(b New Orleans, Oct 14, 1880 or 1889; d Flushing, NY, July 14, 1965). American composer and pianist. Williams himself gave conflicting birthdates to different interviewers. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and played in Chicago before settling around 1916 in New York, where he worked with Clarence Williams and began to concentrate on composition. In 1923 he recorded one track as an accompanist to Lizzie Miles (Black man (be on yo’ way), Bruns. 2462). From the mid-1920s he worked mostly in Europe with Josephine Baker (1925–6, 1933), Fats Waller (1932, 1938), Lew Stone (1932), and several West Indian musicians. Williams returned briefly to the USA in 1929–30, during which period he recorded humorous vocal duets with both Teddy Bunn and Lonnie Johnson. From 1932 he lived in England and in the 1950s he moved to Stockholm. He gained fame and income from his many compositions, including ...
(bap. ?London, ?Aug 1, 1675; bur. London, Jan 20, 1701). English instrumentalist and composer. He was presumably the William Williams who was a Westminster Abbey choirboy in 1685, and may have been the one baptized at St Margaret's, Westminster on 1 August 1675, the son of Henry and Mary. He was made an extraordinary member of the royal band by a warrant dated 30 March 1695, and was given a salaried place by a warrant dated 6 November 1697. His early death did not pass unmarked. William Congreve mentioned it in a letter dated 28 January 1701, and there is a piece entitled ‘Mr. Williames Farwell’ in John Eccles's suite for Mary Pix's play The Double Distress (March or April 1701). On 28 April 1701 a concert was given at York Buildings ‘by the best Masters for the Benefit of Mr William Williams (late Master of Musick) his widow, and three small Children’, consisting of ‘all new Musick, part of it being his own’. There was another benefit concert for Mrs Williams on ...
revised by Carolyn Philpott
(Benjamin Graham Christopher)
(b Sydney, Nov 21, 1931; d Cambridge, March 2, 2003). Australian composer, pianist and organist. He studied the piano privately with Sverjensky (1944–50) before enrolling at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (1949–50) where his teachers included Eugene Goossens; he pursued further composition study in London with Elisabeth Lutyens and Erwin Stein (1953). After settling in London permanently, he worked in a publishing house, as an organist and choirmaster, as a piano teacher and vocal coach, and as a nightclub pianist before devoting himself to composition full-time. The diversity of these formative influences is reflected in his compositional output; while many of his early works demonstrate a strong adherence to serial methods, he later modified his approach to composition in the search of a more inclusive musical language that was fundamentally tonal and, above all, lyrical. In the 1960s he was commonly referred to as the most often commissioned composer in Britain, and over his lifetime he produced more than 250 works in a wide variety of genres, from major orchestral and operatic works to simple choral pieces for children and audience participation. His works also vary considerably in terms of their style, showing the influence of his wide-ranging musical, religious, literary, political, and humanitarian interests. The breadth of his interests was also reflected in the awards he received, which included a creative arts fellowship to the Australian National University to teach Scandinavian literature (...
[Lawrence Elliott ]
(b New York, Dec 20, 1940). American pianist, composer, and arranger. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music he played with Jackie McLean (1963) and Hugh Masekela (1964) and recorded with McLean and Lee Morgan (both 1965). He then worked with Kai Winding (1965–7) and Stan Getz (1969) and recorded with Robin Kenyatta (1969). From the 1970s he played frequently on electric piano and sometimes on synthesizer, recording with Masekela (1970, 1972), Groove Holmes (c1972), and Joe Henderson (1973), and working with Cannonball Adderley (1971) and Earl May (1971–2). From 1972 to 1978 he was a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears. In addition he recorded as a sideman with Alphonse Mouzon (1972–3), Ryo Kawasaki (1977), and Sonny Fortune (c...
Raoul F. Camus
(b ?Dublin, Ireland, 1790; d West Point, NY, Feb 1, 1830). American bandmaster, keyed-bugle player, and composer of Irish origin. He received his musical training in Ireland, and is said to have studied the Kent, or keyed, bugle with J.B. Logier in Dublin; he also seems to have done fieldwork as a collector of folk melodies in the Irish countryside. He moved to New York in 1816, gave several concerts, and offered lessons on various instruments. An Act of Congress in 1817 established the position of Teacher of Music at the US Military Academy and Willis was appointed leader of the West Point band. He retained his civilian status, a practice common in Europe, and was permitted to appear “in citizen’s dress” at morning and evening parades, in marked contrast to the band’s white dress uniforms with scarlet trimmings, yellow buttons, and swords. Under him the band acquired an excellent reputation; sometimes reaching a strength of 25, averaging 18–20 players, not counting the field music. Ships traveling the Hudson River would drop anchor at West Point to allow the passengers to hear the evening concerts. In ...
(b Mason City, IA, May 18, 1902; d Santa Monica, CA, June 15, 1984). American composer, conductor, flautist and lyricist. Between 1921 and 1923, while still a student at the Institute of Musical Art (later the Juilliard School), he was engaged as principal flautist by Sousa. He then became a member of the New York PO (1924–9), while continuing to study privately with Hadley and Barrère. He worked in radio and television (1929–56), first as the musical director of the Northwest Territory for ABC, and eventually as the musical director, conductor and composer for the western division of NBC. Two of his songs achieved wide radio popularity: You and I (1941), the signature tune for the Maxwell House Coffee programme, and May the Good Lord bless and keep you (1950), the theme song for Tallulah Bankhead’s ‘The Big Show’. Willson composed the scores for such films as ...
Alice Lawson Aber-Count
(b Riga, March 4, 1834; d Wiesbaden, Feb 20, 1911). German composer, pianist and conductor . After attending the Leipzig Conservatory (1851–6), where he studied harmony and counterpoint under Ernst Richter, theory under Moritz Hauptmann, the piano with Plaidy, the organ with Carl Becker and the violin with Felix Dreyschock, he returned to Riga and was appointed second conductor at the municipal theatre. On the advice of Wilhelm von Lenz, and recommended by Adolf Henselt, he went to St Petersburg the following year and became professor of theory and piano at the Imperial Nikolayevsky Institute. In 1875 he retired to Dresden, and in 1878 settled in Wiesbaden, where he devoted himself to composition and also to lyric poetry. Wilm was a prolific composer who was already well-known before he left the Leipzig Conservatory. He wrote over 250 works, many of them published in Germany, including the lyric poem ...
(b Greensboro, NC, July 22, 1952). American trombonist and arranger. He attended the Berklee College of Music (BM music education 1974) and was a member of Lionel Hampton’s orchestra (1973–5), serving as its music director for 18 months. From 1974 he performed as a freelance with, among others, Stan Kenton and Clark Terry, and in March 1977 he joined Count Basie’s orchestra, with which he made several recordings; he may be heard as the leader of Basie’s orchestra on Manhattan Transfer’s album Vocalese (1985, Atl. 81266), for which he also wrote arrangements. Wilson continued to work with the group, under the direction of first Thad Jones and then Frank Foster, until 1987, when he left to direct educational projects for Count Basie Enterprises and to play trombone and act in and arrange for the musical Satchmo. The following year he was lead trombonist in Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, and in ...
(b Sydney, June 22, 1944). Australian bandleader, trombonist, and arranger. He joined the Waratah Jazzmen in 1959 and during the late 1960s worked in nightclubs, as well as with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the dance band of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. With Warren Daly, he formed the Daly–Wilson Big Band, which was active from ...
Frederick A. Beck
revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Shelby, MS, Sept 4, 1918; d Los Angeles, September 8, 2014). American composer, arranger, bandleader, and trumpeter. When he was 14 his family moved to Detroit, and he studied music at high school. From August 1939 to April 1942 he worked with Jimmie Lunceford’s band as a soloist, composer, and arranger. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he performed with Les Hite (1942–3) and Benny Carter (1943). After playing with Clark Terry and Ernie Royal in Willie Smith’s navy band he organized his first big band, which he led from 1944 to 1947; it included such musicians as Snooky Young and Melba Liston and undertook a tour during which it played in New York. Wilson then worked with Count Basie, writing arrangements and performing with the band intermittently (1948–9), and Dizzy Gillespie (for six months, c1949) and wrote arrangements for Duke Ellington: “I’m happy to say that Duke Ellington liked my music so much he put his name on it,” he recalled (Hildebrand, ...
(b Montego Bay, Jamaica, Aug 10, 1929). Jamaican trombonist, composer, and arranger. He started out playing light orchestral music, then joined Sonny Bradshaw’s bop band. In 1951 he traveled to Britain with the pianist Ozzie Da Costa. He worked in Germany for 18 months for the US Special Services and played in London with Tubby Hayes, Jimmy Deuchar, Dizzy Reece, Sammy Walker, Jiver Hutchinson, and Cab Kaye. After moving to Paris he worked with George Johnson, Peanuts Holland, Don Byas, Pierre Michelot, and Kenny Clarke; he also toured with Bill Coleman (1953–4, 1956). Wilson toured Italy with the European All-Stars (a sextet including Reece, Guy Lafitte, and Wallace Bishop), and on the French Riviera he joined the opera orchestra of the dancer Katherine Dunham. Based in Germany from 1957 to 1959, he was featured on stage and radio there, in Belgium, and in the Netherlands. As a leader he played in Poland, and in Vienna he introduced cool jazz to the city’s cafés and nightclubs. He wrote music for and performed in the film ...
(b Faversham, Kent, April 5, 1595; d Westminster, London, Feb 22, 1674). English composer, lutenist and singer. He was probably involved in the musical life of the court and the London theatre from an early age, apparently from 1614. There are songs by him for The Maske of Flowers and Valentinian, both of which date from that year, and he was connected with the King’s Men: songs by him survive for plays put on by them between 1614 and 1629. In view of this association it seems likely that he is indeed the ‘Jacke Wilson’ alluded to in the 1623 folio edition of Much Ado about Nothing, despite the lukewarm reception the suggestion has had since it was made in 1846 (the allusion need not be to the first performance of the play in 1604 but to some performance before 1623).
Wilson was recommended to the Lord Mayor of London by Viscount Mandeville on ...
(b Belmont, MA, Jan 19, 1937). American trombonist, educator, and arranger. He first learned piano and later took up trombone, which he studied at the New England Conservatory; while in Boston he played in Herb Pomeroy’s big band (1955–7). After playing trombone and piano with Jimmy Dorsey intermittently from 1956 to 1958, in 1959 he led his own band until being drafted in December of that year. During his military service he briefly continued his studies at the Navy School of Music and played trombone in the North American Air Defense Command Band (1962). Wilson then became a regular soloist with Woody Herman, with whom he was associated from 1962 until 1965. The following year he was appointed to the faculty of the Berklee School of Music, where he became head of the trombone department and taught theory and arrangement; he also renewed his association with Pomeroy. Wilson wrote some arrangements for Buddy Rich (notably ...
(b Chicago, Dec 26, 1908; d Evanston, IL, June 14, 1978). American double bass and tuba player and arranger. He played violin as a child and later studied composition and arranging with Major N. Clark Smith in the Chicago Defender Boys Band. From 1925 he worked with various leaders, among them Tiny Parham (1927), Walter Barnes (1928), Dave Peyton, and Erskine Tate (late 1928 – early 1931), and as a freelance he recorded on tuba with Jelly Roll Morton (1927) and Richard M. Jones (1929). In the 1930s he played with Earl Hines (March 1931 – mid-1940), with whom he recorded on tuba and double bass and for whom he wrote a number of arrangements, notably Harlem Lament (1933, Bruns. 6771) and That’s a-plenty (1934, Decca 182). During this time he also recorded on double bass with Jimmie Noone (...
revised by Mary L. Frantz
(b Cleveland, May 15, 1941). American composer and pianist. After studying the cello and the piano at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, he was awarded the BA from Harvard (1963), then studied the piano with Wührer in Munich and composition with Moevs (his main Harvard professor) in Rome on a Frank Huntington Beebe Fellowship. He pursued postgraduate study at Rutgers, New Jersey (MA 1966), subsequently joining the music faculty of Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was appointed professor in 1976; he was appointed to the Mary Conover Mellon Professorship there in 1988. His works have been performed worldwide; among his many awards are a joint prize in the League of Composers/ISCM Piano Music Competition (1976) as well as the Burge/Eastman Prize (1978) for his virtuoso piano work Eclogue, and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1992–3). He has been commissioned by the San Francisco SO for ...
revised by Simon McVeigh
(b Gloucester, bap. June 15, 1761; d after 1811). English violinist, viola player and composer. He studied the violin with Giardini, leader at the Three Choirs festivals, and between 1777 and 1780 he appeared frequently at London concerts playing chamber music alongside his teacher. Later he spent two years in Italy studying with Nardini and ‘others of the most eminent musicians in Italy’. For much of his time he was in Naples and Florence. He returned to England in August 1784 and was appointed leader at the Music Meeting in Gloucester that year. In October 1786 he was admitted a freeman of the City of Gloucester, being then described as ‘of the City of York, musician’, and he led again at the Gloucester Music Meeting in 1790. By 1794 he was resident in Liverpool. Lysons confirmed that he was ‘for several years leader at the Liverpool and York concerts’ but implied that by ...
Sterling E. Murray
(b Mergentheim, Oct 7, 1758; d Hamburg, Feb 8, 1822). German cellist and composer. He began his musical career at the age of nine as an alto in the Mergentheim Hofkapelle, and five years later he was appointed organist at the Dominican church. After studying theology at the universities in Würzburg and Heidelberg, 1775–8, he moved to Mannheim, where he taught at the Jesuit seminary and served as church organist; he studied composition with G.J. Vogler and Ignaz Holzbauer and violin with Georg Zarth and Ignaz Fränzl, who encouraged him to switch from the violin to the cello.
In 1780 Wineberger joined the Hofkapelle of Prince (Fürst) Kraft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein, and five years later he was appointed principal cellist and first Konzertmeister. During the 1780s and 90s he produced a steady stream of music for court ensembles at Wallerstein: his earliest dated composition is a symphonie concertante for two horns and orchestra in E♭ major, composed in ...
(b Michigan, 1949). American composer, pianist, producer, and guitarist. He is best known for his evocative and introspective solo piano works. He often draws on nature for his picturesque titles, perhaps responding to his time in the Midwest and areas such as eastern Montana. He did not receive any formal training, but instead learned to play the organ by ear in 1967 by listening to records. In 1971, he turned to the piano, influenced by 1920s jazz and the stride piano style of Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson, among others. He studied music at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. The style he developed has been described by Winston as “rural folk piano,” and he was asked to record by John Fahey for Takoma Records in 1972. His first album, Ballads and Blues, did not receive much popular or critical acclaim, but it brought Winston to the attention of New Age guru William Ackerman in ...
(b Næstved, Denmark, Oct 29, 1960). Danish trumpeter, composer, and arranger. He took up trumpet at the age of ten and became a professional jazz musician in 1978, playing with Pierre Dørge, Erling Kroner (recording in 1986), and the group Cadentia Nova Danica. In 1980 he represented Denmark in the European Youth Jazz Orchestra. He joined Ernie Wilkins’s Almost Big Band in 1981 and the Radioens Big Band in 1982, when he also formed a quintet with Tomas Franck as co-leader. In 1989 he went to New York, where he joined the Jazz Composer’s Workshop under the direction of Bob Brookmeyer and played with Toshiko Akioshi, Kenny Barron, Max Roach, Mario Bauzá, and George Mraz, among others. He returned to Denmark in 1991 to work as a composer, soloist, and bandleader. Winther has written for symphony orchestras, choirs, small groups, and big bands throughout Europe and has toured and performed with such musicians as Carla Bley (with whom he recorded in ...
(b Rotterdam, Netherlands, Dec 6, 1960). Dutch pianist and composer. He learned classical piano from the age of five; later he received lessons from Kenny Drew and John Lewis and studied at the Berklee College of Music (1982). After returning to Europe he settled in Brussels and quickly gained work as an accompanist to such musicians as Slide Hampton, Chet Baker, Joe Henderson, Junior Cook, and Kenny Wheeler. In the course of widespread touring he gave numerous concerts in which his piano playing evoked the delicacy and virtuosity of Bill Evans (ii). In 1992 Wissels began collaborating with David Linx in a duo and as the co-leader of small groups.