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Robin A. Leaver

[Huldreich ]

(b Wildhaus, Jan 1, 1484; d Cappel, Oct 11, 1531). Swiss humanist and church reformer . Of all the reformers of the 16th century he was the most musically gifted and yet the most antagonistic towards the use of music in public worship. He was educated first in Basle, then in Berne where he came under the influence of the poet, composer and humanist scholar Wölflin. While in Berne, at the age of 12 Zwingli entered the chapel choir of the local monastery simply to further his musical ambitions. Many of his contemporaries (e.g. Bullinger and Myconius) commented on his extraordinary musical gifts. Wyss (see Finsler, 1901) wrote:

I have never heard about anyone who, in the musical arts – that is, in singing and all the instruments of music, such as lute, harp, large viol, small viol, pipes, German flute … the trumpet, dulcimer, cornett, and waldhorn, and whatever else of such like had been invented … could take it to hand as quickly as he....

Article

Lothar Knessl

(b Vienna, April 29, 1935). Austrian composer and pianist. He studied at the Vienna Music Academy, where his teachers included Karl Schiske (composition), Bruno Seidlhofer and Josef Dichler (piano). He also attended the Darmstadt summer courses (1958, 1964–6), winning the Kranichstein Music Prize of the international piano competition on his first visit. In 1965, with Kurt Schwertsik and H.K. Gruber, he founded the neo-tonal and ironically intended Salonkonzerte, through which he hoped to counter a view of ‘music as a substitute religion’. After 1967 the group developed into the MOBart & toneART ensemble, whose productions, linking performance, music and language, related to the ‘instrumental theatre’ movement. Zykan's most characteristic works are his ‘total art productions’, in which processes of permutation extend to movement, sounds and linguistic elements alike, sometimes producing compromise and sometimes distortion, and often reducing critical comment to the absurd. As his creative work has been conceived entirely in relation to the present, a number of his works exist only in a sketch-like draft form. He has mostly dispensed with publication, since the majority of his works depend on his personal interpretation. As a result, a number of compositions have been lost. He has also created TV advertisements for well-known firms....

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Irena Poniatowska

(b Żary or Laskowiec, Feb 13, 1796 or 1793; d Warsaw, June 19, 1867). Polish tenor and conductor . He studied the violin and then made his début as a singer in Paisiello’s La frascatana at Minsk (1814). He sang at Vilnius (1815–23, 1838 and 1851...

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Alan Blyth

(b Landvarov, nr Vilnius, Jan 23, 1935). Polish soprano . She studied at Łódź and made her début in 1957 at Kraków as Halka. After winning the 1960 Munich radio prize she sang at Oberhausen, Dortmund (1962) and Düsseldorf (1965–70). She appeared as Octavian at Glyndebourne (1965), made her Covent Garden début in 1968 as Violetta, then sang Countess Almaviva, Donna Elvira and Desdemona, a role she took to La Scala in 1977. She made her Metropolitan début in 1968 as Donna Elvira; later roles there included Tatyana, Suor Angelica, Fiordiligi, Elsa (Lohengrin), Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Marguerite, the Marschallin, Mimì, Tosca, Butterfly and Manon Lescaut. She sang throughout Europe and the USA, her repertory including Adriana Lecouvreur, Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), Leonora (Il trovatore), Liù, Lisa (The Queen of Spades), Maddalena de Coigny, and both the Composer and Ariadne. Zylis-Gara was also admired as a concert singer and recitalist. She was a dignified yet impassioned actress, and had a fresh, lyric voice, notable for its smoothness of production. Among her recordings are a radiant Composer under Kempe....