(b Mons, Belgium, 1962). Belgian trombonist and leader. He studied piano and guitar and at the age of 15 played piano in an amateur band; he then took up trombone (on which he is self-taught) and joined a succession of dixieland bands, including that of Claude Luter. In 1984 he turned to modern jazz as an occasional soloist with Félix Simtaine’s Act Big Band and the BRT (Belgische Radio & Televisie) Big Band and as the leader of a quartet; the latter group appeared at clubs and festivals, recorded its first album in 1986, and toured Europe from the late 1980s. Abraham joined Guy Cabay’s quintet in 1989. In the 1990s he appeared on television as a guest artist with a big band in Moscow, and he recorded with his quartet (including the albums Stapler, 1991, Igloo 091, and En public, 1996, Lyrae 9703007), as well as with Michel Herr’s big band (...
(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962 he joined the Coon Carnival stage show. He then spent seven years in Swaziland, where he played bop with the pianists Roy Peterson and Howard Belling and accompanied Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In 1975 he traveled to England and worked in variety and dance bands before joining Dudu Pukwana’s group Zila. In 1981 he founded the trio District Six with Mervyn Afrika and the guitarist Russell Herman, both of whom grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town; with Abrahams as its leader, the trio expanded to a sextet (including Jim Dvorak from 1983 to 1993 and Claude Deppa at some point thereafter) and became an important focus for musicians who played both jazz and African rhythms. Abrahams also worked with Ronnie Scott, John Taylor, Johnny Dyani, and the Brotherhood of Breath. In ...
(b Oamaru, New Zealand, April 9, 1961). Australian keyboard player. Having moved with his family to Australia in 1964 he began taking piano lessons at the age of five; his early inspirations included the boogie-woogie pianists and Teddy Wilson. He took Australian citizenship in 1975. During high school he heard Red Garland on a recording by Miles Davis, which led him to contemporary jazz. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he formed The Benders with fellow students Dale Barlow, Lloyd Swanton, and the drummer Andrew Gander; the quartet recorded three albums in the first half of the 1980s. Abrahams was also involved with an improvised music collective, the Keys Music Association, which saw the start of an important association with Mark Simmonds. With the saxophonist Jason Morphett having replaced Barlow, The Benders recorded two more albums (1983, 1985), then toured India, Europe, and Cuba before disbanding. In those same years Abrahams recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ...
(b Brande, Jutland, April 9, 1893; d Copenhagen, Feb 17, 1949). Danish musicologist. After studying at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music (1910–13), where he graduated as an organist, he was organist and choirmaster at the Luther Church (1914–24) and head of the music division of the Copenhagen Royal Library (1916–21). As a student he attended Hammerich's lectures in music history at Copenhagen University (there was no degree course in music history until 1915) and in 1917 he became the first MA in musicology in Denmark, graduating with a dissertation on the transition from Catholic to Protestant liturgy in Denmark in the 16th and 17th centuries. During his years at the Royal Library he began to study its large collection of Latin liturgical fragments on the basis of which he tried to reconstruct the Danish medieval liturgy and to provide a demonstration of Peter Wagner’s theory of the two traditions, Roman and Germanic, of Gregorian chant. He submitted this as a doctoral dissertation to the university in ...
(b Yerevan, March 8, 1932). Armenian cellist and teacher. She studied first at the Yerevan Central Music School (where her teachers were K. Khizanov and L. Grigoryan) and then with Grigoryan at the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan (1950–53). She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–6) and became a laureate of the H. Wihan International Cello Competition (1955). In 1956 she made her début as a soloist with the Armenian PO, and has performed regularly with the orchestra since then. In 1960 she became professor of cello at the Yerevan Conservatory. She has performed widely in Russia, the USA, Canada and Western Europe, as a soloist and during numerous festivals, specializing in 20th-century works, notably those by Armenian composers. She has given premières of some 100 works, a number of which are dedicated to her. Her playing is distinguished by refinement of intonation, a broad range of colour and a strong dramatic impetus....
Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson
(b c1758; d Torquay, March 8, 1821). English soprano and composer. She made her début in October 1775 as the little gypsy in May Day, a piece designed for her by Garrick with music by her teacher Thomas Arne. However, she had limited success as a stage personality and in 1780 she left Drury Lane to become a principal singer at fashionable London concerts and provincial festivals. She appeared in the Handel Commemoration concerts in 1784, when Burney praised the sweetness and taste of her singing, in the next three Handel festivals, the Concerts of Ancient Music, and concert series organized by Rauzzini, Ashley and Salomon. Her sister Theodosia (d Torquay, 4 Nov 1849), whose voice Mount-Edgcumbe described as the most beautiful contralto he ever heard, often sang with her. In 1783, the Public Advertiser, while admiring Harriett's solo singing, commented that the ‘Forte...
[Abrams, Richard Louis]
(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians...
[Abramson, Raymond Joseph]
(bNew York, Jan 23, 1920). Americantenor saxophonist, brother of Lee Abrams. In the early 1940s he played in the resident band at Monroe’s Uptown House, which accompanied Coleman Hawkins in performances and on the first studio recordings of bop (16 February 1944); he remained with the group when it became the core of Dizzy Gillespie’s first big band in 1945. The following year he recorded with Kenny Clarke and (during a tour of Europe) Don Redman; his solo playing is well represented on Redman’s For Europeans Only (1946, Ste. 6020–21). His own band (formed 1947) recorded with the singer Billy Stewart (1947, 1949) and under Abrams’s name (1948); Fats Navarro and Coleman Hawkins were among his sidemen. After playing with Andy Kirk (1947–8) he rejoined Gillespie and recorded with Cecil Payne (both 1949). He toured and made recordings with Hot Lips Page (...
revised by Anna Dalos
(b Budapest, Sept 22, 1882; d Budapest, Feb 11, 1970). Hungarian composer and conductor, grandson of Kornél Ábrányi. He studied composition, the organ and piano at the Budapest Academy of Music, and spent a year with Nikisch in Leipzig. From 1904 he was a theatre conductor in Cologne, and from 1907 in Hanover. In 1911 he returned to Budapest to become conductor at the Royal Hungarian Opera House; he was director there (1919–20) and then at the Budapest Theatre (1921–6). He taught conducting at the Liszt Academy of Music.
Ábrányi was the most prolific Hungarian opera composer of his generation; between 1903 and 1923 five of his operas and a Singspiel were produced at the Budapest Opera House and the City Theatre. Rather than subscribing to the established Hungarian romantic opera style or folklore, Ábrányi composed in a cosmopolitan style. The operas Monna Vanna...
(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...
Charles Barber and José A. Bowen
(b Thessaloniki, Jan 6, 1903; d Salt Lake City, Sept 22, 1993). American conductor of Spanish-Portuguese descent. He was taken to Switzerland at the age of six and studied medicine at the University of Lausanne before, on Busoni’s recommendation, he moved to Berlin in 1922 to study with Weill. He conducted in provincial German theatres and finally in Berlin until 1933, when he moved to Paris to conduct the Balanchine ballet company and the première of Weill’s ballet Die sieben Todsünden. The following year he toured Australia with the British National Opera Company. On the recommendation of Walter and Furtwängler, he was hired by the Metropolitan Opera, making his début with Samson et Dalila in 1936. In an era of specialization, the mainly negative reviews for his mixed repertory of French opera and Wagner forced him out in 1938. He turned to Broadway, where he renewed his association with Weill, conducting the premières in New York of ...
Ronald C. Purcell
(b c1750; fl Salamanca; d c1820). Portuguese guitarist (or of Portuguese descent). He provided the rules and music to his guitar method, Escuela para tocar con perfección la guitarra de cinco y seis órdenes con reglas generales de mano izquierda y derecha. P.F. Victor Prieto (organist at the Royal Monastery in Salamanca) discovered Abreu's manuscript and published it under the original title in Salamanca in 1799 with supplementary material concerning the origins of the guitar and a historical view of the aesthetics of music. Abreu's method offers a systematic approach to pedagogy, and is one of the first to treat the guitar having six double courses, the precursor to the 19th-century guitar with six single strings. It also discusses guitar accompaniment in the orchestra and, of special note, describes in detail the preparation of right-hand fingernails.SubiráHME B. Saldoni: Diccionario biográfico-bibliográfico de efemérides de músicos españoles...
Rainer E. Lotz
(bSan Girolamo di Lusiana, province of Vicenza, Italy, May 15, 1898; dMilan, Aug 1960). Italianbandleader, saxophonist, and violinist. He was brought up in Switzerland, where he formed a café orchestra with his brother Felice, who played banjo and violin. From 1925 to 1932 he toured Italy, Germany, and Switzerland and made several recordings as a leader for Homocord (1927–8, including Just Once Again, 2514, and Say it with a Red Rose, 2524, both 1928), in which Arthur Briggs may have taken part. Abriani held an engagement in Calcutta from 1932 to 1934, during which time he recorded for HMV’s Twin label. After returning to Europe he toured (1934–9) and made further recordings (1937–9), and then settled in Italy. Although he was not himself a jazz soloist, he often employed excellent jazz players as his sidemen. (A. Mazzoletti: Il jazz in Italia: dalle origini al dopoguerra...
(b Havana, Cuba, Feb 26, 1942). Cuban-American guitarist, composer, arranger, and educator; immigrated to the United States and naturalized in 1975. He studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio Orbón in Havana, and guitar under Héctor García and Julian Bream. Abril participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and was consequently incarcerated for twenty-two months in Cuba. Returning to the United States, he established a performing and recording career as a classical guitarist, whose arrangements for the instrument have been published worldwide. He holds the PhD degree in music theory from Florida State University.
A series of medical issues with his hands during the 1980s subsequently redirected his focus to composition. Rejecting atonality and traditional developmental procedures in his early works, Abril cultivated a compositional style characterized by tonal and often polytonal harmony and linear writing. Although not a folklorist, he shows an affinity for Cuban musical culture, particularly in the rhythmic component. His compositions include ...
Barry Jean Ancelet
(b nr Gueydan, LA, June 27, 1913; d Basile, LA, May 13, 1981). American cajun accordionist, singer, and songwriter. He came from a musical family; his father, mother, and at least one uncle played instruments. He was among the second generation of Cajun musicians to record, in the 1930s, and helped lead a revival of accordion and traditional Cajun music after World War II. He sometimes performed with Amédé Ardoin. The titles of some of his best known songs, such as “Service Blues” and “French Blues, indicate that blues was a major influence. In 1949 Abshire had a regional (Gulf Coast) hit with “The Pine Grove Blues,” after which he named his band, the Pine Grove Boys. Its various lineups included such musicians as Will Kegley (fiddle), Ernest Thibodeaux (guitar), Atlas Frugé (steel guitar), and Robert Bertrand (fiddle and vocals), and its best known recordings were released by Swallow Records. In the 1960s Abshire performed with Dewey Balfa and his brothers at colleges and festivals across the country and in doing so helped bring Cajun music to the national folk music circuit. He was featured in several documentary films, including ...
(b Bonsecours, Hainaut, Oct 23, 1893; d Uccle, Brussels, Feb 2, 1974). Belgian composer. He studied the organ, the piano and harmony with Alphonse Oeyen, organist of Bonsecours. He continued his studies at the Ecole St Grégoire, Tournai, where he gave his first organ recital in 1912. In 1913 he entered the Brussels Conservatory to study with Desmet (organ), Edouard Samuel (practical harmony) and (from 1915) Lunssens (written harmony). He took a first prize for organ and harmony in 1916 and, after a year’s further work with Paulin Marchand (counterpoint) and Léon Du Bois (fugue), another for counterpoint and fugue. Abandoning the idea of a career as an organist, he went to Gilson for composition lessons (1920–22). In 1921 his First Symphony won the Agniez Prize; in 1921 he took the second Belgian Prix de Rome with the cantata La guerre and was appointed director of the Etterbeek Music School. From ...
(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....
(b Honolulu, HI, August 13, 1958). American recording artist and performer of Filipino descent. A Filipino American artist, she grew up in National City, CA, and excelled at piano, violin, and percussion during her childhood. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, she played keyboards in various Los Angeles jazz clubs and attracted the attention of Quincy Jones. Having been introduced to traditional Philippine music by Bayani de Leon, she studied kulintang (gong-chime) with Aga Mayo Butocan. The influence of Philippine music may be heard on her first album Adventure (Japan Sony/Epic, 1987), which was released in the United States as Jungle Wave (CBS, 1987). Her single “Adventure” reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Charts in 1988. In the same year Academia received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to found the World Kulintang Institute and Research Studies Center; the institute released the album ...
(b Turin, Sept 26, 1941). Italian violinist and conductor. He studied the violin with Luigi d’Ambrosio at the Naples Conservatory, took the diploma in 1956 and a postgraduate course with Yvonne Astruc at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena. He won the international competitions at Vercelli (1955) and Geneva (1956), and in 1958 both the RAI Spring Trophy and the Premio Paganini international violin competition at Genoa. He toured throughout Europe and North and South America and soon became one of the best-known and most admired Italian violinists of his generation. An instinctive player with an easy, agile and brilliant technique, he is an all-round musician with a repertory ranging from Vivaldi and Bach to contemporary composers, many of whom have written works for him, including Franco Donatoni (Argot for solo violin, 1979) and Xenakis (Dikhtas, 1980). He is considered a fine interpreter of Paganini (whose 24 capriccios and six concertos he has recorded). Accardo has developed an interest in chamber music and is one of the organizers of the ensemble music week held at Naples each year; in ...
[Alexander, John Marshall ]
(b Memphis, TN, June 9, 1929; d Houston, TX, Dec 25, 1954). American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter. He served in the US Navy in World War II, then played piano with the Memphis-based group the Beale Streeters alongside Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Roscoe Gordon, and B. B. King; they played electric blues in the style of Sonny Boy Williamson, and in the early 1950s recorded for Ike Turner and Sam Phillips. Ace then signed a contract as a solo artist with Don Robey’s Duke recording company; his record “My Song” reached number one on the rhythm-and-blues chart in 1952, as did “The Clock” the following year. Using a smoother style, he made a series of successful recordings in 1953 and 1954, and became a popular live performer. After his death, his song “Pledging my Love” (1955) became his greatest hit; it was later recorded by Elvis Presley, among others. Ace developed a sophisticated type of rhythm and blues, and had more success as a performer of emotional ballads than as a bluesman. His earnest, suppliant style became a model for later romantic singers....