(b San Francisco, CA, April 13, 1945). American dance critic. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley (BA 1966), and wrote on the Ballets Russes for her doctorate in comparative literature at Rutgers University (1984). With an enthusiasm for dance that has anchored her prolific career, Acocella was the senior critic and reviews editor for Dance Magazine and became the dance critic for the New Yorker in 1998. She has written about dance for many other publications including the Financial Times, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and the Times Literary Supplement. In her books Acocella demonstrates a sustained interest in connecting the public with artistic personae and their voices, as illustrated in her biography of Mark Morris (1993), the essay collection Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints (2007), and three edited volumes of artists’ writings (...
Andrea F. Bohlman
( b London, June 5, 1914; d London, Jan 15, 2005). English critic, writer and concert organizer . In 1931 he was appointed assistant secretary of the Organ Music Society; he became secretary in 1935 and invited Marchal, Tournemire, Messiaen and Duruflé to perform in the society’s concerts. He was concert director of the LPO (1940–46) and from 1942 organizer of the Concerts de musique française for the Free French in London. Among the artists whom he invited to appear at these remarkable concerts were Teyte, Goodall, Pears, Britten and Tippett, and following the liberation of Paris many outstanding French musicians also performed in the series, including Poulenc, Bernac, Souzay, Neveu, Thibaud, Fournier, Gendron, Messiaen, Loriod and Dutilleux, several of whom established firm friendships with Aprahamian.
Aprahamian was deputy music critic of the Sunday Times (1948–89) and a regular contributor to Gramophone. Throughout his career he did much to foster French music in Britain; he was Messiaen’s earliest British advocate (they corresponded from ...
Andrea F. Bohlman
(b Alexandria, LA, Jan 8, 1935; d San José, Costa Rica, March 16, 2001). American music critic. Ardoin studied composition and music theory at North Texas State College, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oklahoma, and at Michigan State University. After completing army service in Germany, he began his professional career in New York City as an editor for Musical America and Philharmonic Hall, where he was responsible for program books. Before relocating to Dallas, he also contributed to The Saturday Review and The Times of London. In 1966 he became the music critic for The Dallas Morning News, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. Ardoin’s passion was opera: he contributed regularly to the Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcasts and wrote four books about Maria Callas, among them a survey of her recordings (The Callas Legacy, 1977) and a reflection upon her teaching (...
Amanda M. Burt
revised by Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson
(b Ísafjörður, Oct 11, 1928). Icelandic composer, teacher and critic. He graduated in 1955 from the Reykjavík College of Music, where he studied the piano with Árni Kristjánsson and theory with Victor Urbancic. Further composition studies were undertaken at the RSAMD in Glasgow (1955–6) and at the Guildhall School of Music in London (1965). In 1961 he received a teacher's diploma from the Reykjavík College of Music. Ásgeirsson has conducted various choirs, and became the principal music critic of Morgunblaðið in 1970. Formerly president of the Icelandic Composers' Society, he has taught at various institutions and is currently professor at the Icelandic Teachers' College.
His works are mainly traditional in style though he has written a few serial compositions. He is particularly interested in reviving Icelandic folksongs and dances and has set related folk poetry found without music; he has also served as music director for productions of the ancient dances by the National Dance Company. In ...
Caroline Polk O’Meara
(b New York, NY, 1961). American music critic and musician. He graduated from Columbia University in 1983. In the 1980s, he was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, writing hundreds of pieces for the magazine. His success as a critic corresponded with the rise of “alternative” rock in the early 1990s, and he wrote cover articles on Nirvana and the B-52s during that period. Azerrad has published two books, Come As You Are: the Story of Nirvana (New York, 1993) and Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground (1981–1991) (Boston, 2002). Come As You Are was the first book about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, written with the support of the band and published before Cobain’s death. Our Band Could Be Your Life is a collection of essays about 13 of the best-remembered underground bands from the 1980s and 1990s, and includes new interviews and archival research. ...
(b Belgrade, Feb 10, 1927; d Belgrade, Oct 13, 2009). Serbian composer and music critic. He studied composition with Milenko Živković at the Academy of Music in Belgrade, graduating in 1955, and at the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia in Rome (1967–8). He was a conductor of the choral society Napredak (1953–5), and then taught at Stanković music school (1955–66) and at the Music Academy (today Faculty of Music, 1966–96). As a music critic, he collaborated with various newspapers (Borba, Naša borba, Politika, Večernje novosti) and translated several books. He received awards from Udruženje kompozitora Srbije (‘the Association of Serbian composers’) and Yugoslav Radio, and received the Vukova nagrada. He followed the aesthetic of Stevan Mokranjac and his own professor Živković. His lyric music, predominantly choral, is distinguishable by his afinity for humour, both in his choice of lyrics and the musical means. He uses verbal punning (...
(b New York, April 17, 1926; d New York, Feb 1, 2007). American writer on jazz and broadcaster. After graduating from Cornell University (BA 1951) he joined the staff of the New Yorker. For the Saturday Review (1953–7) and then for the New Yorker he contributed reviews of jazz concerts, recordings and books, as well as interviews with jazz musicians; many of these articles have been reprinted in a continuing series of books. He has also published poetry. In 1957 he conceived the idea and was adviser for a television programme, ‘The Sound of Jazz’, broadcast live by CBS. Balliett’s writings are eloquent and highly stylized. His interviews portray his subjects with dignity, and his reviews often create effects that parallel those of the music being discussed. At his best, in an assessment of style or a description of an improvisation, Balliett provided insights more penetrating than many formal musical analyses....
(b Wiesbaden, July 20, 1923). Israeli critic, composer and musicologist. He moved to Mandatory Palestine in 1936. After studying composition with Paul Ben-Haim, his most influential teacher, Bar-Am attended the Ecole Normale de Paris (1949–51). He studied musicology at Tel-Aviv University (BA 1977), where he became the principal lecturer for courses on Jewish music and Israeli contemporary music (1973–96) and the first director of the Archive of Israeli Music. The secretary general of the Israeli League of Composers (1960–76, 1976–8), he became chair of the organizing committee of the ISCM in Israel in 1980. Though most influential as the music critic of the Jerusalem Post between 1958 and 1995, Bar-Am also wrote many essays on Israeli music in Hebrew, English and German, notably ‘A Musical Gateway between East and West’ (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 1988). He ceased composing in the early 1970s but resumed in ...
revised by Angel Medina
(b Madrid, March 16, 1928). Spanish composer and critic. He studied in Madrid at the conservatory and at the university, where he received the doctorate (1956). Although he followed courses under Messiaen and Ligeti, he is fundamentally a self-taught composer. He was a founder member of the Grupo Nueva Música (1958) and of ‘Zaj’ (1964–6), a musical theatre group. In 1967 he launched the Sonda magazine and the associated series of new music concerts. He was also music critic of the Madrid newspaper Ya (1971–8) and deputy director of Ritmo (1982–93). He has translated into Spanish numerous books, including works by Reger, Schoenberg, Schenker and Piston. He has been awarded various distinctions, such as the National Prize for Music (1973), the City of Madrid Prize for Musical Creation (1992) and the Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts (...
(b Créteil, France, Nov 30, 1907; d San Antonio, TX, October 25, 2012). Cultural historian, critic, and teacher of French birth. Born into the artistic environs of French modernism, he wrote widely on Western culture and its documents, founding the discipline of cultural history at Columbia University, where he spent his academic career.
After leaving France for America in 1920, he attended Columbia University (BA 1927, PhD 1932) where he lectured on contemporary civilization from 1927, becoming assistant professor (1937), professor (1945), Seth Low Professor of History (1955), Provost (1958–67), and University Professor (1967–75). He also served as president of the American Academy of Arts (1972–5, 1977–8), and was made an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University in 1960.
Barzun regarded culture as a fabric of interwoven ideas which historians should trace through time, and between which exist a series of links: “because culture is a web of many strands; none is spun by itself, nor is any cut off at a fixed date.” He viewed music through the prism of a broader culture, typified in the scope of ...
William F. Coscarelli
(b Wichita, KS, May 1941). American concert organist. At age five she started piano lessons and at age eleven, after hearing Alexander Schreiner play the Mormon Tabernacle organ, she began organ studies. Bish studied organ with Dorothy Addy, Era Wilder Peniston, Mildred Andrews, and Marie-Claire Alain, studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt, and attended classes with Nadia Boulanger. In 1982 she began her own television series The Joy of Music, which continues to reach a vast worldwide audience every week. She also served as organist at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 20 years.
Bish has won several performance competitions and has been the recipient of prestigious awards. In 1963, while a student at the University of Oklahoma, she won the Mu Phi Epsilon student performance competition and later went on to be a national Mu Phi composition winner. In 1989 she was awarded the National Citation by the National Federation of Music Clubs of America. In ...
(b London, July 27, 1929; d Lavenham, Aug 14, 2007). English critic. Educated at Rugby and Oxford, where he studied with Jack Westrup, he began writing criticism in The Times in the early 1960s and later in The Listener and Gramophone, and quickly made a mark as a sure judge of the human voice and performing style. He was an associate editor of Opera magazine (1967–83), and worked as a staff critic for the Daily Telegraph (1977–89). A prolific writer with wide experience, on singers and on opera from Mozart to the present day, Blyth edited discographic reviews of opera (Opera on Record, London, 1979, 1983, 1984; Opera on CD, London, 1992, 2/1994; Opera on Video, London, 1996) and song (Song on Record, London, 1986–8) and wrote Wagner’s Ring: an Introduction (London, 1980) and Remembering Britten (London, 1981...
(b Prague, 20 Jan 1930; d Bratislava, 9 April 2007).Czech philosopher, writer, and poet, and a leading figure of the Czechoslovak underground. Egon Bondy’s legendary career began in 1947, when he briefly joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia only to resign immediately after the party’s takeover in February 1948. For the next ten years Bondy freewheeled on the edge of the law, proto-beatnik style. During those years he gained visibility among members of the underground by cofounding the illegal samizdat review Půlnoc (‘Midnight’). With the 1949 Půlnoc collection Jewish Names he started to use the name Egon Bondy. In 1957 he enrolled at Prague’s Charles University on distance study while working as a nighttime security guard. He received the PhD in 1967 with a dissertation entitled Útěcha z ontologie (‘Consolation from Ontology’). From that year Bondy lived on disability while continuing to write, but other than his study ...
(b Philadelphia, PA, Sept 18, 1931; d Wynnewood, PA, May 9, 2011). American writer on musical theater. He graduated from Lafayette College (BA) in 1952, then undertook graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania (MA 1953, PhD 1956). Although he has written on English folklore, his main work has been in the field of the American theater, particularly the American musical. His American Musical Theatre: a Chronicle (1978, 2/1992, 3/2001, 4/2011) is an extensive and exhaustive summary from the origins of the form to 2000, and displays his characteristic chronicling of detail and thorough examination of narrative history. Consequently, his publications have proved invaluable in the early establishment of what is still a developing field of academic study. He has also published biographies of Jerome Kern and Vincent Youmans.American Musical Theatre: a Chronicle (New York, 1978, 4/2011) Jerome Kern: his Life and Music...
(b Brooklyn, NY, March 19, 1971). American critic and author. After graduating from Northwestern University with a concentration in African and Middle Eastern history, Bozza landed an internship at Rolling Stone magazine. He quickly climbed the ladder at the magazine; during his seven-year stint, he first volunteered to write unclaimed assignments, then edited the “Random Notes” section, and eventually wrote seven cover stories on such diverse subjects as Eminem, Cameron Crowe, Jennifer Lopez, Trent Reznor, Slipknot, and N’Sync. Since his departure from Rolling Stone in 2002, Bozza has written books on Eminem and AC/DC and co-written six books, including the official biographies of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, INXS, Slash, and Wyclef Jean. He has also published articles in such magazines as Spin, Q, Mojo, and Radar.
Bozza’s key strength as a writer is his versatility. He is astute when he examines the social meanings of music; in ...
[Cecil Valentine ]
(b Kingston, Jamaica, March 28, 1926; d Romford, Oct 10, 2009). Jamaican trumpeter, flugelhorn player, conductor, arranger, bandleader, journalist, and broadcaster. Self-taught on clarinet, he changed to trumpet to play with the big bands of the drummer Redver Cooke and the saxophonist Eric Deans, then formed the Beboppers with Ernest Ranglin and Dizzy Reece. He performed annually with the Jamaica All-Stars, and in 1950 he formed a septet which included Joe Harriott. From 1954 he promoted concerts and festivals, organizing the annual Big Band, which featured the island’s leading talents, notably Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, Don Drummond, and the pianist (later politician) Seymour “Foggy” Mullings. Ranglin, Roland Alphonso, and the trombonist Emanuel “Rico” Rodriguez joined this ensemble to accompany such visiting artists as Sarah Vaughan, Donald Byrd, and Jimmy Owens. Bradshaw, who played in a raw, direct style influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, was a tireless promoter of Jamaican music. For 25 years he served as president of the Jamaican Federation of Musicians, and he arranged the island’s national anthem. Although he recorded extensively and toured throughout the Americas playing reggae, jazz was his preferred mode of expression. Among the guests who appeared with his poll-winning small group are Roy Haynes, Reece, Coleridge Goode, and Byard Lancaster. In the 1990s he travelled to England annually, playing in Birmingham with Andy Hamilton’s band....
Anna E. Kijas
(b Washington, DC, Aug 25, 1960). American pianist, writer, broadcaster, and new music advocate. An extraordinary performer and champion of new American and experimental music, she began formal piano studies at the age of seven with Sharon Mann. At 16, she performed Bach’s D major Toccata at the chamber music festival Sommermusikwochen in Trogen, Switzerland. In 1977, she briefly attended the San Francisco Conservatory before transferring to the University of Michigan and studying English (BA 1985). She serves on the music faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory, writes reviews, program notes, liner notes, and articles, and hosts the classical music show Then and Now on public radio station KALW 91.7 FM. In her performances and other activities, she has promoted the work of early 20th-century composers, including Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford, and contemporary figures such as Kyle Gann, Terry Riley, and Frederic Rzewski, among many others....
revised by Angel Medina
(b Barcelona, Oct 24, 1924). Catalan composer and critic. At the Barcelona Conservatory he studied the violin and composition, the latter with Taltabull. He also studied law, which he practised professionally. A former member of the Falla circle (which he joined at its foundation in 1947), he has contributed articles to several newspapers and magazines, and he collaborated with Benet Casablancas on a monograph on Taltabull (Barcelona, 1992). His music began to be performed publicly towards the end of the 1940s, for example his Violin Sonata (1949) and songs to texts by Machado and Baudelaire. In 1974 he appears to have abandoned composition.
Casanovas's output consists almost entirely of chamber works for piano, voice or ensemble. He wrote in a terse, atonal style characterized by clear textures, with a predilection for counterpoint derived from Taltabull. Nevertheless he preferred ‘harmonic refinement to contrapuntal density’ (Marco). In the 1960s he began to write aleatory music. One of his best-known works, ...
Tat′yana S. Kyuregyan
(b Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, Sept 1, 1952; d Moscow, Nov 28, 2003). Russian musicologist, cultural historian and music journalist. She studied musicology under Yu.N. Kholopov (1969–76) at the Moscow Conservatory, where she also completed her postgraduate studies. She obtained the Kanditat degree in philosophical sciences in 1979 and the doctorate in 1989. She taught aesthetics and the history of culture at the Moscow Conservatory from 1979 and was appointed senior lecturer in 1988 and professor in 1991. In 1993 she was made head of the department created at the conservatory to assist the post-Soviet reform in the teaching of social sciences. She wrote more than 100 items on matters concerning musical aesthetics, the avant garde and post-avant garde, the history of 20th-century musical theatre and the theory of mass culture. As an expert on reconstituting literary texts, she took part in reconstructing a number of Russian operas including Pashkevich's ...
(b New York, NY, April 18, 1942). American rock critic. Known as “the dean of American rock critics,” Christgau first emerged as one of the trade’s earliest professionals. Beginning in 1967 as the music columnist for Esquire, Christgau worked briefly at the Village Voice and Newsday as a critic before beginning his 37-year tenure as music editor of the Village Voice in 1974. During this time, Christgau mentored dozens of critics and established the Voice as a widely acknowledged home for serious rock criticism. He also inaugurated, in 1971, the annual Pazz & Jop music poll, which compiles the “top ten” lists submitted by music critics nationwide.
Christgau is perhaps best known for his capsule reviews, which have been published since 1969 in his Consumer Guide columns. Dry, witty, terse, and densely packed with allusions and asides, Christgau’s blurbs, accompanied by assigned letter grades, promoted a persuasive style of serious, incisive criticism of rock music; many of his reviews have been reprinted in popular book-length compilations. He was an early supporter of the hip-hop and riot grrrl movements and an avid proponent of African popular music. Few rock critics have established such a national presence and identity. Rock musicians ranging from Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground to Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth have name-checked him in song....