(b Algiers, Feb 14, 1941). French pianist, arranger, leader, and musicologist. He discovered jazz following a period of classical piano studies. In 1962 he moved to Paris and performed in amateur bands, and in 1966 he became a professional musician. As house pianist at the Jazz O’Maniac he accompanied Albert Nicholas, Bill Coleman (1971–2), and Benny Waters (1971–3), as well as Benny Carter, Jo Jones, Illinois Jacquet, Buddy Tate, Slam Stewart, Stephane Grappelli, Vic Dickenson, Cat Anderson, and others. From 1976 to 1979 he was co-director, with Marc Richard, of the Anachronic Jazz Band, which aimed to present modern jazz themes with a traditional New Orleans jazz orchestration, as may be heard on Anachronic Jazz Band, i–ii (1976, 1978, Open 02, 09). From 1979 to 1983 he led the Happy Feet Quintet, with which he recorded the album Happy Feet and Friends (...
(b Kensington, London, Nov 20, 1766; d Bristol, May 15, 1821). English composer and theorist. Entering music as a largely self-taught amateur, he became a popular glee composer and a respected authority on music theory.
He was the son of a builder, Thomas Callcott, by his second wife, Charlotte Wall, and was educated at a private school by William Young; he was a brilliant student of classics, Hebrew and philosophy. Until he was 13 it was planned that he should become a surgeon, but he was so disgusted by witnessing an operation that he gave up this idea. He had learnt something of music from Henry Whitney, organist of Kensington parish church, and he began to practise the organ seriously while continuing to pursue, untaught, the study of languages and mathematics. He also learnt to play the clarinet and the oboe, and began to compose. In 1782 he became acquainted with Samuel Arnold and Benjamin Cooke, who encouraged him to enter the profession; the next year he became assistant organist of St George’s, Bloomsbury. Through Cooke he was admitted as a ‘supernumerary hautboy’ at the concerts of the Academy of Ancient Music. From this time onwards his efforts in composition were mainly devoted to the glee. His first glee, ...
(b Durrës, Albania, Jan 20, 1914; d Tirana, Albania, March 30, 1977). Albanian folk music researcher and composer. Born into an intellectual family, he studied music in Bucharest (1936) and later Milan (1939) before returning to Albania during World War II. Initially, Dheri was appointed music instructor at the high school in Shkodra, where he organized small ensembles and choral groups following the war. In 1949, he was transferred to the Committee for the Arts and Culture in Tirana and, in 1953, to Radio Tirana. During this period, Dheri contributed to the Radio’s sound archives, collected and transcribed folk pieces, created pedagogical texts, and composed light popular waltzes, tangos, and foxtrots. His primary contribution followed his appointment to the newly formed Institute of Folk Culture in 1968. As an editor and the founding director of the national archives for folk music, Dheri oversaw the publication of early systematic collections including ...
Brenda M. Romero
(b Tlaxiaco, Mexico, Sept 9, 1967). Mexican singer, composer, and anthropologist. She was already well known in Mexico when she emerged in the US mainstream with her performance in the film Frida (2002). Her father was Scottish American and her mother is Mixtec from Oaxaca, thus Downs grew up traveling back and forth between the United States and Mexico and between cultures. She began singing at the age of five and began formal classical voice studies at 14 at Bellas Artes in Oaxaca. She subsequently studied in Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, focusing on Oaxacan highland textiles. In addition to crediting African American music in general, and female singers and the music of jazz in particular, for showing her the many ways in which the voice can be used as an instrument to articulate a wide palette of expressiveness, she credits a range of musical influences, including the Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Meredith Monk (especially her extended vocal techniques), Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane. She has conducted most of her work in collaboration with her husband ...
(b Norwich, April 11, 1912). Canadian composer, theorist and conductor of English origin. He moved to Canada in 1928, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1930. His composition teachers have included Alfred Whitehead in Montreal and Paul Hindemith at Yale University (1952–3). He also studied conducting with Willem van Otterloo in Utrecht (1956). From 1946 until his retirement in 1977, he taught at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He also conducted the Queen’s SO (1946–54), and founded and conducted both the Kingston Choral Society (1953–7) and the New SO of Kingston (1954–7).
George’s music is in a 20th-century idiom characterized by traditional formal structures and modal harmonies, and influenced by his studies of ethnomusicology and the structural aspects of music. His operas are large-scale works based on historical events with librettos adapted from contemporary writing. He has also composed many choral pieces....
(b Czernowitz [now Chernovtsy, Ukraine], Oct 26, 1888; d Vienna, Oct 12, 1960). Austrian theatre historian and librettist . He went to Vienna in 1907, studying German, philosophy and musicology (under Guido Adler) at the university and practical music at the academy. In 1908 he became a private pupil of Robert Fuchs and also studied operatic production at the Vienna Hofoper. In 1910 he became Max Reinhardt’s assistant for a production of the second part of Goethe’s Faust at the Deutsche Theater, Berlin. After war service he was appointed librarian at the Austrian National Library, where he founded a theatre archive in 1922 and a film archive in 1929; he initiated studies in theatre history at Vienna University in 1947. During the last years of his life he was accorded many national and international awards.
Although Gregor left important monographs on the history of Vienna’s theatres, on Richard Strauss’s operas and on the broad cultural history of theatre and of opera, he is probably best known as the librettist of Richard Strauss’s ...
(b Paris, 1687; d Paris, Oct 13, 1770). French librettist and historian . He was elected to the Académie Française in 1733 and appointed lecteur to Queen Maria Leszczyńska around 1745. He is best known for Les chats (1727), an elegant and witty history of the cat since ancient Egyptian times. As a librettist Moncrif worked exclusively on a small scale, limiting himself to the opéra-ballet, with its separate entrées, and to the independent acte de ballet. A taste for exoticism, first explored in his ‘contes indiens’ Les avantures de Zéloïde et d’Amanzarifdine (1715), is also evident in the librettos. One entrée of L’empire de l’Amour (‘Les génies du feu’) inhabits the enchanted world of Middle Eastern mythology, still a fairly unusual choice in 1733 but soon to become fashionable; his subsequent librettos, notably Zélindor, roi des silphes and Les génies tutélaires, mainly adopt Arabian or Asiatic settings. Most were moderately successful; ...
Laura Otilia Vasiliu
(b Reuseni, Suceava county, Romania, May 2, 1944). Romanian composer, musicologist, and teacher . Rooted in the folklore of Bukovina and in Byzantine liturgical music, furthering the musical environment of his predecessors Ciprian Porumbescu and George Enescu, his works stand at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, having become established through their authentic expression and mastery of form. His personality has been influential in the musical life of Iaşi and the George Enescu University of Arts, which he served as a professor, dean, and rector.
He studied at the George Enescu Conservatory in Iaşi. He graduated in pedagogy and composition under Vasile Spătărelu. He attended composition classes led by Ştefan Niculescu, Aurel Stroe, and Anatol Vieru at the Vacanţele muzicale de la Piatra Neamt (‘Musical Holidays of Piatra Neamţ’, 1972–80), and then he studied with Roman Vlad at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome (1980). Up until ...
Jane W. Stedman
(b London, Feb 27, 1796; d London, May 29, 1880). English dramatist, librettist, antiquarian and costume authority . He brought his scholarly knowledge of costume to bear on his stage designs, and was the first to perceive that comedy might arise from ancient Greeks in authentic chitons behaving like Victorians. His first play, a ‘serio-comic, bombastic, and operatic interlude’, was Amoroso, King of Little Britain (1818); his first serious play was The Vampire, or The Bride of the Isles (1820). After much rapid hackwork Planché went to Covent Garden, where he began to reform the unhistorical costuming of Shakespeare’s plays; he also collaborated with Henry Bishop on ‘English operas’ (dramas with music). In 1826 he wrote a diffuse libretto for Weber’s romantic opera Oberon, or The Elf King’s Oath, the plot based on C. M. Wieland’s poem, the words heavily influenced by Shakespeare. This latter quality led Weber to expostulate gently that music needed dramatic situations rather than poetic imagery. In spite of a successful première, the libretto was criticized for lacking human interest, a charge Planché felt keenly. In ...
(b Marburg an der Drau [now Maribor], Nov 23, 1903; d Vienna, Dec 12, 1984). Austrian conductor, composer and musicologist. He studied with Hermann Frisch in Marburg and Roderich von Mojsisovics (composition) at the Graz Conservatory. From 1924 to 1928 he was double bass player, répétiteur and conductor at the Stadttheater in Graz and then successively conductor of a touring opera company (1928–9), at the Theater an der Wien and Vienna Stadttheater (1929–33) and at the Vienna Volksoper (1933–8). From 1931 to 1968 he conducted for Vienna Radio, giving many concerts with the Vienna SO during the 1930s and founding a radio orchestra in Vienna in 1945; he also made guest appearances on foreign radio stations. He came to specialize in light music, and his radio performances of Viennese operetta and dance music displayed a rare sense of Viennese style. He received the title of professor in ...
Laura Otilia Vasiliu
(b Sibiu, Romania, March 27, 1940). Romanian composer, professor, and musicologist of German ancestry. His works are inspired by the folklore and academic art of the Transylvanian Saxons, while also manifesting a moderate tendency to assimilate modern idioms. Published especially by German and Swiss houses, his compositions gained him international prestige within German-language circles. Additionally, he pursued his vocation as a researcher by analysing the works of J.S. Bach and of Transylvanian musicians, especially Gabriel Reilich and Paul Richter. He studied at the Conservatory of Cluj (1959–65) with Sigismund Toduţă (composition), Cornel Tăranu (harmony), and Vasile Herman (musical forms). He took the Ph.D. in musicology from the Music Academy of Cluj-Napoca (1978) with a thesis called Contradominanta în creaţia lui W.A. Mozart (‘The Counter-Dominant in the Works of W.A. Mozart’). As a professor in the harmony/composition department of the Cluj-Napoca Conservatory, Türk developed significant treatises and courses, including the book ...
(b Weimar, Jan 23, 1762; d Weimar, June 26, 1827). German writer . A copyist’s son from a large family, he was mostly self-educated as a youth. Later he studied law at Jena and Erlangen, then supported himself and his siblings by his pen. Goethe, who lived with and subsequently married Vulpius’s sister Christiane, tried to help him secure various positions. Vulpius translated and adapted Italian and German opera texts for the Bellomo company at Weimar during the 1780s, and supplied over two dozen new versions of previously composed operas to the Weimar court theatre, under Goethe’s direction from 1791 to 1817. On obtaining a position in the Weimar library in 1797, Vulpius turned to cultural-historical studies. The University of Jena conferred the PhD on him in 1809, and in 1816 he was knighted by the Weimar court. Vulpius’s original librettos, like his popular novels, show a decided taste for the sentimental, picaresque and supernatural. During the 1790s his revisions of several of Schikaneder’s librettos – by no means improvements – sparked a war of words between the two....
Esther R. Crookshank
(b Southampton, England, July 17, 1674; Stoke Newington, London, Nov 25, 1748). English hymn writer, clergyman, scholar, and author. Watts wrote hymns from age 20 for his Southampton congregation and from 1702 served as pastor in London. After giving up public ministry for health reasons in 1712, he exerted great influence on Puritan leaders in the American colonies through extensive correspondence and his published collections, which contained nearly 700 hymns and psalm paraphrases.
With The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament (1719) he undertook large-scale reform of Dissenting (non-Anglican) worship by writing new “Christianized” versifications of the Psalms; he believed the Psalter required revision to fit it for New Testament worship. His reform succeeded far beyond his expectations for many reasons, including the strong appeal of his vigorous, singable lyrics to Puritan ministers and worshippers in colonial New England, where they took deep root. Called the “liberator of English hymnody,” Watts produced psalm paraphrases and hymns that broke the grip of strict metrical psalmody in use for over a century in Protestant Britain and North America. Dozens of American compilers produced ...
(b Brno, 13 March 1966). Czech composer, pedagogue, and writer on music, son of zdeněk zouhar. He studied composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno (with Miloš Ištván and alois piňos) and musicology at the Masaryk University, followed by post-graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (with Herman Markus Preßl and younghi pagh-paan) and JAMU. He remains an external pedagogue at both these institutions, as well as being active as a researcher at the Palacký University Olomouc (vice-dean starting in 2010), Ostrava University, and Masaryk University.
His brand of postmodernism is surprisingly respectful, using disparate materials in a serious manner, and generally staying with a few pieces of material for the duration of a piece or movement. Often composed in an additive, evolutionary structure, his works are sonically reminiscent of New York post-minimalism, but are very European in their approach to expressivity and emotional intensity. This approach includes both the intense rhythms of ...