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Article

Bálint Vázsonyi

[Ernst von]

(b Pozsony [now Bratislava], July 27, 1877; d New York, Feb 9, 1960). Hungarian pianist, composer, conductor, teacher and administrator. Next to Liszt he ranks as the most versatile Hungarian musician, whose influence reached generations in all spheres of musical life. He is considered the first architect of Hungary’s musical culture in the 20th century.

He received his early training in Pozsony. His father, an outstanding amateur cellist, and Károly Forstner, cathedral organist, gave him lessons in piano playing and theory. Despite the absence of professional training, he showed an extraordinary appetite for music and made rapid progress. Having finished at the Gymnasium, he decided to obtain his formal education in music at the Budapest Academy. He was the first Hungarian of significant talent to do so and his example, as well as his personal intervention, induced Bartók (his friend from early schooldays) to follow the same course. Dohnányi studied the piano with Thomán and composition with Koessler, and received his artist’s diploma in ...

Article

Warren M. Sherk

(b New York, Feb 24, 1890; d Los Angeles, Dec 19, 1979). American executive, music director, conductor, and violinist. He began music lessons at age seven after his grandfather gave him a violin. Studies include violin with Solomon Elin, piano and harmony with E.J. Falk, and, later, composition with Pietro Floridia. From 1907 to 1917 he performed with the Volpe SO, Sam Franko Quartette, Russian SO, Boston Opera Orchestra, New York City SO, and New York PO. Embarking on a career as a music director and conductor in motion picture theaters, he was in New York at the Rialto for three years and the Capitol for one. In 1921 he relocated to Chicago where he served as the general music director for the Balaban & Katz theater chain, conducting at the Tivoli, Chicago, and Uptown. When Balaban & Katz theaters merged with those owned by Paramount in 1925...

Article

Warren M. Sherk

(Louis) [Forbstein, Louis E.]

(b St. Louis, MO, Aug 12, 1902; d Los Angeles, June 17, 1981). American music director, conductor, composer, and violinist. In Kansas City he played violin for the symphony orchestra and in the pit orchestras at the New Royal and Newman theaters. As a teenager he conducted at the New Royal. He took Lou Forbes as his professional name in the mid-1920s, perhaps to avoid confusion with his older brother, Leo F. Forbstein, who pursued a similar career path. For Paramount Publix, Forbes organized and directed theater orchestras and stage bands, for the Palace in Dallas in 1928, the Metropolitan in Houston in 1929, and the Paramount in Atlanta in 1930. His career as a musical director in Hollywood began at Universal Pictures in 1936. After two years he moved to Selznick International Pictures where he was active through 1944. For producer David O. Selznick, Forbes oversaw the production of music for ...

Article

Warren M. Sherk

(b St. Louis, MO, Oct 16, 1892; d Los Angeles Mar 16, 1948). American music director, conductor, and violinist. Musically educated by his mother and at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, he was a violinist in theatre orchestras when he came to the attention of owner Frank L. Newman. Forbstein was appointed music director for Newman’s Theatre Royal in Kansas City as early as 1915. When the Newman Theater opened in that city in 1919, Forbstein became the director of the Newman Concert Orchestra. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1925 to lead Newman’s Metropolitan Theater. Moving to Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in 1926 he compiled and conducted scores for Sparrows and The Black Pirate. Later that year he became the pit conductor at Grauman’s Million Dollar Theater. His long association with Warner Bros. began in 1928 when he conducted at their namesake downtown theatre when the company was acquiring First National. This led to his appointment in ...

Article

Bo Marschner

revised by Finn Egeland Hansen

(b Copenhagen, Feb 22, 1817; d Copenhagen, Dec 21, 1890). Danish composer, conductor, violinist, educationist and administrator. For his wide-ranging musical activity Gade ranks as the most important figure in 19th-century Danish music.

He had musical parents, his father being a cabinet maker who about the time of Gade’s birth began to specialize in making musical instruments. Gade showed a pronounced musical talent at an early age, and plans for him to join his father’s business as an apprentice were quickly overtaken by his desire to become a musician. At 15 he began to study the violin with F.T. Wexschall and theory and composition with A.P. Berggreen, a leading figure in the Danish folk-ballad movement. He made his début as a violinist in May 1833, and in the following year he was engaged as a junior violinist in the Royal Orchestra.

During the 1830s Gade developed his talents, playing chamber music with friends from the Royal Orchestra (Beethoven’s string quartets were a particular favourite), and composing feverishly. His early attempts at composition include songs, chamber music, ballet music and orchestral overtures, although the results were inconsistent. Some of the songs were successful, but the overture ...

Article

Warren M. Sherk

[Sanford, Joseph G.]

(b Chişinău [Kishinev], Russia, Jan 12, 1904; d Los Angeles Jan 18, 1988). American music director, conductor, and violinist of Russian birth. He was raised on Army posts in New York by his bandleader father, who left Russia for Germany, and arrived in the United States in 1906. A half-size violin given by a family friend led to his playing in a school orchestra. He later studied privately with violinist and composer Edward Kilenyi Sr. (1884–1968). He abandoned night classes in law and accounting to play the violin for vaudeville. Through conducting at RKO theaters the Colony (1924–5) and the Coliseum (1926–8), he met RKO circuit music director Milton Schwarzwald, and served as his assistant from 1928 to 1933. From 1933 to 1939, he produced one- and two-reel musical shorts directed by Schwarzwald for their company, Mentone Productions, which were distributed by Columbia and RKO. When RKO theater executive Nate Blumberg was named president of Universal in ...

Article

Helmut Kallmann

[Johann Friedrich Conrad; Frédéric]

(b Hanover, Aug 10, 1759; d Quebec, 12/Jan 13, 1836). Canadian musician of German birth. The son of a military band musician, he is reported to have been a violin prodigy. In 1777 he enlisted in one of the Brunswick regiments destined for Canada. Discharged in 1783, he settled in Quebec, where he made a living as instrumentalist, teacher, tuner, repairman, and importer of instruments and sheet music. He was probably the first full-time musician in Canada who left a mark both immediate and lasting. His activities, probably as a director and conductor, enhanced the holding of subscription concerts in Quebec in the 1790s, featuring orchestral and chamber music by J.C. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Pleyel and others. Many of the printed parts assumed to have been supplied by Glackemeyer are still preserved. Prince Edward (later Duke of Kent), in Quebec 1791–4, is said to have appointed him a regimental bandmaster....

Article

Michael Fitzgerald

(b Prague, Czechoslovakia, April 17, 1948). American jazz keyboard player, composer, producer, drummer, and bandleader of Czech birth. His mother, Vlasta Pruchova, was a jazz singer in Prague and his father played bass and vibraphone. He attended the Academy of Musical Arts in Prague and formed the Junior Trio with the bass player Miroslav Vitous and the drummer Alan Vitous, which lasted from 1962 to 1966. After the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the USSR in 1968, he moved to the USA to accept a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music. However, he abandoned his studies after a year and a half to work with Sarah Vaughan.

As a member of John McLaughlin’s group the Mahavishnu Orchestra (1971–3), Hammer played electric and acoustic pianos and began using the Minimoog synthesizer (on the album Birds of Fire), quickly becoming a major influence on other keyboard players. Hammer is often cited as having developed a synthesizer style that mimics that of an electric guitar, but he instead credits the influence of Indian and Eastern European music. Several albums on which Hammer performed with Elvin Jones during the early 1970s helped to introduce the synthesizer to more mainstream jazz. ...

Article

Gary W. Kennedy

(b New York, Dec 9, 1954). American record producer, composer, bandleader, and percussionist. He began playing percussion at the age of nine and as a teenager he performed with local Latin bands and with Carla Bley. After studying art at Cooper Union in New York and then independently in the western Sahara, India, Haiti, and Europe, he worked with Chico Freeman. In 1979 he founded the record company and label American Clavé, the first release of which was Jerry Gonzalez’s album Ya yo ma curé; other artists presented by the label include the Argentinian bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla. In 1984 Hanrahan formed the group Conjure, which performs his own compositions and uses lyrics based on the poetry of Ishmael Reed. From the mid-1980s into the 1990s he performed internationally in both small groups and large orchestras, collaborating with, among others, Olu Dara, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Don Pullen, D. D. Jackson, Kenny Kirkland, Billy Bang, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Steve Swallow, Anthony Cox, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Andy Gonzalez, Jack Bruce, Billy Hart, Ignacio Berroa, Little Jimmy Scott, the Latin percussionist Milton Cardona, the avant-rock guitarist Arto Lindsay, and the blues singer Taj Mahal. Hanrahan usually serves as a conductor, but he also plays guitar and sings. His eclectic style of music blends elements of rock, jazz, blues, and popular song over various rhythmic structures, which are often based on Latin music. He likens his role to that of a film director and has been called “the Jean-Luc Godard of music.”...

Article

Marisol Negrónh

[Kahn, Lawrence Ira ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 20, 1939). American salsa pianist, bandleader, and producer. He developed an interest in both jazz and Latin music as a teenager, while he attended the New York High School of Music and Art in Harlem. A multi-instrumentalist most widely recognized for his talent as a pianist, he has been known for combining traditional Cuban sounds with innovative arrangements. He debuted as bandleader in 1965 with Heavy Smoking, the second album released by the newly formed Fania Records. Affectionately nicknamed “El judío maravilloso” (the marvelous Jew) by fellow musicians, he became a member and producer of the original Fania All-Stars, an ensemble band that achieved international acclaim for its live concerts. In 1973 Harlow brought Latin music to Carnegie Hall with the opera Hommy (inspired by the Who’s rock opera Tommy), and in 1974 he released Salsa, considered one of his best recordings. In addition, ...