics. A decisive change of direction came in 1981, when he replaced Martha Argerich at a concert in the Netherlands; his success in Bach's First Partita, Chopin's Four Ballades and Prokofiev's Seventh Sonata prompted his return to Europe. Cohen's distinctive elegance and dynamism create their own ambience, especially in the music of Liszt, several of whose works, including the rarely heard Grande fantaisie sur Les Huguenots...

Article

Kay Edwards

[Blue Butterfly ]

(b Madison, WI, June 4, 1959). American composer and flutist of Mohican descent (enrolled member of Stockbridge Band of Mohican Nation). He earned degrees in music composition from Northern Illinois University (BM 1981) and Arizona State University (MM 1990) and a separate degree in American Indian Religious Studies from Arizona State University (MA 1992). Davids merges his classical training in Western music with Native American elements that have been nurtured by many visits to Stockbridge Munsee Reservation, where his father was raised; in many of his pieces, native percussion can be heard alongside European instruments to create a colorful musical tapestry. Davids is also a concert flutist, famous for performing on his signature handmade quartz crystal flutes, as well as standard flute and native wooden flutes. He has written commissioned works for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Chanticleer, Zeitgeist, the Kronos Quartet, the Miró String Quartet, and the Joffrey Ballet. He has received awards from In-Vision, Meet the Composer, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others. In ...

Article

Henry Sapoznik

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 4, 1912; d Plantation, FL, March 18, 2000) American klezmer clarinetist, saxophonist, and violinist. Though born in the United States, he was considered an equal of the great European klezmer clarinetists such as Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein.

Beginning his career at age 12 playing violin for silent movies, Epstein mastered the clarinet and later the saxophone, and played regularly on the Yiddish stage, on the radio, and in concert. The Epstein Brothers, including Max, Willie (trumpet), Isidore, or “Chizik” (clarinet) and Julie (drums), dominated the New York Jewish music scene for nearly three decades. They are best known for their playing in the Hasidic community in postwar New York, where they became the pre-eminent orchestra. They issued several recordings, including the classic LP Dukes of Freilachland (1958).

After a disastrous investment in a Yiddish theater, Max and his brothers abandoned New York for Florida, where they continued to play for weddings and parties. The number of people who requested the music they had mastered steadily diminished throughout the 1960s, however. The renewed interest in klezmer music in the 1970s brought them out of retirement. Their career was further enhanced when keyboard player Pete Sokolow (...

Article

Jonathan Powell

(Yevgen′yevich)

(b Odessa, 14/May 26, 1890; d Moscow, Oct 22, 1962). Russian pianist and composer. His parents were of Jewish origin, and in 1894 they moved from Odessa to Moscow. There Feinberg entered the conservatory, where he studied the piano with Gol′denveyzer, graduating in 1911. He also took private composition lessons with Zhilyayev. Over the next few years he started performing as a pianist and continued to compose. Around this time he played to Skryabin, who declared Feinberg’s performance of his Fourth Sonata the most convincing he had yet heard. In August 1914 he was sent to the Polish front, but he fell seriously ill and was sent to a military hospital, where he contracted typhus. He returned to Moscow and convalesced there for the rest of World War I. In 1922 he was appointed professor of piano at the Moscow conservatory. He also became a member of the circle which met at Pavel Lamm’s flat; musicians he encountered there included Myaskovsky and Anatoly Aleksandrov, both of whom wrote works for him. During the second half of the 1920s he achieved significant success abroad, giving concerts in Italy, Austria and Germany, and taking part in the ...

Article

Annette Morreau

(b Kolomed [now Kolomyya, Ukraine], Nov 22, 1902; d New York, May 25, 1942). Austrian cellist, active in the USA. In 1909 his family moved to Vienna, where he studied with Anton Walter; he later continued his studies privately with Klengel in Leipzig (1917–19). At the age of 16, on Klengel's recommendation, Feuermann was appointed head of cello at the Cologne Conservatory, as well as cellist of the Gürzenich Quartet and principal cellist with the Gürzenich Orchestra. His successful career as a solo artist led him to resign his orchestral duties, and from 1923 to 1929 he toured continuously in Europe, including a recital tour in Russia with Artur Schnabel. In 1929 Feuermann succeeded Hugo Becker as professor of cello at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, and with Hindemith and Joseph Wolfsthal (later replaced by Szymon Goldberg) he formed a string trio. As a Jew, he was dismissed from his position in ...

Article

Wesley Berg

(Joel)

(b Boston, June 30, 1942). Canadian composer and pianist of American birth. He studied at Boston University (BMus) and Michigan State University (MMus; PhD), and has taught at the University of Western Ontario, Acadia University, the University of Alberta (chair, 1986–9) and Queen's University, where he was director 1990–97. His compositional style has been described as post-Schoenbergian, employing a chromaticism controlled both by a limited number of pitch class sets and a sense of tonal hierarchy (Lewis, 1993). Many of his works are confessional. His fascination with the Canadian North has resulted in compositions such as Cry Wolf (1977), after a Cree Indian legend. In 1980 he began to explore themes from Jewish culture and history in works such as Morning: Peniel (1980), Zakhor: Remember (1983) and Small Worlds (1984). Several of these interests come together in Six Fantasy Pieces...

Article

Ben Arnold

(b Florence, SC, May 23, 1917; d Boston, Feb 7, 1977). American pianist and teacher. He began his studies with Walter Goldstein in New Orleans. At the age of ten he entered the Curtis Institute, where he was a pupil of Isabelle Vengerova and David Saperton (diploma 1938). In 1940 he became the first winner of the Leventritt Award, and in 1941 he made his début with the New York PO in Carnegie Hall, performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. He then embarked on an international career, making tours of the USA, Europe, Israel and Japan; in 1964 he performed 16 concerts in the Soviet Union. One of the first internationally renowned pianists to teach at an American state university, Foster held positions at Florida State University (1949–51) and then at Indiana University (1952–77), where he developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher. His playing was remarkable for its virtuosity and his repertory notable for including lesser-known works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He made several recordings for the Musical Heritage Society, including two Mozart Concertos, Beethoven’s ‘Appassionata’ Sonata and Schumann’s ...

Article

Oliver Brockway

(b Vienna, April 11, 1908; d Vienna, Feb 2, 1962). Austrian horn player. He studied with his uncle, Karl Stiegler, whom he succeeded in 1932 as principal horn of the Vienna PO and professor at the Musik Akademie. For 30 years Freiberg's distinctive tone and generous portamento were inseparably associated with the orchestra's style. He personified the Vienna horn school, in particular through his adherence to the single F horn with twin-piston valves at a time when advances in instrument design, bringing greater technical facility and accuracy at the expense of the Vienna horn's unique tonal qualities, had been generally adopted elsewhere.

In 1943 he gave the first performance of Richard Strauss's Second Horn Concerto. During the war years Freiberg, who was partly Jewish, was able to survive in his post only through a dispensation from the Nazis; after the war, not needing de-Nazification, he was accepted by the occupying powers as president of the orchestra (...

Article

Michael Steinberg

(José)

(b Boa Esperança, Oct 18, 1944). Brazilian pianist. He gave his first recital at the age of four, studied in Brazil with Nise Obino and Lucia Branco, and, after winning the International Competition in Rio de Janeiro at 13, with Bruno Seidlhofer in Vienna. In 1964 he won the Vianna da Motta Prize in Lisbon and the Dinu Lipatti Medal in London. He made his début in London and other European capitals in 1968, going to the USA in 1969 (playing with the New York PO and as a soloist with the RPO tour under Kempe), to Israel in 1970 and to Japan in 1971. He has subsequently performed much of the piano duo repertory with Martha Argerich, and has recorded with her works by Bartók and Ravel. His ample, unforced sound, the brilliance of his technique and the cleanness of his musical taste have made a strong impression, and he has developed a notable reputation as an interpreter of Chopin, whose complete Preludes he has recorded to acclaim....

Article

George Gelles

(b Satu-Mare, Sept 9, 1946). Israeli violinist of Romanian birth. She studied at the Rabin Academy in Tel-Aviv, and then in the USA as a protégée of Isaac Stern. She also worked with Josef Gingold at Indiana University (1966–7), and with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School (1967–9). She won the 1968 Paganini International Competition at Genoa, and the 1971 Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition at Brussels. Her prizewinning performance of the Sibelius concerto on the latter occasion was subsequently issued as a recording, and was praised for a maturity of approach and vibrant expression reminiscent of Ginette Neveu. Her New York recital début was in 1969, and her British début was at Windsor Castle in 1971. In 1986 she joined the faculty of Indiana University, where she gave the first performance of Donald Erb's Together Forever: Three Poems (1988) and recorded his violin concerto. She has toured widely, and is admired for intelligent and perceptive musicianship as well as spirited brilliance of technique....

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Birgitta Maria Schmid

(b Hamburg, Dec 30, 1888; d Detmold, Jan 22, 1986). German pianist and composer. She studied in Berlin, first at the Hochschule für Musik (1902–5), then at the Sternsches Konservatorium (1905–8) with James Kwast (piano) and Pfitzner (composition); from 1911 she studied at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne with Carl Friedberg (piano) and Fritz Steinbach (composition). As a pianist she promoted contemporary music from an early age and at 18 played Reger’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Bach, one of the first to do so. As a soloist with orchestra she performed with Nikisch, Abendroth, Furtwängler and Schoenberg. From 1933, during the Third Reich, she had to curtail her concert-giving because her husband was Jewish according to Nazi laws. From 1946 to 1959 she taught the piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, and was professor there from 1957. In 1961...

Article

Ann Griffiths

(Rosemary)

( b Adelaide, May 9, 1961). Australian harpist . Having studied with the Salzedo method exponents June Loney (Sydney) and Alice Chalifoux (Cleveland, Ohio), she came to prominence as winner of the 1982 Israel Harp Contest. In 1994 she recorded a CD devoted to the solo harp music of Carlos Salzedo, and the same year was co-founder of ...

Article

James Methuen-Campbell

(b Lemberg [now L′viv], April 16, 1906; d Los Angeles, March 12, 1989). American pianist and teacher of Polish birth. Having graduated from the Lwów (formerly Lemberg) Conservatory at the age of 15, he went to Vienna and became a pupil of Steuermann, also taking private lessons in composition from Berg. He made his Vienna début in 1923. Before World War II Gimpel toured with the violinists Erica Morini and Nathan Milstein, and also with his younger brother, Bronislav. He emigrated to the United States in 1939, settling in Los Angeles. One of the first pianists to record for the newly founded company Vox, he also made widely admired discs for Columbia. In 1954 he resumed playing in Europe. Gimpel gave concerts with the Palestine SO (later the Israel PO) from its inception and maintained a busy career until the time of his death. He taught at the California State University at Northridge from ...

Article

William Y. Elias

(b Haifa, Aug 22, 1922). Israeli violinist. He began violin studies at the age of five with Karmy, and gave his first public concert when he was eight. At the age of ten he played to Huberman who sent him to study at the Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris, where three years later he won a premier prix. After graduating he studied with Enescu, Thibaud and Flesch. In the late 1930s he went to London and during the war he worked first in a munitions factory there and then for the army's entertainment service. After the war he made his débuts with the LPO, the BBC SO and other British orchestras. In 1951 he won the Thibaud Prize. The following year he returned to Israel and made his début there with the Israel PO and the radio orchestra. From the mid-1950s he toured widely and recorded the concertos of Tchaikovsky, Berg, Hindemith and Stravinsky, among others. He performed frequently in Paris, where he first appeared in ...