(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...
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 ...
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, Dec 22, 1894/Jan 5, 1895; d Bucharest, Feb 4, 1974). Romanian composer, pianist, teacher, and critic. An erudite personality of Romanian music, he contributed to the formation of a Romanian school of composition during the inter-war years. At the Bucharest Conservatory (1906–13) he studied with Kiriac-Georgescu, Castaldi, Klenck, and Dunicu. In 1919 he graduated law school in Bucharest and then took the PhD in 1922 in Paris. During his stay in France, he participated in the courses of composition of Vincent d’Indy and Gabriel Faure. In 1920, he founded the Society of Romanian composers with other important musicians. At the Bucharest Conservatory (now the National University of Music Bucharest) he taught chamber music (1926–48) and composition (1948–59). His students include Stefan Niculescu, Dumitru Capoianu, and Aurel Stroe. He was not only a partner at the chamber concerts of George Enescu, but also promoted together with Enescu the new Romanian and French chamber music. He wrote for numerous publications on subjects ranging from music aesthetics to jazz and folk music, for instance, ‘George Enescu the Way I Met Him’ in ...
Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner
(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 (...
John Edwin Henken
(b Madrid, Aug 3, 1823; d Madrid, Feb 17, 1894). Spanish composer, musicologist, conductor and critic. Barbieri’s father died in 1823 and the composer used his matronym throughout his life although, in the heated polemic wars of the period, that was sometimes held against him as an Italianate pretence.
Barbieri received his early music training from his maternal grandfather and entered the fledgling Royal Conservatory in 1837, studying the clarinet with Ramón Broca, the piano with Albéniz y Basanta, singing with Saldoni and composition with Carnicer. In 1841 his family moved to Lucena, but Barbieri remained in Madrid, eking out a living as a clarinettist, pianist, teacher and copyist. His earliest compositions were songs and dances, and a paso doble for a militia band in which he played. He also sang baritone roles in Italian operas at the Conservatory and the Teatro del Circo. He wrote the libretto for a one-act zarzuela but did not complete the music in time for its scheduled première in ...
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence, June 20, 1883; d Tunis, Sept 22, 1927). Italian critic, composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, he became music critic of the newspapers La nazione (Florence) from 1915 to 1918 and Il resto del Carlino (Bologna) during 1919–23. He also taught composition and music history at the Nuova Scuola di Musica, Florence (1917). From 1909 to 1915 he regularly contributed to the influential Florentine cultural periodical La voce. His books, notably La crisi musicale europea (1912) in which he explored in depth the idea of decadence, are among the most thought-provoking written by any Italian musician of the time; and he had a knowledge and understanding of current trends (Skryabin, Schoenberg, etc.) which was then rare. His ideas exerted an important influence on progressive Italian musical opinion, and particularly on other composers: in 1911 he was the chief spokesman for a short-lived pressure group known as La Lega dei Cinque or ‘I “Cinque” Italiani’, whose other members were Pizzetti, G. F. Malipiero, Respighi and Renzo Bossi. Bastianelli’s propaganda advocated ‘the ...
revised by Philip E.J. Robinson
(b Paris, Jan 24, 1732; d Paris, May 18, 1799). French writer. The son of a clockmaker, he defended his invention of a watch escapement mechanism against theft by the royal clockmaker Lepaute, whom he replaced at court in 1755. He subsequently became harp teacher to the daughters of Louis XV and, thanks to contact with the homme d’affaires Pâris-Duverney, was ultimately able to buy himself into the nobility. In his Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux (1767), the preface to his Eugénie, he took up the ideas of Diderot in favour of a distinct genre of drame, different from both French classical tragedy and comedy. His works in this genre outnumber his Figaro comedies, and even these show its influence: he returned to it fully in the third Figaro play, La mère coupable (1792). His racy parades, playlets written for the high-society private stage, served as an apprenticeship in comic musical theatre, particularly in the use of vaudevilles (well-known tunes sung, as part of the dramatic text, to new words). ...
(b Bordeaux, ?April 1791; d Paris, Dec 18, 1858). French violinist, composer, dramatist and critic. His date of birth, given as 7 February 1778 in all reference works since Fétis, is contradicted by Blanchard himself in the Revue et gazette musicale (21 January 1838). He was a pupil of Franz Beck in Bordeaux and of Kreutzer (violin), Méhul and Reicha (composition) in Paris. In 1815 he wrote the words and music of a pantomime, Clarisse et Lovelace, and was conductor at the Théâtre des Variétés from 1818 until 1829. There he came into contact with the leading actors and entertainers of the day, and composed a large quantity of vaudeville airs, some of which, for example Tra la la and Guernadier, que tu m’affliges, enjoyed immense popularity. In 1830 he became director of the Théâtre Molière, where a series of his plays appeared, one of which, ...
[Dionysus Lardner ]
(b Dublin, Dec 26, 1820 or 1822; d New York, Sept 18, 1890). Irish dramatist . Known primarily as an actor, he played regularly in New York and London from the 1850s, excelling in his depictions of Irish heroes. Though nearly all his dramatic works were adaptations, they were often brilliantly constructed. His most successful pieces were London Assurance (1841, produced under the pseudonym Lee Morton); The Colleen Bawn, or The Brides of Garryowen (1860, after G. Griffin: The Collegians, or The Colleen Bawn), later adapted by Boucicault and John Oxenford as the libretto for Benedict’s opera The Lily of Killarney (1862); and Arrah-na-Pogue (1865). With B. N. Webster Boucicault adapted an opéra comique by Ambroise Thomas, Le panier fleuri, for London, as The Fox and the Goose, or The Widow’s Husband (1844, Adelphi Theatre).DNB (J. Knight) J. W. Cole...
(b Saint-Gilles, Brussels, May 29, 1890; d Brussels, April 11, 1961). Belgian composer, pianist and critic. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory, where in 1908 he won a first prize for piano in De Greef's class. Wounded in World War I, he was evacuated to England and then moved to Australia, where he became Melba's accompanist. After several international tours he settled in Brussels in 1925. He abandoned his career as a virtuoso pianist to study composition with Gilson and joined the ‘Synthétistes’ group. At the same time he launched into music criticism, giving proof of a caustic wit. Until 1955 he taught harmony (assistant professor 1939, professor 1943) and counterpoint (from 1949) at the Brussels Conservatory. A fluent composer, he began with works describing his memories of travel. He attempted to renew the symphonic poem by choosing modern subjects, as in Le jazz vainqueur, op.33. After ...
[Cecil Valentine ]
(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....
James B. Kopp
(b Avignon, France, May 18, 1854; d Versailles, France, May 20, 1933). Organist, composer, collector, and writer on musical instruments. Born a count into an old Norman family, he studied organ with Gigout in Paris in the late 1880s and was admitted to the Académie des Sciences Morales, des Lettres et des Arts de Versailles in 1891. Beginning in 1897, de Bricqueville played the organ in the chapel of the palace of Versailles for about 20 years. Writing as a music critic, he enthusiastically promoted Wagner but also appreciated earlier French opera. His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century. He described his private collection of instruments (mainly European of the preceding three centuries) in three published catalogues, the last being Catalogue sommaire de la collection d’instruments de musique anciens formée par le Cte de Bricqueville...
(b Ecclesall Bierlow, York, August 16, 1862; d London, Nov 16, 1951). English composer, pianist and critic. She studied composition and the piano at the RAM (1881–9); together with Edward German she was a member of a group of young composers known as ‘The Party’, and frequently appeared at student concerts as a pianist and composer. Notable early works include the Air and Variations for string quartet, which in 1888 won the first Charles Lucas Medal to be awarded to a woman, and a Piano Concerto in A minor which she performed herself to critical acclaim at a variety of London concerts.
After leaving the RAM, Bright established herself as a pianist in Britain and Europe and promoted the music of British composers in her annual series of piano recitals and chamber concerts in London. Among the continuing high-profile performances of her works was an 1892...
(b Uppsala, March 25, 1902; d Lund, Oct 29, 1983). Swedish composer, conductor, violist and critic. After private studies in Lund he was accepted by Henri Marteau for the latter’s violin masterclass at the German Conservatory in Prague, where he also studied composition with Finke and conducting with Zemlinsky for two years. He then studied musicology with Norlind in Stockholm, with Peter Wagner in Fribourg, Switzerland, and with Sachs in Berlin, taking a licentiate in philosophy at Lund in 1926. He was chief critic of the Sydsvenska dagbladet of Malmö (1930–66, having contributed from Lund from 1923) and co-founder of the Swedish section of the ISCM, serving as its president (1930–62) and as second chairman of the ISCM presidium (1956–9); he was appointed to honorary membership of the ISCM in 1963. He was founder-violist of the Skånekvartetten (1937–48) and the Pianokvartetten av ...
(b Rochester, NY, June 12, 1982). American composer, organist, writer, and critic. He was exposed to music from an early age (his paternal grandmother was a music teacher and an Eastman graduate). He began piano lessons at age 3; organ lessons with Bruce Klanderman followed at age 10. It was then that he began to turn his attention to composition. His formal education took place at Harvard (AB, 2000) and Carnegie Mellon (MM, 2006). Among his chief composition teachers were bernard Rands and Judith Weir.
With a voracious interest in the entire history of Western music and an unquenchable drive to compose, Cooman has amassed an enormous body of work (nearly a thousand opus numbers before reaching the age of 30), while pursuing parallel career tracks as an organist specializing in contemporary works (including more than 100 premieres), as a writer on many musical subjects, and as a consultant to other composers. His own music embraces a vast range of styles and genres, sacred as well as secular, from tonal choral anthems to atonal orchestral, solo, and chamber music, from songs to full operas, along with a variety of postmodern hybrids. He has written a large number of occasional pieces, as well as compositions for unusual instrumental combinations, avowing a belief in the value of such utilitarian pieces equivalent to that of more ambitious, large-scale works. Most of his recent music has been composed on commission, and his works are performed frequently throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and elsewhere. Dozens have appeared on recordings....
(b Riga, Sept 26, 1906; d Seattle, June 24, 1962). Latvian composer, pianist and critic, son of Emīls Dārziņš. He graduated in 1929 from Vītols’s composition class and in 1934 from Nadežda Kārkliņa’s piano class at the Latvian State Conservatory. From 1928 he worked as a pianist and critic in Riga, but in 1944 fled from the advancing Soviets and worked in the same occupations in Esslingen, Germany, until 1950. Afterwards Dārziņš lived in the USA, teaching first at the Spokane Conservatory in Washington State, then moving in 1955 to Seattle, where he took part in the concerts of the University of Washington School of Music.
In his early music, Dārziņš followed the French post-Impressionists Dukas and Roussel, and also experimented with exoticism, for example in the Spanish Dance Suite (1931). In the 1940s he developed the goal of integrating the unique qualities of Latvian folk music with those of 20th-century art music, much in the manner of Bartók. The results included hundreds of folk melody arrangements and original piano music....
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b Monaco, Jan 14, 1889; d Rome, Dec 8, 1969). Italian composer, conductor and critic. He studied at Turin and with Reger at the Leipzig Conservatory, gaining a diploma there in 1911. In his early 20s he made his début as a conductor in Rome. From 1918 until 1940 he was resident mainly in Paris: Debussian tendencies, already present in his previous works, were reinforced, though he did much to promote modern Italian music. He subsequently returned to Rome, where he worked for Italian radio. Davico’s very uneven output includes several large-scale compositions, some of which achieved success. Yet even in the colourful La tentation de St Antoine and the Requiem per la morte di un povero, which are notable for many refinements and personal touches in detail, there is a certain self-consciousness in overall conception. For Davico was by nature a miniaturist, at his best in his songs. Often conceived on a tiny scale, these have aptly been compared to the Japanese ...
Adelyn Peck Leverett
revised by Christopher Fifield
(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], Nov 14, 1804; d Berlin, Jan 10, 1892). German conductor, composer and journalist. He studied the piano, singing and composition in Königsberg, made several long journeys throughout Germany, during which he met Weber in Dresden, and completed his studies with Ludwig Berger, Bernhard Klein and Zelter in Berlin, where his first opera, Rolands Knappen, was produced successfully in 1826. At the same time he became a co-editor of the Berliner allgemeine Muzikzeitung, for which he wrote a spirited defence of the beleaguered Gaspare Spontini. Over the next two decades he built a solid reputation as a conductor of opera, holding theatre posts at Königsberg (1828), Leipzig (1829–32), where he taught counterpoint to the young Schumann, Hamburg (1832), Riga (1834–43), and Cologne (1844–8). He organized the first music festival of the Russian Baltic provinces in Riga (...
(b Jackson, MS, Sept 14, 1910; d New York, NY, Aug 29, 1982). American conductor, composer, arranger, educator, and writer on music. After studying composition at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Engel moved to New York, where he had lessons in composition at the Juilliard School with rubin Goldmark and then privately with roger Sessions . During the late 1930s Engel provided incidental music for plays and dance groups and conducted his own Madrigal Singers under the auspices of the WPA. He conducted the premieres of Kurt Weill’s Johnny Johnson and Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane, and he also led the chorus in the audience at the improvised premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock.
Engel is best known for his work in commercial venues. He supplied vocal and choral arrangements and other forms of incidental music for theatrical and broadcast productions. As a conductor, his most successful shows on Broadway included Gian Carlo Menotti’s ...
(b Madrid, March 2, 1920). Spanish critic, pianist and composer. At the Madrid Conservatory he studied the piano with Luis Galve and composition with Rogelio del Villar and Conrado del Campo. In 1952 he took over the music section of the Madrid daily Arriba and was appointed head of music programmes of the Spanish National Radio, where he has been particularly successful. He founded the National RO (1953–5), the precursor of the present Spanish Radio and Television SO, which he was instrumental in founding in 1965; he also established the National Radio Choir (later the Spanish Radio and Television Choir), the Cuarteto Clásico of Spanish Broadcasting (1952) and the Barcelona City Orchestra (1967). In 1976 he became director of the music section of the Madrid daily El pais.
Although he began his career as a composer, writing many songs and some film music, Franco has achieved most recognition as a highly sensitive piano accompanist, and is considered the leading critic of his generation in Spain. He is noted for his support of new Spanish composers: in ...