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Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

(b Bologoye, 22 July/Aug 4, 1905; d Moscow, June 17, 1994). Russian composer and conductor, son of Aleksandr Vasil′yevich Aleksandrov. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Glier, graduating in 1929, and worked as a music director in Moscow clubs (1923–9), music director of the Red Army Theatre (1930–37), lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory (1933–41) and leader of the Soviet Radio Song Ensemble (1942–7). From 1937 to 1946 he was deputy director of the Aleksandrov Red Army Song and Dance Ensemble, which was founded by his father and, after the latter's death, came under his direction. He received the State Prize (1950) and the title People's Artist of the USSR (1958). In Dva p′yesï (‘Two Pieces’) op.1 (1928) for piano he developed a compositional system synthesizing the principle of the 12-note series (with inversions and permutations) with a harmonic set technique and mirror symmetry. Later works, such as the well-known musical comedy ...

Article

Viorel Cosma

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 ...

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

August Corbet

revised by Corneel Mertens and Diana von Volborth-Danys

(b Antwerp, Sept 12, 1876; d Antwerp, Oct 5, 1954). Belgian composer and conductor. He studied in Antwerp at the Flemish Music School (later called the Royal Flemish Conservatory) under Peter Benoit and Jan Blockx, and conducting under Eduard Keurvels. In 1903 he became professor at the Conservatory, and was director of that institution from 1934 to 1941, when he retired. He was also active as an orchestral and operatic conductor, and was a member of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

Alpaerts was one of the outstanding personalities in Flemish musical life, both as conductor and composer; he was also a great teacher and an admirable organizer. As a composer he was, like Paul Gilson and August de Boeck, a typical Flemish representative of the Impressionist school. However, his Impressionism came closer to Richard Strauss and Respighi than to Debussy. An example of this tendency is the symphonic poem ...

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...

Article

Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, March 16, 1915; d Tirana, Albania, Nov 18, 1985). Albanian conductor, composer, and arranger. A major organizer and administrator in state-socialist Albania from the 1940s to the 60s, he received his early training from the pre-war choral and theatre groups active in Korça during the late 1920s and 30s. A talented and precocious youth, Avrazi was named assistant music director in the ensemble Korça Youth (Rinia Korçare) in the early 1930s. During World War II, he organized musical performances in support of the antifascist movement in southern Albania, popularizing partisan and nationalist songs and staging short theatrical works for Communist guerrillas beginning in 1943. Following the war, he first organized the Army Choir (Kori i Ushtrisë) before directing the Artistic Ensemble of the People’s Army (Ansambli Artistik i Ushtrisë Popullore), two groups modelled after the grand choral and instrumental ensembles of the Soviet Red Army. These groups served an important function in the late 1940s and early 50s by training Albania’s first socialist generation of musicians. Many young men who became major figures in Albanian music, including Çesk Zadeja, Tish Daija, and Gjon Athanasi, received scholarships to study abroad following their participation in Avrazi’s ensemble. In addition to his role as a conductor, Avrazi also arranged folk songs and composed a number of cantatas, vocal suites, and other choral works. A prolific song composer, he created a number of partisan songs as well as popular tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots during the 1950s and 60s. He retired with the title the Artist of the People....

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Ravenna, 1863; d Atlantic City, NJ, July 1907). Italian conductor, composer and impresario. His career was largely spent in touring Latin America and the Caribbean, mostly as the conductor for other impresarios, sometimes as both conductor and impresario of his own company.

His four-act opera Ermengarda, to a libretto by P. Martini, had its première at the Teatro Andreani in Mantua on 27 November 1886. Azzali embarked for Colombia in 1891. A six-month season in Bogotá as conductor and musical director for the Zenardo-Lambardi company was followed by an extended tour of the country and another season in the capital in 1893. During that season his Lhidiak (2, V. Fontana), based on an Indian legend, the first opera to be written for Colombia, had its première at the Teatro Colón (12 August). In April 1895 he started another tour that included Guatemala City, Quezaltenango, Bogotá and Medellin. In ...

Article

Kara Gardner

(b Detroit, March 28, 1866; d Chicago, Dec 6, 1945). American violinist, conductor, musical director, teacher, and composer. Bendix was born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Germany. His father William was a music teacher. Bendix began formal study at the Cincinnati College of Music where, at the age of twelve, he performed with the college orchestra, directed by Theodore Thomas. This began a long association between the two men, leading to Bendix’s appointment as first violinist and concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in 1886. In August 1893 Thomas resigned his position as music director of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition following a series of unsuccessful concerts. Bendix took Thomas’s place as conductor of the Exposition orchestra. This created tension between the two men, and Bendix left the Thomas orchestra in 1896. He went on to serve as conductor at the Manhattan Opera House and to conduct orchestras for world fairs in St. Louis (...

Article

Joseph J. Ryan

(b Riverstown, Sligo, Nov 30, 1909). Irish radio producer, conductor and composer. He joined the Army School of Music in 1932 as an officer cadet under Brase. As part of his training he completed a degree in music at University College, Dublin, where he studied with Larchet and O'Dwyer. In 1940 he became the director of music and the principal conductor of the national broadcasting service. He expanded the station orchestra and instituted a series of public concerts for the ensemble; he also founded the Radio Éireann Concert Orchestra and the choral group, Cór Radio Éireann. Bowles resigned from his post in 1948, responding to pressure brought about by extensive expansions in broadcasting. He subsequently taught and conducted in New Zealand and the USA before returning to Ireland in 1970. His publications include a number of articles and a book, The Art of Conducting (New York, 1959). Sacred choral settings and songs number among his compositions....

Article

David Griffioen

(b Năsăud, March 25, 1887; d Cluj, Dec 1, 1968). Romanian composer, singer, director and conductor. He began formal studies in Năsăud and continued in 1906 at the conservatory in Cluj (then Kolozsvár). In 1908 he entered the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied singing with Gustav Geiringer and Julius Meixner. After a temporary disruption he enrolled at the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, studying this time with József Sík. He graduated in 1912, having also earned his licentiate in law from the University of Cluj in 1910.

Bretan’s professional career began at the Bratislava Opera in 1913, followed by a position at the Oradea Opera. In 1917 he settled permanently in Cluj, fulfilling responsibilities as singer, stage director and even briefly director-general (Romanian Opera, 1944–5) for the various resident Hungarian and Romanian opera companies there, until political circumstances forced his retirement in 1948...

Article

John C.G. Waterhouse and Virgilio Bernardoni

(b Turin, July 25, 1883; d Rome, March 5, 1947). Italian composer, organizer, pianist and conductor. He was the most influentially innovative figure in Italian music between the two world wars.

After studying with his mother, he showed precocious promise as a pianist, first playing in public in 1894. He also became intensely interested in science, and for a time wavered between two possible careers. Music prevailed and in 1896, following the advice of Martucci and Bazzini, his parents sent him to study at the Paris Conservatoire. The rich musical and cultural life of the French capital (which remained his base for the next 19 years) broadened his horizons and had a lasting influence on him. Before long the focus of his interests shifted from the piano to composing, and in 1900–01 he attended Fauré’s composition classes. His close friends at this time included Enescu and Ravel; and he developed immense enthusiasm not only for the music of Debussy but also for that of the Russian nationalists, Strauss, Mahler and in due course Bartók, Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Revolutionary trends in the visual arts (cubism, futurism, ...

Article

Alice Lawson Aber-Count

(b London, 1784; d after 1835). English violinist, harpist, composer, tenor, conductor and music seller. He studied the violin with Claude Joseph Duboeck, making his début at the age of 9 and performing a concerto at the age of 11. Articled to study with John Ashley in 1796, he became a violinist and assisted in the Oratorio orchestra at Covent Garden and at Ranelagh Gardens. He conducted the bands at the Richmond Theatre (1799), the Birmingham Theatre (1800) and Sadler's Wells (1803/4); he also studied the harp and the piano, which he played brilliantly. He became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians and published four preceptors, for the flute, harp, piano and violin.

In 1807 Challoner was the first tenor at the Harmonic City Concerts, where Mozart's Don Giovanni was first performed in England. From 1809 to 1829 he was the harpist at the Italian Opera in London. An associate of the newly formed Philharmonic Society, he sang principal second tenor at its concerts from ...

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

Guy Bourligueux

(b Lisbon, April 22, 1828; d Lisbon, Nov 26, 1880). Portuguese composer, cellist, conductor and administrator of French descent. He had training in the piano, harp and cello from his parents and studied harmony with Santos Pinto. In 1843 he was elected to the Brotherhood of S Cecilia, became a cellist of the S Carlos theatre orchestra and made the first of several successful concert tours to Paris and London. In 1849 he was made a court chamber musician. He went to Paris in 1853 and played for two years in the Opéra orchestra. After his return to Lisbon he organized an important series of popular concerts in the Lisbon casino. In 1861 he became professor of the cello and double bass at the Lisbon Conservatory and was appointed its director two years later. Having published his first compositions when he was 20, he continued to compose, even though later in life he became increasingly involved with the theatre, sharing with Campos Valdez and Guilherme Lima the direction of the Teatro de S Carlos from ...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b Naples, Italy, June 21, 1871; d New York, Aug 15, 1952). American conductor, impresario, and composer of Italian origin. He studied music at the conservatory in Naples, and by the age of 17 was conductor of the city’s municipal band. He left this position after eight years to play trombone in another band during its American tour. Encouraged by the wealth of performing opportunities in the USA, he recruited 40 musicians during a trip to Italy in 1902, and then traveled with them to New York, where the band’s opening concert was well received. In the next few years he toured the USA and Canada. He appeared on the Chautauqua circuit from 1910 to 1916. While pursuing his band activities, he organized an opera company in 1918 that continued for five years. The Depression brought about a decline in professional bands, and in 1936 he became conductor of the New York City Symphonic Orchestra, formed under the auspices of the WPA. A year later he became bandmaster of the New York State Symphonic Band, also a WPA group. In ...

Article

Bálint Vázsonyi

[Ernst von]

(b Pozsony [now Bratislava], July 27, 1877; d New York, Feb 9, 1960). Hungarian pianist, composer, conductor, teacher and administrator. Next to Liszt he ranks as the most versatile Hungarian musician, whose influence reached generations in all spheres of musical life. He is considered the first architect of Hungary’s musical culture in the 20th century.

He received his early training in Pozsony. His father, an outstanding amateur cellist, and Károly Forstner, cathedral organist, gave him lessons in piano playing and theory. Despite the absence of professional training, he showed an extraordinary appetite for music and made rapid progress. Having finished at the Gymnasium, he decided to obtain his formal education in music at the Budapest Academy. He was the first Hungarian of significant talent to do so and his example, as well as his personal intervention, induced Bartók (his friend from early schooldays) to follow the same course. Dohnányi studied the piano with Thomán and composition with Koessler, and received his artist’s diploma in ...

Article

Manica Špendal

revised by Jernej Weiss

[Antonín]

(b Osenice, nr Jičín, Czech Republic, Dec 20, 1837; d Novo Mesto, Slovenia, June 17, 1926). Slovenian composer, conductor, choir director, and music educator of Czech birth. Uncle of Josef Bohuslav Foerster.

Foerster studied law (graduated in 1863) and music (including work with Smetana) in Prague. He was choirmaster of the cathedral in Senj, Croatia (1865–7), and from 1867 onward worked in Ljubljana. He was conductor of the Dramatical Society, choirmaster of the National Reading Society, choirmaster of the cathedral (1868–1909), and music teacher at Ljubljana’s secondary schools. In 1877 he established the Organ School in Ljubljana, was co-founder of the Cerkveni glasbenik (‘Church Musician’) journal, and was its long-time editor (1878–1908). After his retirement in 1909, he remained active as a composer. In 1917 he moved to Novo Mesto (Slovenia), where he devoted most of his time to collecting and arranging his compositions....

Article

John Warrack

revised by James Deaville

(b Würzburg, May 28, 1780; d Würzburg, Jan 5, 1862). German teacher, musical organizer, critic, theorist, conductor and composer. He studied music at the student institute of the Juliusspital in Würzburg, and studied law and philosophy at the university there. In 1801 he began his career as a violinist in the prince-bishop’s court orchestra. He also founded the Akademische Bande, a student choral and orchestral group, which in 1804 became the Akademisches Musikinstitut and was made part of the university, thus becoming the basis of the first state music school in Germany. His teaching and organizational work was of the highest importance and encompassed several disciplines and activities. He became reader in aesthetics in 1812, reader in pedagogical studies in 1819 and professor in 1821. In 1820 a singing school was established as part of the institute. He also conducted important historical concerts for King Ludwig I in ...