- Barbara Palfy
(b Kansas City, MO, Jan 12, 1884; d New York, Jan 12, 1964). American pianist, composer, music director, writer, and editor. Horst grew up in a German family that prized music and he first studied violin. After elementary school, the end of his formal education, he took up piano, honed his skills, and soon supported himself as a musician, playing ragtime and improvisations in dance and gambling halls, performing with theater pit orchestras, and accompanying solo classical recitalists.
On the West Coast in 1915, Horst encountered Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, who hired him as accompanist for their Denishawn company and subsequently as music director of their new school. He remained for ten years. Immersed in the developing new abstract form of dancing, he examined the relationship of music to dance, especially through St. Denis’s “music visualizations.” He began to study musical structure and composition, and left Denishawn to continue learning in Vienna and becoming better informed in contemporary theater, art, literature, and film—knowledge he passed on to future choreographers in his book (with Caroll Russell) ...