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Rainer E. Lotz

[William ]

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

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Philip Greene

(Marie Wolffe )

(b Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka], June 1, 1940). Sri Lankan singer. She studied piano and cello as a child, and first heard jazz in broadcasts on Voice of America. She won a trip to Australia to sing with Graeme Bell in 1954, presented her own radio program in Ceylon, and toured Japan, Korea, and India with Toshiko Akiyoshi in 1955. The following year she moved to London, where she acted with the BBC Repertory Company and sang at jazz clubs. In 1959 she performed frequently at the Blue Note in Paris. She met Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert in London in 1962 and moved to New York to join their vocal group as a replacement for Annie Ross, who had left because of illness; Bavan performed and recorded with the group until it disbanded in 1964, and may be seen with it in the documentary film Newport Jazz Festival 1962...

Article

(b Vernïy [now Alma-Ata], 20 April/May 2, 1912; d Moscow, June 6, 1957). Kazakh, soprano. She studied at the Vernïy Institute of Education (1924–8), sang with the Kazakh National Dramatic Theatre from 1934 and joined the Kazakh opera in 1937. Her voice was soft and of a distinctive timbre, and she was a good actress. She created many roles in operas in the Kazakh repertory by Brusilovsky, Tulebayev, Zhubanov and Kharmidi, combining in her interpretations a vocal style that was both strongly national and also European. She was the first Kazakh singer to perform Tatyana, Tamara (...

Article

Alison Arnold

(b Satara, Sept 8, 1933). Indian film playback singer. She is the younger sister of the playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, and has earned enormous renown for her renditions of Western-influenced rock, pop and disco film songs as well as film ghazals. Like her elder sister, Asha received classical music training from their stage actor-singer father, Dinanath Mangeshkar, and started working in films as a child artist. She sang in a chorus at the age of ten for the Marathi film Majha bala (1943), in which her 14-year-old sister Lata played the heroine. After the family moved to Bombay in 1945, she recorded her first Hindi playback song Sawan aya re, a chorus led also by the singers Geeta Roy and Zohrabai, composed by the music director Hansraj Behl for the film Chunariya (1948). Her first Hindi solo playback recording was Hain mauj main apne begane, do char idhar …...

Article

Craig A. Lockard

(b Vienna, Austria, May 2, 1924). American and Israeli actor and singer. Born into a Jewish family, he spent his youth in Austria. Following the Nazi occupation the Bikel family escaped to Palestine, where he made his stage debut in 1943. Moving to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he began his acting career in 1948 in A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1954 he immigrated to the United States and, in 1961, became a naturalized American. He made his concert debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, in 1956 with a program of folk songs. In 1959 he was cast as Georg von Trapp in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. During his long career Bikel has appeared in numerous films, plays, and musicals, from the lead in Zorba to over 2000 performances as the penniless milkman Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Marseilles, March 24, 1936). Armenian soprano . She studied in Milan, making her début in 1964 at Brussels as Micaëla. A member of the Hamburg Staatsoper (1965–73), she appeared with the company at the Metropolitan Opera in 1966 as Jenůfa. In 1967 she made her Covent Garden début as Alice Ford and sang Mimì for Scottish Opera, with whom she also sang Desdemona and Donna Elvira. She appeared at Vienna, Montreal, Düsseldorf, Munich and Aix-en Provence, where in ...

Article

Ray Pallett

(b Laurenço Marques [now Maputo], Jan 7, 1899; d London, April 17, 1941). British popular singer. His father was Greek, his mother was Lebanese. Bowlly was brought up in South Africa and joined Edgar Adeler’s leading dance band in 1922, touring South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, East Africa and the Far East. He left Adeler in 1924 and took up a residency at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. In 1927 he went to Germany and made his first recording, Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies. A prestigious engagement lasting one year followed at the Savoy Hotel, London, with the bandleader Fred Elizalde. He had a major break in 1930 when he joined a recording studio band led by Ray Noble, with whom he made the original versions of songs which have become standards. These, all by Noble, included The Very Thought of You, Love is the Sweetest Thing, The Touch of your Lips...

Article

Hsun Lin

[Bryner, Youl]

(b Sakhalin, Russia, July 11, 1920; d New York, NY, Oct 10, 1985). American actor, singer, and photographer of Russian birth. He spent his early childhood in China and was brought up in Paris, where he sang in clubs before moving to the United States. He was noted for his deep, rich voice and strong stage presence. His Broadway debut came in the musical Lute Song with Mary Martin in 1946, but his best-known character was the King of Siam in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I (1951), for which he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor. He also played the King in the 1956 film version, which won him an Oscar. Brynner shaved his head for this character and baldness became one of his personal trademarks. He received a Special Tony Award (1985) in honoring his 4525 performances in The King and I...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Tbilisi, Feb 12, 1955). Georgian bass. He studied in Tbilisi, making his student début there in 1976 as Gounod's Méphistophélès, then becoming a member of the Georgian State Opera, for whom he sang Leporello, Prince Gremin and King René (Iolanta). He studied further in Milan (1978–81), where he sang Banquo, Pagano (I Lombardi), Walter (Luisa Miller) and Zaccaria (Nabucco) at La Scala. He made his Covent Garden début in 1984 as Ramfis, returning as Rossini's Don Basilio, Khan Konchak, Boris Godunov and the Inquisitor (Fiery Angel). Having made his US début at Philadelphia (1987) as Boris, he sang Basilio at the Metropolitan (1989), followed by Boris and the Commendatore (1995–6). His other roles include Silva (Ernani), Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Philip II, Boito's Mefistofele and Dosifey (...

Article

Joanna C. Lee

[Lo Ta-yu]

(b Miaoshu province, Taiwan, July 20, 1954). Chinese popular songwriter and singer born in Taiwan. Luo began his creative career as a composer of film music in 1974 while studying in medical school. In 1980, he received his licence to practice as a doctor. However, when he released his first solo album the following year to much critical acclaim, he gave up the medical profession. Luo moved his base of operation from Taipei to Hong Kong in 1987. Two years later, he established his own production company, Music Factory, in Hong Kong, to develop the East Asian market (Hong Kong, China, Taiwan). Widely respected as an all-round musician, Luo has received numerous awards for his film music (in background and feature song categories) in Hong Kong and Taiwan from 1987 onward.

Luo is versatile: he composes and arranges in all popular styles, from folk-like melodies and mellow soft-rock tunes to rock ’n’ roll. He also produces his own recordings, most of which have topped popular charts in Hong Kong and Taiwan. His songs feature lyrics in Mandarin, Cantonese and the Taiwanese dialect of Hokkien. Luo also experimented with the crossover trend in the early 1990s, organizing pops concerts with symphony orchestras; he made his debut as a stage composer in ...

Article

Amelia Dutta

(b Benares [now Varanasi], 1929). North Indian vocalist. Her father, Ramdas Rai, was a well-known harmonium player and music teacher. When she was five he took her to Pandit Sarju Prasad Misra, a sāraṅgī player and vocalist, for lessons. She studied with him for seven or eight years; he taught her the genres ṭappā and khayāl, among others. At the age of nine, she acted as the child heroine in a film, Yaad rahe (‘May it be Remembered’) about caste conflict. She later studied with Pandit Sri Chand Misra, who taught her prabandha, chanda, dhrupad and khayāl. When, about 1946, she married, she agreed not to perform in private soirées outside her home, but public concerts, radio programmes and soirées in her home were acceptable. She first recorded for All-India Radio, Allahabad, in 1949, and first appeared in a public concert at the Arrah conference, Bihar, in 1951...

Article

Amelia Dutta

(b Benares [now Varanasi], 1907; d Delhi, 1976). North Indian vocalist. She came from a family of hereditary professional female musicians of Benares; her grandmother Maina Bai and her aunt Rajeshwari Bai were esteemed vocalists. She received her initial training in the typical genres of the Benares region of eastern Uttar Pradesh – ṭhumrī, ṭappā, tarānā, dādrā, pūrbī, holī, caitī, kajrī – under Pandit Siyaji Maharaj. She later studied under other distinguished musicians including Pandit Bade Ramdasji of Benares (her most influential guru), Ustad Inayet Khan of Lahore and Khan Sahib Rajab Ali Khan of Gwalior. Orphaned in infancy and abandoned by her aunt in adolescence, she spent a number of years in poverty. For a time she worked in Bombay for a film company as ‘Usha Cinetone's Miss Siddheswari’. She eventually transcended her misfortunes and developed a profoundly emotive style which reflected the characteristics of the Benares gharānā.

At the First Congress Session's music conference in Bombay, Ustad Faiyaz Khan called Devi the queen of ...

Article

Maria Lord

(b Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 1776; d Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu, October 21, 1835). South Indian composer and musician. He was a member of the Karnatak trimūrti (‘trinity’) of singer-saints (see also Tyāgarāja and Śāstri, Śyāma). Unlike the other two composers of the ‘trinity’, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar was born into a musical family. While he was still young his parents took him to Manali, an estate outside Madras, where his father, Rāmasvāmi Dīkṣitar, had been asked to perform. It was there that Muttusvāmi received his first training in vīṇā and vocal music from his father. At the age of 15 he accompanied a yogī on a pilgrimage to Varanasi, where he remained for five years. This period in the North is said to account for his long and serious compositions, which may be influenced by dhrupad. He is known as a bhakta of Devi and Subrahmanya, whose ...

Article

Motti Regev

(b Tel-Aviv, Jan 3, 1939). Israeli singer and lyricist. He was a member of the Nakhal Army Entertainment Ensemble from 1957 until 1960. His early recordings (1960–66) as a solo artist and as a member of the Yarkon Bridge Trio gained widespread popularity. He became dissatisfied with the Israeli popular music of the 1960s and turned to rock music, and between 1967 and 1972 he worked with rock-oriented musicians to record several albums which are generally considered to constitute the birth of Israeli rock. These include The High Windows Trio (1967, with Shmulik Kraus), Shablool (1970, with Shalom Hanoch) and At Avigdor’s Grass (1972, with Miki Gavrielov). In the late 1970s and the 1980s he made a series of albums with the composers Shem-Tov Levy and Yoni Rechter which included rock interpretations of Israeli traditional songs and some new songs in a similar style. During the 1980s and 90s he worked many times with his previous associates and continued to develop his brand of soft rock to critical acclaim. In creating a style rooted in Israeli musical traditions, he became an important and well-loved figure in the development of Israeli popular music from ...

Article

Noël Goodwin and Meredith Eliassen

(b Lowell, MA, March 13, 1929). American mezzo-soprano. Of Lebanese American descent, Elias studied at the New England Conservatory (where she sang Monteverdi’s Poppaea) as well as the Berkshire Music Center. From 1949 to 1952 Elias was engaged by the New England Opera Company. She studied at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Luigi Ricci and Nazareno de Angelis, sang at La Scala, Milan, and at Teatro San Carlo, Naples, joining the Metropolitan in 1954. There she sang over 45 roles in more than 450 performances and created roles in two operas by Samuel Barber: Erika in Vanessa (1958) and Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra (1966). She was much admired for her rich tone and clarity of vocal character and stage presence as Dorabella, Rosina, Cherubino, Octavian, Olga, and Carmen. Her British stage debut was with the Scottish Opera in Rossini’s ...

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

[Sabāh Eddine Abū Qoss ]

(b Aleppo, 1933). Syrian singer. At a young age he became known for his beautiful and strong voice. He studied music in Aleppo and Damascus. In 1947 he met ‘Umar al- Batsh, who became his teacher of Mūwashshaḥ singing, and he began recording old traditional pieces for radio (and later television, from 1960). From the early 1950s he gave concerts in other Arab countries. He was soon invited to Europe, Australia, and North and South America, diffusing the traditional Arab heritage on an international scale.

His concerts brought a fresh approach to classical music. He composed new music for the poems, singing them in semi-free rhythm, and inserted modern sections within traditional songs. His singing influenced most other traditional singers, and he maintained his style undiminished for over 50 years.

In 1968 he appeared in the Guinness Book of Records, for singing continuously for ten hours in Caracas, Venezuela. In ...

Article

Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, 1943). Peking opera performer of Chinese birth. Born to a family of actors, she began learning Peking Opera at the age of four. She later enrolled in the Shanghai Theater School, joining the new Shanghai Youth Peking Drama Troupe following graduation. When she was 18 years old, she was chosen by Chairman Mao’s wife to perform the female lead role in one of the national “model operas” created by China’s communist government. At the age of 22, she was among the artists deemed talented enough to be selected by the government to perform modern Beijing revolutionary operas during the Cultural Revolution, a period when classic and traditional works were banned. Working in those politically dangerous and unstable circumstances, Qi became well known throughout the country. When the sanctions on artistic production became less stringent in the late 1970s, she again began performing in productions of traditional works. She immigrated to the United States in ...

Article

Fayrūz  

Ali Jihad Racy

[Ḥaddād, Nuhād]

(b Beirut, 1934). Lebanese singer. She was the eldest child of Liza Bustānī and Wadī‘ Ḥaddād, a print-shop technician who had moved to Beirut with his family from Ḍbayyah, a village in the Shūf area of central Lebanon. While at high school she was reportedly discovered by Muḥammad Fulayfil, a local composer who was interested in bringing young talent to Lebanon's newly established radio station. Ḥalīm al-Rūmī (d 1983), director of the music department at the station, was moved by her voice and introduced her to the aspiring young composer ‘Āṣī Raḥbānī (1923–86). Al-Rūmī is also credited with giving her the professional name Fayrūz (‘turquoise’). In 1954 she married ‘Āṣī Raḥbānī and thereafter became artistically associated with him and his brother, Manṣūr Raḥbānī (b 1925), two highly prolific and influential composers and lyricists.

In 1957 she was featured in a Raḥbānī musical play presented at the Baalbek International Festivals. Subsequently she starred in about two dozen similar plays with other well-known male counterparts such as Naṣrī Shams al-Dīn and, occasionally, Wadī‘ al-Ṣāfī. Between the late 1950s and the early 1970s she sang hundreds of widely admired songs composed by the Raḥbānīs, whose music included numerous adaptations of Lebanese traditional and popular tunes and incorporated elements from both Arab and European musical traditions. She also performed songs by other composers including the Lebanese Philemon (Filimūn) Wihbah, who wrote some of her best known songs, and the Egyptian Muḥammed Abdel-Wahab. In addition, she recorded hymns, acted in films and appeared in major theatres in the Arab world, Europe and the Americas. Fayrūz possessed an unusual voice with a veiled, velvety timbre combined with a certain head-voice quality, and this contributed to the distinctive and novel character of her songs. Addressing pan-Arab topics and sentiments in some of her songs, she became a celebrated singer, one of the most highly acclaimed artists of the Arab world....

Article

Krystyn R. Moon

[Frank Lee; Lee Tung Fook; Lee Sing]

(b Watsonville, CA, 1875; d Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 1966). American singer, vaudevillian, and film actor. Lee was a Chinese American music pioneer who helped to open the vaudeville stage to other Asian American performers. He began to study voice and music theory in 1897, relatively late in life, with Margaret Blake Alverson, a prominent music teacher in the Bay Area. After eight years of studying and performing in local churches, he received his first vaudeville contract to sing at the Empire Theater in Oakland, California in January 1905. For the next 14 years, he toured the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Belgium. Based on theater reviews and correspondence with his music teacher, it is clear that Lee’s act consisted of light operatic and popular songs as well as ethnic send-ups, which included Irish, Scottish, and Chinese caricatures. Of particular significance were his Chinese numbers, in which he made fun of stereotypes of Chinese immigrants and wore elaborate costumes. His Scottish routines, which were based on Harry Lauder’s Highlander caricature, were also popular. With the decline of vaudeville, Lee moved in the late 1920s or early 1930s to Hollywood where he performed minor and walk-on roles in at least 39 films....

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Feb 13, 1936). Japanese alto saxophonist and singer. He had violin lessons when he was ten, then changed to clarinet, and had taken up alto saxophone by the age of 17, at which time he began playing professionally at clubs on US military bases; when he was 20 he began to sing. From 1959 he led a succession of bands: Takashi Furuya and the Freshmen, the Concord, the Neo Sax Band, the Neighborhood Big Band, and Reunion. He also performed with the Blue Echoes, the Arrow Jazz Orchestra, Gil Evans’s Japanese orchestra, Fumio Karashima, and Makoto Ozone, recorded with the sextet led by the double bass player Naosuke Miyamoto (1973), and joined tours of Japan made by Phil Woods’s quartet, Mal Waldron, and Dizzy Gillespie. Furuya teaches at the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Cultural Center and his own vocal school. In concert in Osaka in ...