1-20 of 21 results  for:

  • Performance Artist x
  • 21st c. (2000-present) x
  • Composer or Arranger x
Clear all

Article

Susan McClary

(b Chicago, June 5, 1947). American performance artist and composer. Although she played the violin from childhood, she received her formal training in the visual arts (Barnard College, BA 1969; Columbia University, MFA 1972). During the 1970s she became one of the most celebrated practitioners of performance art. Her work has incorporated graphics, lighting, sculpture, mime, slides, film, speech, music and many electronic devices, some of her own design. By 1976 her performances were featured prominently in museums and concert venues across Europe and North America.

The first phase of Anderson's career culminated in the seven-hour work, United States, I-IV, performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983. Hailed as a landmark by postmodernist theorists, the work was regarded as thematizing the contradictions and tensions of late-capitalist society. Against a backdrop of stylish visuals, she played electronically enhanced violins, sang, mimed, controlled an elaborate bank of electronic devices and recited her own witty, yet disturbing poetry, that hovers between scathing social criticism and ironic self-parody. Much of her work comments on the alienation produced by contemporary culture, but at the same time self-consciously relies on the very technological mediation it appears to lament....

Article

Lise Waxer

[Colón Román jr, William Anthony; ‘El malo’]

(b South Bronx, New York, April 28, 1950). American bandleader, composer, arranger, trombonist, popular singer, producer and actor. Dubbed ‘El malo’ (the ‘bad boy’) of salsa, he began playing the trumpet in 1963 with the teenage band the Dandees. Switching to trombone, he made his professional début at 17 with the album El malo (Fania, 1967). Both as a bandleader and a member of the Fania All-Stars, he quickly moved to the fore of the burgeoning New York salsa scene, cementing the raw, trombone-heavy ‘New York sound’ inspired by earlier artists such as Eddie Palmieri and Mon Rivera. Between 1967 and 1973 he made a series of important recordings with vocalist Hector Lavoe, which included the albums Asalto Navideño I and II (Fania, 1972 and 1973) with cuatro virtuoso Yomo Toro, where traditional Puerto Rican Christmas aguinaldos were fused with salsa. During his second period (...

Article

Gerald Bordman

revised by Paul R. Laird

[Cohen, Elizabeth ]

(b New York, NY, May 3, 1917; d New York, NY, Nov 23, 2006). American librettist, lyricist, and actor. She had a lifelong writing partnership with adolph Green (1914–2002). They began their professional careers as members of the Revuers, performing satirical shows in New York nightclubs. Comden and Green wrote most of the group’s sketches. Their collaboration, which usually included creating a show’s lyrics and book, became firmly established with their first musical for Broadway, On the Town (1944, with music by Leonard Bernstein), in which they also performed. They worked again with Bernstein on Wonderful Town (1953), and wrote several shows with Jule Styne: Two on the Aisle (1951), Peter Pan (1954), Bells Are Ringing (1956), Say Darling (1958), Do Re Mi (1960), Subways Are for Sleeping (1961), Fade Out—Fade In...

Article

J. Ryan Bodiford

(b New York, NY, July 30, 1971). American singer, composer, actor, and activist of Puerto Rican descent. Known to his fans as the King of Merengue, he has achieved international recognition for his self-styled brand of urban merengue fusion, which incorporates influences from Latin American genres like samba, salsa, and bomba, while also employing slick pop production techniques and hip-hop aesthetics. Romantic lyrical sentiments and attention to fashion further characterize his professional approach.

Crespo was raised primarily in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. His career began when he was 17 when he joined the Willie Berríos Orchestra in San Juan; however, his major breakthrough came in 1995 when he joined the established Puerto Rican merengue group, Manía. Helping to infuse Manía’s sound with more of a hip-hop edge, Crespo wrote two of the group’s biggest hits, “Linda eh” and “Ojitos bellos.” After three years gaining recognition with the group, he went solo in ...

Article

Holly George-Warren

[Smith, Lucille Wood; Smith (Fox), Frances Octavia]

(b Uvalde, TX, Oct 31, 1912; d Apple Valley, CA, Feb 7, 2001). American Western-music and popular singer-songwriter and actor. As Frances Fox, the name used in her first marriage, she began singing jazz, blues, and pop tunes on radio stations in Memphis in 1929. In May 1935 she took the stage name Dale Evans as staff vocalist at WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. She moved to WFFA in Dallas, and by 1940 she was singing with the Anson Weeks Orchestra in Chicago, where she joined the CBS affiliate station WBBM. In 1941 Evans signed with 20th-Century Fox, playing bit parts in Hollywood musicals. She became a vocalist on several national radio shows, including “The Chase and Sanborn Hour” (1941), “The Jack Carson Show” (1944), and “The Camel Caravan” (1945). In 1943 she signed with Republic and, the following year, co-starred with roy Rogers, whom she married in ...

Article

Ronald J. Zank

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 6, 1954). American performer, playwright and librettist. Fierstein grew up in New York and worked as an actor; he also pursued his interest in painting and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He was both lead actor and playwright for Torch Song Trilogy, which originated off-off Broadway before transferring to off-Broadway and finally to Broadway (1982). He wrote the libretto for the musical adaptation of the French play and film La Cage Aux Folles (1983, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman), about a gay couple dealing with their son’s marriage into a conservative family. Fierstein also crafted the book for the short-lived Legs Diamond, a production that featured the songs and performance of Peter Allen as the title gangster. As a performer Fierstein originated the role of plus-sized mother Edna Turnblad in the musical ...

Article

(b Los Herreras, Nuevo León, México Dec 16, 1921; d Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, Sept 1, 2003). Mexican actor, singer, songwriter, and film director. Eulalio “Piporro” González Ramírez is best known for developing an idiosyncratic style of parodying Northern Mexican, or norteño, identity, lifestyle, and language through music and comedic acting for radio, stage, and film. His career spanned 60 years. He began as a newspaper reporter and radio personality in Monterrey and in US-Mexico border towns when he landed a role on the radio comedy, Ahí viene Martín Corona (Here Comes Martín Corona) produced in México City and starring the popular singer and actor Pedro Infante. At age 28, he played Infante’s elderly sidekick in 19th-century northern México where his bumbling character, “Piporro,” helped solve conflicts and dustups in local ranch life. The show’s success led to the 1951 film of the same name starring González and Infante. González enjoyed countless roles as “Piporro” in classic ...

Article

(b New York, NY, Dec 2, 1914; d New York, NY, Oct 24, 2002). American lyricist, librettist, and actor. He sustained a lifelong writing partnership with Betty Comden. Among their joint works were the musicals Wonderful Town (1953) and Bells Are Ringing (1956), and the film script ...

Article

Tamar Barzel

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 9, 1952). American vocalist, composer, librettist, free-improviser, and performance artist. She studied theater and dance at the High School of Performing Arts, took classical voice and theory lessons at the Manhattan School of Music, and served an apprenticeship with jazz artists in New York and Europe. At the age of 18 she joined the San Francisco Actors Workshop, where, influenced by Antonin Artaud and Jerzy Grotowski, she pursued an interest in sound-as-theater. She has created site-specific works—including The Passions of Natasha, Nokiko, Nina, Nicole and Norma, which explored the erotic lives of five women—and personal homages such as her virtual duet, For Jerry. Her autobiographical suite, O Little Town of East New York, reveals many of her key creative concerns, including a fascination with the nuances of cultural and personal difference. Hirsch’s narratives unfold in kaleidoscopic flashes, leaping among sonically embodied characters, glossolalia, and quotations—real and ersatz—from myriad musical sources. She performs with live instrumentalists and over pre-recorded accompaniments, using multiple microphones programmed with contrasting effects, real-time electronic processing, and video projection. ...

Article

Kathleen Hudson

(b Klein, TX, Nov 1, 1957). American songwriter, musician, and actor. Known for quirky stories, strong language, a wry tone, gentle and profound themes, and interesting music, Lyle Lovett has been influenced by fellow Texas songwriters Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt. His voice and appearance have created a distinctive image, but his reputation stands on the foundation of his songwriting.

Lovett grew up on a horse ranch in a suburb of Houston, graduating from Texas A&M University in 1982 with a degree in journalism and German. There, he met singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, with whom he co-wrote “Front Porch Song” while both were playing in College Station’s Front Porch Band. After a stint playing music and studying in Germany, he went to Nashville, where, with the support of Guy Clark, he was signed to a recording contract with MCA/Curb Records. They released his self-titled debut album in ...

Article

Lisa MacKinney

[Koch, Lydia Anne ]

(b Rochester, NY, June 2, 1959). American singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer, poet, and performance artist. Lydia Lunch arrived in New York City as a teenage runaway in 1976, after a childhood of chaos, abuse, and extreme neglect. Motivated by the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, and the incendiary writing of Lester Bangs in Creem magazine, Lunch formed Teenage Jesus and the Jerks in 1977. The group (which briefly included James Chance) released only a handful of singles and EPs before breaking up in 1979, but Lunch had established herself as an uncompromising purveyor of a brutal, confronting, violently sexual, and bleak artistic vision. She is considered to be a founder of No Wave, an abrasive, untutored form of noise-based punk music that was often politically charged and musically experimental. No wave often involved conventional instruments (guitar, bass, electronic keyboards) used as extreme noise-making devices to create discomforting, visceral sounds—Lunch regularly used electric guitar with a slide in this manner to piercing, abrasive effect. Lunch released her first solo album, ...

Article

Joan La Barbara

(b Chicago, Sept 12, 1922). American performance artist, composer and poet. After early training in the piano, the violin and harmony at the Chicago Musical College (1927–32) and the Northwestern University School of Music (1932–6), he studied philosophy at the University of Chicago (1939–43, AA 1941) and, later, Greek with Vera Lachmann at Brooklyn College, CUNY (BA 1958); he also studied the piano with Shirley Rhodes Perle (1943–4), Grete Sultan (1953–5) and Franz Kamin (1976–9), composition with Erich Katz (1948–9), experimental music with John Cage at the New School for Social Research (1957–60), the synthesizer with Rhys Chatham (1973) and singing with Pandit Pran Nath (1975–6). His teaching appointments include positions at New York University (1966–73), the Naropa Institute (1975, 1991, 1994), and Schule für Dichtung, Vienna (...

Article

Elaine Keillor

(b Calgary, March 4, 1937). Canadian composer, pianist and performance artist. After studying with Gladys Egbert in Calgary and Boris Roubakine in Banff and Toronto, she settled in Winnipeg in 1959. She undertook further studies with Alma Brock-Smith, Leonard Isaacs, Peter Clements and Michael Colgrass in Canada, and with Adele Marcus in the USA. In 1972 she graduated with the BMus from the University of Manitoba. A champion of Canadian contemporary music, she founded in 1976 the Winnipeg-based Music Inter Alia, western Canada’s first contemporary music series. She served as artistic director of the series until 1991. Also active as a performer, she has given many première performances of Canadian works.

McIntosh’s compositions frequently employ multi-media; music, video, slides, electronic tapes, mouth sounds, dialogue and movement all become part of her artistic expression. Eliptosonics (1979), Glorified Chicken Mousse (1984) and Process Piece (1988...

Article

David W. Bernstein

revised by Wendy F. Hsu

(b Tokyo, Japan, Feb 18, 1933). American performance artist, composer, singer, and songwriter of Japanese birth. Ono was born into a wealthy banking family and raised in Tokyo. In 1953, she moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College where she studied music and philosophy. Ono married Toshi Ichiyanagi in 1956. In the early 1960s the couple’s Manhattan apartment became the site of many performance events; several of the artists who performed there later became associated with Fluxus. Dubbed “the high priestess of the happening,” Ono was a pioneer in the conceptual art movement. She once claimed that “the only sound that exists … is the sound of the mind.” Her conceptual scores, described by George Maciunas as “Neo-Haiku Theater,” often consist of only brief instructions. Earth Piece (1963), for example, instructs the performer to “listen to the sound of the earth turning.” A specialist in extended vocal techniques, Ono performed self-composed pieces that featured her virtuosic vocal exploration of screams, sighs, moans, gasps, and multi-phonics....

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Hattiesburg, MS, Jan 3, 1943). American Composer, lyricist, producer, arranger, actor, and singer. He is best known for collaborating with other artists and for writing the lyrics to the Beach Boys’ album Smile with Brian Wilson. Although he began his career as a child actor throughout the 1950s, he turned to music in his teens, learning guitar and performing with his brother, Carson. He landed a record contract in 1964 with MGM, then moved to Warner Bros. two years later, mostly working as an arranger and a session musician. In 1966 he recorded on the Byrds album Fifth Dimension (Columbia) and began his work on Smile. His songs such as “Surf’s Up” and “Wind Chimes” impressed Wilson, who championed Parks’s work. However, due to strife within the band—caused partly by objections to such songs as “Cabinessence”—Smile went unreleased at the time. Parks went on to work on solo projects, and in ...

Article

Rich Kienzle

[Hubbard, Jerry Reed ]

(b Atlanta, GA, March 20, 1937; d Nashville, TN, Sept 1, 2008). American guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and actor. He grew up in a family split by divorce and poverty. At age seven he gravitated to guitar and became enamored of the fingerstyle playing of Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. As a teenager, he played country music in the Atlanta area and took the professional name Jerry Reed after signing with Capitol Records in 1954. His records did not sell many copies, but Capitol rockabilly star Gene Vincent made Reed’s composition “Crazy Legs” a staple of his repertoire. In the early 1960s, though Reed’s recordings failed to sell, stars including Brenda Lee and Porter Wagoner began recording his songs. By then, he was a Nashville session guitarist. He developed a new and unorthodox approach to Travis-Atkins fingerstyle playing involving the use of the right-hand thumb and all four fingers. Chet Atkins began recording Reed instrumentals and later adapted aspects of Reed’s unique style to his own playing. In ...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(b Rio de Janeiro, Nov 21, 1961). Brazilian composer, pianist, arranger, actor and theatre author. He studied music theory and piano at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (1976–8), then at the Villa-Lobos School, where he also studied counterpoint, arranging and composition with Koellreutter (1979–83). He earned his bachelor's degree in music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (1983). In 1979 he won the first prize in the composition competition sponsored by the Villa-Lobos School and the School of the Brazil SO. Until then he had worked as an arranger and pianist of popular music, but he now turned his attention to theatre music, working as composer and musical director in more than 50 productions. In 1983 he received the Mambembe Prize for the music of the plays Will and A porta.

Rescala participated in various festivals of contemporary music in Brazil and other countries, including that of the American Composers' Orchestral Festival, Sonidos de las Américas (...

Article

Timothy D. Miller

[Kenneth] (Donald)

(b Houston, TX, Aug 21, 1938). American country and pop music singer, songwriter, actor, and entrepreneur. After beginning his career with the doo-wop group the Scholars, Rogers recorded as a solo artist and played jazz bass in the Bobby Doyle Trio. In 1966 he joined the New Christy Minstrels, but soon left to form the splinter group, the First Edition. Performing a mix of pop, country, and psychedelic rock, the First Edition had several hit songs, including “Ruby, don’t take your love to town” (Reprise, 1969), before disbanding in 1975. Rogers subsequently partnered with producer Larry Butler to record a string of pop-friendly country hits for United Artists, including “Lucille” (1977) and “Coward of the County” (1979). “The Gambler” (1978) became Rogers’s signature song, topping the charts and inspiring a series of television movies in which he played the lead. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rogers recorded several duet albums with Dottie West and collaborated with singer-songwriter-producer Lionel Richie. In ...

Article

Craig Jennex

(b Thunder Bay, ON, Nov 28, 1949). Canadian pianist, composer, musical director, actor, producer, and bandleader. He has been musical director for David Letterman’s late-night shows since 1982. Prior to working with Letterman, Shaffer was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has served as musical director and producer for the Blues Brothers and cowrote the 1980s dance hit “It’s raining men.” He has served as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in ...

Article

J. Michele Edwards

[Chieko]

(b Okayama, Dec 13, 1938). Japanese composer and performance artist. She studied music theory and composition with Shibata and Hasegawa and the piano with Koji Taku at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, graduating in musicology in 1961. In 1961 she began to work exclusively as a freelance composer and performer, founding Group-Ongaku, an experimental ensemble focussing on improvisation, taped music and events, with Kosugi and Mizuno. In 1963 Nam June Paik introduced her to Fluxus, and, with the encouragement of George Maciunas, she went to New York to participate in the movement from 1964 to 1965. Most of her works before 1977 are event pieces such as Direction Music (1964), in which ten participants pull strings attached to a performer's fingers, or the series of international mail events published as Spatial Poem (1965–75). In later, notated compositions Shiomi continued to produce intermedia and theatrical works. In ...