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Article

Aarons, Al(bert N.)  

Thomas Owens

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Pittsburgh, March 23, 1932; d Laguna Woods, CA, Nov 17, 2015). American trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He studied music in Pittsburgh (1947–50), in Evanston, Illinois (with Renold Schilke of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1951–3), and at Wayne State University, Detroit (mid-1950s), where he worked for seven nights a week in the band at the Flame Show Bar. From 1956 to 1957 he played at Klein’s Showbar with Yusef Lateef, Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell, Louis Hayes, and Tommy Flanagan, after which he was a member of Barry Harris’s band at the Bluebird Inn. He performed with Wild Bill Davis (1961), then joined Count Basie while working in a club in Washington, DC. He toured and recorded with Basie from August 1961 to July 1969; he appears as a soloist with the group on Back to the Apple on the Swedish television broadcast One O’Clock Jump...

Article

Abadie, Claude  

Michel Laplace

(b Paris, Jan 16, 1920; d Suresnes, Hautes de Seine, France, March 29, 2020). French clarinetist and bandleader. In 1941 he put together a jazz band which by 1943 had been joined by Boris Vian and was considered the first revival band in France. At its peak, in the years 1944–6, Abadie introduced such musicians as Claude Luter, Jef Gilson, and, from 1945, the Fol brothers, who may be heard on Tin Roof Blues (1946, Swing 212) and I’ve found a new baby (1946, Pathé 1013 [EP]). The band was strongly influenced by the Chicagoans and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1949 Abadie assembled a new band with such young players as Benny Vasseur and Jean-Claude Fohrenbach. He then retired from music (1952–63), but from 1965 led a modern-jazz nonet or tentet, which included the tenor saxophonist Paul Vernon (playing in a style influenced by Lester Young), with a repertory consisting of compositions by Ahmad Jamal, John Lewis, John Coltrane, and others. Abadie continued to lead this group for the remainder of his life, to age 100, directing and playing clarinet solos; they perform compositions of Thelonious Monk in the video ...

Article

Abbado, Claudio  

Edward Greenfield

(b Milan, June 26, 1933; d Bologna, Jan 20, 2014). Italian conductor. Son of the violinist and teacher Michelangelo Abbado, he heard Debussy’s Nocturnes as a small boy and immediately had the ambition to become a conductor. Soon after the war he attended rehearsals by Furtwängler and Toscanini in Milan; his quiet, undemonstrative manner on the podium derives in part from his aversion to the dictatorial approach he witnessed in Toscanini. He first learnt the piano with his father, and studied at the Milan Conservatory until 1955, before going to the Vienna Music Academy to study conducting with Hans Swarowsky. In 1958 he won the Koussevitzky Competition, and a series of concert and operatic engagements in Italy followed. His career was further boosted when he won the Mitropoulos Prize in 1963 and worked for five months with the New York PO. His international success was rapid, and led to his first appearances at the Salzburg Festival in ...

Article

Abbado, Roberto  

Richard Wigmore

(b Milan, Dec 30, 1954). Italian conductor. He studied at the conservatories in Pesaro and Milan, and with Franco Ferrara in Rome. He made his conducting début with the orchestra of the Accademia di S Cecilia in 1977, and his operatic début, with Simon Boccanegra, in Macerata the following year. His career developed with guest appearances in leading Italian opera houses and regular collaborations with orchestras in Italy, France, Germany and the USA, where he made his début (with the Orchestra of St Luke’s) in 1991. He has also conducted at the Edinburgh Festival (1982) and at festivals in Israel, Lille and Munich. In 1991 Abbado was appointed chief conductor of the Munich RO, a post he held until 1998. Meanwhile, he has consolidated his operatic career with guest engagements at La Scala, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Staatsoper in Munich (making his début with a new production of ...

Article

Abe, Keiko  

J. Michele Edwards

(Kimura)

(b Tokyo, April 18, 1937). Japanese marimba player and composer. After xylophone study with Eiichi Asabuki (1950–59), she earned two degrees from Tokyo Gakugei University, studying composition with Shosuke Ariga and Toshio Kashiwagi as well as percussion with Masao Imamura and Yusuke Oyake. An active professional performer since 1960, she has toured extensively in Europe, North America and Asia with annual recital tours since 1981. Through development of new technical skills and by expanding the repertory with over 70 commissions, she has contributed significantly to the status of marimba music, for which she was honoured by induction into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1993. After a decade of studio work and orchestral playing, she studied the performances of jazz artists such as Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton in order to develop her own personal style of improvisation as a creative source for composition. Technically challenging yet idiomatic for the marimba, her works generally begin with improvisation and are later notated. Her compositions include wide dynamic ranges, techniques borrowed from folk music traditions and careful voicing of chords. Using four- and sometimes six-mallet technique, she often combines a melodic line with an impressionistic background of rhythmic patterns. Her performances of her compositions and those of other Japanese composers have been very influential on developments in the USA, especially since ...

Article

Abercrombie, John  

Barry Long

(b Port Chester, NY, Dec 16, 1944; d Cortlandt Manor, NY, Aug 22, 2017). American jazz guitarist, composer, and bandleader. He grew up in Greenwich, CT, and began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was primarily self taught until he studied at the Berklee College of Music (1962–6) and with Jack Petersen. Abercrombie joined Johnny Hammond’s touring band after the blues organist had spotted him performing with other Berklee students at Paul’s Mall in Boston. After studying briefly at the University of North Texas, in 1969 he moved to New York where he performed and recorded in Billy Cobham’s jazz-rock band Dreams (1970), joined Chico Hamilton’s group, and recorded with Gato Barbieri (1971), Barry Miles (1972), and Gil Evans (1974). Abercrombie attracted wider attention performing with Cobham’s fusion band Spectrum from 1974. He also toured with Jack DeJohnette and recorded his debut album, ...

Article

Abrahamyan, Medeya  

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(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....

Article

Abrams, Muhal Richard  

Harald Kisiedu

[Abrams, Richard Louis]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians...

Article

Abril, Mario  

Mario Rey

(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.

A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...

Article

Academia [Academia-Magda], Eleanor  

Mary Talusan

(b Honolulu, HI, August 13, 1958). American recording artist and performer of Filipino descent. A Filipino American artist, she grew up in National City, CA, and excelled at piano, violin, and percussion during her childhood. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, she played keyboards in various Los Angeles jazz clubs and attracted the attention of Quincy Jones. Having been introduced to traditional Philippine music by Bayani de Leon, she studied kulintang (gong-chime) with Aga Mayo Butocan. The influence of Philippine music may be heard on her first album Adventure (Japan Sony/Epic, 1987), which was released in the United States as Jungle Wave (CBS, 1987). Her single “Adventure” reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Charts in 1988. In the same year Academia received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to found the World Kulintang Institute and Research Studies Center; the institute released the album ...

Article

Accardo, Salvatore  

Piero Rattalino

(b Turin, Sept 26, 1941). Italian violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, took the diploma in 1956 and a postgraduate course with Yvonne Astruc at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. He won the international competitions at Vercelli (1955) and Geneva (1956), and in 1958 both the RAI Spring Trophy and the Premio Paganini international violin competition at Genoa. He toured throughout Europe and North and South America and soon became one of the best-known and most admired Italian violinists of his generation. An instinctive player with an easy, agile and brilliant technique, he is an all-round musician with a repertory ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to contemporary composers, many of whom have written works for him, including Franco Donatoni (Argot for solo violin, 1979) and Xenakis (Dikhtas, 1980). He is considered a fine interpreter of Paganini (whose 24 capriccios and six concertos he has recorded). Accardo has developed an interest in chamber music and is one of the organizers of the ensemble music week held at Naples each year; in ...

Article

Achúcarro, Joaquín  

Laura Pita

(b Bilbao, Spain, Nov 1, 1932). Spanish pianist, active in the United States. He began music studies at an early age at the Bilbao Conservatory and later studied with Nikita Magaloff, Walter Gieseking and Bruno Seidlhofer. After winning awards and international competitions in France, Italy, and Switzerland during his years as a student, Achucarro scored a triumph at the 1959 Liverpool International Piano Concerto Competition. This led to his debut with the London SO, marking the beginning of an extensive career as concert performer that has taken him to over sixty countries where he has performed with over two hundred orchestras, including the Berlin PO, London PO, Tokyo PO, Sydney SO, and La Scala PO. Achucarro made his US debut in 1968 with the Chicago SO under Seiji Ozawa. Since then, Achucarro has performed frequently in recitals and concerts with the premiere American orchestras. Since 1989, Achucarro has held the Joel Estes Chair at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also teaches master classes at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Siena while continuing to maintain a full touring schedule....

Article

Acker, Dieter  

Stefan Fricke

(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 (...

Article

Actis Dato, Carlo  

Stefano Zenni

(b Turin, Italy, March 21, 1952). Italian tenor and baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and leader. He first played jazz in the Turin area in the early 1970s. In 1974 he was a founding member, with the guitarist Claudio Lodati, the double bass player Enrico Fazio, and the drummer Fiorenzo Sordini, of the quartet Art Studio, for which all four members provide compositions and arrangements; the group plays throughout Europe in a style mixing free improvisation techniques, extended forms, and contrapuntal work. In 1984 Actis Dato formed his own quartet, consisting of the saxophonist Piero Ponzo, Fazio, and Sordini; it toured internationally through the 1990s, from the USA to Africa to Japan. He was also a member of the Democratic Orchestra (1982–5), Mitteleuropa Orchestra (1982–90), Pino Minafra’s quintet (1984–9) and Sud Ensemble (from 1994), and the Italian Instabile Orchestra (from 1990). In ...

Article

Adam, Theo(dor)  

Alan Blyth

(b Dresden, Aug 1, 1926; d Dresden Jan 10, 2019). German bass-baritone. As a boy he was a member of the Dresden Kreuzchor, and he studied in the city and at Weimar before making his début at the Dresden Staatsoper in 1949. He joined the Berlin Staatsoper in 1952. That year he made his début in a small role at Bayreuth, graduating to King Henry in 1954 and to Wotan in 1963; his later roles there included the Dutchman, Amfortas, and Hans Sachs. At the Salzburg Festival he was heard as Ochs (1969) and Wozzeck (1972), and at the Vienna Staatsoper he sang the title role in a new production of Don Giovanni in 1972. Also in Vienna he sang a memorable Pizarro in the Beethoven bicentenary production of Fidelio at the Theater an der Wien in 1970, conducted by Bernstein. His other roles included Philip II, King Mark, and La Roche (...

Article

Adamis, Mihalis  

Dimitri Conomos

revised by George Leotsakos

(b Piraeus, May 19, 1929). Greek composer and musicologist. He graduated in theology from Athens University (1954), in neo-Byzantine music (1955) and harmony (1956) from the Piraeus League Conservatory, and in counterpoint, fugue and composition (1959) from the Hellenic Conservatory, where he studied with Yannis A. Papaïannou. At Brandeis University (1962–5) he studied composition (with Arthur Berger), Byzantine music palaeography and electronic music. In 1950 he revived the boys' choir of the Greek Royal Palace, which he directed until 1967. He also established and conducted the Athens Chamber Chorus (1958–61). Between 1961 and 1963 he taught Byzantine music at the Holy Cross Theological Academy, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1965 he established the first electronic music studio in Athens. He was a founder-member (1965) and later president (1975–85) of both the Hellenic Association for Contemporary Music and the Greek section of the ISCM. In ...

Article

Adams, Bryan  

Michael Ethen

(Guy)

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In 1978 he began what became a long and successful songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance, with whom he created most songs recorded under his name up to 1987, as well as songs recorded by Rod Stewart, Kiss, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, and the Canadian groups Prism, BTO, and Loverboy.

Adams’ albums characteristically alternate between down-tempo piano ballads and straight-ahead rock numbers. His third solo album, Cuts like a Knife (1983) launched him to the status of an international celebrity; its singles included the ballad “Straight from the Heart” and the anthem “Cuts like a Knife,” which both featured for weeks on magazine charts and music television. The next album, ...

Article

Adams, John  

Sarah Cahill

revised by Mark Alburger

(Coolidge)

(b Worcester, MA, 15 Feb 1947). American composer and conductor.

Known for his operatic and orchestral works on contemporary subjects, he is one of the most frequently performed living composers.

The son of jazz musicians and a fan of rock, Adams studied clarinet with his father and Felix Viscuglia, of the Boston SO. At age ten he began theory and composition lessons, and by age 14 he had his first piece performed by the community orchestra with which he practiced conducting. He also performed with the orchestra alongside his father, often appearing before patients at the New Hampshire State Hospital. As a student at Harvard University (BA 1971, MA 1972) he studied composition with David Del Tredici, Leon Kirchner, Earl Kim, Roger Sessions, and Harold Shapero. During this period Adams conducted the Bach Society Orchestra, was a reserve clarinetist for the Boston SO and the Opera Company of Boston, and played Walter Piston’s ...

Article

Adams, Yolanda  

Maya Gibson

(Yvette )

(b Houston, TX, Aug 27, 1961). American gospel music singer. Adams credits her earliest musical influences as James Cleveland, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Nancy Wilson, and Stevie Wonder. She worked in a variety of jobs, including stints as a fashion model, television news anchor, and schoolteacher, before devoting herself to gospel music. She began her career as a lead singer touring with the Southeast Inspirational Choir, with whom she garnered the attention of composer/producer Thomas Whitfield who oversaw her debut solo album Just As I Am (1988) with Sound of Gospel Records. Grounded in traditional church music but open to diverse musical influences, Adams is known for infusing traditional gospel with urban musical influences such as jazz, R&B, and hip hop. Her mainstream album Mountain High … Valley Low (Elektra, 1999) is of particular importance in this regard because its diversity of musical styles had the ability to reach both Contemporary Christian and urban music listeners. The album achieved multi-platinum status and went on to earn a Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album (...

Article

Addison, Adele  

Richard Bernas

revised by Katie Buehner

(b New York, NY, July 24, 1925). American soprano. Her vocal and musical abilities won her scholarships to Westminster Choir College, Princeton (BM 1946), and the Berkshire Music Center, where she studied with Boris Goldovsky. She made her recital debut at Boston in April 1948 and, after further coaching with Povla Frijsh in New York, appeared at Town Hall in January 1952. This established her reputation and led to engagements with many American orchestras and the New England and New York City Opera companies. She dubbed the title role in Samuel Goldwyn’s film Porgy and Bess (1959). On 23 September 1962 she sang in the inaugural concert at Lincoln Center; she toured the USSR in 1963. The silvery timbre of her voice, her agility, and her distinguished musicianship all made her an ideal performer of Baroque music, as her recordings of Bach (St. Matthew Passion...