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Michael J. Budds

(b Toronto, April 7, 1908; d Los Angeles, Feb 9, 1976). Canadian conductor, arranger and composer, active in the USA. He studied music at the Canadian Academy and the Toronto Conservatory, and made his début as a pianist in Massey Music Hall in 1923. After he badly burnt his hands he began to concentrate on composition and, while continuing to accompany silent films (1920–27), formed his own string ensemble and began writing arrangements for dance bands. He was first engaged as an arranger and conductor of popular music for radio in 1927, and had his own programme, ‘Music by Faith’, from 1938 to 1940. From then on he worked in the USA, and he became an American citizen in 1945. He presented such radio programmes as ‘The Carnation Contented Hour’ (NBC, 1940–47), ‘The Pause that Refreshes’ (CBS, 1946–9), and ‘The Woolworth Hour’ (CBS, 1955–7...

Article

David Ades

(Joseph)

(b Toronto, ON, July 24, 1917; d Guernsey, April 22, 2005). Canadian arranger, composer and conductor. He began his career as a trumpet player in dance bands, and then for Percy Faith's CBC Orchestra. By 1942 he had composed two symphonies and in 1944 he came to Britain as conductor of the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force, alongside Glenn Miller and George Melachrino fronting the US and British bands. He took his army discharge in Britain, and Decca contracted him to work with their leading singers such as Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields; the BBC gave him a radio series with his own orchestra. He began composing for the cinema, and early successes out of some 40 scores included Spring in Park Lane, Maytime in Mayfair and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.. The arrival of LPs gave orchestra leaders such as Farnon the opportunity to develop their arranging and composing talents more fully, and his Decca albums from the 1950s have become highly prized by admirers, especially fellow musicians in the USA. Many have acknowledged his influence, including John Williams, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones and Johnny Mandel. Farnon’s light orchestral cameos are among the finest to have been written since World War II, notably ...

Article

Andrew Lamb

[Faster, Otto]

(b Hamburg, Feb 16, 1854; d Hamburg, Jan 11, 1931). German conductor and composer. The son of a journalist, he was educated in Hamburg and studied music with August Herzog (1870–72). He began a career in business, but from 1880 was active as conductor and composer of waltzes, polkas, and other dances and marches. His waltz ...

Article

(b London, Nov 4, 1872; d London, April 21, 1939). British conductor and composer. He first studied with his father, a Dutch immigrant who, as Louis von der Finck, was a theatre violinist, conductor and composer in London. Herman Finck began to play the violin in theatre orchestras at 14, studied with Henry Gadsby, entered the Guildhall School of Music at 16 (his compositions there included violin sonatas) and learnt theatre orchestration from Edward Solomon. At the Palace Theatre of Varieties Finck was a pianist and violinist (from 1892), a leader and sub-conductor to Alfred Plumpton (from 1896) and a conductor (from 1900). In 1919 he moved to the Queen’s Theatre, and in 1922–31 was musical director at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, where he conducted the London premières of romantic musicals such as Rudolf Friml’s Rose Marie. From 1933 he conducted the Sunday night concerts at Southport. His memoirs were published in ...

Article

Lise Waxer

(b Naguabo, March 9, 1894; d Puerto Rico, July 13, 1979). Puerto Rican bandleader and composer. He was a schoolteacher in his native Puerto Rico, then moved to New York City in 1926, when small trios and quartets were forming on its Latin music scene to perform romantic boleros and other Cuban genres such as son and guaracha. In 1928, despite no prior musical training, Flores established his own group, the Cuarteto Flores which, through the 1930s, became internationally famous, with vocalists such as Davilita, Alfredito Valdes, Chenco Moraza and Daniel Santos. Flores was a prolific composer, writing such classics as Obsesión, Amor perdido, Perdón, Irresistible, Despedida, Bajo un palmar, Toma jabon pa’que laves and the patriotic Sin bandera. His arrangements were strongly influenced by the predominant Cuban style of the day, with heavy percussion and catchy riffs. While Flores lacked the skills and sophisticated compositional style of his contemporary and life-long rival Rafael Hernández, his songs had a broad appeal among working-class Latin Americans for their depictions of everyday life and ordinary people. See also R. Glasser: ...

Article

J.G. Prod’homme

revised by Andrew Lamb

(b Buxières-les-Mines, April 5, 1862; d Paris, July 14, 1923). French composer and conductor. He was a pupil of Dubois and Franck at the Conservatoire, where he won a first prize in harmony and an organ prize. He made his début as a composer with a ballet-divertissement, Les sources du Nil, given in 1882 at the Folies Bergère (the first of several given there or at the Casino de Paris). His most important ballet is Phryné; he also composed several operettas, notably Les saltimbanques (Paris, 1899) and Hans, le joueur de flûte (Monte Carlo, 1906). Ganne conducted the orchestra for the balls at the Opéra, and was for many years musical director at the casino at Monte Carlo. He wrote more than 200 works, including songs, salon pieces and some excellent dance tunes such as the Valse des blondes and the mazurkas La czarine and La tzigane...

Article

(Romualdo)

(b Tudela, Feb 7, 1822; d Madrid, March 18, 1870). Spanish composer and conductor. Orphaned at an early age, he became a choirboy at Tudela Cathedral in 1830 and studied there with Rubla. In 1834 he was a pupil of Guelbenzu at Pamplona and in 1842 entered the Madrid Conservatory to study the piano with Pedro Albéniz y Basanta and composition with Ramón Carnicer. In 1845 the Italian company at the Teatro de la S Cruz in Madrid made him the director of its chorus. In 1846 he went to Paris as conductor of a ballet company, but in 1848 returned to Madrid as director of the Teatro Español, where his first zarzuela, La mensajera, had its première in December 1849. This began a series of successes for Gaztambide as a conductor of opera and zarzuela companies in Madrid. For several seasons he conducted operas at the Teatro Real, and he directed the first performance in Spanish of Meyerbeer’s ...

Article

Alfred Loewenberg

revised by Andrew Lamb

(b Danzig [Gdańsk], Feb 7, 1823; d Baden, nr Vienna, June 15, 1895). German conductor, librettist and composer. He was the son of Friedrich Genée (b Königsberg, 1796; d Berlin, 1859), conductor at a theatre in Danzig, and, although first intended for the medical profession, took up music, studying with A. Stahlknecht in Berlin. Between 1847 and 1867 he was successively Kapellmeister at theatres at Reval (now Tallinn), Riga, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Danzig, Mainz, Schwerin and Prague. In 1868 he became conductor at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, and in the following years was increasingly involved with not just the musical but also the literary side of the works produced there. At first concerned with adapting foreign works for production, he became much in demand as a clever writer of operetta librettos. This side of his activities developed particularly through his association with Johann Strauss (ii) who, being unfamiliar with writing for the theatre, used Genée not just as a lyricist but for the detailed working out of his melodic ideas. Thus Genée’s handwriting is to be found extensively in the autograph score of ...

Article

Geraldo  

Alyn Shipton

[Bright, Gerald W.]

(b London, Aug 10, 1903; d Vevey, May 4, 1974). English band-leader. He studied the piano at the RAM; after working as a cinema pianist and restaurant organist he led the resident band at the Hotel Majestic, St Anne's-on-Sea, for almost five years during the late 1920s and made frequent broadcasts. He led the Gaucho Tango Band at the Savoy Hotel (1930–37) and in 1933 formed a dance orchestra into which he introduced some good jazz soloists and which gave a short series of Sunday Night Swing Club Concerts at St Martin's Theatre (1939). In 1940 he left the Savoy to tour, became supervisor of the Entertainments National Services Association Band Division and played in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy, strengthening his band throughout the war (unlike most leaders). From then until the mid-1950s he was the leading dance-band leader in Britain, showing an adventurous sense for current idioms. In parallel with his bandleading, Geraldo ran a theatrical booking agency from the late 1940s. Among his contracts was the supply of bands to North Atlantic passenger liners, and his musicians became known as ‘Geraldo's Navy’. He gave up bandleading in the late 1950s, but occasionally re-formed his band for concerts and broadcasts. He continued his management activities and for a time was music director of Scottish Television....

Article

Alyn Shipton

[‘Gibby’]

(b Clinton, MA, Jan 4, 1903; d London, May 10, 1954). American pianist, bandleader and composer, active in Britain. He played the piano as a child, appearing in public aged ten, and going on to attend the New England Conservatory. In 1924 he came to Britain to study the piano at the RAM, but he soon took up an alternative career in dance music, playing with the Boston Orchestra at the Berkeley Hotel. He led the Sylvians at the Savoy in 1926, taking over leadership of the hotel’s popular Orpheans orchestra from Debroy Somers in 1927, but disbanding it the following year. He became a musical director for the Gramophone Company (1928–9), for whom he led the New Mayfair Orchestra, recording prolifically and providing accompaniments for almost all the popular singers and variety turns recorded by the company. In 1929 he worked for the British and Dominion Film Company as a musical director, spending most of ...