Country in Central Asia.
Musical life in Afghanistan has been severely disrupted by warfare since 1978. By the end of the 20th century the Taliban movement controlled 90% of the country, including all major cities. In the areas under Taliban control no musical instruments are permitted in public or private, and all forms of music save unaccompanied singing are prohibited. In other areas conditions are little better: most former professional musicians are refugees in Iran, Pakistan, Europe and North America. This article describes some aspects of music culture which are currently dormant, but no doubt music will re-emerge in due course, quite possibly not much changed.
Afghanistan is situated at the juncture of three major cultural areas: Central Asia, the Middle East and India. Each area has exercised a strong influence on Afghanistan at various points in history. In its ethnic origin, language and topography, Afghanistan is more clearly related to Central Asia and the Middle East than to India. The present-day boundaries of Afghanistan (fixed ...
Idioglot Jew’s harp of the northern Philippines. Most are made of bamboo, but some are of brass or bronze with a slender triangular tongue cut through a small sheet of metal, the tongue remaining fully enclosed but attached only at the base of the triangle. Among the Bontok people it is known as the ...
M. Rusty Jones
(b Tehran, Iran, March 9, 1960). American guitarist and educator of Iranian birth. She took up the guitar at the age of ten, later moving to the United States. She received BM and MM degrees in guitar from the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1986, she was among 12 guitarists selected by Andrés Segovia to perform in his masterclasses held at the University of Southern California. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate of Music degree in guitar performance from Florida State University, under the direction of Bruce Holzman. She was the first woman worldwide to receive this degree. She studied with Oscar Ghiglia at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Aspen Music Festival, and Siena (Accademia Musicale Chigiana). Among her awards are a Grand Prize in the 1986 Aspen Music Festival Guitar Competition, Top Prize in the 1988 Guitar Foundation of America Competition, a NEA recording award, and selection by the United States Information Agency to Africa as an Artistic Ambassador in ...
A Sanskrit term found in the older, Vedic literature of India (c1500–500
(b Voroshilovgrad, Armenia, Nov 23, 1953). Finnish composer of Armenian birth. He studied composition with Aram Khachaturian and instrumentation with Denisov in Moscow. On moving to Finland in 1978 he continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy, where he began to teach theory in 1982. His first works, which culminated in the Sonata for clarinet and piano (1981), recall the style of his teacher, Paavo Heininen, in their 12-note writing and linear polyphony. In his First String Quartet of the following year the instruments are treated as one; thereafter the texture of his works consists not of individual sounds but of webs characterized primarily by their rhythmic and harmonic density. The development of these webs, themselves sometimes the outcome of aleatory counterpoint, results in lively music within natural forms. Among his most successful works is the Cello Concerto (1984).
Bronze bossed gong of Minangkabau communities in western Sumatra, Indonesia. It varies in size and pitch but typically measures about 50 cm in diameter and provides a low-pitched rhythmic foundation for various ensembles, particularly the talempong duduak (‘sitting talempong’) gong chime ensemble. Depending on local tradition, the aguang may be suspended from a rack and struck with a wooden or metal beater, or placed on the ground or on the thigh of its seated player and struck with a stick. Its sound commonly marks the initiation of various rituals (often signalling that a water buffalo has been slaughtered) and other formal events. The ...
[ageng, agong, egong, egung, gong]
Suspended bossed gong of Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Mindoro, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia. There are various sizes. Larger gongs measure approximately 60 cm in diameter, with a boss about 8 cm high and a rim about 24 cm wide. The degree to which the rim is turned in also varies, as do the instrument’s profile, weight and thickness. The smallest agung are those of the Tiruray people of Mindanao; they have a diameter of about 27 cm and rims about 4 cm wide.
Among several cultural groups in insular South-east Asia instruments of the agung type are important in rituals of possession. The Magindanaon people of Mindanao and the Modang of east Kalimantan use it in curing ceremonies, and in Palawan island it is played in wine-drinking rituals. The Iban of Sarawak use the agung at feasts (gawai) related to rice cultivation, at weddings, at the making of a new house and in curing the sick. In east Kalimantan the gong is a semi-sacred object and a symbol of honour and prestige....
(b Montevideo, August 4, 1940). Uruguayan composer, musicologist and teacher of Armenian parentage. He studied composition with Tosar (1955–7, 1966–9), the piano with Adela Herrera-Lerena (1945–59), conducting with Jacques Bodmer (1966–9), musicology with Ayestarán (1964–6) and electro-acoustic techniques with Henry Jasa (1961–3). In Buenos Aires he studied at the Instituto Torcuato di Tella with Gandini and Kroepfl (1969), in Venice with Nono (1970), at the Darmstadt summer courses with Ligeti, Aloys Kontarsky, Xenakis, Globokar and Christian Wolff (1970, 1974), and at various of the Latin American Courses for Contemporary Music with Mumma, Rabe and others (1971–89).
Aharonián has been influential as a teacher and as an organizer of activities in music and music education both in Uruguay and abroad. His teaching specializations range from composition, choral conducting and organology to analysis, musical folklore and music and society; he has taught mainly at the Uruguayan National University and the National Institute for Teacher Training, as well as privately. An assiduous participant and lecturer in seminars and workshops in Europe, the Americas and the Philippines, he has been a member of the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and of the presidential council of the ISCM, and the executive secretary of the Latin American Courses for Contemporary Music. He has received numerous awards from Uruguay and other countries for his work as a composer, musicologist and choral conductor, and commissions from France, Poland, Sweden and Germany....
(b Riga, May 24, 1947). Armenian violinist and conductor. He began to study the violin in Riga and continued his studies at the Central Music School in Yerevan (1963–6), the Yerevan Conservatory (1966–8) and the Moscow Conservatory (1968–74), where his teachers were Y.I. Yankelevich and Leonid Kogan. From ...
(b Muar, Johor, Malaysia, June 12, 1941). Malaysian singer and lute player. He became interested in music at an early age, as a result of watching bangsawan (Malay opera) performances; his father, a musician, was important in nurturing this interest. At the age of 18 he joined the Setia Ghazal Party in his home town (the principal centre of the syncretic vocal genre ghazal in Malaysia) as a singer and musician; he later joined the well-known Seri Maharani Ghazal, becoming famous as a gambus (short-necked lute) player (the lead instrument in ghazal ensembles) and featuring on Seri Maharani Ghazal's many recordings.
He has visited around 40 countries, often giving solo performances, but principally as a member of exchange troupes through the Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, which he joined in 1976. Shortly after joining this organization, he worked as a gambus teacher at Kompleks Budaya Negara (National Cultural Complex), where he continued until his retirement. He continues to work part-time at the Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (National Arts Academy). In addition to being a highly successful ...
(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 13, 1932; d Cologne, Oct 31, 2002). Israeli conductor of Soviet birth. He studied at the Leningrad Central School of Music and the Leningrad Conservatory, and also with Natan Rakhlin and Kurt Sanderling. In 1956 he was appointed conductor of the Saratov PO; he also taught at the conservatory there and conducted his first operas. The next year he became conductor at Yaroslav, remaining there until his appointment as chief conductor of the Moscow RSO in 1964; his guest engagements included appearances with the Bol′shoy Ballet. Ahronovich left the USSR in 1972 and became an Israeli citizen. After concerts with the Israel PO he began touring, appearing in London with the RPO and with the New York PO in the USA. He made his operatic début in the West with Otello at Cologne, where he was conductor of the Gürzenich Concerts from ...
Robert C. Provine
Bowed long zither of Korea. Two main versions are in current use: the ajaeng, which has been a member of court music ensembles for many centuries, and the smaller sanjo ajaeng, invented in the 1940s and used for folk music and accompaniments.
The older version is about 160 cm long and 24 cm wide, has seven strings of twisted silk and is bowed with a long (65 cm) resined stick of forsythia wood. The instrument itself is made of paulownia wood and is played propped up at the bowing end (performer’s right) on a small four-legged stand. The strings run from a gently curved bridge on the right across seven small movable wooden bridges (‘wild-goose feet’) to another curved bridge on the left; the sounding length, from the right bridge to the movable bridge, is different for each string and readily adjustable for tuning purposes. The ajaeng has the narrowest range of the Korean string instruments: in court music it normally operates within a 9th or 10th, a typical tuning being ...
(b Sendai, Japan, March 16, 1953). Japanese pianist and keyboard player. He grew up in Cleveland and studied piano, theory, and music history at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (1959–65). In his early teens he returned to Japan, where he read philosophy and composition at the International Christian University in Tokyo (1971–5); he then began, but did not complete, a doctorate in philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Apart from leading his own small groups, Akagi played with, among others, Art Pepper (1975), Blue Mitchell (1975), Eddie Harris (1976), Airto Moreira and Flora Purim (1979–86), Kazumi Watanabe (mid-1980s), Joe Farrell (1984–5), James Newton (from 1985), Allan Holdsworth and Jean-Luc Ponty (both 1986), Al Di Meola (1986–7), Miles Davis (1989–91), Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks (1990), Stanley Turrentine (from ...
(b Tashkent, March 1, 1921). Uzbek composer. After graduating from the Tashkent Conservatory (1945) where he was a pupil of Vasilenko Revutsky and A. Koslovsky, he took a postgraduate course under Steinberg and Voloshinov at the Leningrad Conservatory (1945–54). His lyrical and dramatic style is rooted in Uzbek traditional music; a number of his works reflect his interest in history, philosophy and poetry.
[Faizabadi, Akhtari Bai]
(b Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, 1911–14; d Lucknow, 1974/5). North Indian vocalist. She was hailed as a child prodigy by Gauhar Jan, who heard her sing at her school in about 1919. Akhtari's mother then took her to study classical vocal music with Ustad Zamir Khan of Gaya, Bihar. Akhtari made her début as a vocalist at a charity concert in Patna. Subsequently she moved to Calcutta and underwent arduous classical vocal training as a disciple of Ustad Ata Hussein Khan of the Patiala gharānā. She made her first commercial recording in 1933, the ghazal Dīvāna banāna hāi to, in which she sang to the accompaniment of sāraṅgī, tablā and harmonium. She also acted in a few musical films, notably Roṭi, and spent some time at the court of the Nawab of Rampur. Later she settled in Lucknow, regularly performing both publicly and in private soirées and often travelling to Calcutta to perform at music conferences....
(b Tokyo, Jan 17, 1955). Japanese guitarist. Self-taught, he took up drums at the age of eight and guitar when he was ten. In 1975 he made his professional début with Isao Suzuki’s group Soul Family. He performed with Mikio Masuda, Motohiko Hino, Hiroshi Murakami, Yoshio Suzuki (...
J. Bradford Robinson
(b Dairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Japanese jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. She studied classical music and turned to jazz only in 1947 after moving to Japan. There she was discovered by Oscar Peterson, who urged her to take up a career in the USA. After studying at Berklee College of Music (1956–9) she became a highly regarded bop pianist, especially in groups with the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano (who was at that time her husband). She worked in Japan (1961), joined Charles Mingus in the USA (1962–3), then returned to Japan until 1965. In 1973 she founded a large rehearsal band in Los Angeles with the tenor saxophonist and flautist Lew Tabackin, whom she had married in 1969. Its first album, Kogun (1974, RCA), was commercially successful in Japan, and the group attracted increasing popularity and critical acclaim until, by ...
revised by Münir Nurettin Beken
(b Istanbul, May 6, 1908; d Ankara, Feb 16, 1999). Turkish composer. He was a member of the Turkish Five, a group of outstanding composers who, from the 1930s, promoted a Western musical style. Akses first played the violin and then took up the cello at the age of 14. He studied harmony with Cemal Reşit Rey at the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory. In 1926 he left for Vienna where he attended Joseph Marx’s harmony, counterpoint and composition classes for advanced students at the Academy. After receiving his diploma in 1931, he went to Prague and studied with Josef Suk and Alois Hába at the Prague Conservatory. He returned to Turkey in 1934 and was appointed a teacher of composition at the Music Teachers School, becoming its director in 1948. He then took a number of official positions: in 1949 he was director general of the Fine Arts Section of the Ministry of Education, then cultural attaché in Berne (...