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Piero Weiss

revised by Michael Musgrave

(b Eilenstedt, nr Halberstadt, July 21, 1779; d Brunswick, April 17, 1854). German organist, conductor and composer. Born into a family of Kantors, he first disclosed his musical gifts as a boy soprano, singing in the choirs of Halberstadt Cathedral and of his school at Magdeburg, where he studied with Zachariä. Later he moved to Brunswick, where he spent the rest of his life. He studied with his uncle and with J.G. Schwanenberger, succeeding the former as organist at the Brüdernkirche; his decision to accept the position rather than to venture upon a career as a freelance composer and teacher in Vienna was wholly due to the advice of Beethoven, whom he had consulted by letter in 1804. Wiedebein’s few published piano compositions appear to date from this period. In 1810, at considerable personal sacrifice, he was at last able to visit Vienna, where he spent three months and made Beethoven’s personal acquaintance. Later Wiedebein was obliged to support his family by teaching, but in ...

Article

Richard Barrett

(John)

(b Ilford, Essex, Aug 29, 1949). English composer, conductor and music educationist. He took both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, between 1967 and 1972 and gained the doctorate in composition (with Lumsdaine) at Durham University in 1975. In 1973 he had founded the 20th-century music ensemble Gemini, which he directed for the next eleven years. During his period of study, his compositions underwent a maturation towards increasing formal clarity and textural transparency; works from the mid-1970s onwards show the deepening impact on Wiegold of non-Western (especially Indian) musics and philosophies, which meshed with a pre-existing concern to emphasize a spiritual dimension in music.

In the late 1970s he developed a practical interest in organizing workshops where people of all degrees of musical experience (including none) could become creatively involved together in composition and performance. This led in the 1980s to a shift of focus towards his activity as artistic director of the Performance and Communications Skills department of the GSM (until ...

Article

Noël Goodwin

revised by Richard Wigmore

(Harmon )

(b Ardingly, West Sussex, July 19, 1964). English conductor. He graduated from Manchester University and studied at the RAM, principally with George Hurst. He won first prize in the Kirill Kondrashin International Conducting Competition in the Netherlands in 1989, which brought him engagements with leading Dutch orchestras, the Czech PO and the Moscow State SO. In 1989 he also formed the Premiere Ensemble, a chamber group committed to giving a première in each programme, with which he made the first recording of Das Lied von der Erde in Schoenberg’s chamber arrangement. He was associate conductor of the BBC SO, 1991–3, and music director of Opera Factory, 1991–4, with which he made his opera début with Don Giovanni in 1990 and also conducted The Rake’s Progress and Birtwistle’s Yan Tan Tethera. In 2000 he made an acclaimed Glyndebourne début with Peter Grimes. His American début was with the Chicago SO in ...

Article

Bertil Wikman

(b Långserud, Värmland, June 5, 1879; d Stockholm, April 3, 1950). Swedish composer, pianist and conductor. He studied at the Stockholm Conservatory with Lindegren (composition) and Andersson (piano). A state scholarship enabled him to study in Paris (1903–4), where he was organist of the Swedish church, and a Jenny Lind Stipend took him to Germany for further education (1905–7). There he had lessons with Kwast in Berlin, conducted at Karlsruhe (1907) and served as coach at the Berlin Opera (1908). He made his début as a conductor at the Royal Theatre, Stockholm, in 1911, and was then conductor of the Royal Orchestra (1911–24) and the Concert Society Orchestra (1925–38); he also conducted in several European cities. As a pianist he played his own concertante pieces and appeared as an accompanist. In 1915 he was elected to the Swedish Academy of Music. He composed in a national Romantic style, at first influenced by Brahms and Stenhammar but later dominated by Impressionist features with a great feeling for melody and harmony. Among the best works of his small output are the two piano concertos (which are among the most important Swedish compositions in the genre), the symphonic poem ...

Article

Eva Öhrström

(b Göteborg, Dec 11, 1939). Swedish pianist, composer and conductor. She studied the piano with Gottfried Boon in Stockholm and with Ilona Kabos in London. In 1959 she made successful débuts in Stockholm, London and Berlin, and in New York in 1964; her subsequent career as a pianist included world-wide tours. In 1977 she founded the Nordic Music Conservatory and in 1980 the Nordic Chamber Opera. During the late 1970s she also began to compose and to conduct. Most of her compositions are vocal works; her music is lyrical, but with elements of expressionism and Swedish neo-romanticism, especially in the Rilke songs and the opera Den Fredlöse.

Article

Richard March

[Whoopee John ]

(b New Ulm, MN, May 11, 1893; d St Paul, MN, June 15, 1961). American polka musician and bandleader. “Whoopee John” Wilfahrt is the bandleader most responsible for developing and popularizing the type of German American polka music known as “Dutchman.” He was born on a farm in Sigel Township near New Ulm, Minnesota. Like most of the people in the community, his family was descended from Germans from Bohemia. Recognizing his musical talent, John’s mother Barbara purchased a concertina for him in 1904, and by 1909 John had formed a trio with his brother and a cousin, which featured concertina, trumpet, and tuba.

In the ensuing years, John’s band grew, adding additional brass and reed instruments, as well as piano and drums. Moreover, the band’s reach grew with the possibilities afforded by the technological advances of the early 20th century: records and radio, as well as paved roads and automobiles to facilitate touring. In the 1920s the band became consistently known as the Whoopee John Band. According to anecdote, an enthusiastic fan shouted, “Whoopee, John is here,” when he arrived late to an engagement, creating Wilfahrt’s moniker....

Article

Gaynor G. Jones

(b Schmalkalden, Sept 5, 1815; d Schmalkalden, Aug 26, 1873). German composer and conductor . He learnt the violin and the piano from his father at an early age and decided on a musical career when he was quite young. He took harmony, thoroughbass and organ lessons from the organist Burbach and in 1832 went to Kassel to study the violin and the piano with Anton Bott and theory with Baldewein; he completed his music education in Frankfurt, studying the piano with Aloys Schmitt and theory with Johann André. After public performances as a pianist, he went to Krefeld in 1840, where he took over the conductorship of the Liedertafel from 1841 and the Singverein from 1849. He also founded and directed song festivals in the Lower Rhine area. In 1865 he returned home to Schmalkalden after increasing ill-health and bad nerves, partly the consequences of alcoholism.

Wilhelm is remembered for his male-voice setting of Max Schneckenburger’s poem ...

Article

Giles Bryant

(b Balham, London, Oct 12, 1880; d Toronto, Feb 16, 1968). Canadian composer, teacher, organist and choirmaster. Particularly influential as a teacher, he also wrote many choral and organ works that have been frequently performed across North America.

His early education was undertaken privately. At the age of eight he entered St Saviour’s Choir School, Eastbourne, where he studied until 1895. Several positions as organist and choirmaster in and around London culminated in his appointment to St John the Baptist, Holland Road, in 1903. After further studies with W.S. Hoyte, he gained the FRCO in 1899. A close association with Francis Burgess led to membership in the London Gregorian Association in 1910.

In 1913 Willan was appointed head of theory at the Toronto Conservatory and organist of St Paul’s. In the next year he became a lecturer in music at the University of Toronto. He later served as vice-principal of the conservatory (...

Article

Arthur Jacobs

revised by Ian Carson

(Valentine )

(b Newquay, Dec 30, 1919). English conductor, organist and teacher . He was a chorister at Westminster Abbey (1929–33) and studied at the RCM before becoming organ scholar at King's College, Cambridge (1939). War service, during which he won the Military Cross, interrupted his studies, but he returned to complete them (1945–7), then became organist of Salisbury Cathedral (1947–50) and of Worcester Cathedral (1950–57), during which time he conducted the Three Choirs Festival. He introduced Duruflé's Requiem to Britain in 1952. Willcocks returned to Cambridge in 1957 to become organist of King's College Chapel and director of the chapel choir. He developed its already famous choral tradition with distinction, enlarged the choir's repertory, and brought it before a wider public through broadcasts, recordings and overseas tours. He toured with the choir in Europe, Canada and Africa. The annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve became a distinctive mixture of the new and the familiar, heard and seen in many parts of the world through television and radio broadcasts....

Article

Wim van Eyle

(b 1911; d 1970). Dutch bandleader. He played piano with Kai Ewans in Copenhagen (1928), led a band with his brother, the pianist Philip Willebrandts (1929–34), and worked with the bass player Jack de Vries (1935–8) and under the bandleader Klaas Van Beeck (...

Article

Susana Salgado

(b Buenos Aires, Nov 23, 1862; d Buenos Aires, June 17, 1952). Argentine composer, conductor, pianist and teacher. Born into a family of musicians, he began to compose very early. His first piano lessons were with Pedro Beck; he also attended the Colegio S Martin and, from its foundation, the Escuela de Música de la Provincia, where he studied with Luis Bernasconi (piano) and Nicolás Bassi (harmony). While still a pupil at the school he played works by Paer and Liszt at the Teatro Colón; one of his first public performances was in 1879 at a Sociedad del Cuarteto concert organized by Bernasconi. Two years later he published his first work, the mazurka Ensueño de juventud. A scholarship took him in 1882 to the Paris Conservatoire, and there he was a pupil of Georges Mathías (piano), Emile Durand (harmony) and Benjamin Godard (instrumental ensemble), also studying composition with Franck. In Paris the piano works ...

Article

David Ades

[Isaac Cozerbreit]

(b London, May 8, 1893; d Worthing, Sept 7, 1978). English arranger, composer and conductor. In an early career as a violinist he performed with Beecham and Elgar and, like many of his contemporaries, also played for silent films. Williams contributed many scores for films before World War II, often uncredited on-screen, working alongside Mathieson and Nicholas Brodszky, and assisting on the first British sound-film, Alfred Hitchock's Blackmail. He finally achieved fame in 1947 when he wrote The Dream of Olwen for the film While I Live. While owing its success partly to its similarity to Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto, Williams's own mini-concerto became highly popular worldwide. A similar piece, Jealous Lover, reached the top of the US bestsellers when rediscovered in 1960 for the film The Apartment. He scored for over 20 feature films, and was the musical director for at least six more.

From 1941 Williams wrote and conducted numerous works for Chappell's Recorded Music Library, using the Queen's Hall Light Orchestra. This was the source of much of the music heard in wartime newsreels, and it also included ...

Article

J. Bradford Robinson

[Charles Melvin ]

(b Mobile, AL, July 10, 1911; d New York, Sept 15, 1985). American jazz trumpeter and bandleader . He taught himself to play the trumpet and toured with the Young Family band (which included Lester Young) when he was only 14. In 1928 he went to New York, where he made his first recordings (with James P. Johnson) and played briefly in the bands of Chick Webb and Fletcher Henderson. By February 1929 he had joined the Duke Ellington orchestra as a replacement for Bubber Miley, beginning a long association which was to make him famous. In his first 11 years with Ellington his playing became an indispensable part of the band’s sonority, and Ellington integrated solos for him into hundreds of compositions. Williams also took part in many excellent small-group recordings with Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Christian and other leading jazz musicians of the swing period....

Article

Richard Swift

(b Orlando, FL, June 12, 1949). American composer, theorist and conductor. He studied composition with Iain Hamilton and Paul Earls at Duke University (BA 1971), with Wuorinen, Davidovsky and Sollberger at Columbia University (MA 1973) and with Babbitt and J.K. Randall at Princeton University (MFA 1977, PhD 1982). He also studied conducting with Allan Bone and Monod. He has taught at Princeton (1977–8), the University of California, Davis (1978–9), and the College of William and Mary (from 1979), where he conducts the college symphony orchestra. He has also guest conducted a number of contemporary music ensembles. He has received many commissions from choral groups and instrumental ensembles and has won awards from the East/West Artists and the Ensemble Intercontemporaine for Amoretti (1980).

As a composer Williams uses both ordered and unordered pitch collections to determine thematic and harmonic materials; he strives to make audible the associations between pitch and interval by means of timbral, registral, rhythmic and dynamic relationships. He has a remarkable command of instrumental resources, imaginatively deploying sonorities within individual lines (as in ...

Article

Raoul F. Camus

(b Wayne County, IN, Sept 27, 1881; d Saugerties, NY, Feb 8, 1947). American cornetist, trumpeter, conductor, composer, and educator. He studied music with his father, and at the age of 16 joined the 158th Indiana Volunteer Infantry as a bandsman. While still in his teens he became bandmaster of the 161st Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Following his army service he moved to Boston, where he continued his studies, and was cornet soloist with the bands of Liberati, Sousa, Conway, Frederick Innes, and Mace Gay. He also conducted the Boston Cadet Band and the Lakeside Band of Denver, and in 1915–16 made a world tour with his wife Kitty Rankin, a cornetist. From 1917 to 1923 he played first trumpet in the Philadelphia SO under Stokowski. During the summers of 1918–22 he was cornet soloist with the Goldman Band. In 1922 he founded the Ernest Williams School of Music in Brooklyn, which continued until his death; its faculty members included Pryor, Cowell, Grofé, Grainger, Leidzén, Mayhew Lake, and Morton Gould. In ...

Article

[Stanley R. ]

(b Danville, KY, April 10, 1894; d New York, Dec 17, 1975). American bandleader, clarinetist, and alto saxophonist. He began playing violin, but after 1909 concentrated on clarinet. In 1914 he moved to Cincinnati, where he later worked as a leader (1919–23). After settling in New York (1924) he led his own Royal Flush Orchestra (from 1925), which was resident at the Savoy Ballroom (1926 – January 1928); he made a number of recordings with the band as a singer, clarinetist, and alto saxophonist. Although Williams was capable of intense and effective blues playing, his style was marked by an extensive use of novelty effects. This has tended to obscure the quality of his bands, which recorded some of the finest examples of the Harlem style of the later 1920s, prominently featuring the trumpeter George Temple, the trombonist David “Jelly” James, and the pianist Hank Duncan, among other excellent soloists. Williams’s vocal work includes “talking blues” in the manner of Bert Williams (...

Article

Christopher Palmer

revised by Martin Marks

(Towner)

(b New York, NY, 8 Feb 1932). Composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist.

He learned the piano from the age of eight and after moving to Los Angeles with his family in 1948 studied with the pianist and arranger Bobby Van Eps. He served in the US Air Force (1951–4), orchestrating for and conducting service bands, then moved back to New York, where he studied for a year with Rosina Lhévinne at the Juilliard School and played in jazz clubs and recording studios. After returning to the West Coast he enrolled at UCLA and took up private composition studies with Arthur Olaf Andersen and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, among others. From 1956 Williams was a studio pianist in Hollywood and two years later began arranging and composing music for television, contributing the main title to Checkmate (1960; see Thomas and Burlingame). Through the mid-1960s he composed for several series and worked for Columbia Records as a pianist, arranger, and conductor; he also made a number of albums with André Previn. During this period Williams began scoring feature films, with many of his earliest scores for comedies, such as ...

Article

Gene Biringer

(b Canton, OH, June 23, 1887; d Toledo, OH, May 28, 1964). American conductor and music educator. After graduating from Otterbein College (Westerville, OH) in 1911, he studied voice with herbert wilber Greene , herbert Witherspoon , and david Bispham in New York, and organ with Karl Straube in Leipzig. He became minister of music at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, and formed a choir there in 1920. The choir achieved an excellent reputation, and he toured with it in New York, Boston, Chicago, and other cities. Inquiries from churches throughout the country made Williamson aware of the need for well-trained church musicians and led to his founding the Westminster Choir School in 1926. In 1929 the school moved from Dayton to Ithaca, New York, and in 1932 to its current location in Princeton, New Jersey. Williamson remained its president until his retirement in 1958, during which time he continued to conduct its choir both in the United States and abroad (it made four world tours). He edited the Westminster Series of Choral Music and was the author of several articles, including one on organizing and training a choir (...

Article

Bill C. Malone

[James Robert ]

(b nr Kosse, TX, March 6, 1905; d Fort Worth, May 13, 1975). American fiddler, singer, and bandleader. In 1931 he became one of the founding members of the seminal western-swing band the Light Crust Doughboys (named after the flour company that sponsored it on Fort Worth radio). Three years later he assembled the Texas Playboys, who played on radio station KVOO in Tulsa from 1934 to 1942. The group became very popular in the Southwest through broadcasts, recordings, personal appearances, and nightly dances at Cain’s Ballroom; during the 1940s it took part in films, and throughout the 1950s and 1960s it toured and recorded extensively. As a fiddler Wills combined traditional hoedown music with blues inflections, but as a bandleader he was receptive to musicians who could play jazz or the hot dance tunes that he himself was incapable of producing. The Playboys consequently combined country music string instruments with drums and wind instruments and performed an eclectic repertory that included blues, jazz, popular standards, and country music. Along with Milton Brown, Wills was one of the chief popularizers of ...

Article

(b Mason City, IA, May 18, 1902; d Santa Monica, CA, June 15, 1984). American composer, conductor, flautist and lyricist. Between 1921 and 1923, while still a student at the Institute of Musical Art (later the Juilliard School), he was engaged as principal flautist by Sousa. He then became a member of the New York PO (1924–9), while continuing to study privately with Hadley and Barrère. He worked in radio and television (1929–56), first as the musical director of the Northwest Territory for ABC, and eventually as the musical director, conductor and composer for the western division of NBC. Two of his songs achieved wide radio popularity: You and I (1941), the signature tune for the Maxwell House Coffee programme, and May the Good Lord bless and keep you (1950), the theme song for Tallulah Bankhead’s ‘The Big Show’. Willson composed the scores for such films as ...