(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...
revised by Luis Merino
(b Santiago, Sept 2, 1911; d Santiago, Aug 2, 1954). Chilean composer and pianist. He studied with Allende for composition and Renard for the piano at the Santiago National Conservatory (1923–35), where he then held appointments as coach at the opera department (1935), assistant professor of the piano (1937), professor of analysis (1940), and director (1945). At the same time he taught at the Liceo Manuel de Salas in Santiago. He was secretary-general to the Instituto de Extensión Musical (from 1941), a founder-director of the Escuela Moderna de Música, Santiago (1940), and a member of various arts societies. In 1943 he went to the USA as a guest of the Institute of International Education and in 1953 he was in Europe for the performance of his Wind Sextet at the ISCM Festival. His early compositions show the influences of French music and Chilean folklore; from the late 1940s his work became more Expressionist and abstract....
(b London, Sept 7, 1900; d Aldeburgh, Dec 12, 1993). English soprano, teacher and producer. She began her musical life as a violinist while a pupil at St Paul’s Girls’ School, London. Continuing her studies at Trinity College of Music, she found Emile Sauret unmoved by her playing and turned to singing, making rapid progress under the tuition of Dawson Freer. Her career started in 1923 when she accepted the offer of unpaid chorus work at the Old Vic. After taking various comprimario parts she soon found herself singing roles such as Elisabeth (Tannhäuser) and Aida. As principal soprano of Sadler’s Wells (1931–46), she was recognized as a consummate singing-actress in an exceptionally wide range of roles, from Purcell’s Dido to Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Butterfly, Elsa, Sieglinde and the Marschallin. She made her Covent Garden début, as Mimi, in 1931 and sang Kupava and Militrisa in the English premières of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ...
Eldonna L. May
(b Detroit, MI, Jan 1, 1929; d Detroit, MI, July 2010). American singer, educator, choral director, and composer. He worked tirelessly to promote and preserve the works of African American musicians through coalition building and artistic entrepreneurship by founding the Brazeal Dennard Chorale and cofounding the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s “Classical Roots” concert series in 1976. Dennard attended Highland Park Junior College (1954–56) and he received his undergraduate (1959) and master’s (1962) degrees in music education from Wayne State University. He first gained exposure to music through attending church choir rehearsals with his mother. He studied piano and voice with Dean Robert L. Nolan and later sang with the Robert Nolan Choir. His professional career began at age 17 as conductor of the Angelic Choir at Peoples Baptist Church in Detroit. From 1951 to 1953 he was responsible for the music for all chapel services while serving as a corporal in the US Army in Virginia. Beginning in ...
revised by Kathleen Sewright
(b Birmingham, England, Jan 29, 1939). English soprano, vocal teacher/coach, and stage director. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Juilliard School; while a student she made her professional debut in 1964 in the first New York performance of Kát’a Kabanová. Her Covent Garden debut in 1966 was as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and she first sang with Sadler’s Wells Opera (later the English National Opera) as Micaëla in 1970. She appeared widely in the United States, and her repertory included Countess Almaviva, Mařenka, Mimì, Butterfly, Pamina, Tosca, Musetta, Nedda, and Hanna Glawari. Her voice has been described as strong and clear, yet warm, and her considerable talent as a singing actress has made her a leading interpreter of the operas by Leoš Janáček. Her recordings include Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Royal Opera Covent Garden Orchestra and Chorus, and Britten’s ...
Bonnie Elizabeth Fleming
(b Harrisburg, PA, March 2, 1921). American singing actress, producer, stage director, and teacher. Possessing a wide range of performing skills, she is known for undertaking challenging operatic roles such as Birdie and Regina in Mark Blitzstein’s Regina (1949, 1953, and 1958) and Lizzie in Jack Beeson’s Lizzie Borden (1965). She worked on Broadway, in light opera, on radio and television, and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Lewis attended Penn State University and was encouraged by its Glee Club director to audition for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she went on to study with Emilio de Gogorza. After her teacher suddenly left the Institute, Lewis auditioned and made her debut with the Philadelphia Opera Company at the age of 19 in the role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. A remarkably quick study, Lewis absorbed music and words in any language almost on the spot, a gift to which she attributes most of her early success. In ...
(b Mexico City, Nov 11, 1932). Mexican ethnomusicologist, singer, percussionist and music administrator. She studied at the Colegio Juan de Dios Peza in San Luis Potosí (BA in philosophy and letters), the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City (singing and percussion, 1959–67) and the Idyllwild School of Music of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1965–70). Concurrently she lectured extensively on Mexican folk music in the USA and Europe and pursued a career as a performer. In 1966 she became head of the Sección de Investigaciones Musicales and in 1974 director of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and of the instrument museum of the same institute, where she also inaugurated the annual courses in ethnomusicology (1967–72). As an official researcher of the institute, she has studied and published in the areas of Mexican music history, folklore, dance, and ethnomusicology....