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Article

Andrew Lamb

(b Bucharest, April 3, 1889; d Bucharest, March 28, 1949). Romanian violinist and composer. He studied at the Bucharest Conservatory (1902–6) with Kiriac-Georgescu (theory and solfège), Rudolf Malcher, Gheorghe A. Dinicu and Carl Flesch (violin), Dimitrie A. Dinicu (chamber music) and Alfonso Castaldi (orchestra) and later with Cecilia Nitzulescu-Lupu and Vasile Filip (violin). He was a violinist in the orchestra of the Ministry of Public Instruction (1906–8) and solo violinist with the Bucharest PO, directed popular music concerts (1906–46) and was leader of the Bucharest Pro Musica (1938–40). In addition, he made tours abroad, collected and arranged Romanian popular melodies and composed several pieces for violin and piano. Among these Hora staccato (1906) has achieved particular popularity as a violin encore; others include Hora spiccato, Hora de concert, Improvisation à la Dinicu, Hora martisorului, Hora de la Chiţorani...

Article

Philip L. Scowcroft

(b London, June 5, 1918; d Suffolk, May 9, 1992). English arranger, composer and pianist. He studied at the RAM, then, as a pianist, began broadcasting in 1946, latterly in a duo with Edward Rubach. He was perhaps best known on radio as an arranger of folk and popular tunes, film and musical comedy themes for orchestra, sometimes with chorus. He was skilled at finding novel approaches to his arrangements for such BBC radio programmes as ‘Melodies for You’ and the long-running ‘Friday Night is Music Night’, and also for his own sextet and trio. Some are so inventive as to straddle the boundary between arrangement and composition, like the London Rhapsody for piano and orchestra and the ‘kindergarten fresco’ Ourselves When Young.

Among his own compositions are the entertainment pieces for brass band, Cornet Cascade and Jolly Roger, and a suite in the manner of Coates, Scènes du ballet...

Article

Walter Starkie

revised by Charles Fox and Alyn Shipton

[Federico]

(b Manila, Dec 12, 1907; d Manila, Jan 16, 1979). Filipino bandleader, pianist, conductor and composer of Spanish parentage. He studied at the Madrid Conservatory, with, among others, Trago and Perez Casas. In 1921 he went to England for two years' study at St Joseph's College, London, and later entered Stanford University, California, where his parents intended him to study law. However, under the influence of Bloch, with whom he had composition lessons, he left in 1926 to give his attention to music. At this point his fascination for jazz and dance music began, and he led the Stanford University Band for a season at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, while continuing formal composition studies. After cutting his first discs with his Cinderella Roof Orchestra in Hollywood, he returned to England to read law at Cambridge University (where his brother, the saxophonist Manuel (Lizz) Elizalde, was also a student) in ...

Article

John Snelson

(John Herman)

(b Hampstead, Oct 29, 1903; d London, June 19, 1996). English composer, lyricist and pianist. His grandmother Julia Woolf (1831–93) was a pianist and composer, publishing piano pieces, songs and the comic opera Carina (1888), and his mother was a violin pupil of Ysaÿe. He won a music scholarship to Cheltenham College and later studied the piano with Myra Hess at the RAM; his recordings of piano medleys of his own work, especially that from Streamline (1934), reveal a strong technique. Inspired by the music of Paul Rubens, particularly after seeing a revival of Tonight's the Night, he turned to composing light music, contributing additional songs to shows including The Curate's Egg (1922) and By the Way (1923). He learned about songwriting styles as a song plugger for Francis, Day & Hunter, and in 1928 became a composer for Chappell. His first transatlantic hit was achieved with ‘I never dreamt’ in the revue ...

Article

Gerald Bordman

revised by William A. Everett and Deane L. Root

(b Prague, Dec 7, 1879; d Los Angeles, Nov 12, 1972). American composer and pianist of Czech birth. He won a scholarship to the Prague Conservatory and studied composition with Dvořák and piano with Josef Jiránek. He began composing light concert pieces as soon as he graduated, but also accepted a position as accompanist for the violinist Jan Kubelík in order to support himself. He toured Europe and made two visits with Kubelík to the USA, where he decided to settle in 1906. In that year he performed his First Piano Concerto with Walter Damrosch and the New York SO and gave recitals throughout the country, quickly achieving a reputation for his imaginative improvisation. He also continued to compose both concert pieces and lighter music, often under the pseudonym Roderick Freeman.

In 1912 Victor Herbert, who had quarreled with Emma Trentini, the leading lady of his Naughty Marietta...

Article

Alyn Shipton

[‘Gibby’]

(b Clinton, MA, Jan 4, 1903; d London, May 10, 1954). American pianist, bandleader and composer, active in Britain. He played the piano as a child, appearing in public aged ten, and going on to attend the New England Conservatory. In 1924 he came to Britain to study the piano at the RAM, but he soon took up an alternative career in dance music, playing with the Boston Orchestra at the Berkeley Hotel. He led the Sylvians at the Savoy in 1926, taking over leadership of the hotel’s popular Orpheans orchestra from Debroy Somers in 1927, but disbanding it the following year. He became a musical director for the Gramophone Company (1928–9), for whom he led the New Mayfair Orchestra, recording prolifically and providing accompaniments for almost all the popular singers and variety turns recorded by the company. In 1929 he worked for the British and Dominion Film Company as a musical director, spending most of ...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(do Prado Pereira de Oliveira)

(b Juazeiro, Bahia, June 10, 1931). Brazilian popular singer, composer and guitarist. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at the age of 18, singing mostly Romantic samba-canções in various groups and frequenting the nightclub Plaza in Copacobana and the Murray Recordshop in downtown Rio de Janeiro. His first solo recording came in 1952, but it was the July 1958 record containing Jobim's Chega de Saudade and his own Bim-bom that called attention to his new singing style, unassuming but secure and very intimate. In April 1958 he had accompanied on the guitar the pop singer Elisete Cardoso singing Chega de Saudade, and revealed for the first time his distinctive guitar beat that came to be known as the violão gago (stammering guitar), a trademark of the bossa nova made up of previously unknown syncopated patterns on the samba beat. In November of the same year he recorded Jobim's ...

Article

(b Vienna, Sept 1, 1879; d New York, May 30, 1944). Austrian composer, pianist and librettist. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Salomon Judassohn, then was engaged as a coach at the Vienna Hofoper, also working at the Viennese cabaret Nachtlicht as a pianist and singer. His first major success was the operetta Bub oder Mädel (1908), which shows the influence of Lehár. By 1930 he had written 16 operettas, eight of which also credited him as librettist, and also the libretto for Oscar Straus’s operetta Die Königin. Der Orlow (1925) became his most popular work, with some 400 performances in major European cities, and he contributed the song Zuschau ’n kann i net to Benatzky’s Im weissen Rössl (1930). He went to Hollywood in 1930 to team up with Nacio Herb Brown and write the music for the film One Heavenly Night...

Article

Thomas L. Gayda

[Will; Williams, Hugh; Milos, André]

(b Vienna, Aug 11, 1894; d New York, Dec 10, 1939). Austrian composer, pianist and conductor. Born into a Jewish family of jewellers, he studied with the operetta composer Richard Heuberger, Robert Fuchs, the musicologist Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. After he left the Vienna Music Academy in 1919, his Zwei phantastische Stücke was given its first performance by the Vienna PO. The following year he received a doctorate in music from Vienna University. While he remained initially faithful to the late-Romantic, Impressionist line, he became the first Austrian composer to introduce jazz idioms into his music. His grotesque ballet-pantomime Baby in der Bar (1928) marked him as one of the prime exponents of the Zeitgeist of the Weimar era.

In 1927 Grosz moved to Berlin and became the artistic director of the new Ultraphon record company, quickly building up its catalogue as a conductor, arranger and pianist. He formed a well-known piano duo with Wilhelm Kauffman and toured Europe as a highly-sought accompanist and conductor. When the National Socialists seized power in ...

Article

Stanley Goscombe

[Joseph]

(b Zsámbék, Dec 1, 1809; d Weimar, Feb 1, 1889). Hungarian composer, bandmaster and violinist. At 15 he held the post of teacher’s assistant and later taught at a school in the Pest suburb of Franzen. At 18 he gave up teaching and joined the 5th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Pest, and in 1835 entered the 4th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Graz as an oboist, soon becoming its bandmaster. Here he became known as the ‘Graz Strauss’, and introduced orchestral music with stringed instruments into public entertainments. In 1836 he composed his first successful work, the Ungarischer Marsch; it was published in Berlin in 1839. In 1840 he married Cajetana Barbara Reichl, in whose honour he composed the Cajetana-Tänze op.116.

With 16 Styrian musicians, Gung’l left Graz in 1843 on his first concert tour of Austria and Germany, ultimately arriving in Berlin, where, assisted by his friend and publisher Gustav Bock, he became the resident conductor of his own 36-piece orchestra at Sommer’s Lokal (...