(b Parma, Oct 16, 1649; d ?Parma, 1697). Italian composer, cellist, instrument maker, sculptor and painter. All that is known of his life is that he worked at the Este court at Modena. His only known music is Trattenimento musicale sopra il violoncello a’ solo (Modena, 1691), a set of 12 sonatas for solo cello (like his contemporaries at the Este court, G.B. Vitali and Giuseppe Colombi, he was himself a cellist). Precedents for his sonatas can be found in various works for solo cello by Colombi. Others by the two Bolognese composers G.B. Degli Antoni and Domenico Gabrielli probably influenced him still more: Degli Antoni’s set of 12 Ricercate appeared in 1687, and Gabrielli published a similar set of seven Ricercary in January 1689, shortly after spending a year at the Este court. The appearance of Galli’s sonatas in 1691 seems more than just coincidental: they could well have been inspired by his close contact with Gabrielli. Their style is remarkably close to that of Gabrielli’s ...
Nona Pyron and Angela Lepore
Howard Mayer Brown
revised by Lynda Sayce
(b Nuremberg, c1500; d Nuremberg, 1570). German instrumentalist, lute maker and compiler and arranger of several volumes of instrumental music. He was probably the son of Conrad Gerle (d 1521), a well-known lute maker in Nuremberg. He may be presumed to have spent his life in his native city. He may have been related to Georg Gerle who worked as an instrument maker in Innsbruck during the second half of the 16th century.
Hieronymus Formschneider of Nuremberg published three volumes of music by Hans Gerle: Musica teusch, auf die Instrument der grossen unnd kleinen Geygen, auch Lautten (1532), Tabulatur auff die Laudten (1533) and Eyn newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch (1552). On the title-page of the last volume the author called himself ‘Hans Gerle den Eltern’ (the elder), implying the existence of a younger relative with the same forename.
The first volume, ...
Kathryn Bridwell Briner
(b Chicago, IL, Jan 27, 1950). American horn player, historical horn maker, music educator, and composer. He studied horn with Ernani Angelucci, John Barrows, Helen Kotas, Ethel Merker, Frank Brouk, and Dale Clevenger. He was appointed assistant principal horn for the Detroit Symphony in 1972, and has also performed as principal horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic (1978–80), the Cincinnati Symphony (1984–6), the Toledo Symphony (1990–7), and as guest principal horn with the Antwerp Philharmonic/Royal Flemish Orchestra. He has taught the horn at Interlochen Arts Academy, Wheaton College, Oakland University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, the School of Perfection in Mexico City, and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense, Denmark. Greer has written solo pieces for both the modern and natural (valveless) horn, as well as a mass for hunting horns and organ.
Noted for his flexible tone and facile technique, Greer has toured widely as a soloist and has made notable recordings, particularly on the natural horn; those recordings include Beethoven’s Sonata for horn, Brahms’ Trio for horn, violin, and piano, and the horn concertos of Mozart....
(b Redwood City, CA, April 19, 1954). American composer, guitarist, instrument builder, educational technology specialist, and media designer. He attended classes with Robert Sheff, robert Ashley , and terry Riley at Mills College (1972–3) and studied at Canada College in Redwood City (1973–4), California, Cabrillo College in Aptos, California (1974–5), San Francisco State University (1975–6), and Virginia Commonwealth University (1976–7). In the late 1970s he collaborated with Serge Tcherepnin on the construction of the Modular Music System. In the early 1980s he was appointed technical director at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music and in 1989 he became a lecturer at California State University in Hayward; then he taught at Diablo Valley College, Expression College for Digital Arts, and San Jose State University. He held composer residencies at Mills College Center for Contemporary Music (1992), Amsterdam’s Steim (...
Alice Lawson Aber-Count
(b Berlin, 17 Feb ?1821; d Berlin, May 23, 1882). German harpist, teacher and composer, son of Karl Grimm. He studied the harp with Josef Hasselmans at the Strasbourg Conservatory and perfected his skill in Leipzig with Elias Parish Alvars. From 1837 he performed with great success and was much in demand, particularly by Liszt and Bülow. In 1844 he was the principal harpist at the royal chapel in Berlin and 25 years later received the title königliche Concertmeister.
Grimm was the founder of the modern German school of harp playing. Among his pupils were Albert Zabel, Wilhelm Posse, Franz Poenitz, Rosalia Spohr (wife of Louis Spohr) and Ferdinand B. Hummel. His compositions for the harp are unpublished.B. Bagatti: Arpa e arpisti (Piacenza, 1932), 52 M.G. Scimeca: L’arpa nella storia (Bari, 1938), 145–6 W. Henley: Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers, 2 (Brighton, 1960) A.N. Schirinzi...
(b Nuremberg, Nov 26, 1552; d Nuremberg, Oct 23, 1634). German Meistersinger. He was a shoemaker by profession, like his great model Hans Sachs. From about 1569 until his death he belonged to the Nuremberg Meistersinger guild, presiding as senior Merker from 1619. Along with Benedict von Watt (1569–1616), Hans Winter (d 1627) and Magister Ambrosius Metzger (1573–1632) Hager was among the most notable figures in the later flowering of the Nuremberg Meistersinger tradition. Within the guild he represented the position initiated by Sachs, in whose name he resisted attempts at innovation (in the Schulstreit of 1624). Apart from a few Sprüche (poems in rhyming couplets), 624 sacred and secular Meisterlieder by Hager have survived as well as 36 other sacred and secular gemeine Lieder (songs that are not written in one of the Töne of Meistergesang). 17 melodies survive for ...
Harold E. Samuel
(b Nuremberg, April 11, 1626; d Nuremberg, Aug 6, 1686). German organist, instrumentalist, composer and instrument maker, son of Sebastian Hainlein the younger (see Hainlein family). His early instruction on wind and keyboard instruments and in singing led to his being paid an expectant’s salary by the city of Nuremberg at the age of 17. During the period 1646–7 he was in Munich, where he at least heard – if he did not study with – G.G. Porro. From October 1647 to July 1648 he was in Italy. In five extant letters he said that he was displeased with Italian performers and was practising without the aid of a teacher. He referred to four living Italian composers, G.G. Arrigoni, Cavalli and Rovetta in Venice and Francesco Turini in Brescia, but he apparently did not study with any of them. He took up his first important position in Nuremberg in ...
(b Bohemia, 1710/11; d Dresden, March 30, 1771). Bohemian horn player, teacher, inventor and composer. He was appointed second horn of the Dresden Hofkapelle in 1737 and continued in that capacity until about 1768, being paired initially with J.G. Knechtel, later with Carl Haudek. Hampel contributed to the development of both the instrument and its technique, and his innovations were widely imitated. He extended the horn's range downwards by developing the middle and low registers. During his tenure at Dresden, second horn parts became more independent of first parts and a new idiomatic second horn style appeared, the latter characterized by rapid arpeggios and wide leaps, sometimes extending down to the second harmonic, with occasional factitious tones in the low register (e.g. e, f and f ♯). This new style was soon imitated elsewhere, and from it developed a species of second horn player (...
revised by Barra R. Boydell
(d Dublin, 1813). Irish composer, music publisher and instrument maker. George Petrie considered him to have been the ‘most eminent British composer of military music in his time’. A Collection of Quick and Slow Marches, Troops &c. can be dated 1795–8. A square piano dated 1796 bears Holden’s name (possibly as seller rather than maker). In 1805, described as a ‘military music master and instrument maker’, he had premises in Arran Quay, Dublin. Nothing further is known about Holden’s apparent activities as an instrument maker. In 1806 he moved to Parliament Street, where he opened a music shop and began publishing, largely his own music although this continued to be issued by other Dublin publishers. On his death the business was continued by his widow until about 1818. Holden's publications included A Collection of Old Established Irish Slow and Quick Tunes (c1807); many of the airs may have been collected by his son Francis Holden. The elder Holden published two more collections of Irish music (issued periodically), collections of Welsh tunes, masonic songs and country dances, numbers of marches and quick steps, often dedicated to specific regiments and corps, and many individual songs and other instrumental pieces....
(b New York, NY, June 19, 1934; d Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany, Feb 9, 1993). American instrument inventor and composer. As a youngster in Brooklyn he was trained in classical music, but turned to jazz drumming and studied composition briefly with John Cage and Earle Brown. From 1962 (working at first in New York, then from about l973 in Asolo, near Vicenza) he constructed many instruments, influenced particularly by his involvement with the Fluxus group in New York. That association began in 1963, the same year some of his experimental instruments were shown at the Betty Parsons Gallery. He concentrated on self-playing instruments operated by small electric motors, to which beaters or lengths of leather bootlace that rotate like propellers are attached; many of them incorporate existing string and percussion instruments (often toys, and including zithers and normal and toy violins and guitars). Both motors and instruments are suspended on long strings or wires; their operation causes them to move around so that the sound varies continuously. Despite the simplicity of the basic idea of nearly all of Jones’s instruments, in most of which sustained sounds are derived from sources that are normally percussive, they produce a surprisingly wide range of delicate and subtle sounds....
(b Schwäbisch Gmünd, c1445–50; d Vienna, early March 1526). German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkünig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Köllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkünig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkünig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his ...
(b Buenos Aires, Dec 24, 1931; d Cologne, Sept 18, 2008). German composer, film maker and playwright of Argentine birth. Increasingly regarded as among the most important of late 20th-century European composers, his elaborate imagination, bizarre humour and ability to play with almost any idea or system has brought powerful and unexpected drama to the stage and concert hall.
Born into an Argentine-Jewish family with strongly leftist political views, he took theory, singing, conducting, piano, cello and organ lessons with private teachers such as Juan Carlos Paz and Alfredo Schiuma, but was self-taught as a composer. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Buenos Aires, where Borges was among his lecturers. Although he failed the entrance examinations for the local music conservatory, he became artistic advisor to the Agrupación Nueva Música (Buenos Aires) in 1949. In 1950 he began to compose, seeking ideas that opposed the neo-classical style dictated by Juan Perón’s government. After co-founding the Cinémathètique Argentine and making an unsuccessful attempt to establish an electronic studio, he became a student conductor at the Chamber Opera, chorus director and rehearsal accompanist at the Teatro Colón, music advisor at the University of Buenos Aires, and cinema and photography editor for the journal ...
revised by Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume
(b Prague, Dec 21, 1756; d Prague, c1830). Czech composer, pianist and inventor. He studied law and philosophy at Prague University and music with the Prague organist Joseph Prokop. Two of his Singspiels were performed in Prague: König Wenzel (1778) and Die Bezauberten (1779). The piano part of the cantata Pygmalion (1781) and some German songs (1807) were also published in Prague; the first edition of his German songs had appeared in Leipzig in 1799. Kunz was an exponent of the late 18th-century fad for designing combination instruments, constructing in 1791 a piano-organ which he called an Orchestrion (not to be confused with the mechanical instrument of the same name). Between 1796 and 1798, in collaboration with the Prague piano-makers Johann and Thomas Still, he made a second, improved model. Shaped like an over-size grand piano and housed in a mahogany case with sides of ornamentally carved frames backed with blue taffeta, the lower part comprised a two-manual positive organ of 65 keys (compass ...
Kurt von Fischer
revised by Gianluca D’Agostino
[Landino, Franciscus; Magister Franciscus de Florentia; Magister Franciscus Coecus Horghanista de Florentia; Francesco degli orghani; Cechus de Florentia]
(b ? Fiesole or Florence, c1325; d Florence, Sept 2, 1397). Italian composer, poet, organist, singer and instrument maker of the second generation of Italian Trecento composers.
Only a few dates relating to Landini’s life can be established with any certainty. There is no record of his date of birth, which Fétis gave as c1325 and Pirrotta as c1335. Fiesole was stated as his place of birth, but by only one authority: the Florentine humanist Cristoforo Landino (1429–98), Landini’s great-nephew, in his Elogia de suis maioribus. Most of the available biographical information derives from Filippo Villani’s Liber de origine civitatis Florentiae et eiusdem famosis civibus: the chapter that concerns certain of the Trecento composers (Bartholus, Giovanni, Lorenzo and Jacopo) was written after 1381 but still within Landini’s lifetime (see Villani, Filippo). The name Landini (Landino), according to Pirrotta, descends from Francesco’s grandfather, Landino di Manno, who can be traced in Pratovecchio (Casentino) from ...
(b Boston, April 28, 1951). American instrument builder, composer, and performer, noted for constructing instruments from discarded objects. He studied composition with Milton Babbitt at Princeton and in 1989–90 pursued music performance and instrument making in Java in connection with the activities of his wife, the late Deena Burton, founder of Arts Indonesia. Since 1974, when LaPlante first sought new sounds as a dance accompanist and composer (he has written about 100 works for dance performances), he has made hundreds of instruments of all kinds from recycled materials, some inspired by non-Western models. In 1975 he co-founded (with Carole Weber) the ensemble Music for Homemade Instruments, a New York collective involving instrument makers, performers, and composers. As a member of the American Festival of Microtonal Music he has made new versions of instruments such as Julian Carillo’s 96-note-per-octave harp and various types built by Harry Partch. He conducts instrument-making workshops for children under auspices of Bash The Trash and Young Audiences of New York, and has collaborated in theatre productions with Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin....
revised by Luc Rombouts
(b Zinnik [now Hennegau], bap. July 18, 1711; d Ghent, bur. May 25, 1765). Flemish carillonneur and composer. Known by 1729 as a carillonneur and clockmaker in his home town, Le Blan appeared from 1743 in Veurne exercising these two occupations. In 1746 he succeeded Pierre Schepers as town carillonneur at Ghent, becoming town clockmaker in ...
(b Ferrara, Nov 7, 1790; d Ravenna, Aug 5, 1877). Italian guitarist, instrument maker and composer. Although trained from his earliest years as an orchestral string player, Legnani devoted himself to singing and especially to the guitar. He made his début as a tenor in Ravenna in 1807, and appeared there again from 1820 to 1826 in operas by Rossini, Pacini and Donizetti. He launched his career as a concert guitarist in Milan in 1819. In 1822 he appeared in Vienna with such sensational success that he was considered the worthy successor to Mauro Giuliani (who had left Vienna in 1819 to return to Italy). This city received Legnani with much praise again in 1833 and 1839.
In the intervening years, besides touring Italy, Germany and Switzerland as a guitarist, Legnani struck up a friendship with Paganini, who considered him ‘the leading player of the guitar’. They planned to play together as a duo in a series of ...
( c1747–c1832). English composer and inventor. He created seven plucked, fretted chordophones compounded from lute, lyre and harp structures. In 1798 he invented the harp-guitar, and later also invented a harp-lute-guitar. Between 1810 and 1813 he invented a harp-lute, which was patented in 1818, and at some time he invented an apollo lyre, with 12 strings. In 1815 a harp-lyre was advertised in the Caledonian Mercury, and in 1816 he patented a ‘British’ harp-lute and a dital harp. Extant examples of his work are sometimes labelled as being made for him by A. Barry (18 Frith Street, Soho) and Wheatstone & Co. The title-page of his undated Collection of Psalms &c. indicates that he was organist of Trinity Chapel, St George’s, Hanover Square, and ‘Lyrist to H.R.H. The Princess [Charlotte] of Wales’. His teaching activity required his presence in London, and instrument labels and title-pages show that at various times he lived at 16 Harley Street; 34 Queen Anne Street, Portland Chapel; 3 and 8 Foley Place; 43 Portland Place (where his partner ...
(b Kirchheim, Germany, Feb 21, 1746; d Vienna, Austria, June 25, 1792). German musician, composer, and woodwind instrument maker active in Pressburg and Vienna. Lotz is first documented as a clarinettist: on 17 Dec 1772 he performed a clarinet concerto in a Tonkünstlersocietät concert in Vienna, and in 1775 performed his own clarinet concerto in Pressburg. About this time Lotz became of a member of Cardinal Batthyány’s orchestra in Pressburg, where he served as first clarinettist, played viola when necessary, and directed rehearsals. Lotz remained a member of this orchestra until it disbanded in 1783. It has been suggested, without evidence, that Lotz was a member of the orchestras of Cardinal de Rohan (until 1774) and Prince (Johann?) Esterházy.
Lotz is remembered primarily as an innovative instrument maker. He made for Anton Stadler the basset clarinet for which Mozart wrote his concerto k622. C.F. Cramer (Magazin der Musik...
(b Mount Vernon, NY, Nov 24, 1953). American composer, computer instruments inventor and educator. He studied composition and cello at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1971–3), Columbia University (1973–4), the Juilliard School (BM 1975, MM 1977), specialising in computer music technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. His principal teachers were Luigi Dallapiccola (1973), Roger Sessions (1973–5) and Elliott Carter (1975–8). He was the principal cellist with the Canadian Opera Company (1975–6) and a guest composer at IRCAM, Paris (1978–9), where he subsequently served as director of musical research (1980–84). He returned to the United States and in 1985 joined the faculty of MIT as professor of music and media at its new media laboratory and became director of the Experimental Media Facility and head of the Hyperinstruments/Opera of the Future group where he continues to work. In ...