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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

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

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

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

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

Hole  

Article

Wendy F. Hsu

Rock band. Formed at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, the Hsu-nami is an erhu progressive rock band fronted by Taiwanese American erhu player and composer Jack Hsu. Hsu was classically trained in violin. His erhu training included intensive summer lessons in Nanjing, China. The rest of the group is composed of Tony Aichele (guitar), Brent Bergholm (guitar), Dana Goldberg (keyboard), John Manna (drums), and Derril Sellers (bass). The Hsu-nami integrates an amplified “erhu,” a two-string spike fiddle used in Chinese classical and folk music, into an instrumental progressive rock sound. Their music is marked by virtuosic erhu melodies and shredding solos, in place of vocals, intertwined with heavy guitar riffs, funky rhythms, and metal-driven rock drumming. Part of the new-fusion rock movement, the group recasts the sound of its 1960s and 1970s roots.

The band has played alongside international and major recording artists such as Chthonic, Yellowcard, Bowling for Soup, Nightmare of You, and The Parlor Mob. Their music was also featured during the ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Interactive computer network used as an extended musical instrument, played by a San Franciso Bay–area experimental computer network band also called The Hub. The band, founded in 1985 by Tim Perkis and John Bischoff, evolved from the League of Automatic Music Composers (1978–83). The concept of The Hub is to create live music resulting from the unpredictable behaviour of the interconnected computer system. The composer/performers consider their performances a type of ‘enhanced improvisation’.

Initially The Hub provided a custom-built central ‘mailbox’ computer and made use of a MIDI network providing communication between the composer/performers’ synthesizers. With the maturation of commercial MIDI equipment, the band shifted to using the Opcode Studio V multiport MIDI interface for their hub. Since MIDI is designed to allow one player or computer to control a group of synthesizers but not to allow a network of synthesizers to interact, band member Scot Gresham-Lancaster devised a way to program the system so the Opcode Studio V could route messages among all the synthesizers in the network....

Article

George J. Grella Jr.

[ICE]

Chamber ensemble founded in 2001 by the flutist Claire Chase and the composer Huang Ruo. With more than 30 premieres, it has demonstrated the instrumental and organizational flexibility, as well as the musical virtuosity, to perform a broad range of music from the 20th and 21st centuries. It has operated as a collective with Chase as its executive director and the musicians taking responsibility for its management and selecting repertoire and projects. Among the premieres the ICE has presented are works by Georges Aperghis, Julio Estrada, Philippe Manoury, David Lang, and Dai Fujikura. They have also recorded John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony and given multiple US premieres of music by Kaija Saariaho, including her ballet Maa. They have engaged conductors and soloists on a performance-by-performance basis and collaborated with Steven Schick, Matthias Pintscher, Ludovic Morlot, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and Peter Serkin. Their performance history includes a number of Composer Portraits (Miller Theater, Columbia University), the chamber music of Edgard Varèse (Alice Tully Hall, New York, ...

Article

Greil Marcus

revised by Mickey Valley

Rock-and-roll male vocal duo. The singer, songwriter, and producer Jan Berry (b Los Angeles, CA, 3 April 1941; d Brentwood, CA, 26 March 2004) had his first success with the singer Arnie Ginsberg in the hit song, “Jennie Lee” (1958) which was recorded in Berry’s garage. He then formed a permanent partnership with the singer Dean Torrence (b Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 1941), and until 1966, when Berry was disabled in an automobile accident, Jan and Dean represented rock and roll as mindless fun, following and exploiting every new pop trend; their songs were based on doo-wop harmony and celebrated aspects of southern Californian hedonism such as surfing (“Surf City,” 1963, no.1) and fast cars (“Drag City,” 1963, no.10). Although Berry’s vocal abilities were not up to par and Torrence was little better, each managed to make at least one classic rock recording—Berry on Jan and Dean’s brilliantly orchestrated melodrama “Dead Man’s Curve” (...

Article

David B. Pruett

Country music duo. Comprising Naomi [Diana Ellen] Judd (b Ashland, KY, 1 Jan 1946) and her daughter Wynonna Judd (née Christina Claire Ciminella; b Ashland, KY, 30 May 1964), they made their major label debut with Wynonna and Naomi (RCA) in 1983 and quickly became the most celebrated duo of the decade, winning the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award (1984) and awards for Vocal Group of the Year (1985–7) and Vocal Duo of the Year (1988–91). Naomi, a divorced mother of two who had left Kentucky for California in 1972 and had supported her children through various jobs including nursing, moved to the Nashville area in 1979 with her two daughters, Ashley— who later became a well-known Hollywood film actor—and Wynonna. Naomi and Wynonna entered the commercial music industry performing semi-regularly on Ralph Emery’s morning Nashville television show in the early 1980s. Following the success of their debut album and their first number-one hit, “Mama he’s Crazy” (...

Article

Will Fulton

Rap group. Its members were Afrika Baby Bam (Nathanial Hall; b Brooklyn, NY), Mike Gee (Michael Small; b Harlem, NY), and, until 1997, DJ Sammy B (Samuel Burrell; b Harlem, NY). They were members of the Native Tongues, a collective of like-minded Afrocentric rappers that included De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Queen Latifah. Their early music was produced by DJ Red Alert, and they were affiliated with Afrika Bambaataa, from whom the rapper Afrika Baby Bam drew his pseudonym. After making “The Promo” (1988) for Red Alert’s WBLS radio show, the group recorded their first album, Straight out the Jungle (Warlock, 1988). The album represented a new style in hip-hop, with its mellow, Afrocentric lyrics, jazz samples, and moody textures; it was a critical influence in the development of “alternative rap” styles. It also featured the first hip-house recording, “I’ll House You.”

The group’s second album, ...