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Article

Marie Rolf

(Hans)

(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...

Article

Natan Shahar

(b Yekatrinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 5, 1894; d Tel-Aviv, April 2, 1982). Israeli composer and singer. He emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1906. He studied at the Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem where his teachers included Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. During World War I he moved to Egypt and enlisted in the British Army. After the war he returned to Palestine and, while earning his living as an accountant, took singing lessons with Jehuda Har-Melaḥ. A countertenor with a phenomenal ability to improvise, he travelled to the USA in 1923 to further his singing studies; there he specialized in improvisation and distinctive vibrato singing, similar in style to Arab-Bedouin singing or ululation. Commissioned to write an orchestral accompaniment for songs improvised in a Bedouin style, he enlisted the compositional assistance of Lazar Seminski, who encouraged him to continue to compose. His first songs, Ya leil (‘Oh night’) and ...

Article

(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

Noël Goodwin

[Georgy]

(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 13, 1932; d Cologne, Oct 31, 2002). Israeli conductor of Soviet birth. He studied at the Leningrad Central School of Music and the Leningrad Conservatory, and also with Natan Rakhlin and Kurt Sanderling. In 1956 he was appointed conductor of the Saratov PO; he also taught at the conservatory there and conducted his first operas. The next year he became conductor at Yaroslav, remaining there until his appointment as chief conductor of the Moscow RSO in 1964; his guest engagements included appearances with the Bol′shoy Ballet. Ahronovich left the USSR in 1972 and became an Israeli citizen. After concerts with the Israel PO he began touring, appearing in London with the RPO and with the New York PO in the USA. He made his operatic début in the West with Otello at Cologne, where he was conductor of the Gürzenich Concerts from ...

Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer

(Emanuel)

(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.

MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå

Article

(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.

Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...

Article

Leonidas Economou

(b 1938; d London, England, April 2, 1989). Greek Roma singer. He was born in a caravan between the cities of Kavala and Drama in Greece, orphaned at an early age, and worked hard to make a living for himself and his family. He made his first recordings in 1956 and became widely known in 1958 with the Indian-style song ‘Magala’. In the following years, he cooperated with some of the best laiko creators, had many hits, performed in the best nightclubs, and appeared in numerous films. His bass but tender voice and his highly ornamented vocal styles, his repertory of orientalist songs and socially sensitive texts, and his bold public assertion of his ethnic and social identity, were warmly received by working-class audiences. He became a social hero for the Roma and one of the most popular laiko singers of the late 1950s and the 1960s. From the late 1960s his career declined, due to the general change of commercial policies, the political environment, and popular taste, but he continued to cooperate with important creators and to record hits like ‘...

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 ...

Article

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

William Y. Elias

(b Brichevo, Bessarabia [now Moldavia], May 1, 1927; d Tel Hashomer, Israel, March 17, 2005). Israeli conductor and composer of Russian birth. Taken to Palestine as a child, he began violin lessons at the age of six. He later studied at the Milan Conservatory (1946–7), in Israel, and at the Paris Conservatoire (1951–4) while taking further studies with Nadia Boulanger, Chailley, Honegger and Messiaen. In 1954 he returned to Israel and taught conducting at the Music Teachers’ College, Tel-Aviv, and later at the Rubin Academy of Tel-Aviv University, where he was appointed a professor in 1975. In 1955 he formed the Rinat Choir, which quickly acquired a wide reputation and became the Israel Chamber Choir. Bertini’s orchestral début was also in 1955 with the Israel PO, with which he first toured the USA and East Asia in 1960. His British début was in 1965...

Article

J.A. Fuller Maitland

revised by Robert Philip

(b Aachen, April 21, 1871; d Berlin, Aug 24, 1958). German conductor and composer. In Berlin he studied the piano under Ernst Rudorff, and composition under Woldemar Bargiel and later under Humperdinck. He was conductor at the Stadttheater, Aachen (1893–9) and then at the Neues Deutsches Theater in Prague (1899–1906), where his reputation as a conductor and composer of opera became well established. In 1906 he was appointed conductor of the Royal Opera House, Berlin, where he became Generalmusikdirektor in 1913. In 1923 he moved to the Deutsches Opernhaus, Berlin, as artistic director, and this was followed by a year at the Berlin Volksoper in 1924, and a year at the Vienna Volksoper in 1925. In 1926 he returned to Berlin as conductor of the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden, and remained there, achieving great success, until, being Jewish, he found himself unable to return from a guest engagement at Rīga in ...

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

[Conn, Catherine ]

(b New Orleans, LA, Sept 3, 1910; d New York, NY, April 17, 2007). American popular singer and actress of German Jewish heritage. She trained as a singer and actress in Europe and New York and began her career with appearances in Broadway musicals in the early 1930s. While continuing to perform on the stage, she starred in a number of Hollywood movies in the 1930s, famously alongside the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935). She also acted and sang with Bing Crosby in two movies. Carlisle married the playwright and theater director moss Hart in 1946. After taking some time off to raise her two children, Carlisle established a second career in television in the 1950s. She regularly appeared on the popular TV show “To Tell the Truth” between 1957 and 1978. Her career as a singer continued with her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Johann Strauss’s ...

Article

Pier Paolo Scattolin

(b Bologna, between 1536 and 1539; d Bologna, probably on Dec 22, 1613). Italian composer and singer. He was a Minorite and was of Jewish origin. He is first heard of at Padua, where documents (in I-Pca ) show that on 2 May 1567 he was employed by the Cappella del Santo as a singer; this appointment was reconfirmed on 7 May 1569. He then moved to Bologna as maestro di cappella at the church of S Francesco and lived in the monastery attached to it. His presence there is sporadically documented between 1573 and 1590. A document dated 30 November 1591 registers his discharge from the monastery because ‘he had taken no pleasure in his service’. It also states that during his absences from Bologna he was active at Iesi, Faenza and Ripatransone (near S Benedetto del Tronto). By 26 October 1594 he was back at Bologna, but only in ...

Article

Marija Đurić Speare

(b ?Venice, ?Nov 1680; d London,Jan 14, 1783). Italian cellist and composer. He was of Sephardi Jewish origin. Nothing is known about his life in Italy, though Burney referred to him as a Venetian. He arrived in England probably in early 1738, when he became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians: he was an important member of a group of London-based Italians who brought the solo cello into favour in England. Although his playing was technically brilliant, his tone, according to Burney, was ‘raw, crude and uninteresting’. The first reliable record of his playing is of a concerto at Drury Lane (22 November 1742); he continued to play there regularly until about 1774/5. According to his son James's obituary, Cervetto ‘led the band’ there. He played in numerous subscription concerts at Hickford's Room, the Great Room, the King's Theatre and the New Theatre in the Haymarket. He also played in the orchestra at Vauxhall and took part in private concerts, for example in the Burney household. At some point in the early 1760s Cervetto seems to have relinquished his solo career in order to make way for his son, also a cellist. Marsh recorded Cervetto's presence at a concert at the Salisbury Festival in ...

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

Charles Barber and José A. Bowen

(b Bucharest, June 16, 1928; d Oklahoma City, March 5, 2005). Israeli and American conductor of Romanian birth. He studied the violin and conducting at the Bucharest Conservatory, continuing his conducting studies with Silvestri and Lindenberg. After his début with the Romanian State Opera with Faust in 1946, he joined the Bucharest Radio Quartet and the Romanian State Ensemble as a violinist, becoming musical director of the latter (1950–55). He was principal conductor of the Romanian State Opera (1955–9) in Bucharest and won the 1956 conducting competition in Besançon. He emigrated to Israel (becoming naturalized in 1959) and became musical director of the Haifa SO (1959–66) and founder-conductor of the Ramat Gan Chamber Orchestra (1960–67). He made his British début with the LPO in 1960, and his US début with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1965; his success led to many engagements as a guest conductor, including the Boston SO, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco SO, New York PO and the Berlin SO. His musical directorships included the Göteborg SO (...

Article

[Sarah, Sarra]

(b 1592; d Venice, 1641). Italian poet and amateur singer. In 1614 she married Jacob Sullam, son of the Jewish Mantuan banker Moses Sullam, who, along with his parents, was Salamone Rossi’s benefactor. With her husband and parents, she aided Leon Modena, a relative, in his publications (Modena was the moving spirit behind Rossi’s collection of Hebrew works, Hashirim asher lish’lomo, 1622/3). Copio hosted a literary salon in her home, where she served as patron to aspiring young writers, among them the Christians Giovanni Basadonna, Baldassare Bonifacio and Numidio Paluzzi. After reading Ansaldo Cebà's epic poem Ester (1615–6), she exchanged letters with the author during the years 1618–22; Cebà broke off the correspondence when he realized that he was making little progress in his attempt to convert Sara to Catholicism. Cebà published 53 of his own letters, omitting Sara’s, in 1623. In one, he refers to the pleasure of listening to Sara sing the heroic lament of Andromache from his epic, saying that old age and infirmity prevented him from leaving his native Genoa to hear her. Sara seems to have accompanied herself, on what may have been a Spanish guitar; in this she belongs to the Renaissance tradition of female poets who sang and played, with one difference: she is the only known Jewish female poet to have done so in her own time. Of her own poems, a handful were published among Cebà's letters and 14, some with noticeable musical imagery, were edited in ...

Article

(fl Mantua, c1577–93). Italian harpist. He was one of a small number of Jewish musicians active in Mantua in the late 16th century. He appears to have been the grandson of Abramo dall’Arpa (not his nephew, as sometimes claimed) and, as his name implies, to have excelled as a harpist. His service for the Mantuan court may be dated from about 1577 to 1593. His name appears on payrolls from 1577 and 1580, though as Abramo. In 1587 he participated in a ‘water music’ entertainment to mark the baptism of a newborn member of the ducal family. In the same year, he accompanied the ill-disposed Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga to Goito, where he comforted him with his playing. In his Trattato dell’arte (1584), the poet and painter Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo referred to Abramino, his grandfather Abramo and Giovanni Leonardo dall’Arpa (from Naples, d 1602) as the three most prominent harp players of their time....