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Elise Kirk

[Hollier ]

(b Berkeley, ca , Aug 27, 1924; d Rocklin, ca , Oct 29, 2003). American composer . He studied with Milhaud at Mills College and with Menotti at the Curtis Institute, where he taught composition and assisted Menotti. He was a musical director for the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1960. After teaching at San Jose College (1961–3), he joined the faculty of Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, where he became professor of music and composer-in-residence. His first opera, The Mother (1954), commissioned by the Curtis Institute and first performed there is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale about a mother who makes an arduous journey to rescue her child from Death. Hollingsworth was the youngest composer of his time to write an opera for American national television, La grande Bretèche (NBC, 1957). A popular trilogy was formed when his children’s operas The Selfish Giant...

Article

Helena Havlíková

(b Prague, July 16, 1920; d Prague, January 8, 2004). Czech composer. He studied composition, conducting and opera production (with Pujman) at the Prague Conservatory, 1938–45, then worked as head of opera at the Z. Nejedlý Theatre in Opava, 1946–56. Since 1956 he has been engaged in organizational and pedagogic activity. His output consists mainly of operas and other vocal works. His first two operas conformed to the socialist ethos prevailing in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. Pan Johanes (‘Mr Johanes’) is an allegorical fairy-tale in the Smetana tradition, with folklike songs and dances and patriotic symbols. It concerns the rescue of the Czech princess Kačenka from a German tyrant by a wandering student who enlists the help of the Czech people. Svítání nad vodami (‘Dawn over the Waters’) is based on a real event: during completion of a dam, a conflict comes to a head between superstitious villagers who are against the inundation of their old homes and unwittingly ally themselves with reactionary forces, progressive Communists and the police. Two chamber operas written in the 1960s are simple, lighter, scherzo-like miniatures. ...

Article

Katherine K. Preston

(b New York, Feb 11, 1929; d Westerlo, NY, May 18, 2011). American composer and director . He attended the Curtis Institute (1945–50) and later Columbia University, and studied composition with Szell, Scalero, Menotti and Barber. In 1950–51 he was music director for a Broadway revival of Menotti’s The Medium and The Telephone and for Weill’s Lady in the Dark. Shortly thereafter he was assistant music director for NBC television’s Opera Theatre (1955–9); he also directed his own operas. He taught at SUNY, Albany, from 1978 to 1988. Principally a vocal composer, Kastle received several awards including an NEA grant; his opera The Pariahs, about whaling, was commissioned by the Deerfield Foundation. The Mother Ann operas are about the Shakers, while Desert is based on the life of the Mormon prophet Brigham Young. His music, although harmonically modern, is romantic, tonal and melodic.

Article

Jessica Payette

(Ferrée )

(b New York, NY, Feb 18, 1943). American composer, opera singer, and educator. She studied literature and music at Columbia University, earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her primary voice teachers were soprano Helen Merritt and Marina Ahmed Alam, a Hindustani raga singer. She studied composition with vladimir Ussachevsky , whom she first encountered in an undergraduate counterpoint course, and otto Luening . Ussachevsky eventually taught her the methods he developed for studio electronics and became her principal supervisor. During her student years she collaborated with Ussachevsky on film and television scores, including Line of Apogee and Incredible Voyage, which combined pure electronic and concrète sound sources; Shields also embraced this approach for many of her electronic music-theater pieces and operas. Her DMA in composition was conferred in 1975 with the completion of the third segment of a tripartite opera, begun in 1970, entitled The Odyssey of Ulysses the Palmiped...

Article

Barry Millington, John Deathridge and Christa Jost

In 

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

Arthur Jacobs

(b Preston, Nov 14, 1927; d London, March 23, 2007). English administrator, translator and librettist. After working as music critic for The Observer (1958–65), he became a director of the Sadler’s Wells (later English National) Opera, with responsibilities for repertory planning and literary texts. He became one of the company’s most prominent translators with such works as ...

Article

Paul Sheren

revised by Barry Millington, John Deathridge, Carl Dahlhaus, Robert Bailey, Elizabeth Forbes and Christa Jost

German family of musicians.

Richard Wagner (b Leipzig, May 22, 1813; d Venice, Feb 13, 1883)

Johanna Wagner (b Seelze, nr Hanover, Oct 13, 1826; d Würzburg, Oct 16, 1894)

Siegfried Wagner (b Tribschen, nr Lucerne, June 6, 1869; d Bayreuth, Aug 4, 1930)

Wieland Wagner (b ...

Article

Member of Lloyd-Webber family

(b London, March 22, 1948). Composer and producer, son of William Lloyd Webber.

He was educated at Westminster School and the RCM. From an early age he wrote incidental music for shows with his toy theatre; at Westminster he wrote music for school revues. In the April of 1965 he met the lyricist Tim(othy Miles Bindon) Rice with whom he wrote the unperformed musical The Likes of Us and some pop songs. Their first success came with the commission to write a choral work for Colet Court School; the resulting pop cantata, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was gradually extended to a full-length show and has become a constant of both amateur and professional repertories. They released the concept album for Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), which became one of the bestselling albums of that time in both the UK and USA; it was then developed for stage and opened in New York (...

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Ian Mikyska

(b Brno, 13 March 1966). Czech composer, pedagogue, and writer on music, son of zdeněk zouhar. He studied composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno (with Miloš Ištván and alois piňos) and musicology at the Masaryk University, followed by post-graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (with Herman Markus Preßl and younghi pagh-paan) and JAMU. He remains an external pedagogue at both these institutions, as well as being active as a researcher at the Palacký University Olomouc (vice-dean starting in 2010), Ostrava University, and Masaryk University.

His brand of postmodernism is surprisingly respectful, using disparate materials in a serious manner, and generally staying with a few pieces of material for the duration of a piece or movement. Often composed in an additive, evolutionary structure, his works are sonically reminiscent of New York post-minimalism, but are very European in their approach to expressivity and emotional intensity. This approach includes both the intense rhythms of ...