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Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Darrell Berg

(b Dobitschen, Saxe-Altenburg, Jan 4, 1720; d Berlin, Dec 2, 1774). German musicographer, composer, organist, singing master and conductor. His father occupied an important post as government agent and jurist in Dobitschen. Burney, who visited the Agricolas in 1772, reported that Johann Friedrich’s mother, born Maria Magdalena Manke, ‘was a near relation of the late Mr Handel, and in correspondence with him till the time of his death’; but later Handel research has failed to substantiate this claim.

Agricola began his study of music as a young child. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig, where he studied law; during this time he was a pupil of J.S. Bach and visited Dresden, where he heard performances of Passion oratorios and Easter music by Hasse. In 1741 he moved to Berlin, became a pupil of Quantz, made the acquaintance of C.P.E. Bach, C.H. Graun and other musicians, and embarked on a career that touched many aspects of Berlin’s musical life. He became keenly interested in music criticism and theoretical speculation in Berlin, and his work as a musicographer has proved to be his most lasting accomplishment. In ...

Article

Greg A. Handel

(Eugene)

(b West Hempstead, NY, April 26, 1956). American music educator, choral arranger, editor, and conductor. He was a member of the American Boychoir (1969–71), and received degrees from St Olaf College (BM 1978), the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (MM 1980), and Michigan State University (DMA 1987). He was on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School and now serves on the Board of Trustees. He taught at Calvin College (1980–90) before becoming the fourth conductor of the St Olaf Choir and the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Endowed Professor of Music (1990–). Armstrong is the editor for Earthsongs publications and co-editor of the St. Olaf Choir Series. He chronicled the history of the St Olaf Choir in his doctoral dissertation. He is featured on an instructional video for adolescent singers, Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice (2002...

Article

Michael Fend

(Carlo Zanobi Salvadore Maria )

(b Florence, 8/Sept 14, 1760; d Paris, March 15, 1842). Italian, composer, conductor, teacher, administrator, theorist, and music publisher, active in France. He took French citizenship, probably in 1794, and was a dominant figure in Parisian musical life for half a century. He was a successful opera composer during the Revolutionary period, and had comparable success with religious music from the beginning of the Restoration. He was made director of the Paris Conservatoire and consolidated its pre-eminent position in music education in Europe.

In the biographical preface to his work catalogue, compiled in 1831, Cherubini gave 8 and 14 September as his dates of birth, but the records of the baptistery of S Giovanni state that he was born on 14 September (and baptized the following day). He was the tenth of 12 children. It has been claimed that his mother died when he was four years old (Pougin, ...

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Dallas, TX, Jan 26, 1922; d Suffern, NY, Nov 4, 1999). American recorder player, editor, teacher, and conductor. His early musical experience included playing the trumpet in small jazz bands and in Broadway pit bands and arranging music for shows in New York. While studying with erich Katz at the New York College of Music he developed an interest in early music. He learned to play the recorder, crumhorn, sackbut, and viola da gamba and arranged and directed medieval and Renaissance music. He edited music for the American Recorder Society, which published several of his compositions, and later was general editor of the series Music for Recorders (Associated Music Publishers). He took part in the debut of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua under Noah Greenberg in 1953 and rejoined them from 1960 until 1970; during this time he became director of the instrumental consort and assistant director of the Renaissance band. He toured internationally with them and played on many recordings. In ...

Article

Robert M. Copeland

revised by Dale Cockrell

(b Parsonfield, ME, Aug 3, 1820; d Hyde Park, MA, Sept 29, 1915). American composer, editor, music educator, and conductor. He attended Parsonfield Academy and Effingham Union Academy (NH) as a boy, then matriculated at Dracut Academy (MA), intending to become a physician. His father, a prosperous farmer, had taught him to play the cello, and that sparked an abiding interest in music. He moved to the Boston area in 1841, where he attended singing schools under Benjamin F. Baker and George F. Root. In 1844 he began more formal musical training with Isaac B. Woodbury in Boston, studying voice, piano, organ, and music theory. Emerson moved to Salem, Massachusetts, afterwards, where he taught music privately, was involved in local school matters, and directed a choir. He was later the organist and music director at Bullfinch Street Church, Boston, for four years, then at Second Congregational Church, Greenfield, MA for eight years, while teaching concurrently at Powers’ Institute in Bernardstown. By the 1870s he was devoting himself full time to editing, composing, compiling, and conducting (some 350 festivals and musical conventions); he also sang and was known widely as a lecturer....

Article

Robert Pascall

(b Frauental, Styria, May 5, 1842; d Vöslau, nr Vienna, Oct 5, 1899). Austrian conductor, teacher, editor and composer, brother of Robert Fuchs. He studied theory with Simon Sechter in Vienna and was appointed Kapellmeister of the Bratislava Opera in 1864. He then worked as an opera conductor in Brno (where his only opera, Zingara, was first produced in 1872), Kassel, Cologne, Hamburg, Leipzig and finally, from 1880, at the Vienna Hofoper. In 1873 he married the singer Anthonie Exner in Kassel. Fuchs became a professor of composition at the Vienna Conservatory in 1888 and succeeded Hellmesberger as its director in 1893; the next year he received the title of assistant Hofkapellmeister for his work at the court opera. He played an important part in preparing the Schubert Gesamtausgabe, editing the dramatic works and some of the orchestral music. He also edited operas by Handel, Gluck and Mozart and wrote songs and piano pieces....

Article

Sabine Feisst

(b Vienna, Austria, Nov 15, 1894; d Manhasset, NY, April 26, 1982). Music editor, conductor, and teacher of Austrian birth. After initially studying cello, Greissle attended the University of Vienna where he studied musicology with Guido Adler. In 1920 he became a private student of arnold Schoenberg and a rehearsal coach in Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances. In 1921 he married Schoenberg’s oldest daughter Gertrud. As conductor of the Vienna State Opera’s Cantata Society (1924–37) Greissle premiered Schoenberg’s Woodwind Quintet in 1924 and arranged several of his works, including Five Pieces for Orchestra, op.16 for chamber ensemble. After the Anschluss he fled with his family to the United States and settled in New York. There he worked as music editor for G. Schirmer (1938–46) and thereafter for Edward B. Marks. Greissle taught music theory and rehearsal techniques both privately and at Columbia University, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the 92nd Street Y, and the New School for Social Research....

Article

Robert Orledge and Andrew Thomson

(b Paris, Mar 27, 1851; d Paris, Dec 2, 1931). French composer, teacher, conductor and editor of early music. His famed veneration for Beethoven and Franck has unfortunately obscured the individual character of his own compositions, particularly his fine orchestral pieces descriptive of southern France. As a teacher his influence was enormous and wideranging, with benefits for French music far outweighing the charges of dogmatism and political intolerance.

Andrew Thomson

D’Indy came from a military aristocratic family from the Ardèche region, a fact of the greatest importance in understanding his lifelong nationalist and right-wing political position. His mother died in childbirth, and he was brought up by his paternal grandmother, Thérèse (née de Chorier). Her strict regime, however, was mitigated by deep affection: she was not the tyrannical ogress of received opinion. D’Indy took lessons in piano from Louis Diémer and theory from Albert Lavignac; while showing definite promise, he showed more interest as a boy in military matters and the life of his hero Napoleon. At 18, having passed his ...

Article

L. Brett Scott

(Walter)

(b Port Colborne, ON, Oct 14, 1927; d Caledon East, ON, April 3, 1998). Canadian choral conductor, arranger, editor, and teacher. After graduating from the University of Toronto (BM 1950), he conducted the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and All-Varsity Mixed Chorus, was a choir member at St. Mary Magdelene Church under Healey Willan, and apprenticed with Sir Ernest MacMillan as assistant conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In 1964 he was appointed conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, a position he held until 1997. He taught choral music at the University of Toronto from 1965 to 1968, and was Adjunct Professor from 1997 until his death in 1998. After his death, the University of Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting was established in his honor.

Iseler’s work with his professional choirs established his reputation in Canada and internationally. In 1954 he helped found Canada’s first professional choir, the Toronto Festival Singers. He founded the Elmer Iseler Singers in ...

Article

Sorab Modi

revised by Richard R. Bunbury

(b Bunceton, MO, Sept 1, 1917; d Staten Island, NY, Oct 7, 2007). American conductor, organist, and editor. He studied at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois, the University of Chicago (BA 1942), the American Conservatory (BMus 1944, MMus 1946), and Yale University (PhD 1960); he also studied conducting with Nikolai Malko. He was music director at Zion Lutheran School in Chicago (1938–48) and a member of the organ and theory faculty at the American Conservatory (1945–7). From 1957 to 1966 he was an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and from 1967 until his retirement in 1983 he was a professor of music at the College of Staten Island in New York City. From his retirement until 1995 he was director of the Collegium Musicum in the Lutheran Summer Music Program. As an organist and choir director Mattfeld was associated with several churches in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and New England (...

Article

(b Brussels, May 28, 1777; d Paris, Dec 18, 1858). Flemish composer, conductor, publisher and teacher. He was the son of Henri Mees (b Brussels, 1757; d Warsaw, 31 Jan 1820), principal baritone of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, and of Anne-Marie Vitzthumb, a singer. He showed precocious musical talent: at the age of five he sang in a church choir, at seven he began to study the violin and at ten he played in the orchestra of the Monnaie. He had further violin studies with J.-E. Pauwels and lessons in harmony and counterpoint with his grandfather Ignaz Vitzthumb. In 1794, during the second French occupation, the family emigrated to Hamburg, where Henri Mees and other Brussels artists established a theatre for the Comédie-Française; Joseph-Henri occasionally sang secondary roles and conducted the orchestra there. He also opened a music shop, from which he published works from the Parisian repertory....

Article

Joanne Swenson-Eldridge

(b 1793; d Philadelphia, June 4, 1873). American conductor, composer, publisher and teacher of French birth . He was a bandmaster in Napoleon’s army before emigrating to the USA, where he settled in Philadelphia (1828). In 1833 he was elected a member of the Musical Fund Society; that same year he founded the Philharmonic Society, an amateur orchestra in Philadelphia. His transcriptions of operatic excerpts and popular songs for the guitar date from as early as 1832. In 1835 he joined the music publisher Augustus Fiot in establishing the firm of Fiot and Meignen. After their partnership was dissolved in 1839, Meignen continued in the music publishing business until 1842. He succeeded Charles Hupfeld as conductor of the Musical Fund Society Orchestra during the 1844–5 season and held the post until 1857; his Grand Military Symphony was first performed under his direction on 17 April 1845. He also conducted the première of William Henry Fry’s ...