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Article

William Waterhouse

( b 1872; d Switzerland, Jan 1938). Italian flute maker, flautist and composer . He was a flautist at La Scala, Milan, from 1897. In 1910 he invented his ‘Albisiphon’, a vertically-held, Boehm-system bass flute in C, with a T-shaped head, which he described in his Albisiphon: flauto ottava bassa (Milan, 1910). It was used by, among others, Mascagni in Parisina (1913), and Zandonai in Melenis (1912) and Francesca da Rimini (1914). The Dayton Miller Collection (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) possesses two models of an ‘albisiphon baritono’ in C and a tenor in F. There is also an example of another invention which Miller termed ‘half flute in C’ (that part of a regular flute played by the left hand, with a wooden handle for right hand) for which Albisi composed a concerto. He also made flutes in collaboration with the Milanese maker Luigi Vanotti in about ...

Article

Jody Diamond

(b Bay Shore, NY, April 7, 1946). American composer, performer, instrument builder and ethnomusicologist. She received the BA from Sarah Lawrence College, and the MA and PhD from Wesleyan University, where she studied Indonesian and Indian music. She has performed with the ensembles of Philip Glass, Jon Gibson, Alvin Lucier, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. In 1976 she co-founded, with Corner and Goode, the Gamelan Son of Lion, New York, a new music collective and repertory ensemble under her direction. In addition, she has built several Javanese-style iron gamelans, including the instruments used by the Gamelan Son of Lion and Gamelan Encantada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Benary’s compositional output has been primarily in the areas of ensemble and chamber music, and music for the theatre. She has described herself as a ‘part-time minimalist who also likes to write melody’. Many of her works integrate world music forms, structures and instruments with traditional Western materials. Her works for gamelan ensemble, which number more than 30, have been performed internationally. ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b St Joseph, MO, July 11, 1939; d Petaluma, CA, July 9, 2005). American musician, composer, and experimental instrument maker. He was a jazz pianist in Kansas City before turning in the 1960s to playing keyboard with San Francisco rock groups. Disillusioned by commercial work, he began composing ‘fusion’ music and making instruments (often inspired by non-Western models) with which to play it. He described himself as an itinerant flute-maker and sold his popular bamboo flutes and other creations at Bay Area fairs and concerts. Inventions of his include the Wind Wand (a long dowel with a handle and an adjustable cross-piece intersecting a large rubber band stretched over the ends of the dowel; swung in a circle or back and forth, it produces four pitches); Spirit Catcher (a smaller Wind Wand with two rubber bands, producing eight tones); Butu (a section of bamboo with fingerholes, played by striking the bottom on a hard surface and fingering the holes to change the pitch); Groove Stick (a long bamboo scraper), as well as the Tank, the Circular Violin, and a bamboo xylophone. He shared his music and instruments with public school classes, where he was known as ‘Mr. Sound Magic’. In later years DeVore explored improvisation together with like-minded musicians and experimental instrument makers including Bart Hopkin, Tom Nunn, and Richard Waters. After DeVore’s death many of his instruments were donated to local schools....

Article

Graham Lack

(b Karlsruhe, Feb 26, 1954). German composer, instrument builder and performer. He studied saxophone with Ariel Kalma in Paris, Indian classical music with Kamalesh Maitra in Berlin and India and the ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. Durand began constructing wind instruments, mostly built from PVC and plexiglass, in the early 1980s and performs his own music on these, as well as saxophone and ney. He is also active in collaborating with and organizing international music festivals and artist exchanges in the fields of both traditional and avant-garde music in Berlin and elsewhere. Recent collaborations include The Beatless Sax Oldrones, a saxophone quartet specializing in just intonation, and The Armchair Traveller, a group with Sebastian Hilken (cello and percussion), Hella von Plotz (glass harp) and Silvia Ocougne (acoustic guitars). He founded the group The Thirteenth Tribe, and continues to contribute music to theatre, dance, film and radio productions. In ...

Article

Gordon Rumson

(b Aurora, IL, March 9, 1871; d San Francisco, April 15, 1954). American composer, pianist and inventor. A precocious musician, he graduated with ‘unprecedented’ honours from the Königliche Musikschule, Munich (1889), having studied with Rheinberger and Thuille. He settled in San Francisco in 1896, touring widely with Anton Schott, Amalie Materna, David Bispham and Ernestine Schumann-Heink. In 1901 he married the singer Edith Cruzan. He moved back to Germany in 1911, where he established a vocal studio in Berlin and obtained a patent (1912) for a new keyboard design with 60 notes to the octave. After returning to the USA in 1914, he became head of the music department at the University of Virginia (from 1920). His retirement in 1941 coincided with an American patent for the polytone, an instrument using an extended keyboard and allowing for a purer intonation of 3rds and 5ths....

Article

Kathryn Bridwell Briner

(David )

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 27, 1950). American horn player, historical horn maker, music educator, and composer. He studied horn with Ernani Angelucci, John Barrows, Helen Kotas, Ethel Merker, Frank Brouk, and Dale Clevenger. He was appointed assistant principal horn for the Detroit Symphony in 1972, and has also performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978–80), the Cincinnati Symphony (1984–6), the Toledo Symphony (1990–7), and as guest principal horn with the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He has taught the horn at Interlochen Arts Academy, Wheaton College, Oakland University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, the School of Perfection in Mexico City, and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. Greer has written solo pieces for both the modern and natural (valveless) horn, as well as a mass for hunting horns and organ.

Noted for his flexible tone and facile technique, Greer has toured widely as a soloist and has made notable recordings, particularly on the natural horn; those recordings include Beethoven’s Sonata for horn, Brahms’ Trio for horn, violin, and piano, and the horn concertos of Mozart....

Article

Stephen Montague

(b Mount Vernon, NY, Nov 24, 1953). American composer, computer instruments inventor and educator. He studied composition and cello at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1971–3), Columbia University (1973–4), the Juilliard School (BM 1975, MM 1977), specialising in computer music technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. His principal teachers were Luigi Dallapiccola (1973), Roger Sessions (1973–5) and Elliott Carter (1975–8). He was the principal cellist with the Canadian Opera Company (1975–6) and a guest composer at IRCAM, Paris (1978–9), where he subsequently served as director of musical research (1980–84). He returned to the United States and in 1985 joined the faculty of MIT as professor of music and media at its new media laboratory and became director of the Experimental Media Facility and head of the Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future group where he continues to work. In ...

Article

Olivia Mattis

(b Columbus, NE, 1926; d San Francisco, April 21, 2011). American engineer, inventor and composer. One of the pioneers of computer music, he was a member of the Bell Telephone Laboratories group that included John Pierce and Newman Guttman. He studied electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology (BS 1950) and MIT (MS 1952, ScD 1954) before working in acoustic research at Bell Labs (1955–87). In 1987 he was appointed to a professorship at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). His many honours include the SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music (1989) and the French Legion of Honour (1994).

Mathews’ best-known composition, his rendition of Bicycle Built for Two using instrumental and vocal sounds synthesized by the computer (1961), became a cultural icon when it was used as the basis of the final scene of Stanley Kubrick’s film ...

Article

Dorothy de Val

(b Kecskemét, nr Szeged, Feb 19, 1863; d Mt Pélerin, nr Vevey, Oct 20, 1931). Hungarian composer, pianist and inventor. The son of a cantor, he studied in Prague, Budapest and Vienna before travelling to America in 1885 to pursue a career as a pianist and conductor. In 1888 he settled in England, but travelled frequently to the continent for performances of his works and was encouraged by Brahms, whom he met in 1889. In England his work was championed by George Henschel, who conducted his First Symphony, the Concert Overture and the Piano Concerto in D; the concerto shares with the Second Symphony (1895) a distinctive Hungarian style in its strong rhythms and harmonies. In 1901 Moór moved to Switzerland, where he turned increasingly to opera. Diverse in style and favourably received (most were staged), the operas were nonetheless dropped from the repertory before long, and Moór continued with instrumental composition, finding champions in such performers as Casals (the dedicatee of several works), Marteau, Eugene Ysaÿe and Flesch. Highly rhapsodic and coloured, Moór’s music was often inspired by the contrapuntal complexity of J.S. Bach, as well as by his own Hungarian and Jewish background; despite the musical innovations of the first decades of the twentieth century, Moór’s work remained rooted in the nineteenth century....

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Milan, Italy, July 31, 1941; d 2002). Italian composer, pianist, photographer, and designer of instruments. He studied piano and composition at the Milan Conservatory and photography at the London College of Printing before moving in 1963 to New York, where he assisted Richard Avedon. He returned to Milan in 1967 and the following year opened a commercial photography studio, while also pursuing music and video art. In 1972–3 he was a member of NADMA (the Natural Arkestra de Maya Alta), which mixed Asian-inspired sounds with jazz and other Western genres. From the mid-1970s he composed theatrical concert works in which traditional instruments and their performance techniques are reassessed, and devised several large-scale sound environments. In Quartet (c1975) a harpist with harp is encased in a one-piece fitted, knitted, costume-like covering, a performer on free-reed instruments (mouth organ, accordion, and foot-operated table bandoneon) is gradually incapacitated by being mummified in sticky tape, and a violinist and pianist have their fields of operation restricted by specially constructed containers for parts of their instruments. In another work a harp is played with metal mesh gloves to which about 50 nails are attached. Mosconi’s sound environments include ...

Article

Eckart Schwinger

revised by Lars Klingberg

(b Rostock, Sept 12, 1941). German composer, instrument maker and performer. He studied composition with Wagner-Régeny, the piano with Walter Olbertz and choral conducting with Fritz Höft at the East Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1962–8), and then was lecturer in theory at the musicological institute of the East Berlin Humboldt University (until 1974). His studies were completed in Paul Dessau’s masterclass at the German Academy of Arts (1972–4). In 1974 he founded the East Berlin ‘Klangwerkstatt’. In 1980, concerned about East German cultural and educational policy, he moved to West Germany. Since then he has given performances in Western Europe and in the USA on instruments he has made himself. He has received scholarships to work in the electronic studios at Freiburg (1981) and at the IRCAM (1982). He taught music to students of music therapy in Heidelberg between ...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by David Patterson

(b Fairfield, IA, Sept 9, 1947). American composer, performer and designer and maker of electronic instruments. He studied music at the University of Illinois (1965–7, composition with Binkerd and Martirano, electronic and computer techniques with Hiller) and also privately, learning various instruments, conducting and Indian music. In 1967–8 he went to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY, Buffalo, and from there to New York University as a guest lecturer (1968–70). He was director of computer and electronic media research at York University, Toronto (1970–77), developing a computer language for the composition and performance of synthesized music, and computerized electronic instruments for live performance. He also carried out research on biofeedback and the relationship between the information-processing mechanisms of the brain and aesthetic experience. He served as artistic director of the Electric Circus in New York (1967–8) and helped found the Neurona Company, which carries out research and development in arts and technology. He joined the faculty at Mills College in ...

Article

Suzanne Beal

(b Istein, now part of Efringen-Kirchen, Germany, Nov 26, 1951). German instrument inventor, kinetic sculptor, sound artist, and composer, known as Trimpin. His father was a brass and woodwind player, and Trimpin played with old instruments as a child but developed an allergy to metals that precluded performing on brass instruments. Instead he experimented with making new devices using old radios and parts of discarded instruments. He studied music and art at the University of Berlin from 1975 to 1979. From 1976 to 1979 he was a musician for the Theater Zentrifuge in Berlin, and designed sets for the San Quentin Drama Workshop under the direction of Rick Cluchey and Samuel Beckett. In 1979 he left Berlin for Seattle and began independent research in sound sculpture design, combining music composition and kinetics with computer technology. From 1985 to 1987 he taught at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, and in ...

Article

Jacqueline Oskamp

(b Leiden, 1949; d June 18, 2008). Dutch composer, inventor of instruments and performer. He was self-taught. He became acquainted with electronics at the age of 16, when his father built a theremin. From 1981 he was director of the Studio voor Elektronische Muziek in the Netherlands.

In the mid-1970s he invented the kraakdoos (cracklebox), which is based on the instability of electronic circuits, usually considered undesirable. In 1981 he composed De Slungels, the first theatrical piece to be performed entirely by robots. Using these theatrical robots, Waisvisz studied both the relationship between man and machine and ways of improving the operation of electronic systems. An important step in this respect was the development of De Handen (hands), a sensitive instrument with which material stored in the computer can be played in real time. Variants on this same principle are De MIDI-Conductor (1985) and Het Web...