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Akwid  

Elijah Wald

Musical group formed in 2002 in Los Angeles. The most successful exponents of the Southern California style known as “banda rap” or “urban regional” music, Akwid is a duo of brothers Francisco and Sergio Gómez. Born in Michoacan and raised in Los Angeles, the Gomezes made their debut in the mid 1990s as English-language rappers Juvenile Style, then switched to Spanish and renamed themselves Akwid (a combination of their deejay pseudonyms, A.K. and Wikid) in 2000.

Their first album gained only lackluster sales, but after they signed with a subsidiary of Univision in 2003, their second, Proyecto Akwid, sold a third of a million CDs. Its sound mixed traditional Mexican music—especially the West Coast brass band style known as banda—with rhythms and studio techniques adapted from gangsta rap. Other groups were attempting similar fusions, but where most had to rely on outside producers, Akwid controlled their own sound and created a particularly organic musical combination, driven by the thump of tuba samples and clever use of familiar ...

Article

Alabama  

David B. Pruett

Country music group. Acknowledged by the Academy of Country Music (ACM) in 1989 as the Artist of the Decade for the 1980s, Alabama is arguably the most celebrated country music group in the history of the genre. Three of the band’s members—lead vocalist Randy Owen (b Fort Payne, AL, 13 Dec 1949), multi-instrumentalist Jeff Cook (b Fort Payne, AL, 27 Aug 1949), and bassist Teddy Gentry (b Fort Payne, AL, 22 Jan 1952)—had been performing their unique blend of southern rock and country pop together throughout the American South since 1969. Beginning in 1974, the group began playing regular shows in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where drummer Mark Herndon (b Springfield, MA, 11 May 1955) became the group’s fourth and final member in 1979, one year before Alabama signed with RCA. The group’s first major label release My Home’s in Alabama (RCA, ...

Article

Carl B. Hancock

State university system with a main campus in Tuscaloosa and satellite campuses in Birmingham and Huntsville. The main campus opened in 1831 and the music department was established in 1918 with the appointment of Robert Lawrence, who taught voice and choir. The first BM degree was awarded in 1938. The music faculty established the Southeastern Composers’ League in 1951 and for 20 years hosted the Regional Composers’ Forum (1951–70). In 1955 Alabama Educational Television’s network telecast of the School of Music’s production of Puccini’s La bohéme was the earliest known live opera broadcast for educational television. Currently the School of Music offers the BM, BA, BS, MA, MM, DMA, EdS, EdD, and PhD degrees in such fields as administration, arranging, composition, conducting, education, jazz studies, musicology, performance, theory, therapy, and church music. In 2009 enrollment surpassed 350 students served by a full-time faculty of 37. Since 1984, over 185 eminent scholars and musicians have held residences in the Board of Trustees’ Endowed Chair in Music program. The University of Alabama System, consisting of three autonomous public universities, was established in ...

Article

Aladdin  

Andrew Flory

Record company. Brothers Edward and Leo Messner founded the company as Philo Records in 1945 and changed the name to Aladdin the next year. Aladdin’s records, which appeared on the Aladdin label and over a half-dozen subsidiaries, were among the most popular “race” (later rhythm-and-blues) records of the time, and represented many facets of African American popular music following World War II. Based in Los Angeles, the company released upbeat boogie by Amos Milburn, such as the 1948 hit “Chicken-Shack Boogie,” and group vocal music by artists like the Five Keys. Blues also appeared on Aladdin by artists such as Charles Brown and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Jazz saxophonist Lester Young also recorded extensively for Aladdin during the 1950s. Several songs released on Aladdin foreshadowed the development of rock and roll, such as Shirley and Lee’s 1956 classic “Let the Good Times Roll.” In 1962, the company was sold to Lew Chudd’s Imperial Records....

Article

George J. Grella Jr.

Ensemble. Originally a group of students performing in new music concerts at the Eastman School of Music, Alarm Will Sound was formed professionally by artistic director Alan Pierson and managing director Gavin Chuck in 2001. The group made its debut in May of that year at Miller Theater, Columbia University, with Desert Music and Tehillim by Steve Reich. After giving several programs, each devoted to a single contemporary composer, the group began to both commission new works—including John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, Wolfgang Rihm’s Will Sound, and David Lang’s Increase—and to perform arrangements of other music, notably Varèse’s Poeme Electronique, by the composer Evan Hause, and the rhythmically complex electronic dance music of Aphex Twin, Mochipet and Autechre, and the Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” all arranged by ensemble musicians. The group also began adding staging and other theatrical elements to their live performances, developed with director Nigel Maister. These took a range of forms, from stage blocking to the musical theater piece ...

Article

Tully Potter

Austrian string quartet . It was founded in 1970 by Günter Pichler (b Kufstein, Tyrol, 9 Sept 1940), Klaus Mätzl, Hatto Beyerle and Valentin Erben (b Pernitz, 14 March 1945). Mätzl was replaced in 1978 by Gerhard Schulz (b Linz, 23 Sept 1951) and Beyerle in 1981 by Thomas Kakuska (b Vienna, 25 Aug 1940; d 4 July 2005). In 1969 the original members heard the LaSalle Quartet play virtually all the quartet music of the Second Viennese School at the Vienna Festival; and for the 1970–71 season they studied in Cincinnati with the LaSalle. In the autumn of 1971 they made their joint début at the Konzerthaus in Vienna, becoming the first full-time string quartet in that city's history – previous ensembles had combined chamber music with orchestral playing. In 1972 Berg's widow gave them permission to use his name. From the start the Alban Berg Quartet tried to include a contemporary work in every recital: its premières have included works by Leitermeyer, Einem, Wimberger, Rihm, Schnittke and Berio, and two each by Urbanner and Haubenstock-Ramati. Its playing, combining warmth and precision in a recognizably Viennese manner, has consistently reached the highest level of accomplishment, although its style has altered slightly. A change of second violinist made little difference but the substitution of Kakuska for Beyerle caused a noticeable switch of emphasis; a fine Mozart ensemble became a fine Haydn ensemble instead. Its homogeneity of tone – partly attributable to the fact that all except the cellist studied with Franz Samohyl – has remained constant throughout. The group's recordings have won many prizes. Berg's Quartet and Lyric Suite have been documented twice, as have the mature works by Mozart and Schubert and the Beethoven cycle – the second Beethoven set was recorded live. The individual members are professors at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst and the Cologne Hochschule für Musik, and all have musical interests outside the quartet: Pichler is a conductor, Schulz plays in other ensembles such as the Waldstein Trio, and Kakuska and Erben are soloists. Their instruments include a ...

Article

Kenneth R. Snell

Australian firm of publishers. It was started about 1890 in Sydney when Jacques Albert (b Fribourg, 1850; d at sea, 1914) began importing violins. In 1894 he was joined by his son Michel François [Frank] (1874–1962), who became sole proprietor in 1896. He continued to trade as J. Albert & Son and in the early 1900s negotiated Australian publishing rights with overseas music houses for both the American Annuals and Sixpenny Pops series. The firm extended its merchandise to orchestral and brass band instruments but sold this stock in 1932 to Allan’s in Melbourne. Shortly afterwards, J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd was formed to control the music publishing interests of the family. About 1970 the firm began the Albert Edition catalogue of predominantly Australian classical compositions, which now exceeds 500 titles and includes works by Ross Edwards, Margaret Sutherland, Wesley-Smith and Butterley. Alexis François Albert (...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Charles Albright (Albrecht by 1864) is listed in Philadelphia city directories from 1863. He was in partnership with Frederick Riekes (as Albrecht & Riekes, 1864–5), with Riekes and Richard T. Schmidt (as Albrecht, Riekes & Schmidt, 1866–74), and with Riekes and Edmund Wolsieffer (as Albrecht & Co., ...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Charles Albright (Albrecht by 1864) is listed in Philadelphia city directories from 1863. He was in partnership with Frederick Riekes (as Albrecht & Riekes, 1864–5), with Riekes and Richard T. Schmidt (as Albrecht, Riekes & Schmidt, 1866–74), and with Riekes and Edmund Wolsieffer (as Albrecht & Co., ...

Article

Noël Goodwin

revised by Heather Wiebe

Annual music festival inaugurated in 1948 and held each June. It was established around Benjamin Britten and based on the small Suffolk coastal town where he lived from 1947 (and which is the historical setting for his Peter Grimes). Britten’s taste, imagination, and personality helped to give it a distinctive character. His own music formed an important element in the programmes, particularly in the first years of the Festival, but it has also been a forum for new music by other British composers. Today it is an eclectic event, retaining an emphasis on early music and 20th- and 21st-century works.

The festival was born from a suggestion by Peter Pears and set out to provide a focus of cultural events in East Anglia. It also secured an outlet for productions by the English Opera Group, which Britten and Pears helped to found. Britten and Pears were named as artistic directors in ...