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Article

Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech chamber orchestra, founded in 1995 by Peter Vrábel. A leading large ensemble for contemporary music in the Czech Republic, the Berg Orchestra has commissioned over 100 new pieces, as well as finding a wide and diverse audience through innovative programming and inter-arts crossover projects.

The orchestra has been crucial in supporting younger generations of Czech composers, both through regular commissions and the NUBERG composition competition. Concerts often take place in unusual venues, such as a cave on the Slovak-Hungarian border, a vacant water cleaning plant, and the interior of the Vítkov National Monument. The list of collaborations the orchestra has undertaken over the years is remarkable, and includes directors such as Heiner Goebbels, Ondřej Havelka, and Jiří Adámek, the set designers Dragan Stojčevski and Antonín Šilar, the dance companies 420PEOPLE, Spitfire Company, and DekkaDancers, institutions like the National Gallery, National Theater, Czech Radio and Television, and a number of festivals both at home and abroad....

Article

Article

Bronco  

Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell

[Grupo Bronco, El Gigante de América]

Mexican grupera ensemble. Formed by José Guadalupe Esparza, Ramiro Delgado, Javier Villarreal, and José Luis Villarreal in 1979, this band came together at a time when the genre later known as onda grupera was still in development. Influenced by the sounds of cumbia ranchera music, and romantic ballad, the band became a decisive factor in the commercialization of the grupera phenomenon. Not only did Bronco consolidate cowboy clothing as a grupera staple but they also pioneered the use of elaborate staging, fireworks, and gigantic screens in grupera concerts. After seven years of activity Bronco reached international popularity with the hit “Que no quede huella” (1989), and in 1993 starred in Dos mujeres, un camino, a soap opera that became a commercial hit in Latin America. Clothing, concert entertainment, television, and motion pictures brought international recognition for the band in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. Ultimately, these elements, accompanying Bronco’s enormous record and ticket sales, marked the mainstream emergence of onda grupera. After announcing their retirement in ...

Article

Sara Velez

revised by Megan E. Hill

International festival of orchestral and chamber music, solo recitals, and staged works, established in 1963 in Aptos, California. It was founded by Lou Harrison, the bassoonist Robert Hughes, and Ted Toews, an instructor at Cabrillo College. Held for two weeks in August in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and at various other locations, such as the Mission San Juan Bautista, the festival is noted for its innovative programming and emphasis on the works of living composers: it has staged at least 120 world premieres and over 60 US premieres. The first music director, Gerhard Samuel, was succeeded by Richard Williams in 1969, Carlos Chávez in 1970, Dennis Russell Davies in 1974, John Adams in 1991, and Marin Alsop in 1992. The directors have stressed making the artists accessible to their audiences through workshops and “Meet the Composer” sessions, open rehearsals, and a composer-in-residence program, in which John Adams, William Bolcom, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Carlos Chávez, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Lou Harrison, Jennifer Higdon, Keith Jarrett, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Pauline Oliveros, Arvo Pärt, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, Virgil Thomson, and Joan Tower have participated. The festival orchestra consists of about 65 musicians from leading orchestras in the United States and Canada....

Article

Eric Lynn Harris

American chamber ensemble. Currently a trio, the ensemble’s members include Amy Knoles (percussion, executive director), Vicki Ray (piano), and Eric Kenneth Malcolm Clark (violin). Former members have included Rand Steiger (conductor), Dorothy Stone (flute), James Rohrig (clarinet), Robin Lorentz (violin), Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick (cello), Arthur Jarvinen (percussion), Dan Kennedy (percussion), Michael McCandless (piano), Gaylord Mowrey (piano), and Lorna Little (piano).

Founded in 1981, the E.A.R. Unit embraces esoteric instrumentation including diverse groupings of traditional instruments as well as the use of electronics, interactive video, dance, and theatrical collaborations. The Unit has premiered 500 commissioned works by composers including Louis Andriessen (in cooperation with the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress), and John Adams (in cooperation with the McKim Foundation in the Library of Congress).

The Unit tours nationally and internationally performing exclusively new music—or what members refer to as “music of our time.” The ensemble has also been featured on television broadcasts throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Annual concerts are performed at the Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT), where the Unit is in residency. The group has also participated extensively in children’s workshops throughout the metropolitan Los Angeles area. With 30 recordings to their credit, the Unit has received significant critical acclaim, ranging from a Letter of Distinction in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Mobile]

Ensemble of performers using programmable mobile (cellular) phones. MoPhoO, the Mobile Phone Orchestra of CCRMA at Stanford University, formed in 2007 with 16 phones and players under the supervision of Ge Wang, Georg Essl, and Henri Penttinen, claims to be the first repertoire- and ensemble-based mobile phone performance group. Notably it uses only the phone’s onboard speakers. Since MoPhoO’s founding, other cell phone ensembles have been founded at the University of Michigan, Berlin (both founded by Georg Essl), and in Helsinki (directors Henri Penttinen and Antti Jylhä). The Michigan ensemble uses custom-made wearable speaker systems. Repertoire consists of scored compositions, sonic sculpture, and structured improvisation. For each piece, the phones run customised programmes that direct how they respond sonically to inputs that can come from the keypad or touchpad, the accelerometer positions, the built-in camera, or the microphone. For example, the keypad numbers can be mapped to different pitches in different modes, or to any sort of sound or sequence of sounds. While cell phones have considerable computing capability, they have limited acoustic bandwidth, but partial selection can suggest bass frequencies that are below the cell phone’s actual capability....

Article

Chamber music society. Resident in New York at Alice Tully Hall, the society is a constituent of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. It was conceived by William Schuman, the president of Lincoln Center, who appointed the pianist charles Wadsworth as the society’s first artistic director (1969–89). Among the musicians Wadsworth assembled to perform for the opening season (1969–70) were Charles Treger (violin), Walter Trampler (viola), Leslie Parnas (cello), Paula Robison (flute), Leonard Arner (oboe), Gervase de Peyer (clarinet), Loren Glickman (bassoon), and Richard Goode (piano). In 2010, led by artistic directors cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, the society numbered around 35 members, joined by guest artists for its annual concert series, educational programs, and national and international tours. Many concerts are broadcast on radio and television, and in 2007 the society started its own recording label.

Following its premiere performance on 11 September 1969...

Article

Paul R. Laird

(Dawn)

(b Broken Arrow, OK, July 24, 1968). American singer and actress. Chenoweth began her stage career singing for church functions before earning a BFA in musical theater and a master’s degree in opera performance from Oklahoma City University. Summer stock, beauty pageants, and off-Broadway roles preceded her Broadway debut in Kander and Ebb’s Steel Pier (1997). She portrayed Sally, a role envisioned for her, in the 1999 revival of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (winning a Tony Award) and starred in the play Epic Proportions the same year. Chenoweth has enjoyed a simultaneous television career, appearing in small-screen adaptations of Annie (1999) and The Music Man (2003) and working on series such as the eponymous Kristin, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Glee, and Good Christian Belles. Her most memorable role on Broadway was Glinda in Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked (2003), a part that she played for two years in workshops before the premiere and which was tailored to her unique talents. Later credits include Cunegonde in a semi-staged version of ...

Article

Charles Garrett

Article

Matt Sakakeeny

Brass band. Formed in 1977, they initially played traditional New Orleans brass band music at community parades and eventually created innovative arrangements and compositions heard by audiences around the globe. The horn players Gregory Davis, Roger Lewis, Charles Joseph, Efrem Townes, and Kevin Harris incorporated melodic ideas from bebop into the brass band tradition, while the rhythm section of Kirk Joseph, Benny Jones, and Jenell Marshall imported rhythms from funk and increased the tempos from their predecessors. The modern arrangements on the band’s debut album, My feet can’t fail me now (Conc., 1984), produced by the Newport Jazz Festival director George Wein, brought worldwide recognition to contemporary brass band music; two original songs, “Blackbird Special” and the title track soon became standards in the group’s hometown.

The Dirty Dozen helped initiate a brass band renaissance in New Orleans, and their innovative reformulations of traditional music instigated a spirit of experimentation among their successors. The Rebirth Brass Band, inheritors of the Dirty Dozen’s famed weekly show at the intimate Glass House bar, have incorporated elements of hip hop since the late 1990s, along with their contemporaries the Soul Rebels and Hot 8. Meanwhile, the Dirty Dozen has often changed personnel and experimented with instrumentation to update their sound, while maintaining a global presence as the most prominent New Orleans brass band....

Article

Editus  

Tania Camacho-Azofeifa

Costa Rican trio founded in 1990. It was formed by Edín Solís (b Zarcero, Alajuela, Costa Rica, 22 Nov 1963, guitar), Ricardo Ramírez (b San José, Costa Rica, 11 Nov 1967, violin), and Carlos “Tapado” Vargas (b San José, Costa Rica, 22 Jan 1971, percussion).

Editus is an eclectic group based in San José, Costa Rica. Its style and sound moves from classical music to new age, from jazz to Costa Rican and Latin American folk styles, and from popular to electronic music. Editus’ musical projects, including recordings, DVDs, and tours, typically seek to increase public awareness about environmental and other causes, and to promote social activism. This commitment is clearly expressed from their first recording, Ilusiones (1994), and its single/video, “Tokú,” to their most recent, Editus 360 DVD (2008).

The quality and versatility of the group has proved attractive not only to music schools but also to critics, filmmakers, and other musicians who have invited Editus to collaborate in new artistic and musical projects. One of their most successful partnerships has been with Rubén Blades. Together, Blades and Editus produced the recordings ...

Article

Michael Walsh

revised by Megan E. Hill

Chamber music ensemble founded in 1971 at the Berkshire Music Center. In 2011 its members were the trumpeters Rolf Smedvig and Marc Brian Reese, horn player Michelle Perry, trombonist Mark Hetzler, and tubist Kenneth Amis. Earlier members included trumpeters Charles A. Lewis Jr. and Timothy Morrison, horn player David Ohanian, trombonists Lawrence Isaacson and Scott A. Hartman, and tubist J. Samuel Pilafian. In the early 1970s the quintet performed mainly in the New England area; in 1976 it made its formal New York debut at Carnegie Hall and went on its first European tour; soon afterwards it became the first brass ensemble to receive the Naumburg Award. The quintet took part in a concert for Jimmy Carter’s presidential inauguration in 1977. In subsequent years, the group began touring regularly in Europe and East Asia. It was in residence at Boston University from 1976 until 1989, and it led the Empire Brass Seminar at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. It also founded the Empire Brass Quintet Symposium for brass students at the Berkshire Music Center in ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet, founded 1999. Its line-up has remained constant since its foundation: David Pokorný and Vladimír Klánský on violins, Vladimír Kroupa on viola, and Vít Petrášek on cello. Although classical repertoire remains central to their professional lives, the Epoque Quartet is remarkable for the breadth and professionalism of its ‘crossover’ work. The quartet has performed with the leading artists of Czech popular music, arranged world music from various traditions (most recently with the clarinettist Irvin Venyš for their CD Irvin_Epoque), and given the premières of over 80 pieces, the style of which ranges from rock- and jazz-influenced music to contemporary art music, mostly by Czech composers including Jan Kučera, Petr Wajsar, Jan Dušek, Gabriela Vermelho, and others.

Their open-mindedness and long-standing interest in various musical fields allows them to perform stylistically in a way classically-trained ensembles often find problematic, particularly in terms of rhythm, feeling, and energy when performing jazz- and rock-influenced repertoire....

Article

ETHEL  

James Bash

String quartet. Formed in 1998, ETHEL consists of Juilliard-trained violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, violist Ralph Farris, and cellist Dorothy Lawson. Dufallo replaced one of the quartet’s founders, violinist Todd Reynolds. The ensemble performs only new music, often using amplification and, in many cases, introducing some degree of improvisation. Their repertory includes their own works and pieces by contemporary composers such as Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, John Zorn, Steve Reich, John King, JacobTV, David Lang, Scott Johnson, Don Byron, Marcelo Zarvos, Evan Ziporyn, and Mary Ellen Childs. The ensemble has collaborated with rock musicians such as Joe Jackson, Todd Rundgren, and David Byrne as well as with classical artists such as Ursula Oppens and Colin Currie. From 2007 to 2010, ETHEL gave the premieres of 47 new works, many of which were commissioned for the ensemble or by its nonprofit foundation.

The quartet has recorded a number of albums, including its debut, ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

Czech string quartet. Founded in 2005 by the violinist David Danel, with the violinist Aki Kuroshima, the violist Daniel Trgina, and the cellist Balázs Adorján. In 2009 Ondřej Martinovský took over the viola seat, and in 2012, Roman Hranička joined the quartet as the second violinist. The quartet’s members are also colleagues in the Prague Philharmonic.

Fama regularly performs at all the major festivals for contemporary music in the Czech Republic, including Contempuls, Prague Spring, Ostrava Days, Exposition of New Music Brno, and MusicOlomouc. The quartet is also a regular fixture of several concert series, such as the Prague Philharmonic’s series Krása dneška (‘The Beauty of Today’) – with which they have been closely involved since the series began in 2004 – and, since 2011, at concerts hosted by the Umělecká beseda.

Fama has also toured internationally in Western and Eastern Europe, the US, Turkey, Israel, and elsewhere, and their artistic activities are closely linked to educational work, which includes workshops (at conservatories in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Romania, etc.) and performances of pieces by students and composers of younger generations (at the Ostrava Days Festival and ISCM World New Music Days Košice, and in Bratislava and Vienna)....

Article

Tatjana Marković

The first Serbian choral society in Serbia proper, founded in 1853 as the Belgrade Choral Society (Beogradsko pevačko društvo, henceforth BCS), renamed in 1929 as the First BCS. Working under the auspices of the royal family Obrenović, it was originally a male choir, later a mixed choir, and included a music school. Due to the lack of choir compositions in the Serbian language during the first years of BCS’s work, with Milan Milovuk, the repertoire was based on songs by German, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian composers. The national orientation, resulting in arrangements and stylizations of folk melodies and other compositions, was encouraged by Stevan Todorović, at various times a board member or the president and the main ideologist of the choral society, especially during the engagement of the most prominent Serbian composers as conductors, including Kornelije Stanković, Davorin Jenko, and Josif Marinković, culminating with Stevan Mokranjac. Mokranjac promoted his own choral music, as well as that of his contemporaries and predecessors, not only in the capital of Serbia and the places where a dispersed Serbian population lived (in what is now Vojvodina, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia), but also in Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, Russia, and Germany, performing concerts for the kings, emperors, and a sultan with great success. This peak in BCS history (...

Article

Amy Kazuye Kimura

Balinese dance and music group founded in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area by Michael Tenzer, Rachel Cooper, and I Wayan Suweca. It has since grown into an internationally recognized ensemble that has toured throughout North America and Bali. Under the leadership of its permanent directors and visiting artists from Bali, its members have studied using traditional methods, foregoing written notation, learning instead through imitation and by rote. The group has performed a variety of Balinese dance and music genres, including gender wayang, gong kebyar, bamboo jegog, and angklung. Its repertoire has included traditional works as well as kreasi baru (“new creations”) by Balinese and American artists, commissioned with the support of public and private funding initiatives. The group’s long-standing ties to artistic circles in both the United States and Bali have positioned it as a strongly cross-cultural organization, mutually influencing both American and Balinese musicians and dancers. In addition to performances, the ensemble has hosted educational workshops to share and promote Balinese arts and culture. In ...

Article

Jared Pauley

Rap duo consisting of Guru (G.U.R.U.; Keith Edward Elam; b Roxbury, MA, 17 July 1961; d New York, NY, 19 April 2010) and DJ Premier (Christopher Edward Martin; b Houston, TX, 21 March 1966). It is considered one of the greatest hip-hop duos of all-time, and its combination of rugged East Coast hip hop with jazz samples was highly influential on the sound of mid-1990s rap music.

Gang Starr was initially formed in 1985 by Elam, who at the time used the stage name Keithy E, and DJ 1 2 B-Down. After the duo disbanded Guru recruited DJ Premier, then going by the name Waxmaster C. The pair released their first studio album, No More Mr. Nice Guy (1989), and quickly gained recognition. They continued to build interest with their song “Jazz Thing,” which was featured prominently in Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues (1990...

Article

Romanian orchestra founded in 1868 in Bucharest. Previously known as the Romanian Philharmonic Society Orchestra, since 1955 it has borne the name of Romania’s most prominent composer, George Enescu. It is the oldest orchestra in Eastern Europe and its headquarters is the Palace of the Romanian Athenaeum, a concert hall with a capacity of 800, and a symbol of Bucharest’s cultural richness.

The Romanian Philharmonic Society was founded on 7 May 1868, under the leadership of Eduard Wachmann, who conducted the first concert of the orchestra, on 15 December of the same year. The role of the orchestra was to educate the taste of the increasingly growing Bucharest audience for classical music; this is why Wachmann wanted to form a stable orchestra. On 5 March 1889, the orchestra gave the first concert in the freshly-built Atheneum (1888), which became the new home of the institution. Constructing such a concert hall for the Philharmonic Society was only possible with the support of cultural figures of the time, who understood the necessity of an adequate headquarters for an institution that promotes art, culture, and science. A public subscription was organized and together with other donations, sufficient funds were raised to build the Atheneum quite quickly, in two years....