(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944; d Cortlandt Manor, NY, Aug 22, 2017). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...
revised by Gordana Lazarevich
(b Toronto, March 28, 1906; d Victoria, May 6, 2002). Canadian composer, conductor and violinist. He studied the violin with Luigi von Kunits, Kathleen Parlow and Marcel Chailley, and was a member of the Toronto SO (1923–36) and the Toronto Trio (1938–52). He began composition studies with John Weinzweig in Toronto in 1944 and continued with Charles Jones and Darius Milhaud. In 1952 he became head of the music department at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, where he was appointed composer-in-residence in 1966. His other activities included co-founding the Canadian League of Composers (1951), conducting the Saskatoon SO (1957–60) and serving as a member of the Canada Council (1966–9). His numerous CBC commissions included the Algonquin Symphony (1957–8), Rondino for nine instruments (1961) and an opera, Grant, Warden of the Plains (1967). After his retirement in ...
(b Tobol′sk, 31 Dec/Jan 12, 1821; d St Petersburg, 22 May/June 3, 1898). Russian violinist and composer. He received his musical education from his father, the violinist Yakov Ivanovich Afanas′yev, an illegitimate son of the writer and poet Prince Ivan Dolgorukov. In 1836 he made his début as a violinist in Moscow, and two years later was appointed leader of the Bol′shoy Theatre Orchestra. He resigned in 1841 to become conductor of the serf orchestra maintained by the wealthy landowner I.D. Shepelyov at Vïksa, near St Petersburg. In 1846 he decided to pursue a career as a solo violinist and toured the major provincial cities of Russia, settling in St Petersburg in 1851. There he made occasional appearances as a soloist, and also led the orchestra of the Italian Opera, sometimes deputizing for the regular conductor. In 1853 he became a piano teacher at the Smol′nïy Institute and relinquished his orchestral post. He visited western Europe in ...
(b Moscow, Sept 8, 1947). Russian pianist, conductor, writer and poet. A student of Yakov Zak and Emil Gilels at the Moscow Conservatory (1965–73), he won the 1968 Leipzig Bach Competition, four years later taking the gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. After seeking political asylum in Belgium in 1974, he settled in France in 1980, but since 1989 he has returned regularly to his native country for concerts and recordings. Intent on philosophical truths more than absolutes of pianistic finish, placing emotions of the mind and spirit above ‘outward prettiness’, Afanassiev is a provocatively inspirational artist, indebted on his own admission to many of the great individualists of the past: Gilels, Gould, Horowitz, Michelangeli, Rachmaninoff and Sofronitsky all receive tribute in his ‘Homages & Ecstasies’ album (1996). Partial to mono/duographic programming, with a repertory extending from Froberger to Crumb, his extensive discography includes Bach (Book 1 of ...
(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...
(b Kentville, NS, Aug 28, 1939). Canadian flautist, conductor and composer. He studied with Nicholas Fiore (in Toronto) and Marcel Moyse; later with Rampal and Gazzelloni. He was principal flautist of the Vancouver SO (1958–9) and of the Toronto SO (1965–70). In 1971 he was a prizewinner of the Concours International de Flûte de Paris. In 1964 he formed the Lyric Arts Trio with his wife, the pianist Marion Ross, and the soprano Mary Morrison. He is musical director of New Music Concerts (Toronto) and Music Today (Shaw Festival, Ontario), as well as a soloist whose engagements take him to Europe, North America, Japan and Iceland. In 1977 he was one of 12 instrumentalists invited by Boulez to give a solo recital at IRCAM in Paris. Some 50 works have been wrtten for him by composers including Carter, Crumb, R. Murray Schafer and Takemitsu. Technically adept, he has a pure, intense tone and a finished sense of phrasing. In ...
J. Bradford Robinson
(b Dairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Japanese jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. She studied classical music and turned to jazz only in 1947 after moving to Japan. There she was discovered by Oscar Peterson, who urged her to take up a career in the USA. After studying at Berklee College of Music (1956–9) she became a highly regarded bop pianist, especially in groups with the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano (who was at that time her husband). She worked in Japan (1961), joined Charles Mingus in the USA (1962–3), then returned to Japan until 1965. In 1973 she founded a large rehearsal band in Los Angeles with the tenor saxophonist and flautist Lew Tabackin, whom she had married in 1969. Its first album, Kogun (1974, RCA), was commercially successful in Japan, and the group attracted increasing popularity and critical acclaim until, by ...
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 ...
(b Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d Falun, May 8, 1960). Swedish composer, conductor and violinist. He attended the Stockholm Conservatory (1887–91) and then took private lessons with Lindegren (composition) and Zetterquist (violin); from 1887 he also studied painting. A violinist in the Hovkapellet (the opera orchestra, 1890–92), he decided in 1892 to make his career in music. From 1904 to 1957 he conducted the Siljan Choir – a group of five church choirs and regional choirs in Dalarna – and he was the director of other choruses, including the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), with whom he made 22 tours throughout most of Europe. In addition he was Director Musices of Uppsala University (1910–39). A Hugo Alfvén Foundation has been established in Stockholm.
Alfvén's music is distinguished by orchestral subtlety and by a painterly exploitation of harmony and timbre. His output was almost entirely of programme music, often suggested by the Swedish archipelago; he commented that ‘my best ideas have come during my sea-voyages at night, and, in particular, the wild autumns have been my most wonderful times for composition’. A few pieces, often performed, have maintained his reputation: ...
(b Morgan, TX, June 13, 1927). American conductor, composer, arranger, and trumpeter. Allen began trumpet lessons at age seven with his father, a 50-year Texas school band director, and later studied with Jimmy Burke of the Goldman Band and Lloyd Geisler of the National SO. During 45 years of military service, he conducted US Army bands, including the 101st Airborne Division Band. His career culminated with his appointment as Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band (Pershing’s Own) in Washington, DC, 1976–90. He led and supervised the band, chorus, orchestra, Army Blues, and Herald Trumpets in more than 5,000 performances annually at the White House, Pentagon, US Capitol, and Arlington National Cemetery, throughout the US, and in Canada, the US Virgin Islands, Japan, and Australia. He composed Salute to Veterans, the official march of the Veterans Administration, and The Major of St. Lo, the official march of the 29th Infantry Division. He is a past president of the American Bandmasters Association....
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...
Barbara A. Petersen
revised by Don C. Gillespie
(b Philadelphia, Nov 17, 1930). American composer, horn player and conductor. As a youth he played the piano, trumpet and horn, developing a strong interest in jazz as well as classical music. After a year at Oberlin Conservatory (1948), where he studied the horn, he attended George Washington University (BA in history, 1952). He was engaged as a horn player with the National SO, Washington, DC (1951–2), and then played with the Seventh Army SO in Europe; during his three years there he also toured as a soloist, performed with chamber ensembles, and in Paris took part in jazz sessions. He returned to the USA in 1955 and enrolled in the Manhattan School, where he studied with Mitropoulos, Giannini and Schuller; he was also a member of the Manhattan Woodwind Quintet. He was awarded honorary degrees from Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1979...
(b Stockholm, March 13, 1914; d Malmö, Jan 4, 1972). Swedish composer, pianist and conductor. During the period 1936–8 he studied composition in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris and London, and later in Salzburg and Vienna. He was a piano pupil of Olof Wibergh in Stockholm and studied conducting with Paumgartner, Walter and Weingartner at the Salzburg Mozarteum. In 1934 he made his début as a pianist and composer in Malmö with the later discarded Concertino. He was conductor of the Hippodromtheater, the Malmö operetta theatre (1939–42, 1949–50), and in 1946 founded a chamber orchestra which he directed until its activities ceased in 1950. Thereafter he lived as a freelance composer in Malmö, latterly spending much time in Cologne and Vienna; he sometimes appeared as a pianist or conductor, particularly with the Malmö Ars Nova. His electronic works were composed in his own studio, FEM.
Anderberg’s music of the 1930s and 40s showed French influence, but later he went through a 12-note serial period, stimulated by his profound analyses of Schoenberg’s piano music. In this way he integrated new techniques into an individual style, solidly craftsmanlike in the orchestral works and instrumentally brilliant in the chamber music. Many of his works were suggested by literature or by contemporary events, the latter particularly in later years: the piano concerto (...
(b Vienna, May 16, 1927). Austrian conductor, viola player and composer. From 1941 to 1946 he studied theory, the piano, violin and organ at the Vienna Music Academy. After playing the viola in the Vienna SO and winning a medal at the Geneva Music Competition in 1948, he was engaged by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, and then by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1949–52). From 1953 to 1956 he was principal viola player in the Vienna SO. He also won first prize for an organ composition in the competition in Haarlem in 1954.
Angerer’s subsequent career as a conductor has extended from the post of director and chief conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra (1956–63), and numerous tours as guest conductor, to an engagement as composer and conductor of the Vienna Burgtheater (1960–64). In this capacity he wrote and performed music for various plays. He was principal conductor of the opera house of Bonn (...
(b Budapest, April 12, 1919; d Kingston, ON, February 24, 2012). Canadian composer, conductor and pianist of Hungarian birth. He studied with Kodály at the Budapest Academy (1937–41). As a young man he spent a period with other Jewish youths in a forced-labour contingent of the Hungarian Army; his later war experiences – escape, then concealment by friends during the winter of 1944–5 – are described in the memoirs of the novelist Theresa de Kerpely (Teresa Kay). After a season as assistant conductor at the Budapest Opera (1945–6), he went to Paris for further studies in piano (Soulima Stravinsky), conducting (Fourestier) and composition (Boulanger), remaining there for three years. He moved to Canada in 1949 (taking Canadian nationality in 1955), and for three years held a Lady Davis Fellowship and an appointment as assistant professor at McGill University. There he founded the electronic music studio and served for six years as chair of the department of theoretical music. He held grants for electronic music research from the Canada Council (...
Barry Kernfeld and Gary W. Kennedy
(b Berkeley, CA, Aug 21, 1960). American bandleader, tenor saxophonist, composer, percussionist, and pianist. He played percussion and piano from an early age, took up drums while in elementary school, and began piano lessons when he was nine. In 1975 he formed his own improvisation group, the Berkeley Arts Company, and in 1977 he founded the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, which initially consisted of 16 reed and brass players and himself on drums; the following year he added other instruments to form a rhythm section. Having moved to New York state (c1979) he played percussion and drums in Karl Berger’s Woodstock Workshop Orchestra, and he toured and recorded with the group in Europe with Don Cherry as guest soloist (1979). Under Warren Smith (ii) he performed in the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble, and he played keyboards in Carla Bley’s Burning Sensations and worked briefly with Eddie Jefferson. In ...
Doris Evans McGinty
(b Philadelphia, c1808; d New York State, after 1871). American composer, horn player and conductor. One of the earliest black American composers, he worked in New York, as teacher and performer, and Philadelphia, where he played with the Walnut Street Theater Orchestra (1826) and was a member of the Frank Johnson band (1830s), with which he toured England. He conducted the first performance of instrumental music in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1848) and was described by Bishop Alexander Payne as ‘the most learned musician of the race’. His best-known compositions are an anthem, Sing unto God, and John Tyler’s Lamentation, commissioned by the Utica (New York) Glee Club, probably with reference to the presidential election campaign of 1844.SouthernB J. Trotter: Music and Some Highly Musical People (Boston, 1881/R) D.A. Payne: Recollections of Seventy Years (Nashville, TN, 1888) E. Southern...
revised by Tully Potter
(b Madrid, Dec 24, 1863; dSan Sebastián, June 2, 1939). Spanish violinist, conductor and composer. He studied the violin with Jesús Monasterio at the Madrid Conservatory, with Vieuxtemps at the Brussels Conservatory and with Joachim in Berlin. He travelled extensively both as a soloist and, together with Albéniz and Augustín Rubio, as a member of a celebrated piano trio, for which he composed three works. He appeared in London in 1891, playing works for violin and piano with Albéniz, and Bach’s Double Concerto with Joachim, and from 1894 to 1915 served with distinction as a professor of the violin and viola at the RCM.
In 1904 Arbós was appointed conductor of the Madrid SO and he was a leading influence in Spanish musical life until he resigned the conductorship on the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936. He was a guest conductor with the Boston SO and other American orchestras from ...
(b Novgorod, 30 June/July 12, 1861; d nr Terioki, Finland [now Zelenogorsk, Russia], Feb 25, 1906). Russian composer, pianist and conductor. His father, a doctor, was a keen cellist, and his mother an excellent pianist who gave him his first music lessons. By the age of nine he had already composed some songs and piano pieces. When the family moved to St Petersburg, Arensky took lessons with Zikke before entering the St Petersburg Conservatory (1879), where he studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov and counterpoint and fugue with Johannsen. He graduated with a gold medal in 1882. Even before this Rimsky-Korsakov had been sufficiently impressed by Arensky’s talent to entrust him with a share in preparing the vocal score of The Snow Maiden. After graduating Arensky went straight to the Moscow Conservatory as a professor of harmony and counterpoint; among his pupils were to be Rachmaninoff, Skryabin and Glière. The move to Moscow brought him into close contact with Tchaikovsky, who gave him much practical encouragement, and Taneyev. From ...
(b Memphis, TN, Feb 3, 1898; d Chicago, IL, Aug 27, 1971). American jazz pianist, singer, bandleader, and composer. She studied keyboard privately from an early age and had hopes of becoming a concert pianist. While she was enrolled at Fisk University, her mother and stepfather moved to Chicago, where in 1917 she took a job as a sheet music demonstrator, which led to her joining the Original Creole Jazz Band as its pianist. It was her first job playing jazz and she decided not to return to Fisk. She subsequently worked with several bands, including King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with which she performed in San Francisco in 1921 and made her recording debut in 1923. By this time the band included louis Armstrong, whom she married in 1924. Armstrong’s place in jazz history was assured by her participation on Oliver’s Gennett recordings and Louis’ Hot Five sessions for Okeh. She played an important role in Louis’ move into a brighter spotlight before their separation in ...