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Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Christopher Palmer and Sergio Miceli

(Alexandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Russia, 16/29 Oct 1901; d Rome, Italy, 7 June 1983). Italian composer and conductor of Russian origin. A grandson of the composer Nikolay Sokolov and a brother of the cellist Massimo Amfitheatrof, he studied with Vītols in St. Petersburg and Křička in Prague, but the greater part of his training was undertaken in Rome, where he studied composition with Respighi at the Conservatorio di S Cecilia (diploma 1924) and the organ at the Pontifical Academy of Sacred Music. He was engaged as a pianist, organist, and chorus assistant at the Augusteo (1924–9), also conducting the orchestra under Molinari's supervision. Thereafter he was artistic director of the Genoa and Trieste radio stations and conductor and manager for Italian radio in Turin; he also conducted elsewhere in Europe. In 1937 he went to the United States as associate conductor of the Minneapolis SO, and in ...

Article

Philip L. Scowcroft

(b March 26, 1874; d Marlow, Bucks., Dec 14, 1948). English composer and conductor. He studied composition at the GSM with MacCunn and then pursued a career in London's West End, latterly as a musical director, especially at the Playhouse, Winter Garden, Alhambra, Shaftesbury and Adelphi theatres. He subsequently worked for the BBC from 1926 to 1930. Drawing on his theatrical background he composed incidental music and also operettas, of which The King's Bride, Violette and especially the well-characterized Medorah achieved modest success.

He was also adept at writing colourful, attractively scored and melodious suites and single movements. Some of these showed a fondness for Ireland, the country which also inspired his Overture to an Irish Comedy. Others sought to explore fresh ideas in the light concert suite, a common genre in the first half of the 20th century, as in his Mediterranean Suite (three dance movements representing Spain, Italy and France) and ...

Article

Erik Kjellberg

revised by Lars Westin

(b Hälsingborg, Sweden, Aug 7, 1920; d Stockholm, Feb 11, 1971). Swedish bandleader, arranger, and saxophonist. He led a big band in Malmö (1942–9), was a member of Thore Ehrling’s orchestra in Stockholm (1949–52), and worked as a studio musician. From 1956 to 1965 he was the leader of Radiobandet (the Swedish Radio Big Band), which achieved considerable success in the USA. First presented there as the Jazztone Mystery Band (an invention of the writer George T. Simon), it was mistaken by several critics and well-known musicians for one of the leading American big bands, and it received considerable further acclaim through albums released under Arnold’s own name. The ensemble played in a modernized swing style and included such prominent Swedish and Norwegian musicians as Arne Domnérus, Bengt Hallberg, Bjarne Nerem, Åke Persson, Carl-Henrik Norin, Egil Johansson, and Georg Riedel. Benny Bailey, living in Sweden at that time, was also an intermittent member, and he recorded as a soloist with the group, as did Nat Adderley and Coleman Hawkins as guests (all on ...

Article

Charles Fox and Digby Fairweather

(b Welwyn Garden City, April 17, 1930). English jazz trombonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied the trombone and the double bass at the GSM in London, and formed his first traditional jazz band in 1949. In 1953 he helped to organize a band that was led by Ken Colyer, at that time the most ardent British propagandist for traditional New Orleans music. The following year Barber took over the band; Colyer was replaced by Pat Halcox, and the ensemble soon became one of the most popular and technically accomplished groups of its kind. From the mid-1950s Barber helped foster British interest in blues by bringing over such American musicians as Muddy Waters, the harmonica player Sonny Terry and the guitarist and singer Brownie McGhee. He made several tours of the USA beginning in 1959, and also recorded two albums with his American Jazz Band, which included Sidney De Paris, Edmond Hall and Hank Duncan. Barber expanded his interests, recording classic rags (scored for his band) long before the popular rediscovery of Scott Joplin, and working with musicians from other areas of jazz (notably the Jamaican saxophonists Bertie King and Joe Harriott). Renewed interest in traditional jazz in the early 1960s brought wide success to Barber and his group, which included as its singer his wife, Ottilie Patterson. After rhythm-and-blues achieved general popularity in the early 1960s he re-formed his group as Chris Barber’s Jazz and Blues Band, and, while retaining his roots in New Orleans jazz, engaged rock and blues musicians guitarist John Slaughter and the drummer Pete York. During the 1970s the band toured frequently in Europe. In ...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, May 15, 1902). Italian violinist, pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer. In Genoa he studied violin and composition and played banjo for a brief period in an orchestra. He was the leader and an arranger for the group Blue Star (to 1931), of which Sid Phillips was a member, and the orchestra Cetra (from ...

Article

Xoán M. Carreira

(b Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, March 12, 1884; d El Ferrol, Coruña, Nov 4, 1938). Spanish composer and conductor He studied the flute and composition at the Madrid Conservatory, where he was a pupil of Tomás Bretón. After playing in chamber groups and touring abroad (1906–9), he was appointed director of music of a regiment in El Ferrol, where he spent the rest of his life except for a period in Africa, 1915–17. As well as a large amount of military music, three dramatic scenes and five symphonic poems, he composed many zarzuelas (alone and in collaboration), of which few survive. In 1928 he conducted the première of his opera Cantuxa, whose success led to further performances in Spain and at the Teatro Colón. A story of jealousy (including a death quarrel at a local folk festival) in rural Galicia, the opera exemplifies verismo in its continuous melodic tension, vocal characterization, immediacy of emotion and the anguish of its brutal ending. Of Baudot-Puente’s other opera, ...

Article

Brian Locke

(b March 29, 1916, Blatná, Bohemia; d Nov 25, 1983, Bonn). Czech accordionist, composer, and bandleader. He was a leading performer and songwriter of Czech swing in the 1940s. Raised in Slaný near Prague, he began teaching himself accordion in the early 1930s, imitating British and American jazz recordings. In late 1935, Běhounek moved to Prague to study law, but his involvement in the Gramoklub orchestra as composer, arranger, and improvisatory soloist soon compelled him toward music professionally. His novel hot-jazz virtuosity on accordion won accolades from Jaroslav Ježek, R.A. Dvorský, and the Prague public. In 1936, he recorded two signature solo arrangements, Buggle Call Rag (sic) and Matlock’s Choo; by 1939 he had been featured with Harry Harden’s Orchestra, Dvorský’s Melody Boys, and the swing combo Blue Music alongside Jiří Traxler.

In the summer of 1939 Běhounek signed a five-year contract with Dvorský, which encompassed songwriting for Dvorský’s and ...

Article

Günther Huesmann

(b Düsseldorf, Germany, June 22, 1910; d Frankfurt am Main, Germany, May 21, 1979). German bandleader, trombonist, and arranger. He moved to Berlin in 1934, when he began to study trombone; he played with Heinz Wehner from 1934 and the Goldene Sieben from 1936, and in 1938 formed his own big band, with which he made numerous recordings (...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[Bick, Herman ]

(b Reval [now Tallinn], Estonia, c1900; d ?Hollywood, CA). Estonian bandleader, pianist, and arranger. He toured Europe in the early 1920s as a concert pianist and conductor, then settled in Berlin as music director of the Vox company. Between 1928 and 1930 he recorded several titles as a novelty pianist and as leader of his own studio dance bands; these include ...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Bordeaux, France, Sept 28, 1945). French trumpeter, arranger, and bandleader. He studied trumpet at the conservatory in Bordeaux, but began on drums, which he played until 1984, most notably for a spell with the soprano saxophonist Marc Laferrière (1973–80). He was also an able harmonica player in the style of the bluesmen Jimmy Reed and Little Walter, and in 1973 recorded with François Guin’s group the Four Bones. As an organist he performed with Tiny Grimes. Biensan played trumpet with the clarinetist Christian Morin (1964–70), Guin (1971–3), Candy Johnson (1974), Jimmy Forrest, Bill Coleman, Benny Waters, Benny Carter, Lionel Hampton, and Doc Cheatham (variously in the years 1979–84), Daniel Huck (1981), the Ornicar Big Band (1982), Gérard Badini (from 1984) and François Laudet (from 1993). In 1986 he formed his own septet, Ellingtomania. His swinging style is well represented on the albums ...

Article

Gillian M. Rodger

(b London, England, Feb 1834; d New York, NY, April 11, 1905). American composer, theater orchestra director, and arranger. Born in London’s East End, Braham’s musical education was gained largely through his early education at the British Union School. He initially played the harp, but switched to the violin and became a skilled performer by the time he was 18. Rather than embarking on a career as a professional musician, Braham became a brass turner, making tubing for brass instruments, and supplemented his income by performing in theatrical orchestras in the evenings. In 1856, in the wake of a cholera epidemic that took his mother’s life, he emigrated to New York, where he quickly found employment in theater orchestras. By 1857 he was a regular member of the orchestra attached to Matt Peel’s Campbell Minstrels, and remained with this company, despite personnel conflicts and the reforming of the troupe under a modified name, until ...

Article

Adeodatas Tauragis

(b Vilnius, April 16, 1869; d Vilnius, March 7, 1953). Lithuanian conductor and composer . He studied the piano, composition and conducting at the St Petersburg conservatory with Rimsky-Korsakov, Lyadov and Glazunov, graduating in 1900. His début as an opera conductor took place in Gor’kiy (now Nizhny-Novgorod) in 1899...

Article

Stan Britt

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Dumfries, Scotland, April 21, 1933; d London, Feb 25, 2009). English trumpeter, flugelhorn player, bandleader, composer, writer, and teacher, brother of Mike Carr. His mother played ukulele and banjo. Carr grew up in northeast England, where he took piano lessons from the age of 12 and taught himself trumpet from 1950. After studying at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne (1952–60, degree, English literature, diploma, education) he served in the army (1956–8), then played with his brother in a band, the Emcee Five (1960 – August 1962). He briefly joined Don Rendell in November 1962 and, after recovering from illness, formed a long-lived quintet with Rendell from 1963 to July 1969; during this period he also worked with Joe Harriott (recording in 1969), Don Byas, and John McLaughlin. In September 1969 he formed his own band, Nucleus, which rapidly became recognized internationally for its experiments with jazz-rock. As a result of its performance at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in ...

Article

Rainer E. Lotz and Arild Wideröe

(François )

(b Geneva, Feb 21, 1925; d Geneva, June 11, 1999). French pianist, bandleader, and arranger . Although he was born in Geneva, he was French and never took Swiss citizenship. He began playing professionally in 1943, when he became a member of Loys Choquart’s Dixie Dandies. In 1951 he joined a band led by the soprano saxophonist Claude Aubert and in 1961 he assumed its leadership. From 1962 to 1971 he led his own orchestras, for which he wrote arrangements modeled after small groups associated with Duke Ellington and featuring such soloists as the alto saxophonist Roger Zufferey and the tenor saxophonist Michel Pilet. Chaix led a trio from the 1970s consisting of the double bass player Alain Du Bois and the drummer Romano Cavicchiolo. For several years he also worked with such Swiss musicians as Oscar Klein, the Tremble Kids, and the Hot Mallets. He made recordings as an unaccompanied soloist (...

Article

Michel Laplace

(b Toulouse, France, Oct 1, 1960). French clarinetist, saxophonist, arranger and bandleader. He studied clarinet at the conservatory in Toulouse, then saxophone under Guy Lafitte (1980). He worked with Lulu White’s Jazz Band, the trumpeter Gérard Siffert’s Hot D’oc (1982), the trombonist Jean Osmont (1983), the trombonist Philippe Renault’s Middle Seven (1985), Lafitte (1990), Renault’ Nonet (1991), and Claude Tissendier’s Saxomania (1995). He also played bop with Big Band 31 (1986–8), Dee Dee Bridgewater (1989) and the Beré Quartet (1993). In 1983 he founded a trad-mainstream group called Banana Jazz, which appeared regularly at Aspen from 1994; from 1992 this original group, combining two reeds, a banjo, and a double bass, has featured Michel Pastre. Chéron’s playing is well represented by What a Dream! and Jubilee Stomp on ...

Article

Arthur Jacobs

(Arthur)

(b London, March 14, 1887; d Killin, Perthshire, Dec 19, 1982). English conductor and composer. He was a choirboy at Westminster Abbey, organ scholar at Exeter College, Oxford (1908–12), and then a student at the St Petersburg Conservatory, where his teachers included Nikolay Tcherepnin and Maximilian Steinberg. He graduated in 1917 and after military service in Britain returned to Petrograd as an assistant to Albert Coates, at that time a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1920, back in London, he joined the music staff at the Old Vic, which at that period presented opera as well as plays. In 1931, when Sadler’s Wells Theatre opened as an extension of that management, he became principal conductor of opera, and was largely responsible for the development of the company’s repertory and standards. He shared with Coates the first performances in Britain of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b Naples, Italy, June 21, 1871; d New York, Aug 15, 1952). American conductor, impresario, and composer of Italian origin. He studied music at the conservatory in Naples, and by the age of 17 was conductor of the city’s municipal band. He left this position after eight years to play trombone in another band during its American tour. Encouraged by the wealth of performing opportunities in the USA, he recruited 40 musicians during a trip to Italy in 1902, and then traveled with them to New York, where the band’s opening concert was well received. In the next few years he toured the USA and Canada. He appeared on the Chautauqua circuit from 1910 to 1916. While pursuing his band activities, he organized an opera company in 1918 that continued for five years. The Depression brought about a decline in professional bands, and in 1936 he became conductor of the New York City Symphonic Orchestra, formed under the auspices of the WPA. A year later he became bandmaster of the New York State Symphonic Band, also a WPA group. In ...

Article

José Antonio González

(b Bologna, c1770; d ?Mexico, after 1825). Italian composer and conductor. He was probably a pupil at the Bologna Conservatory and later studied with Paisiello and Cimarosa. In 1798 he was musical director at La Scala and his first opera, La citta nuova, was performed there. He went to Barcelona in 1803 and then lived in Madrid (1803–11) and Cuba (1811–22), composing several Spanish operas. In 1823 he was living in Mexico as a piano teacher and composer.

all lost

MDCP Madrid, Teatro de los Caños del Peral

Article

Lise Waxer

[Cugat Mingall de Brú y Denolfeo, Francisco de Asís Javier]

(b Gerona, Jan 1, 1900; d Barcelona, Oct 27, 1990). Spanish bandleader, violinist and arranger, active in America. Cugat’s family moved to Cuba when he was five. A child prodigy, he was playing the violin in Havana cafés by the age of seven or eight, and later studied formally in Berlin and peformed with the Berlin PO. He arrived in New York City in 1921 and formed a tango orchestra, and then moved to Hollywood, taking up a life-long hobby as caricaturist before returning to New York with a contract at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1930. Despite his European origins, Cugat became the most commercially famous name in Latin music during the 1930s and 40s, especially among non-Latino North Americans, and his Latin orchestra remained resident at the Waldorf Astoria through the next decade.

Cugat did not pretend to perform authentic Latin American music, yet his lush orchestral arrangements helped popularize Cuban and other Latin American sounds in mainstream North America, earning him the title of the ‘King of the Rhumba’. Among his most famous recordings are ...