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Claude Conyers

(b Kansas City, MO, Dec 21, 1950). American modern dancer, choreographer, and company director. She was trained in various styles of show dancing by Joseph Stevenson, who had been a student of the famed dance anthropologist Katherine Dunham. Zollar followed in Dunham’s scholarly footsteps, eventually earning a master’s degree in fine arts at Florida State University, where she also studied ballet and modern dance. In 1980 she relocated to New York and continued her studies with Dianne McIntyre. Following her childhood bent for making up dances, she founded her own company, Urban Bush Women, in 1984, and began choreographic explorations of the history and culture of African American women in an urban, multi-ethnic environment. Blending modern and jazz dance, her works range in subject matter from Shelter (1988), a piercing study of homelessness, to Batty Moves (1995), a saucy celebration of the buttocks of black women. Some of Zollar’s dances are evening-length works performed to percussive sounds, a capella vocalizations, music by contemporary composers, and the spoken word, arising from librettos written by poets and novelists. Notable among these is ...

Article

David Flanagan

revised by Géza Gábor Simon and Barry Kernfeld

(Cornelius )

(b Visegrad, nr Budapest, June 13, 1927; d Townshend, VT, Jan 26, 1998). Hungarian guitarist. He grew up in a musical family and first studied violin and trumpet; he changed to guitar when he decided to make music his career. After playing in Budapest with Mihály Tabányi’s Pinocchio Ensemble (1946–8) he performed and recorded in Vienna, where he had spent a brief period as a double bass player in a pit orchestra, with Vera Auer (1948–54). In Frankfurt he played bop with Jutta Hipp (1954–5), whose group also included Auer. He followed Hipp to the USA early in 1956, but soon returned to Germany, where he worked with Hans Koller (April 1956–1959) and visiting American musicians, notably Oscar Pettiford (he occasionally played double bass while Pettiford played cello). In 1959 he was awarded a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz and moved to the USA. Following a short period with Chico Hamilton (...

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George Gelles

revised by Peter Schmelz

(b Höhr, Westerwald, Aug 24, 1928; d Berlin, July 29, 2005). German flautist . He trained at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt and at the Northwest German Music Academy in Detmold. While still a student he won first prize in the 1947 competition sponsored by German radio in Frankfurt. After completing his studies in 1950, he became a much sought-after recitalist and chamber musician. From 1960 to 1969 he was solo flautist of the Berlin PO, and during this period also taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Soloists at its inception. In 1968 the critics of Germany honoured him for his outstanding work. In 1969 he left the orchestra and became professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg. He rejoined the Berlin PO in 1977. Zöller had continued to tour as a recitalist and soloist, and gave the first performances of concertos by Ligeti, Isang Yun and Manfred Trojahn....

Article

Deane L. Root

(b Leipzig, July 4, 1854; d Freiburg, May 8, 1941). German conductor and composer, son of Carl Friedrich Zöllner. He studied music at the Leipzig Conservatory (1875–7) under Reinecke, Jadassohn and E.F. Richter, and in 1878 was appointed director of music at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia). In 1885 he became a staff member of the Cologne Conservatory, and began directing the male choral society. From 1890 to 1898 he lived in the USA, where he conducted the Deutscher Liederkranz in New York; his festival cantata Die neue Welt was awarded a prize at the 1892 Cleveland Sängerfest. On his return to Leipzig, he succeeded Kretzschmar as director of music at the university and conducted the Paulus male choir; in 1902 he was Reinecke’s successor as professor of composition at the conservatory, and from 1903 music editor of the Leipziger Tageblatt. He resigned his Leipzig positions in ...

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Péter P. Várnai

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Péter P. Várnai

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(b Brescia, 1728; d Gámbara, nr Brescia, 1809). Italian bass . He was a successful singer in Italian opera houses from 1757, and in London, 1761–2. In 1763 he was hired by the Mannheim court of Elector Carl Theodor, where he particularly excelled in serious roles and also sang successfully in opera buffa. In 1769 he played at court a glass harmonica constructed by the court astronomer Father Christian Mayr. He was a guest performer at the Teatro S Benedetto in Venice in 1771. In 1778 he moved with the court to Munich, his last role there being Jupiter in Vogler's Castore e Polluce (1787). He retired to his estate in Gámbara in 1788. His final documented role was as Polpetta in Farinelli's La bandiera d'ogni vento (in Padua, 1800). Mozart commented favourably on Zonca's expressive singing in a letter of 27 December 1780, stating that he wished he had been able to create the part of Idomeneus for him. There is no conclusive evidence that he composed, although he may have written some of the works attributed to his brother (or uncle) Giuseppe Zonca. (...

Article

Geoffrey Norris

(b Venice, c1715; d ?Venice, after 1781). Italian musician. In 1739 his opera Lucio Papirio dittatore was performed in Graz by Pietro Mingotti’s Italian opera company. On 21 November 1745 he was appointed deputy Kapellmeister to the Bonn court of Archbishop Clemens August of Cologne. He held this post until 1752, and then, probably working with Locatelli’s touring opera company, went to Prague, where in 1753 his opera Il Vologeso was performed. In 1757 he arrived in St Petersburg, producing his opera Didone abbandonata in 1758 and La Galatea two years later. He was appointed deputy conductor of the Italian opera under Raupach, and was subsequently promoted to conductor. He is thought to have succeeded to the directorship of the imperial chapel choir after Galuppi left Russia in 1768. In 1781 Zoppis himself left St Petersburg and probably returned to Italy. Among his other works are a setting of Metastasio’s oratorio ...

Article

George Leotsakos

(b Korça, Jan 24, 1929; d Tirana, Nov 9, 1991). Albanian composer and violinist. He studied theory and the violin at the Jordan Misja Art Lyceum, Tirana (1946–c1950) and became leader of the Albanian Philharmonia before studying composition with Shaporin at the Moscow Conservatory (1957–61). After his return he worked at Albanian Radio (1961–75) while also teaching at the Tirana Conservatory. In 1975 he acquired the status of a ‘free professional composer’, salaried by the state, but continued to teach harmony, analysis and composition at the Conservatory until his death.

One of the most important musical figures of socialist Albania, Zoraqi was capable of highly personal utterances, though his susceptibility to different influences, unproblematic in the Violin Concerto no.2 (1968) with its echoes of Bruch and Wieniawski, lapsed into derivativeness in works such as the First Symphony (...

Article

George Leotsakos

(b Sparta, Feb 23, 1905; d Athens, Dec 22, 1987). Greek composer and conductor. He studied the violin at the Athens and Hellenic conservatories (1919–24), conducting with Boutnikoff and Mitropoulos and composition with Lavrangas and Riadis. His studies were continued with Kalomiris at the National Conservatory (1926–38) and at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where his teachers in conducting were Gmeindl, Schmalstich and F. Stein, and in composition, Blacher, Grabner and Höffer. Zoras was conductor of the Greek National State Opera (1948–58) and at the Deutsche Oper and RIAS radio in Berlin (1958–68). He was appointed director of the Athens National Conservatory in 1968. Although a composer of Kalomiris’s circle, Zoras had little in common with his teacher stylistically. His earlier compositions, such as Thrylos (‘Legend’, 1936), show an almost Ravelian treatment of folk material, with spare harmonies. Later works, including the Symphony (...