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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

Axel Helmer

(b Visby, June 5, 1805; d Stockholm, May 4, 1857). Swedish composer, conductor and organist. He studied music at the University of Uppsala and became the musical director of E.V. Djurstrms theatre company in 1828. From 1832 to 1842 he was a teacher at the Gymnasium in Vsterå and the city’s cathedral organist. He then moved to Stockholm, where he was a conductor of various theatre orchestras, for which he composed the music for about 100 productions, often in collaboration with August Blanche. His only full-length opera, Alfred den store (Alfred the Great), based on a text of Theodor Krner, was written in 1848 but never performed; another opera, Abu Hassan, was not finished. His other compositions include about 300 entractes, a vocal symphony, some orchestral works, a piano concerto and solo piano pieces. He also edited collections of Swedish and Nordic folksongs and folkdances and compiled a pocket dictionary of music (...

Article

Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg

revised by Martin Anderson

(b Fredrikstad, April 29, 1872; d Oslo, Dec 24, 1932). Norwegian composer, conductor and organist. He studied with Peter Lindeman (organ) and Iver Holter (harmony, counterpoint and composition) at the Christiania Music and Organ School (1888–92), and was then a pupil of Reinecke (composition) and Ruthard (piano) at the Leipzig Conservatory (1892–4). Appointments as organist followed in Drammen (1895–1907) and Oslo (1907–32), where he served at the cathedral from 1916; his First Symphony was completed during a course of study in Berlin in 1897. He was one of those responsible for the foundation of the Norsk Komponistforening, of which he was president from 1921 to 1923. As a member of the Koralbokkomiteen (1922–6) he harmonized most of the melodies in the chorale book of the Norwegian Church, and he edited preludes to all of the chorales. He was active as a choir-conductor, leading the Håndverksangforening (...

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

Robert Hoskins

(b London, Aug 10, 1740; d London, Oct 22, 1802). English composer, conductor, organist and editor. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, a commoner, and, according to some sources, the Princess Amelia. Arnold received his education as a Child of the Chapel Royal (c1750 to August 1758) and on leaving became known as an organist, conductor and teacher, and composed prolifically. In autumn 1764 he was engaged by John Beard as harpsichordist and composer to Covent Garden; there he compiled several pastiche operas, including the popular The Maid of the Mill (1765), which is among the supreme examples of the form. In 1769 Arnold bought Marylebone Gardens, and during the next six summers produced several short all-sung burlettas, composing or at least contributing to four new examples (now lost). These productions were simply written (from the literary point of view at least) and would have appealed to an audience with no previous experience of operatic music....

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

Harry B. Soria Jr.

[Albert R. ]

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 1, 1879; d Honolulu, HI, Jan 23, 1933). Composer, arranger, publisher, pianist, and bandleader, active in Hawaii. Cunha’s compositions early in the 20th century spearheaded the development of the hapa haole song, featuring predominantly English lyrics with some references to Hawaii and the Hawaiian language, earning him the title of “Father of Hapa Haole Songs.” His innovation is credited with making Hawaii’s music accessible to a much wider audience, which rapidly grew to global proportions over the next few decades.

Cunha left Hawaii to attend Yale University, where he excelled in sports, the Yale Glee Club, and composed Yale’s “Boola, Boola.” Rather than practice law after graduation, he toured the mainland United States performing a new kind of Hawaiian song, combining the popular ragtime rhythm of American music with Hawaiian songs. Cunha returned to Hawaii and composed his first hapa haole song, “Waikiki Mermaid,” in ...

Article

Evan Feldman

(b Port Huron, MI, April 17, 1943). American composer, conductor, educator, and publisher. He received some of his earliest training in the Salvation Army Instrumental Music program, a debt he later repaid as editor of their music publications. He undertook undergraduate studies at Wayne State University (BM 1966) and graduate studies at Michigan State (MM 1970), studying euphonium with Leonard Falcone and conducting with Harry Begian. His composition teachers were F. Maxwell Wood, James Gibb, Jere Hutchinson, and Irwin Fischer. He has over 400 works in his catalog, mostly tonal, many of which take their inspiration from literature. He is widely known for his symphonic band and brass band works, several of which have won major awards: Symphonic Triptych, Collage for Band (ASBDA/Volkwein, 1977, 1979), Mutanza, Symphonic Variants for Euphonium and Band (ABA/Ostwald, 1980, 1984), and Lochinvar (Coup de Vents, France, 1994). His prolific output for young musicians reflects his many years teaching at public school and college levels. He founded and presides over Curnow Music Press, Inc....

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

Ivana Vesić

(b Plzeň, Sept 29, 1882; d Iriški Venac, March 27, 1938). Yugoslav music publisher, conductor, composer, violinist of Czech origin. After working as a freelance musician in Sofia, Bulgaria (1897–1903), he settled in Belgrade in 1903 where he took the post of concertmaster in the National Theater (1904–09) and temporarily in the Orchestra of ‘Kraljeva garda’ [King’s guards]. He was also the conductor and director of several singing societies (‘Lira’ [Lyre], ‘Harmonija’ [Harmony], etc.) as well as of his own salon orchestra which performed regularly in the hotel ‘Moskva’ [Moscow] (1908–14). He was a founder and owner of the publishing house ‘Edition Frajt’, (1921–41), which was dedicated solely to music publishing. It released more than 800 volumes consisting mostly of the works of Austrian, Yugoslav, German, Russian, Czech, and Hungarian composers. The largest part of the collection comprised arias from operettas and operas, arrangements of folk songs and folk dances, salon lyrical character pieces, and popular songs and dances. In addition to the works of established Serbian composers from the 19th century (Davorin Jenko, Stevan Mokranjac, Josip Marinković), Frajt`s catalogue included the works of many Yugoslav composers of his time (Petar Krstić, Stevan Hristić, Mihovil Logar, Marko Tajčević, etc.). Among them were the numerous popular songs based mostly on the rhythm of popular social dances of that period and arrangements of folk songs and dances composed by Frajt himself. Frajt was also the author of several pieces for orchestra (‘Srpska igra’ br. 1 i 2 [Serbian dance no.1 and 2]), vocal-instrumental ensemble (‘Misa u B-duru’ [Mass in B Major]), solo songs, and works for violin solo and violin and piano....

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

John W. Wagner

(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....

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

Owain Edwards

(b Trecastell, Breconshire, Dec 30, 1848; d Aberystwyth, Dec 10, 1915). Welsh composer, conductor and editor. He was apprenticed to a tailor but showed early determination to become a musician, and taught himself Tonic Sol-fa. In 1874 he was one of Joseph Parry's first music students at the newly founded University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and four years later, as the college could not yet award degrees, took the Cambridge MusB externally. He was appointed instructor in music at Aberystwyth in 1882, lecturer in 1899 and professor in 1910. A prolific composer, he published most of his music himself, including some fine hymn tunes (‘Penlan’, ‘Builth’, ‘Gnoll Avenue’, ‘Bod Alwyn’). Of his larger works Job, The Storm, Arch y Cyfamod (composed for the National Eisteddfod, Caernarvon, 1876), The Psalm of Life (Cardiff Triennial Festival, 1895), The Galley Slave and Scenes in the Life of Moses (his last big work, dated ...

Article

Leonard B. Smith and Raoul F. Camus

[Brockton, Lester]

(b Southville, MA, Oct 25, 1879; d Palisade, NJ, March 16, 1955). American composer, conductor, editor and arranger. He studied at the New England Conservatory and was playing the violin with professional symphony orchestras in Boston by the age of 16. From 1896 to 1910 he conducted various theatre orchestras, including the orchestra of the Teatro Payret, Havana, then one of the largest theatres in the western hemisphere. He later moved to New York, where he wrote arrangements for Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, Edwin Franko Goldman, Percy Grainger, Henry Hadley and George M. Cohan. In 1913 he became editor-in-chief of band and orchestral music at Carl Fischer, a position he held for 35 years. His textbook, The American Band Arranger, was published by Fischer in 1920. He taught at the Ernest Williams School, Columbia University and New York University. He also conducted his band, Symphony in Gold, for NBC radio. More than 3000 of his arrangements and compositions were published, some under the pseudonym Lester Brockton. The Heritage of the March series of recordings includes a sample of his work. Lake’s autobiography is entitled ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Albert Mell

revised by Matthias Wiegandt

(b Berlin, Dec 28, 1812; d Dresden, Sept 12, 1877). German cellist, composer, conductor and editor, brother of Eduard Rietz. He studied the cello from the age of eight with Franz Schmidt, Bernhard Romberg and Moritz Ganz. In 1829 he joined the orchestra of the Königstadt theatre. Refusing Spontini's offer of a post in the Berlin court orchestra, he went to Düsseldorf in 1834 to assist Mendelssohn at the Opera; though nominally only assistant conductor he did most of the conducting. When Mendelssohn left Düsseldorf, Rietz became the city's musical director. During the next 12 years he established a reputation as a conductor and a composer; more than two dozen works of his were published, including the music for Goethe's Singspiel Jery und Bately, two symphonies, a cello concerto and several sets of lieder. He continued to play the cello in public, with Ferdinand Hiller and Ferdinand David among others. He assisted Mendelssohn at the Lower Rhine Festival of ...