(b Bitonto, nr Bari; d after 1651). Italian composer and guitarist. He is known by four books of pieces for five-course Baroque guitar. They consist mainly of simple battute accompaniments to popular songs and dances of the early 17th century such as the passacaglia, ciaccona, folia, Ruggiero and aria di Fiorenza. The accompaniments are set down in the alphabet system of chord notation (alfabeto) devised by Girolamo Montesardo, in which letters of the alphabet designate fingering positions for various major and minor chords. Each of Abatessa’s books contains instructions concerning the interpretation of the alphabet tablature, the fingering of the chords and the tuning of the guitar; the 1652 book also explains how to tune the guitar with the harp, presumably for the simultaneous playing of continuo parts. The 1627 collection gives instructions regarding the execution of certain kinds of strum such as the trillo and ...
revised by Gary R. Boye
Giovanni Carli Ballola
revised by Roberta Montemorra Marvin
(b Alessandria, March 20, 1851; d Alessandria, May 2, 1894). Italian organist and composer. He began his musical studies with his stepfather, Pietro Cornaglia. From 1868 to 1871 he attended the Milan Conservatory, studying the piano with Antonio Angeleri and composition with Lauro Rossi and Mazzucato. His graduation exercise, the cantata Caino e Abele, won the first prize and a medal of honour. He toured abroad as a concert pianist, but from 1880 until his death was organist at the cathedral in Alessandria, where he also founded a school of composition, singing and piano, and conducted concerts for the Associazione filarmonica alessandrina. He composed three operas, Isabella Spinola (1877, Milan), Maria di Warden (1884, Venice) and Una partita a scacchi (1892, Pavia), the latter based on Giuseppe Giacosa's popular comedy. In these works, which did not have much success, Abbà Cornaglia remained uninfluenced by the innovatory tendencies of the ‘Scapigliatura’ and of Catalani and by the new ...
Nicholas Michael Butler
(fl 1773–1820). Scottish violinist, viola d’amore player, and teacher. Abercromby was born in Scotland but educated in French Flanders. After hearing Abercromby play at a St Cecilia Society concert in Charleston in 1773, Josiah Quincy Jr. of Boston wrote, “A Frenchman just arrived, [who] played a first fiddle and solo incomparably, better than any I ever had heard.” During the American Revolutionary War, Abercromby remained in Charleston, where he advertised to teach guitar and dance, and performed at concerts during the British occupation of the city. He left Charleston in 1791, and over the next two decades lived in Bucks County, PA, Baltimore, Richmond, and Lexington. By 1815 he was in Tennessee, where he opened a music academy in Nashville.J. Wooldridge, E. E. Hoss, and W. B. Reese: History of Nashville, Tennessee (Nashville, TN, 1890) J. Carden: Music in Lexington before 1840 (Lexington, KY, 1980) N. B. Butler...
(b Yerevan, March 8, 1932). Armenian cellist and teacher. She studied first at the Yerevan Central Music School (where her teachers were K. Khizanov and L. Grigoryan) and then with Grigoryan at the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan (1950–53). She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–6) and became a laureate of the H. Wihan International Cello Competition (1955). In 1956 she made her début as a soloist with the Armenian PO, and has performed regularly with the orchestra since then. In 1960 she became professor of cello at the Yerevan Conservatory. She has performed widely in Russia, the USA, Canada and Western Europe, as a soloist and during numerous festivals, specializing in 20th-century works, notably those by Armenian composers. She has given premières of some 100 works, a number of which are dedicated to her. Her playing is distinguished by refinement of intonation, a broad range of colour and a strong dramatic impetus....
(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....
(b Sibiu, Nov 3, 1940; d Munich, May 27, 2006). German composer of Romanian birth. He studied the piano, the organ and theory privately with Franz Xaver Dressler in Sibiu (1950–58). From 1959 to 1964 he studied composition with Toduta at the Cluj Academy of Music where, after receiving his diploma, he remained to teach composition and music theory. In 1969 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany to teach at the Robert Schumann Conservatory, Düsseldorf (1969–72) and attend the Darmstadt summer course (1969). He was appointed to teach theory and composition at the Munich Musikhochschule in 1972, becoming professor of composition there in 1976. His awards included the composition prize of the Prague Spring Festival (1966), the Stuttgart Stamitz prize (1970), the city of Stuttgart composition prize (1971), the Stroud Festival composition prize, the Hitzacker prize (...
(b Antwerp, c1554; d Antwerp, bur. Feb 27, 1604). Flemish lutenist, teacher and composer. He went to Rome to study in 1574, a visit that probably accounts for the Italian elements in his publications. He was a Protestant, but after the fall of Antwerp in 1585 he was compelled for political reasons to embrace the Catholic faith. With his brother Gysbrecht he opened a school for lutenists at Antwerp, but in 1587 they came into conflict with the musicians’ guild because neither of them was a member; later, however, Emanuel must have qualified as a freeman of the guild, for he occasionally assumed the title of master. He was appointed captain of the citizens’ watch, which brought him a regular income, and in 1595 he took part in the relief of the nearby town of Lier, which had been occupied by the Dutch. He moved in the highest circles in Antwerp, and the principal families doubtless admired his virtuosity as a lutenist and engaged him to perform. His publications brought him wider fame, and they were to be found in the libraries of many prominent people, among them Constantijn Huygens, King João IV of Portugal and Cardinal Mazarin. He was mentioned by Adrian Denss (...
Sven Hansell and Robert L. Kendrick
(b Milan, Oct 17, 1720; d Milan, Jan 19, 1795). Italian composer. As a girl she performed in her home while her elder sister Maria Gaetana (1718–99; she became a distinguished mathematician) lectured and debated in Latin. Charles de Brosses, who heard them on July 16, 1739 and was highly impressed, reported that Maria Teresa performed harpsichord pieces by Rameau and sang and played compositions of her own invention. Her first cantata, Il restauro d’Arcadia, was written in honour of the Austrian governor Gian-Luca Pallavicini in Milan in 1747. About 1750 she was in correspondence with the acoustician and music theorist Giordano Riccati, who cited passages from her works in a 1762 treatise. At about this time, she sent her tragic opera seria La Sofonisba to Vienna for possible performance on the nameday of Empress Maria Theresa, who reportedly sang other arias that Agnesi had sent her. After marrying Pier Antonio Pinottini on ...
(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...
(b Ballenstedt, July 13, 1790; d Berlin, Oct 8, 1873). German pianist, music teacher and composer, son of Carl Christian Agthe. He received his musical education from Ebeling in Magdeburg and Seebach in Klosterbergen before studying composition and counterpoint with M.G. Fischer in Erfurt. In 1810 he settled in Leipzig as a music teacher and second violinist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and there published his first compositions. He founded a music academy in Dresden with C. Kräger in 1823 which was publicly endorsed by Carl Maria von Weber; J.B. Logier’s methods of keyboard instruction were used there. In the next decade he set up similar institutes in Posen (1826), where Theodore and Adolf Kullak were his pupils, in Breslau (1831) and finally in Berlin (1832). He was forced to retire in 1845 because of weak eyesight. His compositions include at least nine opus numbers for piano (some with other instruments) and two manuscript songs in the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin....
(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...
(b Logroño, April 14, 1795; d Madrid, April 12, 1855). Spanish pianist, composer and teacher. He was the son of Mateo Pérez de Albéniz, a keyboard player and composer, from whom he received his first music lessons. Later he went to Paris for further training; he studied piano with Henri Herz and composition with Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and became a friend of Rossini. Upon his return to Spain he was organist at the church of S María in San Sebastián, and later at a church in Logroño. When Queen María Cristina founded the Madrid Conservatory he was appointed a professor, on 17 June 1830, and in 1834 he became organist of the royal chapel. He gave private instruction to Queen Isabel II, and was the first to introduce modern methods of keyboard technique and pedagogy into Spain. Although his compositions are of little interest, and are generally inferior to his father’s sonatas, he wrote a ...
(b Faenza, bap. Dec 31, 1716; d Faenza, Oct 12, 1785). Italian violinist, composer and teacher. He studied with Tartini, probably between 1730 or 1731 and 1733, by which date his name appears in the list of musicians at Faenza Cathedral, as third (and last) violinist under the direction of his brother, Don Francesco Alberghi, maestro di cappella. In 1742 he was referred to in Faenza chronicles as ‘Paolo Alberghi, Professore’, and both his virtuosity and his compositions – sonatas and violin concertos – were extravagantly praised. In 1753 he became first violinist and, on his brother’s death in 1760, maestro di cappella as well; he retained both positions until his death. Alberghi supplemented his small salary from the cathedral by playing for civic festivities and for the two academies of Faenza, and by composing and teaching; among his pupils were Bernardo Campagnoli, Antonio Bisoni, Cristoforo Babbi and possibly Giuseppe Sarti (unconfirmed). A portrait of Alberghi in the Biblioteca Comunale of Faenza (which, together with the Archivio Capitolare del Duomo, contains much biographical material in manuscript) indicates that he was blind in one eye....
(b Cologne, Nov 17, 1902; d Basle, Oct 19, 1996). American musicologist and pianist of German origin. After schooling in Cologne he was awarded a music teacher's diploma by the Austrian State Commission in 1930. He studied musicology at the University of Vienna (1933–8), and took the doctorate in 1938 with a dissertation on acoustical psychology. He also studied privately with Schenker. In 1940 he emigrated to the USA, later becoming an American citizen, and was active as a conductor, teacher, accompanist and répétiteur. He held teaching posts at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Art (1947–53) and the University of California at Los Angeles (1953–6) before his appointment in 1956 as professor of music at the California State University at Los Angeles, where he taught until his retirement in 1970 as professor emeritus. He frequently served as accompanist to distinguished singers such as Elisabeth Schumann, Pinza and Fischer-Dieskau, and assisted Lotte Lehmann in her art-song courses. Albersheim was one of the first to write on the importance of the theories of Heinrich Schenker, whose influence is occasionally reflected in his writings. He wrote mainly on acoustics and the psychology of hearing, as well as its relationship to musical aesthetics....
(b Sevastopol, Crimean Peninsula, May 22, 1910; d Tirana, Albania, Oct 6, 1985). Albanian pianist, arranger, pedagogue, and composer. Born in an Albanian-speaking enclave in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, she received early training in ballet and piano while growing up in a middle-class merchant family. After relocating to Korça, Albania in 1932, Gjoka became the primary accompanist for the local salon culture, which included the art-song singers Kristaq Antoniu, Mihal Ciko, Tefta Tashko-Koço, and Maria Kraja. She received a degree in piano performance from the Athens Conservatory in 1936. Following World War II, she taught at Tirana’s ‘Jordan Misja’ Arts Lyceum from its founding in 1946, and at the State Conservatory from 1962. In addition to training a generation of Albanian pianists, Gjoka was a tireless promoter of folk songs. During the socialist period, she was among the first women to collect folk songs, which she often arranged as elegant art songs for voice and piano. She also held an appointment at the Theater of Opera and Ballet in Tirana between ...
revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu
(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...
Dorothy C. Pratt
(b Constantinople, 1881; d Chamonix, July 27, 1954). Armenian cellist. He studied with Grützmacher and while a student played chamber music with Brahms and Joachim. At the age of 17 he appeared as the soloist in Strauss's Don Quixote with the composer conducting and scored a triumph; he was then invited to play concertos with Nikisch and Mahler. In 1901 he settled in Paris, where Casals saw some of his fingerings and recognized that Alexanian shared his own, then revolutionary, ideas on technique and interpretation. Many years' collaboration followed, leading to the publication in 1922 of their joint treatise Traité théorique et pratique du violoncelle and in 1929 of Alexanian's analytical edition of the solo cello suites of Bach. Alexanian was professor of the Casals class at the Ecole Normale de Musique from 1921 to 1937, when he left for the USA. His classes in Paris, Baltimore and New York attracted artists and students from all over the world, and his influence extended far beyond his own pupils (among them Maurice Eisenberg and Antonio Janigro) to such cellists as Feuermann, Cassadó, Piatigorsky and Fournier. He was also a conductor of distinction....
(b Tehran, 1951). Iranian tār and setār player, teacher and composer. He studied at the National Music Conservatory in Tehran from the age of 13 and then at the University of Tehran from 1970 to 1974; his teachers included Habibollah Salehi, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, Nur Ali Borumand, Abdollah Davami, Mahmud Karimi, Yusef Forutan, Said Hormozi, Dariush Safvate and Hooshang Zarif. From 1971 Alizadeh studied and taught at the influential Centre for the Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music in Tehran; he later taught music theory and tār at the University of Tehran. In 1976 he began his association with Iranian National Radio and Television, working as a soloist, a composer and a conductor. He co-founded the Chavosh Cultural Artistic Centre in 1977 and the Aref Ensemble in 1983; he also worked with the Sheyda Ensemble. In the early 1980s he studied musicology and composition at the University of Berlin. In ...
(b Sin-le-Noble, Nord, May 25, 1923). French bassoonist and teacher. A precocious talent, he won a premier prix at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 17. He won a first prize at the Geneva International Competition in 1949 and was appointed to the Paris Opéra the same year. In ...
Suzanne L. Moulton-Gertig
(b Mineola, NY, July 11, 1954). American harpist and pedagogue. She studied early with Marion Bannerman, Pearl Chertok, and Mario di Steffano, and in Paris with Lily Laskine in summer 1972. She received degrees from the Juilliard School (BM, MM), working with Marcel Grandjany, Jane Weidensaul, and Susann McDonald. She won first prize at the Fifth International Harp Competition in Israel (1973). Allen made her New York Carnegie Recital Hall debut in 1975 and became head of the harp department at the Juilliard School in 1985. In 1999, she became principal harpist of the New York Philharmonic. She is also on the faculty of the Aspen Music School. She has performed solo concerts for more than 30 years throughout the world and has been the recipient of the National Endowment Solo Recitalist Grant and sponsorship by the Pro Musicis foundation. Allen appears regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and has appeared as soloist with numerous ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Mostly Mozart Festival. She received a Grammy nomination in ...