(b Basle, Oct 11, 1495; d Basle, April 1562). Swiss humanist, musician and lawyer. The son of the printer Johannes Amerbach, he began studying the classics in Engental (near Basle) as the private pupil of Conrad Leontorius, who in 1507 described him as ‘both talented and lazy’. Between 1507 and 1509 he continued his education in Schlettstadt at the distinguished humanist school run by Hieronymus Gebwiler and by 1510 had matriculated at the University of Basle. In 1513 he was awarded the degree of baccalaureus artium, and upon graduation moved to Freiburg im Breisgau, where as a candidate for the degree of magister artium he specialized in ethics, physics and grammar. While in Freiburg he also began studying law under Ulrich Zasius and later continued these studies with Andrea Alciati in Avignon where, in 1525, he was awarded the degree of doctor juris. It was during his student days that Amerbach’s close relationship with Erasmus began; when the Dutch humanist died in Basle in ...
(b Iaşi, Oct 3, 1839; d Iaşi, Feb 17, 1923). Romanian writer on music, folklorist and violinist. He studied music in Iaşi (1855–60) and at the Paris Conservatoire with Reber, Clapisson and Alard (1861–5). At the Iaşi Conservatory he held posts as professor of violin (1860–61) and of music theory (1893–1903). He undertook concert tours in Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, Italy, Asia Minor and elsewhere, and collected folklore material of various peoples, particularly of the Romanians in Moldavia, Dobruja and Transylvania. The published results concerned wedding and burial customs (including remarkable studies on dirges), and Romanian folk music instruments. He was a founder of Romanian musicology, and published research on music education, the musical theatre, military songs and church choirs. He was also the founder of Romanian music lexicography: he edited the first Romanian dictionary of music (Dicţionar muzical...
(b Takoma Park, MD, Feb 28, 1939; d Salem, OR, Feb 22, 2001). American guitarist, folklorist, and record producer. As a teenager, Fahey’s early interest in country music was expanded to include bluegrass and country-blues due to a friendship with richard Spottswood , later a noted folk and ethnic music scholar. With Spottswood and famed collector Joe Bussard, Fahey sought out pre-war 78 r.p.m. records. After taking up the guitar, Fahey’s made his first recordings for Bussard’s private Fonotone label on 78 r.p.m. shellac discs, some of which Fahey claimed to have slipped into boxes of more “authentic,” vintage records at flea markets. In 1959 Fahey founded Takoma Records to distribute his own recordings, beginning with the LP Blind Joe Death; his liner notes also frequently mock the language of then-contemporary blues scholars, the very people he had hoped to fool with the Fonotone 78s.
Despite his sense of humor Fahey was a serious student of American vernacular music. He travelled long distances to find Bukka White and Skip James in the Mississippi Delta in the early 1960s; he relates these events in the memoir, ...
Edward H. Tarr
(b St Michaelis, Saxony, April 27, 1940). German organologist. He played the cornett with the Capella Lipsiensis and studied musicology, indology and ethnology at the University of Leipzig with Besseler, H.C. Wolff, Eva Lips and Johannes Mehlig, 1959–64; thereafter he was on the staff of the Musikinstrumenten-Museum of the university until 1973. After working as a freelance scholar, he moved to the USA and in 1992 was employed at the Streitwieser Foundation and the Shrine to Music Museum; from 1994 he took up a post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Heyde’s work is distinguished by an exemplary thoroughness in a wide range of fields associated with organology. His catalogues of wind instruments in the Leipzig collection have set a new standard with their detailed analysis, photographs and line drawings, which have often helped solve questions of provenance of similar instruments elsewhere. In vols.3 and 5 of his ...
Paul F. Wells
[Joseph C. ]
(b Lake Forest, IL, Oct 20, 1935). American Folklorist and folksinger. He was exposed to folk songs by his parents when he was a child and began to play the guitar as a teenager. His interest in folk music deepened during his undergraduate years at Oberlin College (BA 1957). Among other musical activities while in college he hosted a radio program and served as local agent for the Folkways, Stinson, and Elektra record labels. He pursued graduate studies in folklore (MA 1961) and ethnomusicology at Indiana University and began to hone his skills as a performer in parallel with his academic and archival work there. In 1963 he was hired as librarian at the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress (now the Archive of Folk Culture); this marked the beginning of a 35-year career at that institution. He was promoted to head of the archive in ...
Jeff Todd Titon
(b White Plains, NY, Sept 4, 1925; d Bangor, ME, Aug 1, 2009). American folklorist, folksinger, and song collector. Ives was educated in English (MA, Columbia) and folklore (PhD, Indiana University), and taught for more than 40 years at the University of Maine. His travels in Maine and the Maritime Provinces of Canada brought him into contact with the traditions of local song-making and storytelling, particularly among men working in the woods in lumber camps and as guides. Ives’ reflexive studies of New England song-makers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries show a keen intelligence and generosity of spirit. His eight books concentrated on deceased working-class songsters and storytellers (Larry Gorman, Lawrence Doyle, Wilbur Day, George Magoon, and Joe Scott), and on creativity within traditional forms. He claimed that vernacular literature and song had social and aesthetic values that transcended its sentimentality. His teaching and writing inspired two generations of New England folklorists, and he was active as an educator and public speaker throughout the state of Maine, where he is remembered with affection. He founded the Northeast Archives of Folklore, which later became incorporated into the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, and which houses thousands of recorded interviews, photographs, and artifacts related to traditional music and lifeways in Maine and the Maritimes....
(b Jacksonville, FL, June 21, 1942; d Washington DC, Jan 13, 2017). American folklorist and fiddler. An orchestral violinist early in life, he studied folklore and medieval literature at Duke University, earning the PhD in English in 1968. He documented the playing of Appalachian traditional fiddlers and drew upon their repertoire as a member of the Hollow Rock String Band, which contributed significantly to the 1960s folk revival. After teaching at UCLA (1968–9), Jabbour held influential positions with national cultural institutions. He was head of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress (1969–74); founding director of the NEA’s Folk Arts Program (1974–6); and founding director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (1976–99).
As a scholar Jabbour edited and annotated several significant collections of sound recordings. American Fiddle Tunes (Library of Congress, 1971; Rounder, ...
(b Lefkonoiko, May 5, 1904; d Nicosia, May 10, 2004). Cypriot church cantor, Byzantine music scholar, and folk song collector and singer. He studied Byzantine music with Stylianos Hourmouzios in Nicosia (1921–4). He continued his studies in Byzantine music with Ioannis Sakellarides and Spyros Kapsaskis at the National Conservatoire of Athens, where he also studied Western music (1933–4). In 1935 he was appointed chief cantor (protopsaltis) at Agios Ioannis, the archiepiscopal cathedral in Nicosia, where he remained until the end of his life. In 1934 he became the first person to make commercial recordings of Cypriot folk songs. The ten songs he recorded were issued by HMV in Athens. In 1951 he published Kypriaki Laïki Mousa (Cypriot Popular Muse), the largest collection of Cypriot folk songs up to that time, which contained 83 transcriptions in both Byzantine and staff notation.
As a Byzantine music scholar he published 13 books, which covered different aspects of liturgical chanting. He was also the founder of a Byzantine music school in Nicosia (...
(b New York, NY, Sept 22, 1899; d Plainfield, NJ, May 23, 1979). American soprano and folklorist. She studied voice in New York with Cesare Stunai, Henry Russell, and Katherine Opdycke, and made her debut in 1929, as Gounod’s Marguerite, with the Quebec Opera Company, Montreal. During the 1930s, while continuing to sing opera in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere (her roles included Aida, Tosca, and Carmen), she became interested in American folk music and folklore and began collecting songs, particularly from residents of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and the Zuni Indians of New Mexico, about both of which she lectured and wrote articles. Her recital programs (from 1937) ranged from Hopkinson and Billings to MacDowell, Farwell, and Gershwin (often performed from manuscript); she also sang Native American songs in original languages and folksongs from all over North America. A frequent performer on radio, she was the soloist on ...
Israel J. Katz
(b Ciudad Rodrigo, Feb 3, 1868; d Salamanca, June 13, 1928). Spanish folklorist, organist and composer. His talent as a musician was nurtured during his early childhood. After serving as an organist at a local church, Ledesma became organist at the cathedral in Ciudad Rodrigo (1889–98) and at Salamanca Cathedral (1898), a post he held until his death. He was ordained a priest in Salamanca. He was a famous improviser and a prolific composer of organ and liturgical music, but he is best remembered for his Folk-lore ó Cancionero salmantino (Madrid, 1907/R), which contains 404 melodies collected from the rich oral tradition of his native province. This was awarded a prize in an open competition by the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando (Madrid), and was later published by the Diputación Provincial de Salamanca; the collection remains one of the most outstanding in Spanish folklore. An unpublished second volume containing 903 items was left to his disciple Bernardo García-Bernalt Huertos in ...
Laura Otilia Vasiliu
[ Karol ]
( b Chernivtsi, [now in Ukraine], Oct 20, 1819; d Lviv, Ukraine, May 21, 1897). Armenian-Polish-Romanian pianist, composer, folklorist, and teacher .
He studied the piano in Paris with Frédéric Chopin and composition with Anton Reicha (1844–7). He toured as a concert pianist in Austria, France, Italy, and Russia. He was a professor at and head of the Lviv Conservatory from 1858 to 1888. He then founded his own school. Among his students were the Romanians Ciprian Porumbescu, Paul Ciuntu, and Constantin Gros, but also the musician pianists of Lviv that would be his disciples—Raoul Koczalski, Moriz Rosenthal, and Aleksander Michałowski. He collected, notated, and processed Romanian and Polish folk songs (1848–54). He published a 17-volume critical edition of Chopin’s work (Leipzig, 1879). He used several verified sources, most of which were written or corrected by Chopin himself. His editions of Chopin’s works were first published in America in ...
(b Moscow, 1944; d Moscow, 1996). Russian ethnomusicologist, collector, folklorist, ensemble director and actor. In the mid-1960s he studied the balalaika at the Gnesin Academy of Music. After undertaking fieldwork with his mother, who was an ethnographer, he became fascinated by folklore and founded an experimental ensemble which rehearsed for the first time on 16 September 1973 under his direction. The young participants did not learn the songs from memory but improvised them as though they had adopted them from traditional singers. Their songs were in the style of the drawn-out songs of the Don Cossacks, which have distinctive qualities of timbre, texture and structure. This was the beginning of a powerful revival of traditional songs in various regions of Russia. Pokrovsky's work encouraged others to establish ensembles for the purpose of performing regional traditional musics, and by the early 1980s thousands of such groups were playing traditional material based on his principles. Pokrovsky's ensemble and the revival movement won enormous popularity, which troubled the KGB. After ...
Israel J. Katz
(b Oviedo, April 8, 1888; d London, Feb 17, 1955). Spanish folklorist, writer on music and literature, teacher, choral conductor and composer . He began his musical education in Oviedo, studied the piano and composition at the Madrid Conservatory (1907–10), and, after two years in Oviedo conducting research on traditional Asturian music, went to the Schola Cantorum in Paris (1912–14), where he studied composition with d’Indy; he also went to lectures by Tiersot (who had influenced him earlier) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales. He was invited by Ramón Menéndez Pidal to work at the Madrid Centro de Estudios Históricos in 1916, and was one of the remarkable group of artists living at the Residencia de Estudiantes which included Bal y Gay, Falla, Turina, Adolfo Salazar, Sainz de la Maza, Lorca, J. Ramón Jiménez, Buñuel and Dali. Later he dedicated to the institution his ...
revised by Laura Otilia Vasiliu
(b Mânerău, Arad district, Dec 17, 1863; d Lugoj, Feb 7, 1931). Romanian composer, choral conductor, and folklorist. He began his musical studies at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Arad (Austro-Hungarian Empire) (1880–81), and continued them in Caransebeş (1885) and at the Conservatory of Music and Declamation, Iaşi (1890–91). In Iaşi he studied harmony, composition, and choral conducting with Gavriil Musicescu, a well-trained musician who had studied in Saint Petersburg. He was a music teacher and choir conductor (with the Reuniunea română de muzică şi cântări (‘Romanian Convention for Music and Song’) in Lugoj), and he managed the most important local institution dedicated to the promotion of national culture – the Asociaţia corurilor şi fanfarelor române din Banat (‘The Choral and Brass Band Society of Banat’, 1888–1927). He was a passionate folklore collector active in Western Transylvania and the Banat (he had connections with Bartók, Musicescu, and Kiriac-Georgescu). His exclusively choral compositions are representative of both lay works (folklore adaptations, patriotic songs, etc.) and religious ones, inspired by the Orthodox chanting music from the Banat. His first collection of choruses, ...