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Article

Lawrence Starr

(Elihu )

(b New York, June 24, 1922). American composer . His principal teachers were Otto Luening, Bernard Wagenaar and Felix Salzer; he also studied with Milhaud in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship (1951–2). After teaching at the Mannes College (1952–7), he joined the faculty of UCLA in 1957 and became professor in 1968. His honours include a Gershwin Award, a Martha Baird Rockefeller Award (1968), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1972–3), a Ford Foundation grant (1975) and two NEA grants (1976, 1978). Travis’s works are characterized by a strong rhythmic impulse and an expanded tonality. He has written two operas, both to his own librettos, on Greek subjects. The Passion of Oedipus (2, after Sophocles) was composed in 1965 and first performed in Los Angeles on 8 November 1968. The Black Bacchants (2; composed 1982), based on The Bacchae...

Article

(Joseph )

(b Chicago, IL, March 19, 1919; d Jamaica, NY, Nov 18, 1978). American jazz pianist and teacher. He started playing the piano in early childhood and later learned to play other instruments, including clarinet and saxophone. Born with weak sight, he was blind by age nine or ten. From 1934 until 1938 he attended the Illinois School for the Blind in Jacksonville, and from 1938 until 1943 the American Conservatory in Chicago; he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music in 1941 and stayed on for another two years taking graduate courses. Tristano began teaching in 1943; his students included lee Konitz and William Russo. Early reports of his activities indicate that his music attracted attention mainly from musicians and critics. In 1945 he published an acute criticism of Chicago’s jazz scene, addressing its commerciality and exploitative working conditions. In the spring of 1946 he wrote arrangements for the Woody Herman band and met its bass player Chubby Jackson, who, impressed by Tristano’s prowess at the keyboard, encouraged him to move to New York....

Article

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 ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b Platteville, WI, Dec 30, 1966). American cellist. His father played jazz saxophone and directed his high school orchestra, and his mother was a classical violinist and pianist. He learned classical piano and cello and began improvising at an early stage, and from around the age of 13 he had jazz lessons on both instruments. Later he studied cello at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (BM 1989), and third-stream music at the New England Conservatory (MM 1991), where he was taught by Joe Maneri. In 1993 he returned to Appleton, and from that year until 1996 he lectured in jazz at Lawrence. From 1989 through the 1990s he performed and recorded on both his instruments in a duo with Jeff Song, who played electric bass guitar and kayagŭm (a Korean 12-string zither) and sang. In addition he toured and recorded with an ensemble led by the guitarist Scott Fields and collaborated with Ken Schaphorst (from ...

Article

David G. Such

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(Lacy )

(b Cadiz, KY, July 20, 1941; d Toulon, France, June 27, 1992). Baritone and alto saxophonist and teacher. He studied piano, clarinet, and alto saxophone as a youth, and after entering military service in 1958 played baritone saxophone in an army band. He moved in 1960 to Cleveland, where he performed with Albert Ayler, then to New York, where he became involved in free jazz and performed and recorded with Ayler; he was the most constant member of the tenor saxophonist’s groups from 1963 to 1966. In 1967–8 he studied with David Baker at Indiana University. He spent the latter half of 1969 touring in a rock group, while based in Denver, and then moved to California and worked in the Los Angeles area. Having moved north to secure a teaching certificate at the University of California, Berkeley, he taught music in Oakland at North Peralta Community College and Mills College (...

Article

Martin McCain

(b Asheville, NC, Feb 15, 1948). American bass trombonist. Vernon studied with Bill Hill and Gail Williams at Brevard College and Georgia State University. Edward Kleinhammer and Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony also served as mentors. Vernon’s orchestral career began in 1971 as bass trombonist with the Baltimore Symphony. A one-year appointment with the San Francisco Symphony in 1980 was followed by a five-season position with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1986, Vernon succeeded his mentor, Edward Kleinhammer, in the Chicago Symphony. He has taught on the faculty of DePaul University and has also served in similar positions at Brevard Music Center, Catholic University, Northwestern University, and the Curtis Institute. Many of Vernon’s students have been appointed to major orchestras including Blair Bollinger with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Vernon has premiered numerous works including Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s and Frank Siekmann’s Concertos for bass trombone and most recently Christian Lindberg’s ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(Ladislav )

(b Prague, Dec 6, 1947). Czech double bass player. He learned violin and piano before taking up double bass and, while studying at the Prague Conservatory, won a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music (1966). In 1967 he moved to New York, where he played with Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, the quintet led by Bob Brookmeyer and Clark Terry, and Miles Davis, then worked with Herbie Mann (1968–70); he also recorded with Donald Byrd (1967), Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette (both 1968), Wayne Shorter (1969), and Larry Coryell (1970). In 1970 he toured with Stan Getz, rejoined Mann, and, with Shorter and Joe Zawinul, was a founding member of Weather Report (jazz). Vitous left the group in 1973 and spent several years experimenting with electric bass guitars. After he resumed playing double bass he joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory (...

Article

Nico Schüler

(b Tyrone, PA, June 9, 1900; d University Park, PA, July 29, 1984). American musician, bandleader, choral conductor, radio-television personality, educator, and businessman. He grew up in a musical family, singing and playing guitar, drums, and banjo. Together with his brother Tom, he founded an ensemble in 1918 at Pennsylvania State University that in 1922 adopted the name “Waring’s Pennsylvanians” and had early hits with “Sleep” in 1923 and with “Collegiate” in 1925. A key characteristic of Waring’s ensemble was that all instrumentalists were also required to be strong vocalists. The group toured the United States as a stage act in film theaters and were featured in the early sound film Syncopation (1929), and by the 1930s they appeared on Broadway and became one of the most sought-after groups for radio hosting shows as well as in theaters. The ensemble was featured in the Cole Porter musical ...

Article

Marcel Joly

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b New Orleans, Nov 29, 1954). American clarinetist. He was an undergraduate at Xavier University, pursued graduate studies in Spanish at Tulane University (MA 1979, PhD 1984), and then joined the faculty at Xavier, where he was a professor of Spanish and also taught African-American music. He first played jazz with Doc Paulin’s brass band in 1975, and was deeply inspired when in 1978 he first heard George Lewis (i) on record. He then joined the Young Tuxedo Brass Band (1979). In 1980 he performed with the show One Mo’ Time, and the following year he played at Preservation Hall with Kid Sheik Cola and formed his own trio and band. From around 1984 he led the Original Liberty Jazz Band, whose members initially included the veterans Chester Zardis, Louis Nelson, Emanuel Sayles or Danny Barker, and Sadie Goodson (on piano), and two younger players, Gregg Stafford and the drummer Stanley Stephens. In ...

Article

Robert Gannon

revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b Harrogate, England, Dec 7, 1941). English writer and photographer. She wrote about jazz from the age of 18 and in 1959–60 studied photography in London. During the following decades she contributed hundreds of articles to Melody Maker (1960–1970s), Down Beat (of which she was the British correspondent from 1966 to 1970), Jazz Journal, Jazz Monthly, Crescendo, Jazz magazine, Musica jazz, Swing Journal, Jazz Forum, The Wire, and many other periodicals and national newspapers. She also provided the photographs used to illustrate several books as well as those used in John Jeremy’s film Jazz is our Religion (1972). Wilmer has written extensively on the contribution of black British musicians, lectured and chaired forums in this area, and conducted interviews of numerous women and black British musicians for the oral history collection at the National Sound Archive of the British Library. Her own books include ...

Article

(b Belmont, MA, Jan 19, 1937). American trombonist, educator, and arranger. He first learned piano and later took up trombone, which he studied at the New England Conservatory; while in Boston he played in Herb Pomeroy’s big band (1955–7). After playing trombone and piano with Jimmy Dorsey intermittently from 1956 to 1958, in 1959 he led his own band until being drafted in December of that year. During his military service he briefly continued his studies at the Navy School of Music and played trombone in the North American Air Defense Command Band (1962). Wilson then became a regular soloist with Woody Herman, with whom he was associated from 1962 until 1965. The following year he was appointed to the faculty of the Berklee School of Music, where he became head of the trombone department and taught theory and arrangement; he also renewed his association with Pomeroy. Wilson wrote some arrangements for Buddy Rich (notably ...

Article

Nicholas E. Tawa

(b Philadelphia, May 11, 1827; d Philadelphia, Nov 22, 1902). American composer, teacher and publisher . His parents were Joseph Eastburn Winner, a violin maker, and Mary Ann Winner (née Hawthorne), a relative of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Largely self-educated in music, he played and taught several instruments. Around 1845 Winner became a music publisher and opened a music store with his brother Joseph. He was active in Philadelphia’s music circle and was a member of the Musical Fund Society, in whose orchestra he played for five years, the Cecillian Musical Society, and the Philadelphia Brass Band.

Winner wrote many simple and highly popular pieces, arrangements and instruction methods for different instruments. He is best known for his songs issued under the pseudonym Alice Hawthorne, which spawned the genre known as ‘Hawthorne Ballads’. Other pseudonyms were Percy Guyer, Mark Mason and Paul Stenton. Recognition came with How sweet are the roses...

Article

Adam Cegielski and Barry Kernfeld

(b Wrocław, Poland, June 10, 1964). Polish trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He studied jazz at the academy of music in Katowice and joined its faculty after graduating in 1987; from that same year into the mid-1990s he made many recordings as a member of Krzysztof Popek’s ensemble Young Power. In 1988 Wojtasik gave a successful performance at the Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw as a member of the group New Presentation. From 1992 to 1995 he was a member of Jan Wróblewski’s group Made in Poland, and in 1994 he formed the Traveling Birds Quintet, with Piotr Baron, Kuba Stankiewicz, Darek Oleszkiewicz, and the drummer Cezary Konrad. From 1996 he has led his own quintet, of which Maciej Sikała is a member. He has organized special groups for tours and recordings with Gary Bartz, Billy Harper, Buster Williams, Ben Riley, and Ed Schuller, among others; the sidemen on his album ...

Article

Elise Kirk

(b Manjing, Jiangsu, April 20, 1935). Chinese composer. He graduated from the Central Institute of Music in Beijing, then for political reasons was sent to Xingjiang, where he worked for 20 years as a farm labourer. In 1979 he became conductor of the Beijing SO; in 1984 he joined the faculty of the Chinese Music Conservatory, where he is professor of composition and director of the Composition Research Centre. A widely recognized Chinese composer, Jin has written in all genres. His operas comprise A Warm Breeze Outside (1980), Savage Land (1987, First International Art and Music Festival, Beijing) and Sunrise (1990). In 1989 Savage Land won a prize at the Third International Music Theater Workshop in Munich. It was given its North American stage première in January 1992 by the Washington Opera (Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC) to great acclaim, the first opera with a Chinese libretto (by Wan Fang, after her father’s play ...

Article

Leah G. Weinberg

(b Exeter, NH, Nov 8, 1961). American Musician, songwriter, record company founder, and author. Zanes was raised near Concord, New Hampshire, and after attending Oberlin College for one year, moved to Boston. There, Zanes, his brother Warren, the bass player Tom Lloyd, and the drummer Steve Morrell formed the Del Fuegos. The roots-rock band produced five albums between 1984 and 1989, with singles “Don’t Run Wild,” “I still want you,” “Name Names,” and “Move with me Sister.” After the Del Fuegos disbanded and Zanes’s solo album Cool Down Time failed to sell, he began to listen to banjo songs, cowboy tunes, and traditional songs that he remembered from childhood. After his daughter Anna was born, Zanes’s dissatisfaction with the American children’s music market led him to form a family-oriented band that merged folk and rock styles and instrumentation. Initially known as the Wonderland String Band, the New York based-group underwent changes in title and personnel, first to the Rocket Ship Revue, and then to Dan Zanes & Friends. The seven-member band has produced nine albums on Zanes’s label, Festival Five Records, which include original songs as well as folk, traditional, and gospel songs from the United States, Jamaica, Africa, and Mexico. ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(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 ...