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John Beckwith

[Leopold]

(b Birmingham, Nov 26, 1881; d Toronto, April 18, 1952). Canadian composer, cellist and critic of English birth. He made his début as a performer in Birmingham Town Hall at the age of eight. Later he studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music with Fuchs (cello) and at Manchester University (MusB). In 1910, after working as a cellist in the Hallé and Covent Garden orchestras, he emigrated to Canada to teach the cello and theory at the Toronto Conservatory. He was a member of the Conservatory String Quartet and for many years a contributing editor of the Toronto Conservatory Quarterly Review. He was the principal cellist of the Toronto SO during its early years and held a similar post later with the orchestra of the city's summer Prom concerts. Smith also played the viol and led viol ensembles. He was appointed to the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, in ...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(b Exeter, Oct 28, 1823; d Leeds, June 16, 1897). English organist and writer. His father William Spark (1797–1865) was a lay vicar of Exeter Cathedral; two brothers were also musicians. He was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral and was articled to S.S. Wesley for five years in 1840. When Wesley moved to Leeds parish church in 1842, Spark went with him, and was soon appointed organist successively at Chapeltown and St Paul’s, Leeds. Appointments at Tiverton, Daventry, and St George’s, Leeds (1850), followed. From his return to Leeds he was extremely active in local music, founding the Leeds Madrigal and Motet Society, the People’s Concerts, and other organizations. With Henry Smart he designed the large organ for the new town hall, opened in 1858, and was elected borough organist, a post which he held until his death. His views on organ building, tending to promote the French school, were influential. He played an organ sonata at the first Leeds Festival (...

Article

Rosemary Williamson

(b Everton, Liverpool, Jan 11, 1839; d Torquay, May 29, 1924). English architect, amateur organist and writer, father of Heathcote D. Statham. He studied the organ at Liverpool Collegiate Institution and practised architecture in Liverpool for several years before moving in 1869 to London, where he increasingly devoted time to journalism and writing. For several years during the late 1870s he gave a series of Sunday afternoon organ recitals at the Royal Albert Hall, but held no regular organist's post beyond an honorary one at St Jude's, Whitechapel. From 1883 to 1910 his principal occupation was as editor of the journal The Builder, and he wrote several standard works on architectural history.

A thoughtful and intelligent critic, Statham combined his knowledge of architecture and music in his writings on concert hall design, arguing that recently built large halls, such as the Royal Albert Hall and St George's Hall, Liverpool, were constructed solely as places of spectacle in defiance of the basic principles of acoustics. His ...

Article

Karl-Ernst Bergunder

[Nikolaus]

(b Erfurt, Aug 31, 1609; d Erfurt, April 5, 1680). German writer on music and organist. He spent his whole life at Erfurt. He attended the St Michael Lateinschule until 1621, when he transferred to the Protestant Ratsgymnasium, which was at that time noted for its fostering of music. One of his teachers there was Liborius Capsius, director of the collegium musicum and an important Erfurt University professor. He matriculated at the university in 1626, took his bachelor’s degree in 1628 and became a Master of Philosophy in 1629. He then became organist at the Protestant Thomaskirche and at the Catholic church of the Neuwerk monastery. From 1632 to 1635 he was Kantor and teacher at the Protestant school of preaching and also studied theology. In 1635 he was ordained and became deacon (in 1638 pastor) of the Kaufmannskirche in succession to Joseph Bötticher, who had won a good reputation as a musician. In ...

Article

Alex Harris Stein

(b Dayton, OH, Oct 14, 1957). American writer, guitarist, and bandleader. He was a staff writer for the Village Voice from 1987 to 2003 (a contributor since 1981) and one of a group of young African Americans writing for the Voice on black culture, politics, and identity. His work focuses on black music and culture from a postmodern, black nationalist perspective and is noteworthy for an unconventional style that Tate describes as blending academic and street culture. One of the first journalists to cover hip hop, he has written about Miles Davis, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, and others. He has contributed to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, VIBE, the Washington Post, Spin, The Nation, Down Beat, and other publications. His books include Flyboy in the Buttermilk (New York, 1992), Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience (Chicago, 2003), and ...

Article

Leanne Langley

(b Norwich, Jan 22, 1784; d Brentwood, March 12, 1863). English bass and writer on music. Born into a prominent Unitarian family with literary leanings, he worked as an ironmonger and was active in liberal politics as well as amateur musical life in Norwich. He sang at the Octagon Chapel and the Glee and Catch Club, was principal bass at the Hall Concerts, and played a key role in the founding and organization of the Norwich Triennial Festival in 1824; he was also skilled as a wind player and choir trainer. Among his teachers were the Rev. Charles Smyth, William Fish and J.C. Beckwith.

In 1825 Taylor started an engineering firm in London, but on its failure a year later took up music professionally, as a concert singer and teacher. Still associated with opposition politics, by 1829 he had become music critic for the weekly Spectator. Its didactic, reform-minded tone suited him well, and he wrote there regularly for 14 years, notably on provincial festivals, the relative merits of Spohr (his friend) and Mendelssohn (whom he thought overrated), and on the importance of earlier music and of amateur music-making. In ...

Article

Davide Ceriani

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 14, 1948). American music critic and pianist. He studied piano with Donald Currier at Yale University (BA 1970, MMus 1972) and with Leonard Shure at Boston University (DMA 1982). Tommasini has taught music at Emerson College (1978–86) and given nonfiction writing workshops at Wesleyan University and Brandeis University. He was appointed a staff music critic at the New York Times in 1997, and in 2000 he became the paper’s chief classical music critic. Prior to joining the Times, he covered music and theater for the Boston Globe.

He has published two books on the composer Virgil Thomson: Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (New York, 1986; an expanded, revised version of Tommasini’s DMA dissertation) and the critically acclaimed Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle (New York, 1997). Tommasini’s latest book, released in 2004, is Opera: a Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Works and the Best Recordings...

Article

Erik Levi

(b Tauberbischofsheim, Baden, Feb 10, 1879; d Herrsching am Ammersee, 2/June 3, 1968). German composer, conductor and critic. He was a pupil of Iwan Knorr at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt (1894–5) and Joseph Rheinberger at the Munich Academy (1896–9). After his studies Trunk settled in Munich where he pursued a career as an accompanist, private teacher, conductor of various choral societies and critic of the Münchner Post (1907–12). In 1912 he went to New York to serve as conductor of the Arion choral and orchestral society, returning to Munich just after the outbreak of World War I. From 1916 to 1922 he wrote music criticism for the Bayerische Staatszeitung. In 1925 he was appointed director of the Rheinische Musikschule Cologne and professor at the Staatliche Hochschule, and remained extremely active as the conductor of the Männergesangverein. Trunk returned to Bavaria in ...

Article

Bernarr Rainbow

(fl 1833–56). English organist and pioneer of school music. Music in schools, virtually dead in England since the abolition of the song and monastic schools at the Reformation, began its long period of recovery during the decade immediately following the passing of the first Reform Act (1832). Turner's Manual of Instruction in Vocal Music (1833) was the earliest music textbook published for use in English schools. Ostensibly designed to bring about the improvement of congregational psalmody, it was also meant to exert a wider civilizing effect on the industrial population.

Little is known of Turner’s life; but he wrote as an experienced teacher whose book was presented to the public ‘not as an experiment for the first time tried, but as the result of long experience’. Music master at the Westminster Day Training College for Teachers, Turner was also organist and choirmaster at St Stephen’s Church, Avenue Road, St John’s Wood (since demolished), where one of his choristers, L.C. Venables (...

Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Robert Layton

[Fritiof]

(b Göteborg, May 30, 1853; d Stockholm, April 1, 1918). Swedish composer, critic and conductor. At Uppsala University he studied music with J.A. Josephson (1873–9), and after attending the conservatory and university in Leipzig (1879–84), he took the doctorate at the university with a thesis on Swedish folksongs. He then settled at Göteborg, became music critic of the Göteborgs handelstidning and re-established the Harmonic Society in 1886, which he conducted until 1897, performing many large works for chorus and orchestra. He gave lectures in music history and conducted concerts of the workmen's institute. In 1897 he went to Stockholm, where he was critic of Svenska dagbladet until 1902 and teacher of music history at the conservatory (professor from 1912). He was elected a member of the music academy in 1897 (appointed secretary in 1901) and gave many public lectures on music.

Valentin first attracted attention as a composer at Leipzig in ...