(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...
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 ...
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, Dec 22, 1894/Jan 5, 1895; d Bucharest, Feb 4, 1974). Romanian composer, pianist, teacher, and critic. An erudite personality of Romanian music, he contributed to the formation of a Romanian school of composition during the inter-war years. At the Bucharest Conservatory (1906–13) he studied with Kiriac-Georgescu, Castaldi, Klenck, and Dunicu. In 1919 he graduated law school in Bucharest and then took the PhD in 1922 in Paris. During his stay in France, he participated in the courses of composition of Vincent d’Indy and Gabriel Faure. In 1920, he founded the Society of Romanian composers with other important musicians. At the Bucharest Conservatory (now the National University of Music Bucharest) he taught chamber music (1926–48) and composition (1948–59). His students include Stefan Niculescu, Dumitru Capoianu, and Aurel Stroe. He was not only a partner at the chamber concerts of George Enescu, but also promoted together with Enescu the new Romanian and French chamber music. He wrote for numerous publications on subjects ranging from music aesthetics to jazz and folk music, for instance, ‘George Enescu the Way I Met Him’ in ...
John C.G. Waterhouse
(b San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence, June 20, 1883; d Tunis, Sept 22, 1927). Italian critic, composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, he became music critic of the newspapers La nazione (Florence) from 1915 to 1918 and Il resto del Carlino (Bologna) during 1919–23. He also taught composition and music history at the Nuova Scuola di Musica, Florence (1917). From 1909 to 1915 he regularly contributed to the influential Florentine cultural periodical La voce. His books, notably La crisi musicale europea (1912) in which he explored in depth the idea of decadence, are among the most thought-provoking written by any Italian musician of the time; and he had a knowledge and understanding of current trends (Skryabin, Schoenberg, etc.) which was then rare. His ideas exerted an important influence on progressive Italian musical opinion, and particularly on other composers: in 1911 he was the chief spokesman for a short-lived pressure group known as La Lega dei Cinque or ‘I “Cinque” Italiani’, whose other members were Pizzetti, G. F. Malipiero, Respighi and Renzo Bossi. Bastianelli’s propaganda advocated ‘the ...
revised by Philip E.J. Robinson
(b Paris, Jan 24, 1732; d Paris, May 18, 1799). French writer. The son of a clockmaker, he defended his invention of a watch escapement mechanism against theft by the royal clockmaker Lepaute, whom he replaced at court in 1755. He subsequently became harp teacher to the daughters of Louis XV and, thanks to contact with the homme d’affaires Pâris-Duverney, was ultimately able to buy himself into the nobility. In his Essai sur le genre dramatique sérieux (1767), the preface to his Eugénie, he took up the ideas of Diderot in favour of a distinct genre of drame, different from both French classical tragedy and comedy. His works in this genre outnumber his Figaro comedies, and even these show its influence: he returned to it fully in the third Figaro play, La mère coupable (1792). His racy parades, playlets written for the high-society private stage, served as an apprenticeship in comic musical theatre, particularly in the use of vaudevilles (well-known tunes sung, as part of the dramatic text, to new words). ...
(b Bordeaux, ?April 1791; d Paris, Dec 18, 1858). French violinist, composer, dramatist and critic. His date of birth, given as 7 February 1778 in all reference works since Fétis, is contradicted by Blanchard himself in the Revue et gazette musicale (21 January 1838). He was a pupil of Franz Beck in Bordeaux and of Kreutzer (violin), Méhul and Reicha (composition) in Paris. In 1815 he wrote the words and music of a pantomime, Clarisse et Lovelace, and was conductor at the Théâtre des Variétés from 1818 until 1829. There he came into contact with the leading actors and entertainers of the day, and composed a large quantity of vaudeville airs, some of which, for example Tra la la and Guernadier, que tu m’affliges, enjoyed immense popularity. In 1830 he became director of the Théâtre Molière, where a series of his plays appeared, one of which, ...
(b Saint-Gilles, Brussels, May 29, 1890; d Brussels, April 11, 1961). Belgian composer, pianist and critic. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory, where in 1908 he won a first prize for piano in De Greef's class. Wounded in World War I, he was evacuated to England and then moved to Australia, where he became Melba's accompanist. After several international tours he settled in Brussels in 1925. He abandoned his career as a virtuoso pianist to study composition with Gilson and joined the ‘Synthétistes’ group. At the same time he launched into music criticism, giving proof of a caustic wit. Until 1955 he taught harmony (assistant professor 1939, professor 1943) and counterpoint (from 1949) at the Brussels Conservatory. A fluent composer, he began with works describing his memories of travel. He attempted to renew the symphonic poem by choosing modern subjects, as in Le jazz vainqueur, op.33. After ...
[Cecil Valentine ]
(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....
James B. Kopp
(b Avignon, France, May 18, 1854; d Versailles, France, May 20, 1933). Organist, composer, collector, and writer on musical instruments. Born a count into an old Norman family, he studied organ with Gigout in Paris in the late 1880s and was admitted to the Académie des Sciences Morales, des Lettres et des Arts de Versailles in 1891. Beginning in 1897, de Bricqueville played the organ in the chapel of the palace of Versailles for about 20 years. Writing as a music critic, he enthusiastically promoted Wagner but also appreciated earlier French opera. His studies of historical instruments, instrument collecting, and music iconography, while largely superseded by later research, offer valuable insight to the state of scholarship at the turn of the 20th century. He described his private collection of instruments (mainly European of the preceding three centuries) in three published catalogues, the last being Catalogue sommaire de la collection d’instruments de musique anciens formée par le Cte de Bricqueville...
(b Ecclesall Bierlow, York, August 16, 1862; d London, Nov 16, 1951). English composer, pianist and critic. She studied composition and the piano at the RAM (1881–9); together with Edward German she was a member of a group of young composers known as ‘The Party’, and frequently appeared at student concerts as a pianist and composer. Notable early works include the Air and Variations for string quartet, which in 1888 won the first Charles Lucas Medal to be awarded to a woman, and a Piano Concerto in A minor which she performed herself to critical acclaim at a variety of London concerts.
After leaving the RAM, Bright established herself as a pianist in Britain and Europe and promoted the music of British composers in her annual series of piano recitals and chamber concerts in London. Among the continuing high-profile performances of her works was an 1892...
(b Rochester, NY, June 12, 1982). American composer, organist, writer, and critic. He was exposed to music from an early age (his paternal grandmother was a music teacher and an Eastman graduate). He began piano lessons at age 3; organ lessons with Bruce Klanderman followed at age 10. It was then that he began to turn his attention to composition. His formal education took place at Harvard (AB, 2000) and Carnegie Mellon (MM, 2006). Among his chief composition teachers were bernard Rands and Judith Weir.
With a voracious interest in the entire history of Western music and an unquenchable drive to compose, Cooman has amassed an enormous body of work (nearly a thousand opus numbers before reaching the age of 30), while pursuing parallel career tracks as an organist specializing in contemporary works (including more than 100 premieres), as a writer on many musical subjects, and as a consultant to other composers. His own music embraces a vast range of styles and genres, sacred as well as secular, from tonal choral anthems to atonal orchestral, solo, and chamber music, from songs to full operas, along with a variety of postmodern hybrids. He has written a large number of occasional pieces, as well as compositions for unusual instrumental combinations, avowing a belief in the value of such utilitarian pieces equivalent to that of more ambitious, large-scale works. Most of his recent music has been composed on commission, and his works are performed frequently throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and elsewhere. Dozens have appeared on recordings....
(b Riga, Sept 26, 1906; d Seattle, June 24, 1962). Latvian composer, pianist and critic, son of Emīls Dārziņš. He graduated in 1929 from Vītols’s composition class and in 1934 from Nadežda Kārkliņa’s piano class at the Latvian State Conservatory. From 1928 he worked as a pianist and critic in Riga, but in 1944 fled from the advancing Soviets and worked in the same occupations in Esslingen, Germany, until 1950. Afterwards Dārziņš lived in the USA, teaching first at the Spokane Conservatory in Washington State, then moving in 1955 to Seattle, where he took part in the concerts of the University of Washington School of Music.
In his early music, Dārziņš followed the French post-Impressionists Dukas and Roussel, and also experimented with exoticism, for example in the Spanish Dance Suite (1931). In the 1940s he developed the goal of integrating the unique qualities of Latvian folk music with those of 20th-century art music, much in the manner of Bartók. The results included hundreds of folk melody arrangements and original piano music....
(b Madrid, March 2, 1920). Spanish critic, pianist and composer. At the Madrid Conservatory he studied the piano with Luis Galve and composition with Rogelio del Villar and Conrado del Campo. In 1952 he took over the music section of the Madrid daily Arriba and was appointed head of music programmes of the Spanish National Radio, where he has been particularly successful. He founded the National RO (1953–5), the precursor of the present Spanish Radio and Television SO, which he was instrumental in founding in 1965; he also established the National Radio Choir (later the Spanish Radio and Television Choir), the Cuarteto Clásico of Spanish Broadcasting (1952) and the Barcelona City Orchestra (1967). In 1976 he became director of the music section of the Madrid daily El pais.
Although he began his career as a composer, writing many songs and some film music, Franco has achieved most recognition as a highly sensitive piano accompanist, and is considered the leading critic of his generation in Spain. He is noted for his support of new Spanish composers: in ...
Gaynor G. Jones
revised by Christopher Fifield
(b Potsdam, Oct 22, 1838; d Danzig, Aug 27, 1922). German critic, pianist, conductor and composer. The son of an organist, he studied music from an early age. In 1859 he enrolled at the University of Berlin, studying theology and later philosophy; during this time he took piano lessons from Hans von Bülow. For a time he was torn between his interests in philosophy and music; having decided upon the latter he studied thoroughbass with Carl Friedrich Weitzmann and composition with Friedrich Kiel. For two and a half years he taught the piano privately in Berlin before accepting a position at Kullak’s Neue Akademie der Tonkunst in 1868. With the singer Clara Werner (whom he married in 1870) he gave concerts in Berlin, Pomerania and Silesia and became organist at the Nikolaikirche in Stralsund in 1869. In his dissertation Praeliminarien zu einer Kritik der Tonkunst (University of Greifswald, ...
(b Belfast, May 5, 1951). Northern Ireland composer, pianist and critic. At Queen's University, Belfast (BMus 1973, MA 1974), he studied composition with Raymond Warren and Adrian Thomas. He also studied the piano with Rhona Marshall at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. In 1988, after a period of school and university teaching he became Music Director and subsequently Performing Arts Director of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Hammond has written for a wide range of media and performers from school children to professionals. His music is direct in expression and tends to eschew excessive complexity. He describes himself as a romantic; the dark side of this comes through in Thanatos (1977), a pioneering work by a Northern Ireland composer in the field of electro-acoustic composition, and the introspective Narcissus (1981). Echoes of Schoenberg and Berg may be felt in his works of the early and mid-1980s, and Hammond's usually strong contact with tonality is here at its most tenuous. German poetry, particularly that of Hesse, has been an important influence. ...
Anne-Marie Forbes and Rob Barnett
(b Croydon, England, July 5, 1878; d London, England, Aug 5, 1958). English composer, critic, conductor, and pianist. A prominent figure in British musical life in the early decades of the 20th century, he was a great publicist and advocate for the cause of the British composer and for his own works. Throughout his life he railed against public and institutional apathy towards native composition, becoming progressively disillusioned.
After studying at the RAM, Holbrooke’s career was launched with the first performance of his dramatic musical representation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven at the Crystal Palace in 1900. Commissions of large-scale choral works for provincial festivals further established him as a young composer of great promise. Henry Wood, Thomas Beecham, and Dan Godfrey conducted premières of a number of his early orchestral and choral works, although later in life he became estranged from many of his earlier supporters. It was Lord Howard de Walden (T.E. Ellis) who was the most influential figure in Holbrooke’s career. Present at the ...
Karen M. Bryan
[Douglas, Lena ]
(b Kansas City, KS, 1885; d Los Angeles, CA, Jan 24, 1974). American critic, composer, singer, and pianist. After receiving a BSc from Western Ontario University in Quindaro, Kansas, Holt studied at the Chicago Musical College and earned the first MusM in composition awarded to an African American (1918). During the 1920s she performed as a singer throughout Europe, studied composition briefly with Nadia Boulanger, and developed close friendships with Harlem Renaissance figures such as Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes.
While Holt’s career included periods in which she composed (only one of approximately 200 compositions survive) and performed (she sang extensively in private venues during her travels), she always returned to music journalism. She served as critic for The Chicago Defender from 1917–21, becoming the first woman music critic in the United States. During this same period she published Music and Poetry (1919–21), in which she included new compositions (including her own)....
Israel J. Katz
(b Orense, Oct 1, 1918). Spanish pianist, composer, conductor, administrator, critic and writer on music. He studied piano and composition with José Cubiles and Conrado del Campo at the Madrid Conservatory, taking diplomas in piano (1935) and composition (1944); later he was a pupil of Marguerite Long, Lazare Lévy and Yves Nat in Paris and of Isidore Philipp in New York, and studied conducting with Luís de Freitas Branco and Louis Fourestier. He has made concert tours of Europe, North Africa and the USA. His professional activities have included the founding (1957) and directing of the Orense Conservatory of Music, giving piano masterclasses and teaching the interpretation of Spanish music at Música en Compostela (from 1958) and organizing the Manuel de Falla seminars and courses at Granada. He created (1962) the Semanas de Música Religiosa at Cuenca and as music adviser to the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica planned music festivals in Spain and the USA in collaboration with the Organization of American States; he has served as secretary-general of the Spanish section of ISCM (whose festivals he organized in ...
(b Brunswick, Sept 5, 1820; d Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], Feb 16, 1886). German pianist, composer, critic and teacher. He quickly developed as a pianist and was sent to Vienna, where he studied the piano with C.M. von Bocklet and theory with Sechter and Seyfried. After a further two years in Brunswick, he settled in 1845 in Königsberg, where he initially worked in the theatre and conducted the Singverein. From 1847 Köhler devoted himself exclusively to piano pedagogy and to writing about music. He was music critic for the Hartungsche Zeitung for almost 40 years (1849–86), and contributed to Signale from 1844 until his death. His correspondence articles from Königsberg for Brendel's Neue Zeitschrift für Musik brought him to the attention of Liszt and Wagner in 1852, but it was his first book, Die Melodie der Sprache (1853), that established him as one of the leading New German writers, a reputation substantiated by his many journal articles, newspaper reviews and books of the 1850s and 60s. He also proposed the idea behind the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein, which he, Liszt and Brendel (among others) developed at the ...