(b Oss, March 10, 1970). Dutch composer. He trained first as a recording engineer at The Hague Royal Conservatory, taking additional lessons in classical guitar with Antonio Pereira Arias, then went on to study composition with Andriessen family, §3, Gilius van Bergeijk and Diderik Wagenaar He quickly gained prominence as a composer of works for soloist and/or ensemble with soundtrack, combining economy of material with discontinuous structures and a theatrical component. In 2002, Van der Aa studied film direction at the New York Film Academy. Starting with the chamber opera One for soprano, video and soundtrack (2002), he has since expanded his activities to include script writing, filmmaking and stage directing. He has received the International Gaudeamus Prize (1999), the Matthijs Vermeulen prize (2004), the Charlotte Köhler Prize (2005), the Siemens Composers Grant (2005) and the Paul Hindemith Prize (...
(b Cairo, 1910; d Cairo, May 3, 1991). Egyptian composer and singer. As a child he had a remarkable musical memory, and at the age of seven he joined a drama troupe to sing during intervals. In 1920 he began studies of traditional Arab music at the Arabic Music Club (now the Institute of Arabic Music), and he also studied Western music for a time at the Bergrün School in Cairo. He then embarked on a dual career as a singer-composer; possessing a fine baritone voice, he achieved great popularity, and he also won fame for his improvisations on the ‘ud (lute). His acquaintance with the poet Aḥmad Shawqī helped him socially, and his settings of Shawqī are classics of the genre. Chosen by Sayyid Darwīsh to perform in his operetta Al-barouka (or La mascotte), ‘Abd al-Wahhāb some years later completed Darwīsh's posthumous Cleopatra, though he composed no original music for the theatre. However, he played in many musical films, performing his own songs. Among the awards he received are the Order of Merit and the State Prize for the Arts....
(b Cairo, Nov 25, 1924; d Königstein, Nov 23, 1988). Egyptian composer. His father performed classical Arab music with his own ensemble. After learning the piano and developing an interest in Western music, Gamal studied history at Cairo University (BA 1945), at the same time continuing his musical studies with Hans Hickmann and others. A government bursary enabled him to study musicology in Heidelberg with Georgiadis (1950–52) and composition at the Freiburg Hochschule with Harald Genzmer (1952–7). After graduation he returned to Egypt, where he taught at the newly founded Cairo Conservatory. In 1971 he was appointed professor of composition there, and he proceeded to establish the first composition department in the Arab world, teaching several Egyptian and Arab composers (including Daoud, Ghoneim, Salama and Al-Saedi) until his retirement in 1986. In 1987 he left for the University of South Florida, in Tampa, Florida, where he lived and taught until his death during a visit to Germany....
Lucrecia R. Kasilag
(b Santa Cruz, Manila, May 14, 1876; d Manila, April 23, 1944). Filipino composer, conductor and violin teacher. At an early age he studied solfège, composition, conducting and the violin with Ladislao Bonus. He played the violin in the Rizal Orchestra in his youth, and in 1910 he founded the Oriental Orchestra; in the early 1920s he conducted many zarzuelas and operas. He was the moving spirit behind the Manila Chamber Music Society, of which he became director in 1921. A well-known violin teacher, he also excelled as a nationalist composer. Among his works are the zarzuelas Ang sampaguita (‘The Sampaguita Flower’), Anak ng dagat (‘Son of the Sea’), Luha’t dugo (‘Tears and Blood’), Ang masamang kaugalian (‘The Bad Traits’), Delinquente and Declaracion de amor. Other compositions include a cantata, O! dios sa kalangitan (‘O God in Heaven’), Ibong adarna (‘The Adarna Bird’), a coloratura song, and Kundiman...
Lisa A. Urkevich
[Muḥammed ‘Abdu ‘Othmān Marzuq al-Dehel al-‘Asīrī]
(b Jizan, Saudi Arabia, 1949). Saudi singer, composer and ‘ūd (lute) player. His father was a well-known sailor who died when Muḥammed was two years old. Muḥammed began singing at the age of six, and at nine he received his first vocal training through the study of Qur'anic recitation, which, along with the call to prayer (adhān), he offered at school events. About the age of 13 he became involved with amateur traditional singers and learnt to play the ‘ūd. Because of his close proximity to Yemen, he encountered master musicians of the al-yamānī style. He gained a diploma in shipbuilding and was offered a scholarship to study in Japan, but declined the offer, preferring to become a professional musician. His first recognized composition was Hala yā bū sha'ar tha'ir (1965). He went on to record over 80 albums in a variety of styles, including popular Egyptian styles, but he has been most appreciated for his folkloric, traditional Saudi and Gulf pieces. He gained an international reputation and has often been called ‘...
J. Michele Edwards
(b Tokyo, April 18, 1937). Japanese marimba player and composer. After xylophone study with Eiichi Asabuki (1950–59), she earned two degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University, studying composition with Shosuke Ariga and Toshio Kashiwagi as well as percussion with Masao Imamura and Yusuke Oyake. An active professional performer since 1960, she has toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia with annual recital tours since 1981. Through development of new technical skills and by expanding the repertory with over 70 commissions, she has contributed significantly to the status of marimba music, for which she was honoured by induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. After a decade of studio work and orchestral playing, she studied the performances of jazz artists such as Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton in order to develop her own personal style of improvisation as a creative source for composition. Technically challenging yet idiomatic for the marimba, her works generally begin with improvisation and are later notated. Her compositions include wide dynamic ranges, techniques borrowed from folk music traditions and careful voicing of chords. Using four- and sometimes six-mallet technique, she often combines a melodic line with an impressionistic background of rhythmic patterns. Her performances of her compositions and those of other Japanese composers have been very influential on developments in the USA, especially since ...
Lucrecia R. Kasilag
(b Tagoloan, Oriental Misamis, July 13, 1922; d Fresno, CA, June 5, 1991). Filipina composer and conductor. She studied music at Lourdes College, the piano at St Scholastica’s College and composition at the Philippine Women’s University (MM 1957). Later she attended the Labunski School of Composition in Ohio, the Eastman School and the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. A nun of the Order of the Virgin Mary, she taught music theory and composition, conducted fund-raising concerts, and travelled widely to take part in international music conferences. In 1977 she moved to the USA, teaching at Kansas University and St Pius Seminary in Kentucky before moving to Fremont, California; in 1980 she was elected president of the Philippine Foundation of Performing Arts in America. Among the honours she received were the Republic Culture Heritage Award (1967) and the Philippines’ Independence Day Award (1973). She produced over 300 compositions and some published music textbooks. Her style is marked by neo-classical and Impressionist features, with quartal harmonies, added-note chords, pentatonic and modal scales....
Lucrecia R. Kasilag
(b San Miguel, Bulacan, Feb 7, 1893; d Manila, March 21, 1934). Filipino composer, conductor and teacher. As a child he had violin lessons from his father, and in 1901 he wrote his first composition, Ang unang buko (‘The First Fruit’), a waltz. He was sent to study at the Liceo de Manila and he learnt to play the piano, but at the same time he had to take various jobs to support himself and his family. In 1916 he entered the Conservatory of the University of the Philippines, and in the next year he composed a march, U. P. Beloved, which won first prize in an open competition. He studied with Victoriano Carreon (singing), José Silos (bandurria), Bonifacio Abdon (violin) and José Estella (piano); he received a teacher’s certificate at the conservatory in 1921, and in 1923 he pursued postgraduate studies there.
The piano concerto, which he wrote for these later courses, was the first concerto written by a Filipino. From the same period are ...
(b Vilnius, Jan 6, 1912; d Minsk, Dec 8, 1985). Belarusian composer. He studied at the Warsaw Conservatory (1935–9), with Kazimierz Sikorski for composition and Drzewiecki for piano, and then at the National Conservatory in Minsk, where he graduated from Zolotaryov’s composition class in 1941. He received the title Honoured Artist of the Belarusian SSR in 1963. The works he produced in the late 1940s and 1950s are conservative, but his First Symphony (1962) reflected a renewal in Belarusian music, under the influence of Shostakovich. In the later symphonies there is an increase in confrontation to the point of expressionism, and tragi-grotesque themes come to play a major role, though the Fourth Symphony has elements of neoclassicism that became characteristic of Abeliyovich’s music in the 1970s. His two books of Freski (‘Frescoes’) for piano, in an impressionist manner, are Belarusian classics, while his songs range from dramatic wartime ballads to Tyutchev settings remarkable for their emotional poise and psychological depth....
Gregory E. Smith
revised by Barry Kernfeld
[Michael Christian Joseph, Jr.]
(bNew York, July 2, 1942). American pianist, arranger, and composer. His father was a guitarist and bandleader. Abene performed and recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in Marshall Brown’s International Youth Band (1958) and studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music (1959–61), though he is primarily self-taught. After working with Clark Terry, Jimmy Nottingham, and others at the Cork ’n Bib on Long Island (1960) he played piano with Don Ellis (1960–61), Maynard Ferguson (1961–5), for whom he also wrote arrangements, Buddy Rich, Harry Edison, and Georgie Auld (in Las Vegas, 1963). From the mid-1960s he performed regularly in New York at the Half Note (with the quintets led by Al Cohn and Zoot Sims and by Bill Berry and Richie Kamuca, 1965–7), Bradley’s (1972–5), Sweet Basil (1978), and Freddy’s (with the singer Barbara Rankin, ...
(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...
(b Schwanenstadt, Upper Austria, March 15, 1959). Austrian composer. After studying jazz piano at the Graz Hochschule für Musik (1977–9), he studied composition privately with Gösta Neuwirth (1979). He continued his studies at the Vienna Music Academy (1979–82), where his teachers included Haubenstock-Ramati. From 1982 until 1990 he taught at the Kreuzberg Musikschule. His other activities have included founding the ensemble Zwischentöne (1988), and directing the zeit geben I–III, Klangwerkstatt (Berlin, 1990–92) and Insel Musik 24 (Berlin, 1997) festivals. He has served as guest conductor for various ensembles in Vienna and Berlin, and as guest composer at the Graz Institut für Elektronische Musik (1996).
Ablinger has remarked, ‘It is not what is different that counts but what is the same; that is where the One can occur’. This aesthetic posture has led him to compose several series of works in which many of the same elements carry over from one piece to the next. The first piece in his series ...
revised by David Brown
(b Newport, Isle of Wight, March 9, 1904; d Midhurst, March 18, 1988). English musicologist. Apart from having piano lessons as a boy, musically he was entirely self-taught. His formal education was completed in Portsmouth in preparation for a career in the navy, but he was obliged to abandon this plan owing to ill-health. During a period of recuperation he was able to put some of his self-acquired musical knowledge into practice by making orchestrations, arrangements and some attempts at original composition for the garrison band on the Isle of Wight. A year spent in Cologne resulted in his first major contribution to musical literature, a study of Borodin, which was begun in 1924 and published in 1927; this book (which he later disowned) immediately established him as an expert in the field of Russian music. He spent the next eight years as a freelance writer, contributing to a wide variety of publications, notably ...
(b Apatin, Hungary, Nov 2, 1892; d Hamburg, May 6, 1960).Hungarian composer. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music (1910–16) and began as a composer of serious orchestral and chamber music, a cello concerto being performed by the Budapest PO and a string quartet at the 1922 Salzburg Festival. In 1927, however, he was appointed conductor at the Budapest Operetta Theatre, where he was called upon to write numbers for various operettas. Viktória (1930), a work making use of the dance styles of the time, enjoyed huge popularity and led to a move to Germany, where his success continued with his score for the film Die Privatsekretärin (1931) and the operettas Die Blume von Hawaii (1931) and Ball im Savoy (1932). However, the rise of Hitler forced him to leave Germany, at first for Vienna where the operettas ...
(b Copenhagen, Dec 23, 1952). Danish composer. He first studied the horn and was later trained in music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He also undertook private studies in composition from Nørgård and Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, among others. Abrahamsen was active for a period in the Gruppen for Alternativ Musik, a forum for musicians who wished to perform new music in alternative forms; the group also aimed to develop socially and politically committed music, and Abrahamsen was thus able to cultivate his interest in political issues expressed through music. (His first symphony was originally entitled Anti-EEC-Sats (‘Anti-EEC Movement’); it became Symphony in C after the composer came to the realization that ‘music cannot be against’.) In 1982 Abrahamsen became a teacher of instrumentation at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He has also been artistic director of the Esbjerg Ensemble since 1988.
The composer’s first works adhered to the style of the Danish ‘new simplicity’ movement of the mid-1960s. For Abrahamsen and other composers such as Gudmundsen-Holmgren, Christiansen and Ole Buck, this stylistic attitude, which marked a break with serial music, was a Danish response to the complexity emanating from central Europe, particularly the circle around the Darmstadt School. In Abrahamsen this aesthetic anchorage came to mean an almost naive simplicity in musical expression, as exemplified in his orchestral piece ...
[Abrams, Richard Louis ]
(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965...
revised by Anna Dalos
(b Budapest, Sept 22, 1882; d Budapest, Feb 11, 1970). Hungarian composer and conductor, grandson of Kornél Ábrányi. He studied composition, the organ and piano at the Budapest Academy of Music, and spent a year with Nikisch in Leipzig. From 1904 he was a theatre conductor in Cologne, and from 1907 in Hanover. In 1911 he returned to Budapest to become conductor at the Royal Hungarian Opera House; he was director there (1919–20) and then at the Budapest Theatre (1921–6). He taught conducting at the Liszt Academy of Music.
Ábrányi was the most prolific Hungarian opera composer of his generation; between 1903 and 1923 five of his operas and a Singspiel were produced at the Budapest Opera House and the City Theatre. Rather than subscribing to the established Hungarian romantic opera style or folklore, Ábrányi composed in a cosmopolitan style. The operas Monna Vanna...
(b March 28, 1936; d Nov 6, 2006). Bulgarian composer and musicologist. He studied composition under Pantcho Vladigerov at the State Conservatoire (now renamed the Pantcho Vladigerov National Music Academy) in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worked as a conductor with the Filip Kutev National Folklore Ensemble, and as a lecturer (from 1966) and professor (from 1990) of symphonic orchestration at the NMA. He served as vice-president of the NMA (1999–2001) and as Minister of Culture (2001–2005).
A composer of symphonic and chamber music, his individual style epitomizes the post-tonal tendencies of the early 20th century; he distanced himself from the Social Realism movement that was imposed upon composers in the countries of Eastern Europe. After 1990 he also wrote cantatas and oratorios, which exhibit an even more radical post-tonal style. He is the author of a number of theoretical studies on symphonic orchestration....
(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.
A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...
(b Bonsecours, Hainaut, Oct 23, 1893; d Uccle, Brussels, Feb 2, 1974). Belgian composer. He studied the organ, the piano and harmony with Alphonse Oeyen, organist of Bonsecours. He continued his studies at the Ecole St Grégoire, Tournai, where he gave his first organ recital in 1912. In 1913 he entered the Brussels Conservatory to study with Desmet (organ), Edouard Samuel (practical harmony) and (from 1915) Lunssens (written harmony). He took a first prize for organ and harmony in 1916 and, after a year’s further work with Paulin Marchand (counterpoint) and Léon Du Bois (fugue), another for counterpoint and fugue. Abandoning the idea of a career as an organist, he went to Gilson for composition lessons (1920–22). In 1921 his First Symphony won the Agniez Prize; in 1921 he took the second Belgian Prix de Rome with the cantata La guerre and was appointed director of the Etterbeek Music School. From ...