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Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

Martin Bernheimer

(b Vienna, April 2, 1905; d Ross, CA, Feb 9, 1988). American conductor and opera director of Austrian birth. He was educated at the Musikakademie and university in Vienna, and made his début in 1925 as a conductor for the Max Reinhardt theatre, then conducted at the Volksoper and opera houses in Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia. He assisted Toscanini in Salzburg (1936) and went to the USA in 1938 for an engagement with the Chicago Opera. He worked for the San Francisco Opera from 1943 to 1981, initially as chorus master, then as artistic director in 1953 and general director from 1956. Although he occasionally conducted, most of his time was devoted to administrative duties. During his regime the San Francisco Opera grew increasingly adventurous in repertory, and became noted for the engagement of unproven talent and the implementation of modern staging techniques. By 1972 Adler had lengthened the season from five weeks to ten and he also formed subsidiary organizations in San Francisco to stage experimental works, to perform in schools and other unconventional locales, and to train young singers. He retired in ...

Article

Elliott W. Galkin

(b Jablonec, Dec 2, 1899; d Ridgefield, CT, Oct 2, 1990). American conductor. After studying composition and conducting with Zemlinsky at the Prague Conservatory, he became music director of the Bremen Staatsoper (1929–32) and the Ukrainian State Philharmonia, Kiev (1932–7), and also appeared as a guest conductor throughout Europe. He left for the USA in 1939 and made his début with the New York PO in 1940, after which he toured in the USA. From 1949 to 1959 he was music and artistic director of the NBC-TV Opera Company, sharing artistic responsibility with Toscanini. Adler was musical director of the Baltimore SO from 1959 to 1968, and in 1969 became music and artistic director of WNET (National Educational Television). His Metropolitan Opera début was in 1972. He was director of the American Opera Center at the Juilliard School from 1973 to 1981. Adler was a pioneer director of television opera in the USA and commissioned many works for the medium; among them Menotti’s ...

Article

(b Bologoye, 22 July/Aug 4, 1905; d Moscow, June 17, 1994). Russian composer and conductor, son of Aleksandr Vasil′yevich Aleksandrov. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Glier, graduating in 1929, and worked as a music director in Moscow clubs (1923–9), music director of the Red Army Theatre (1930–37), lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory (1933–41) and leader of the Soviet Radio Song Ensemble (1942–7). From 1937 to 1946 he was deputy director of the Aleksandrov Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble, which was founded by his father and, after the latter's death, came under his direction. He received the State Prize (1950) and the title People's Artist of the USSR (1958). In Dva p′yesï (‘Two Pieces’) op.1 (1928) for piano he developed a compositional system synthesizing the principle of the 12-note series (with inversions and permutations) with a harmonic set technique and mirror symmetry. Later works, such as the well-known musical comedy ...

Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...

Article

H.C. Colles

revised by Malcolm Turner

(Percy)

(b Reading, Dec 23, 1869; d Oxford, Feb 20, 1946). English organist, conductor and musical administrator. As a student at Cambridge he laid the foundation of his reputation as a conductor of Bach by his performances of the cantatas in his college chapel. Subsequently he held appointments as organist of St Asaph’s Cathedral (1897) and Ely Cathedral (1898), while his appointment in 1901 as organist of New College, Oxford, heralded 17 year’s untiring effort for the development of music in the university. He maintained the chapel choir at a high level, organized an amateur orchestra and conducted both the town and university choral societies. In 1908 he was made a Fellow of New College, a post carrying an implied commitment to musical research; but this was not to his liking, and he soon resigned the fellowship. The position of choragus to the university, however, to which he was appointed in ...

Article

(b Neuilly-sur-Seine, Jan 20, 1928; d Pittsburgh, Feb 18, 1997). French conductor. He studied with Ginastera in Argentina and with Hindemith, Koussevitzky and Szell in the USA, joining the opera department at the University of Southern California and setting up and directing the opera school of Occidental College, Los Angeles. He subsequently held conducting posts with the Portuguese RSO in Lisbon (1957–60), the Stuttgart PO (1962–4), the Paris Opéra (1965–7) and the Houston SO (1969–71). After serving as music director for the Friends of French Opera, New York, in 1976 he was appointed music director of the Nice PO, a post he held until 1980. In 1992 he became music director of the Moscow SO. Almeida’s many recordings include Haydn’s L’infedeltà delusa (in collaboration with H.C. Robbins Landon, 1969), the first recording of Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle (1974...

Article

Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg

revised by Martin Anderson

(b Fredrikstad, April 29, 1872; d Oslo, Dec 24, 1932). Norwegian composer, conductor and organist. He studied with Peter Lindeman (organ) and Iver Holter (harmony, counterpoint and composition) at the Christiania Music and Organ School (1888–92), and was then a pupil of Reinecke (composition) and Ruthard (piano) at the Leipzig Conservatory (1892–4). Appointments as organist followed in Drammen (1895–1907) and Oslo (1907–32), where he served at the cathedral from 1916; his First Symphony was completed during a course of study in Berlin in 1897. He was one of those responsible for the foundation of the Norsk Komponistforening, of which he was president from 1921 to 1923. As a member of the Koralbokkomiteen (1922–6) he harmonized most of the melodies in the chorale book of the Norwegian Church, and he edited preludes to all of the chorales. He was active as a choir-conductor, leading the Håndverksangforening (...

Article

August Corbet

revised by Corneel Mertens and Diana von Volborth-Danys

(b Antwerp, Sept 12, 1876; d Antwerp, Oct 5, 1954). Belgian composer and conductor. He studied in Antwerp at the Flemish Music School (later called the Royal Flemish Conservatory) under Peter Benoit and Jan Blockx, and conducting under Eduard Keurvels. In 1903 he became professor at the Conservatory, and was director of that institution from 1934 to 1941, when he retired. He was also active as an orchestral and operatic conductor, and was a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

Alpaerts was one of the outstanding personalities in Flemish musical life, both as conductor and composer; he was also a great teacher and an admirable organizer. As a composer he was, like Paul Gilson and August de Boeck, a typical Flemish representative of the Impressionist school. However, his Impressionism came closer to Richard Strauss and Respighi than to Debussy. An example of this tendency is the symphonic poem ...

Article

Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht

(b Neuss, July 6, 1899; d Lüdenscheid, Sept 1, 1994). German musicologist and choir director. He studied musicology with Ludwig at Göttingen University (1919–21) and subsequently with Gurlitt at Freiburg University, where he received the doctorate in 1924 with a dissertation on the melodies Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen and Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein. He was a lecturer at the Bauernhochschule in Rendsburg (1924–5) and at the Volkshochschule in Kassel (1925–6). He then acted as music consultant to the Central Office for General Librarianship in Leipzig (1926–8) and lectured in Protestant church music at the University of Münster (1930–39). After the war he lectured at the Landeskirchenmusikschulen of Hanover (1947–8) and the Rhineland (1949–57).

In the early 1920s Ameln embarked on a fruitful career as a choral and orchestral conductor and director of choral courses. His object was the authentic performance of old music, and this was coupled with considerable editorial work. He edited the journal of the Finkenstein League, ...

Article

Rudolf Lück

(b Charlottenburg, Berlin, April 1, 1907; d Berlin, Dec 25, 1976). German choral conductor and radio producer. He studied at the Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik in Berlin and at the university there. A choirmaster and lecturer in music at the Berlin Volkshochschule (1932–40), he also taught music at a secondary school (1932–4) and was co-founder and conductor of the Berlin Heinrich Schütz Chorale. With the resumption of postwar musical life in Berlin he was appointed head of Berlin radio's chamber music department and from 1949 was a specialist adviser on symphonic music for RIAS. He founded the Berlin Motet Choir in 1950 and was its conductor to 1960, and he was also conductor of the RIAS Chamber Choir (1955–72). From 1964 until his retirement in 1972 he was deputy head of music for RIAS, and from 1965 he was also music director at Berlin’s Freie und Technische Hochschule. Arndt gave the RIAS Chamber Choir an international reputation through numerous broadcasts and concert tours; he did much to promote contemporary music, giving many first performances including works by Bialas, Henze, Krenek, Schoenberg, Genzmer, Milhaud, Reimann and Sakać. Arndt was awarded the Grosse Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in ...

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...

Article

Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, March 16, 1915; d Tirana, Albania, Nov 18, 1985). Albanian conductor, composer, and arranger. A major organizer and administrator in state-socialist Albania from the 1940s to the 60s, he received his early training from the pre-war choral and theatre groups active in Korça during the late 1920s and 30s. A talented and precocious youth, Avrazi was named assistant music director in the ensemble Korça Youth (Rinia Korçare) in the early 1930s. During World War II, he organized musical performances in support of the antifascist movement in southern Albania, popularizing partisan and nationalist songs and staging short theatrical works for Communist guerrillas beginning in 1943. Following the war, he first organized the Army Choir (Kori i Ushtrisë) before directing the Artistic Ensemble of the People’s Army (Ansambli Artistik i Ushtrisë Popullore), two groups modelled after the grand choral and instrumental ensembles of the Soviet Red Army. These groups served an important function in the late 1940s and early 50s by training Albania’s first socialist generation of musicians. Many young men who became major figures in Albanian music, including Çesk Zadeja, Tish Daija, and Gjon Athanasi, received scholarships to study abroad following their participation in Avrazi’s ensemble. In addition to his role as a conductor, Avrazi also arranged folk songs and composed a number of cantatas, vocal suites, and other choral works. A prolific song composer, he created a number of partisan songs as well as popular tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots during the 1950s and 60s. He retired with the title the Artist of the People....

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Ravenna, 1863; d Atlantic City, NJ, July 1907). Italian conductor, composer and impresario. His career was largely spent in touring Latin America and the Caribbean, mostly as the conductor for other impresarios, sometimes as both conductor and impresario of his own company.

His four-act opera Ermengarda, to a libretto by P. Martini, had its première at the Teatro Andreani in Mantua on 27 November 1886. Azzali embarked for Colombia in 1891. A six-month season in Bogotá as conductor and musical director for the Zenardo-Lambardi company was followed by an extended tour of the country and another season in the capital in 1893. During that season his Lhidiak (2, V. Fontana), based on an Indian legend, the first opera to be written for Colombia, had its première at the Teatro Colón (12 August). In April 1895 he started another tour that included Guatemala City, Quezaltenango, Bogotá and Medellin. In ...

Article

Jairo Moreno

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 29, 1929; d Hackensack, NJ, Feb 17, 2006). American conga player, bandleader, and producer of Puerto Rican descent. He began playing percussion informally during time in Germany as part of the US occupation army (1946–9). Returning to New York City in 1949, he participated in the lively jam-session scene in Harlem, playing bongos in sessions with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1957, he replaced Mongo Santamaría in Tito Puente’s band. By 1960, he became the house percussionist for various jazz labels (Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside), recording his first album as leader for Riverside in 1961. The Charanga La Moderna was his first full-fledged Latin dance band, beginning in 1962. In 1963, his song El Watusi became the first Latin tune to enter the Billboard Top 20. By 1990, his salsa career stagnant, he formed a small, jazz-influenced sextet, New World Spirit, recording a number of Grammy-nominated albums....

Article

Kara Gardner

(b Detroit, March 28, 1866; d Chicago, Dec 6, 1945). American violinist, conductor, musical director, teacher, and composer. Bendix was born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Germany. His father William was a music teacher. Bendix began formal study at the Cincinnati College of Music where, at the age of twelve, he performed with the college orchestra, directed by Theodore Thomas. This began a long association between the two men, leading to Bendix’s appointment as first violinist and concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in 1886. In August 1893 Thomas resigned his position as music director of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition following a series of unsuccessful concerts. Bendix took Thomas’s place as conductor of the Exposition orchestra. This created tension between the two men, and Bendix left the Thomas orchestra in 1896. He went on to serve as conductor at the Manhattan Opera House and to conduct orchestras for world fairs in St. Louis (...

Article

Mark Gilbert and Barry Kernfeld

(b Dortmund, Germany, April 23, 1959). German drummer, bandleader, and record producer. He grew up in a musical family and played trumpet, clarinet, and piano as a youth; he then took up drums and studied classical percussion at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Trossingen (1977–81). After attending the Drummers’ Collective in New York (1981–2) he either performed as a drummer or directed big bands. In the 1980s he concentrated on fusion, but later he became known for his mainstream and big-band work; apart from these activities he was first timpanist in the SWF-Rundfunkorchester from 1981. Between 1986 and 1993 his own big band played with such guest soloists as Art Farmer, Slide Hampton, Bob Mintzer, Jiggs Whigham, Jim Snidero, Barbara Dennerlein, Ack van Rooyen, and Silvia Droste. As a sideman Berg worked with, among others, the quartet of Louis Stewart and the guitarist Heiner Franz (...

Article

Roger Steffens

[Blackbeard]

(b St Peter, Barbados, 1953). English reggae guitarist, bandleader and producer. He grew up in London where in the early 1970s he co-founded Matumbi, one of the first reggae groups in Britain, and also ran the Jah Sufferer sound system. Although he recorded with such rock and punk bands as the Pop Group and the Slits, his true strength was dub music which he recorded under the name Blackbeard (Strictly Dub Wize, Tempus, 1978). Brain Damage (Fontana, 1981), released under his own name, provides an overview of Bovell's creative production, with its shrieks, deep echo effects and syncopated hi-hats. In 1979 Matumbi recorded Point of View which placed traditional reggae toasting in a big band setting. Bovell is perhaps best known for his collaborations, in the studio and on tour, with the political dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Among their best work is Dread Beat an' Blood...

Article

Joseph J. Ryan

(b Riverstown, Sligo, Nov 30, 1909). Irish radio producer, conductor and composer. He joined the Army School of Music in 1932 as an officer cadet under Brase. As part of his training he completed a degree in music at University College, Dublin, where he studied with Larchet and O'Dwyer. In 1940 he became the director of music and the principal conductor of the national broadcasting service. He expanded the station orchestra and instituted a series of public concerts for the ensemble; he also founded the Radio Éireann Concert Orchestra and the choral group, Cór Radio Éireann. Bowles resigned from his post in 1948, responding to pressure brought about by extensive expansions in broadcasting. He subsequently taught and conducted in New Zealand and the USA before returning to Ireland in 1970. His publications include a number of articles and a book, The Art of Conducting (New York, 1959). Sacred choral settings and songs number among his compositions....