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Article

Darlene Graves and Michael Graves

[William J. ]

(b Alexandria, IN, March 28, 1936). American gospel songwriter, performer, producer, and publisher. He grew up on a small farm in Indiana and graduated from Anderson College with a major in English and a minor in music. He went on to receive a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and met his future wife and song-producing partner, Gloria Sickal, while both were teaching high school. Gaither started singing gospel music as a child and in 1956 formed the Bill Gaither Trio with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Ann. He started his own publishing company in 1959. He continued to perform and compose while a teacher at Alexandria High School and in 1961 formed the Gaither Music Company to publish his works. After their marriage in 1962, Gaither and his wife wrote their first major song, “He touched me,” which was a significant hit by 1963. He re-formed the Bill Gaither Trio with Gloria and Danny, and in ...

Article

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.

Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...

Article

John W. Wagner

(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....

Article

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(b Montreuil-sur-Mer, c1520; d Paris, 1598). French music printer, lutenist and composer. He was born into a wealthy merchant family from northern France. As a young man he entered successively the service of two members of the aristocracy close to the French throne, Claude de Clermont and Jacques II, Baron de Semblançay and Viscount of Tours. In March 1546 he became acquainted with the editor Jean de Brouilly in Paris, bought some properties from him in St Denis and married his daughter Denise (d before 1570). He moved to Brouilly’s house at the sign of Ste Geneviève (later the sign of Mount Parnassus) in the rue St Jean-de-Beauvais – an address which was to become famous as the home of one of the greatest of the French music printing establishments.

On 14 August 1551 Le Roy and his cousin Robert Ballard obtained a privilege from Henri II to print and sell all kinds of music books. Their first publication appeared at the end of the same month. On ...

Article

Charles K. Wolfe

(b nr West Monroe, LA, Aug 8, 1921; d Nashville, TN, Feb 24, 1991). American country-music singer, guitarist, songwriter, and publisher. He performed as a guitarist on radio station KMLB (Monroe, LA) before 1950, when he joined the “Louisiana hayride ” on KWKH (Shreveport, LA). Recording contracts with the local Pacemaker label (c1950), Four-Star, and Decca (1951) allowed him to resign his part-time job as a clerk at Sears, Roebuck and concentrate on music. After his initial hit, “Wondering” (1952), he gained national attention with “Back Street Affair” (1952), one of the first country songs to deal forthrightly with adultery. An equally important landmark was “There stands the glass” (1953), a classic drinking song and the first country hit to use the pedal steel guitar, played by Bud Isaacs. It became the favorite backup instrument in country music for the next two decades, and Pierce was the first of many country singers whose slurs, octave jumps, and use of dynamics complemented its sound. During his peak years (...

Article

Don Cusic

[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]

(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...

Article

Kristine Forney

[Tielman]

(b c1510–1515, Soest, nr Dortmund; d ?Sweden, 1570 or later). Music publisher, composer and instrumentalist, active in the southern Netherlands. His birthdate is based on a document of 1565 which states he was about 50 years old (‘out omtrent L jaren’). His place of birth, also suggested to be Soestdijk, near Utrecht, is clearly in the environs of Cologne (probably Soest in Westphalia): he refers to himself as ‘Tilemannus Susato Agrippinus’ (the Roman name for Cologne) in two publications, he is described in 1561 as ‘Thielman Suzato, geboeren van Coelen’ and in 1563 as one born outside the lands of the Emperor. Further, he was granted a subsidy in 1542 by the city of Antwerp for bringing a new trade from outside. Documentation confirms that he was the son of another Tylman (Thielmanssone); his father may have been the blind musician ‘Tielman dem blynden’ mentioned in a 1508...

Article

Mark Berresford

(Coleman )

(b Brunswick, MO, Feb 7, 1882; d New York, NY, March 9, 1961). American clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and music publisher. His first professional engagement (c1897–8) was with a “pickaninny” band led by Nathaniel Clark Smith. In 1902 he was assistant leader of P.G. Lowery’s band with Forepaugh and Sells Circus and later that year joined Mahara’s Minstrels band under the leadership of W.C. Handy. In 1903 he formed his own band in Minneapolis, where he made the first recordings by an African American band. Sweatman moved to Chicago in 1908, where he led trios at the Grand and Monogram theaters. In 1911 he made his first vaudeville appearance, and in late 1916 made the first records recognizable as jazz performances. In 1918 Sweatman’s band was signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia, their records rivalling those by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He continued to work through the 1920s and early 1930s in vaudeville, and in ...