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Robert Pascall

(b Frauental, Styria, May 5, 1842; d Vöslau, nr Vienna, Oct 5, 1899). Austrian conductor, teacher, editor and composer, brother of Robert Fuchs. He studied theory with Simon Sechter in Vienna and was appointed Kapellmeister of the Bratislava Opera in 1864. He then worked as an opera conductor in Brno (where his only opera, Zingara, was first produced in 1872), Kassel, Cologne, Hamburg, Leipzig and finally, from 1880, at the Vienna Hofoper. In 1873 he married the singer Anthonie Exner in Kassel. Fuchs became a professor of composition at the Vienna Conservatory in 1888 and succeeded Hellmesberger as its director in 1893; the next year he received the title of assistant Hofkapellmeister for his work at the court opera. He played an important part in preparing the Schubert Gesamtausgabe, editing the dramatic works and some of the orchestral music. He also edited operas by Handel, Gluck and Mozart and wrote songs and piano pieces....

Article

John W. Wagner

(b ?Dartmoor, June 4, 1770; d Boston, Aug 2, 1827). American conductor, composer and publisher of English birth, father of John Hill Hewitt. Apart from family records giving his place and date of birth, the first documented information about him is that he occupied 12 Hyde Street, Bloomsbury, London, during 1791–2. He arrived in New York on 5 September 1792. Although he advertised himself there as having had concert experience in London under ‘Haydn, Pleyel, etc.’, no evidence of this has been found. He lived in New York until 1811, his longest period of residence at one address being from 1801 to 1810 at 59 Maiden Lane. From 1792 until the end of March 1808, he was conductor of the orchestra at the Park Street Theatre, where his duties included arranging and composing music for many ballad operas and other musical productions. He also operated his own ‘musical repository’, where he gave lessons and sold musical instruments and music composed by himself and others....

Article

Robert Orledge and Andrew Thomson

(b Paris, Mar 27, 1851; d Paris, Dec 2, 1931). French composer, teacher, conductor and editor of early music. His famed veneration for Beethoven and Franck has unfortunately obscured the individual character of his own compositions, particularly his fine orchestral pieces descriptive of southern France. As a teacher his influence was enormous and wideranging, with benefits for French music far outweighing the charges of dogmatism and political intolerance.

Andrew Thomson

D’Indy came from a military aristocratic family from the Ardèche region, a fact of the greatest importance in understanding his lifelong nationalist and right-wing political position. His mother died in childbirth, and he was brought up by his paternal grandmother, Thérèse (née de Chorier). Her strict regime, however, was mitigated by deep affection: she was not the tyrannical ogress of received opinion. D’Indy took lessons in piano from Louis Diémer and theory from Albert Lavignac; while showing definite promise, he showed more interest as a boy in military matters and the life of his hero Napoleon. At 18, having passed his ...

Article

L. Brett Scott

(Walter)

(b Port Colborne, ON, Oct 14, 1927; d Caledon East, ON, April 3, 1998). Canadian choral conductor, arranger, editor, and teacher. After graduating from the University of Toronto (BM 1950), he conducted the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and All-Varsity Mixed Chorus, was a choir member at St. Mary Magdelene Church under Healey Willan, and apprenticed with Sir Ernest MacMillan as assistant conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In 1964 he was appointed conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, a position he held until 1997. He taught choral music at the University of Toronto from 1965 to 1968, and was Adjunct Professor from 1997 until his death in 1998. After his death, the University of Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting was established in his honor.

Iseler’s work with his professional choirs established his reputation in Canada and internationally. In 1954 he helped found Canada’s first professional choir, the Toronto Festival Singers. He founded the Elmer Iseler Singers in ...

Article

Owain Edwards

(b Trecastell, Breconshire, Dec 30, 1848; d Aberystwyth, Dec 10, 1915). Welsh composer, conductor and editor. He was apprenticed to a tailor but showed early determination to become a musician, and taught himself Tonic Sol-fa. In 1874 he was one of Joseph Parry's first music students at the newly founded University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and four years later, as the college could not yet award degrees, took the Cambridge MusB externally. He was appointed instructor in music at Aberystwyth in 1882, lecturer in 1899 and professor in 1910. A prolific composer, he published most of his music himself, including some fine hymn tunes (‘Penlan’, ‘Builth’, ‘Gnoll Avenue’, ‘Bod Alwyn’). Of his larger works Job, The Storm, Arch y Cyfamod (composed for the National Eisteddfod, Caernarvon, 1876), The Psalm of Life (Cardiff Triennial Festival, 1895), The Galley Slave and Scenes in the Life of Moses (his last big work, dated ...

Article

Leonard B. Smith and Raoul F. Camus

[Brockton, Lester]

(b Southville, MA, Oct 25, 1879; d Palisade, NJ, March 16, 1955). American composer, conductor, editor and arranger. He studied at the New England Conservatory and was playing the violin with professional symphony orchestras in Boston by the age of 16. From 1896 to 1910 he conducted various theatre orchestras, including the orchestra of the Teatro Payret, Havana, then one of the largest theatres in the western hemisphere. He later moved to New York, where he wrote arrangements for Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, Edwin Franko Goldman, Percy Grainger, Henry Hadley and George M. Cohan. In 1913 he became editor-in-chief of band and orchestral music at Carl Fischer, a position he held for 35 years. His textbook, The American Band Arranger, was published by Fischer in 1920. He taught at the Ernest Williams School, Columbia University and New York University. He also conducted his band, Symphony in Gold, for NBC radio. More than 3000 of his arrangements and compositions were published, some under the pseudonym Lester Brockton. The Heritage of the March series of recordings includes a sample of his work. Lake’s autobiography is entitled ...

Article

Article

(b Brussels, May 28, 1777; d Paris, Dec 18, 1858). Flemish composer, conductor, publisher and teacher. He was the son of Henri Mees (b Brussels, 1757; d Warsaw, 31 Jan 1820), principal baritone of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, and of Anne-Marie Vitzthumb, a singer. He showed precocious musical talent: at the age of five he sang in a church choir, at seven he began to study the violin and at ten he played in the orchestra of the Monnaie. He had further violin studies with J.-E. Pauwels and lessons in harmony and counterpoint with his grandfather Ignaz Vitzthumb. In 1794, during the second French occupation, the family emigrated to Hamburg, where Henri Mees and other Brussels artists established a theatre for the Comédie-Française; Joseph-Henri occasionally sang secondary roles and conducted the orchestra there. He also opened a music shop, from which he published works from the Parisian repertory....

Article

Joanne Swenson-Eldridge

(b 1793; d Philadelphia, June 4, 1873). American conductor, composer, publisher and teacher of French birth . He was a bandmaster in Napoleon’s army before emigrating to the USA, where he settled in Philadelphia (1828). In 1833 he was elected a member of the Musical Fund Society; that same year he founded the Philharmonic Society, an amateur orchestra in Philadelphia. His transcriptions of operatic excerpts and popular songs for the guitar date from as early as 1832. In 1835 he joined the music publisher Augustus Fiot in establishing the firm of Fiot and Meignen. After their partnership was dissolved in 1839, Meignen continued in the music publishing business until 1842. He succeeded Charles Hupfeld as conductor of the Musical Fund Society Orchestra during the 1844–5 season and held the post until 1857; his Grand Military Symphony was first performed under his direction on 17 April 1845. He also conducted the première of William Henry Fry’s ...

Article

Albert Mell

revised by Matthias Wiegandt

(b Berlin, Dec 28, 1812; d Dresden, Sept 12, 1877). German cellist, composer, conductor and editor, brother of Eduard Rietz. He studied the cello from the age of eight with Franz Schmidt, Bernhard Romberg and Moritz Ganz. In 1829 he joined the orchestra of the Königstadt theatre. Refusing Spontini's offer of a post in the Berlin court orchestra, he went to Düsseldorf in 1834 to assist Mendelssohn at the Opera; though nominally only assistant conductor he did most of the conducting. When Mendelssohn left Düsseldorf, Rietz became the city's musical director. During the next 12 years he established a reputation as a conductor and a composer; more than two dozen works of his were published, including the music for Goethe's Singspiel Jery und Bately, two symphonies, a cello concerto and several sets of lieder. He continued to play the cello in public, with Ferdinand Hiller and Ferdinand David among others. He assisted Mendelssohn at the Lower Rhine Festival of ...