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Susan Au

[Gennaro, Peter]

(b Staten Island, NY, Jan 14, 1923; d Chicago, Oct 29, 2008). American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and ballet company director. He began to study dance after meeting Robert Joffrey while on military service in Seattle, and continued this study in New York at the School of American Ballet and with the modern dancers May O’Donnell and Gertrude Shurr. He became a founding member of the faculty of Joffrey’s school, the American Dance Center, and of Joffrey’s first dance group, which later became the Joffrey Ballet. He also performed on Broadway and with New York City Opera. After retiring as a performer in 1964, he focused on the choreographic work he had begun in 1961 with the ballet Ropes, to music by Charles Ives. As chief choreographer of the Joffrey Ballet, he created ballets that celebrated the company’s youthful verve and vitality, frequently utilizing scores by American contemporary composers. Among his most popular ballets were ...


Eric Blom

revised by Rosemary Williamson


(b Finchley, London, July 22, 1898; d London, Dec 10, 1988). English opera producer, writer and composer. He studied the piano under his mother (both his parents were musicians) from the age of six, and was educated at Tonbridge School (1912–17) and St John's College, Cambridge (1919–29), where he read classics and music and became a Fellow. His musical studies were under C.B. Rootham, Henry Moule and Stanford and he was also influenced by E.J. Dent and Maynard Keynes. He made appearances as an actor and singer, from 1926, and from 1929 was a professional actor and producer. An influential figure in English musical-theatrical life for many years, his opera and masque productions cover a remarkably wide historical range: from Locke, Purcell and Handel (Semele, stage première, Cambridge, 1925) to Delius, Janáček (Kaťá Kabanová, British première, London, 1950), Britten, Honegger and Stravinsky (...


Jeff Place


(b Warsaw, Poland, Dec 2, 1905; d New York, NY, Oct 19, 1986). American record producer of Polish birth. He founded the label Asch in New York in 1939, initially to release local Jewish music. He soon expanded to jazz and American vernacular music releasing records by such musicians as Mary Lou Williams, James P. Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger, who subsequently gained widespread acclaim. He then founded Disc (1945), Cub Records (1948), and Folkways Records and Service Corporation (1948).

It was Asch’s goal with Folkways to create an encyclopedia of the sounds of the 20th century. He did not take anything out of print, regardless of sales, using the rationale that one does not take “Q” out of the alphabet and leave “P” simply because “Q” is not used as much as “P.” During his career he released 2168 albums, the equivalent of about one a week. As well as folk music, his catalog included spoken word, recordings of natural and manmade sounds, jazz, blues, children’s music, political speeches, and non-Western musics from around the world....


Barry Millington

(Vincent Crocker )

(b Hertford, April 16, 1950). English director . After a period as staff director for the WNO (1979–84) and Covent Garden (1984–6), and an impressive début with Parsifal for the WNO in 1983, he was responsible for a series of strongly characterized productions both at home and abroad. His ...


John Bergsagel

revised by Henrik Karlsson


(b Bredaryd, Feb 5, 1925). Swedish music administrator, writer and lexicographer. He studied the double bass, cello, organ and music theory privately and romance languages at Lund University (graduated 1958). He taught French and Spanish at the Malmö Gymnasium (1959–74), and has pursued various musical activities, including posts as music critic of the Malmö newspaper Kvällsposten (1950–80), founder and leader of Chamber Choir ’53 (1953–62), founder (1960) and director (1965–71) of the Ars Nova society for new music and programme director of Sal. Smith Chamber Music Society (1966–73). He has also taught music history at the Malmö National School of Drama (1963–71), and served as a board member of the Malmö Musikhögskola (from 1964) and the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1966–73; general secretary from 1973–90), and as vice-chairman of the board of the Stockholm Elektronmusikstudion (...


James Wierzbicki and Elizabeth Forbes

(Peyton, Jr.)

(b Montgomery, AL, April 27, 1943; d St. Louis, Nov 20, 1987). American tenor and director. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory, chiefly with Martial Singher but also with Rosa Ponselle, and made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1971 as Goro. With the Santa Fe Opera from 1973 he sang Sir Philip Wingrave in the American stage premiere of Britten’s Owen Wingrave, as well as Janáček’s Schoolmaster, Fenton, Jo (The Mother of Us All), Monsieur Triquet, Antonio (Oliver’s Duchess of Malfi), Leukippos (Daphne), and Pluto (Orphée aux enfers). He sang with the Canadian Opera Company in 1976 as Fritz in Offenbach’s La Grande-duchesse de Gérolstein and with the Metropolitan in 1977 as the Holy Fool in Boris Godunov, returning in more than a dozen other roles; he made his English debut at Glyndebourne in 1979 in Haydn’s La fedeltà premiata...


Bill C. Malone

revised by Barry Mazor

[Chester Burton ]

(b nr Luttrell, TN, June 20, 1924, d Nashville, TN, June 30, 2001). American country-music guitarist and recording company executive. Although the first instrument he played professionally was the fiddle, he became internationally famous as a guitarist. Developed while he was in high school, his guitar style was influenced by Merle Travis, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, and George Barnes and was characterized by the use of the thumb to establish a rhythm on the lower strings and multiple fingers to play melodic or improvisational passages on the higher strings, sometimes with complex voicings. In the early 1940s Atkins toured with Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle playing both fiddle and guitar, and appeared with them on WNOX radio in Knoxville. He then toured with the second generation Carter Family as a sideman and in 1946 joined Red Foley. After beginning his association with the “Grand Ole Opry” he settled in Nashville in ...


Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....


Daniel Heartz

revised by Laurent Guillo

(b probably in or nr Douai, c1494; d Paris, late 1551 or 1552). French music printer, publisher, bookseller, punchcutter and typecaster.

By a document notarized 13 January 1513/14 Attaingnant, described as a ‘bookseller, living in Paris’, leased a press to Jean de la Roche, reserving the right to print ecclesiastical pardons and the like, should he receive commissions. He may have gone from Douai to Paris originally with a chorister’s scholarship for the Collège de Dainville, which was subject to the cathedral chapters of Arras and Noyon. This institution leased the part of its buildings on the rue de la Harpe to Philippe Pigouchet ( fl 1490–1514), the printer-engraver famous for his Hours and the master to whom Attaingnant was probably apprenticed. Marriage to one of Pigouchet’s daughters, Claude, made Attaingnant his heir. Another of Pigouchet’s daughters, Germaine, was married to Poncet le Preux (...


Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner


(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...


Jonas Westover

(b Chicago, IL, 1887; d Lynbrook, NY, Jan 15, 1938). American librettist, lyricist, and producer. He was the driving force behind many musicals that took place under the auspices of the Shubert brothers in New York from 1911 until his death in 1938. He was born and educated in Chicago, where he first honed his theatrical skills as a scriptwriter and lyricist. After moving to New York (September 1910) he worked first at the Folies Bergere and a year later was hired by the Shuberts to write the script and the lyrics for Vera Violetta (1911), which starred Al Jolson. Atteridge and Jolson continued to work together closely for many years thereafter. Atteridge shaped what became known as Winter Garden revues, musicals that took place seasonally at the Winter Garden theater well into the 1930s. The most significant of these was The Passing Show...


Barbara Turchin

revised by Meredith M. Eliassen

(b Boston, MA, June 4, 1811; d Oakland, CA, Nov 29, 1891). American proprietor of music stores and sheet music publisher. From 1833 to 1849, Atwill operated a “Music Saloon” music store and publishing business on Broadway in New York City, using printing plates of the Thomas Birch Company. He married Eliza Dugliss in 1834. After suffering financial setbacks, the business was taken over by Samuel C. Jollie, and Atwill left his family to travel to San Francisco. He arrived penniless on 28 October 1849 but hit paydirt in the gold fields. Unlike many miners who sent paper money drafts home, Atwill sent about $75,000 in gold dust to New York. He brought his wife and daughters to California in 1854. Atwill moved his East Coast stock to California and established California’s first music store, a tiny metal-constructed building at 158 Washington Street that withstood San Francisco’s many firestorms. In New York, Atwill published Vincenzo Belini’s ...


Anna-Lise P. Santella

[Atwood-Grant, Lizzie Ethel]

(b Fairfield, ME, Sept 12, 1866; d Los Angeles, CA, April 9, 1948). American violinist and co-founder and business manager of the Fadette Ladies’ Orchestra. Atwood, the daughter of a farmer/merchant father and a milliner mother, began violin lessons at age eight in Fairfield, Maine, but moved to Boston as a teenager to further her study. In October 1888 she and Caroline B. Nichols (1864–1939) founded the Fadette Ladies’ Orchestra, which became one of the best-known women’s orchestras in the country. Atwood became the organization’s principal second violin and its first business manager; she played with the Fadettes from 1888 to 1895. In 1895 the Fadettes incorporated, but Atwood copyrighted the group’s name. When Atwood left the Fadettes shortly before her 1896 marriage, she sold the name to Mary Messer, who attempted to use it to start another ladies’ orchestra. Messer sued the Fadettes for continuing to perform under a name she had purchased, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court sided with the Fadettes. Beginning in the 1890s, Atwood also worked as a prompter and was, reportedly, the only woman prompter in the United States. By ...


(b Bourmont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, June 7, 1732; d Paris, May 21, 1801). French impresario, singer and dramatist. He first made his name as a singer with the Opéra-Comique (after about 1758), chiefly in artisan roles; no doubt it was to exploit this special talent that he was allowed to put on an opéra comique of his own, Le tonnelier, after La Fontaine's Le cuvier (Foire St Laurent, 28 September 1761). The work failed but Audinot nevertheless joined the Comédie-Italienne when that company merged with the Opéra-Comique in 1762. Audinot revised the libretto of Le tonnelier with A.-F. Quétant, and the work was revived on 16 March 1765 at the Comédie-Italienne with new ariettes and ensembles by various composers. In this new version it had considerable success in France, Holland and Germany alike. Audinot left the Comédie-Italienne in 1767 and soon became one of the principal impresarios of the Paris stage. After attracting crowds to his puppet show at the Foire St Germain, he opened the Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique on ...


John L., Jr. Clark

[Calhoun, Cora]

(b Chattanooga, TN, Sept 19, 1887; d Chicago, IL, July 10, 1972). American jazz and blues pianist, composer, bandleader, arranger, and music director. After studying at Roger Williams University (Nashville) and Knoxville College, she performed on the TOBA circuit and toured accompanying her second husband Buster Austin. In the early 1920s Austin moved to Chicago, where for almost 20 years she directed shows for touring stage performers as the music director and bandleader at the Monogram and Joyland theaters. From 1923 to 1926 she also led the house band at Paramount Records, accompanying blues singers and making instrumental recordings featuring such jazz musicians as Tommy Ladnier, Al Wynn, Johnny Dodds, and Jimmy O’Bryant. After working in a defense plant during World War II, Austin returned to music, working in dancing schools. Her final recording, in 1961 for Riverside Records, was a reunion with her friend Alberta Hunter and several musicians she had previously worked with in Chicago....


Elizabeth Forbes


(b London, Sept 24, 1888; d London, July 9, 1981). English baritone and director. He studied at Oxford, making his début in 1919 with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, then sang with the O’Mara Opera Company and at the Old Vic. For Oxford University Opera Club (1925–31...


Elizabeth Forbes

(b Saint Lô, May 14, 1942). French director . At Toulouse in 1974 he directed Manon, which won the Cultural Ministry’s prize for best production of the year. He staged Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra at Aix and Le roi d’Ys at Wexford (1975), Carmen at Toulouse and La bohème...


(b Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919). Record producer and writer of Armenian descent. He grew up in New York, played piano (from 1930), and studied English literature at Yale University (BA 1941); while a student he began to work as a jazz critic for Tempo (1937). Later he was a contributing editor on jazz to Mademoiselle and Pic (1946–8), contributed to Esquire’s 1947 Jazz Book, and, with W. E. Schaap, revised and enlarged Charles Delaunay’s Hot Discography for its first American edition (1948). He wrote articles for Down Beat and Metronome and provided numerous liner notes for jazz albums. Avakian produced the pioneering documentary jazz album Chicago Jazz (1939–40) for Decca, and in early 1940 began to work for Columbia, where he established a series of jazz reissues. After four years of military service he returned to Columbia as a full-time record producer for jazz and popular music; he was director of the international department and later head of the popular album department. In ...


Paul R. Laird

[Avedisian, Robert]

(b New York, NY, Dec 26, 1937). American dancer, choreographer, producer, and director. After simultaneous study at Boston University and the Boston School of Ballet, Avian appeared in a touring production of West Side Story. He met MICHAEL BENNETT during the show’s European tour; they became friends and long-time artistic and business partners. Avian was in West Side Story (1960) on Broadway, followed by Funny Girl (1964). He was assistant stage manager for I Do! I Do! (1966), then performed in Henry, Sweet Henry (1967). Avian collaborated with Bennett for two decades on a remarkable succession of shows. He was assistant choreographer to Bennett for Promises, Promises (1968), associate choreographer for Coco (1969), Company (1970), and Follies (1971), and production assistant for the play Twigs (1971), which Bennett directed. Avian served as associate choreographer for ...


Nicholas Tochka

(b Korça, Albania, March 16, 1915; d Tirana, Albania, Nov 18, 1985). Albanian conductor, composer, and arranger. A major organizer and administrator in state-socialist Albania from the 1940s to the 60s, he received his early training from the pre-war choral and theatre groups active in Korça during the late 1920s and 30s. A talented and precocious youth, Avrazi was named assistant music director in the ensemble Korça Youth (Rinia Korçare) in the early 1930s. During World War II, he organized musical performances in support of the antifascist movement in southern Albania, popularizing partisan and nationalist songs and staging short theatrical works for Communist guerrillas beginning in 1943. Following the war, he first organized the Army Choir (Kori i Ushtrisë) before directing the Artistic Ensemble of the People’s Army (Ansambli Artistik i Ushtrisë Popullore), two groups modelled after the grand choral and instrumental ensembles of the Soviet Red Army. These groups served an important function in the late 1940s and early 50s by training Albania’s first socialist generation of musicians. Many young men who became major figures in Albanian music, including Çesk Zadeja, Tish Daija, and Gjon Athanasi, received scholarships to study abroad following their participation in Avrazi’s ensemble. In addition to his role as a conductor, Avrazi also arranged folk songs and composed a number of cantatas, vocal suites, and other choral works. A prolific song composer, he created a number of partisan songs as well as popular tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots during the 1950s and 60s. He retired with the title the Artist of the People....