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Friedrich Baser

revised by Rudolf Walter

(b Schwarzenbach am Wald, Upper Franconia, Dec 17, 1854; d Samaden, Grisons, May 8, 1919). German conductor, concert organizer, teacher and composer. He became an elementary teacher at the Altdorf teachers' seminary. In 1875 he was appointed second music teacher at the Bamberg teacher's seminary. He then studied in Munich at the Königliche Musikschule with Rheinberger and Franz Wüllner. Humperdinck was a fellow pupil, and they became lifelong friends. Wolfrum returned to the Bamberg seminary from 1879 to 1884, when he was appointed to teach music at the University of Heidelberg. He became music director at the university in 1885, and in the same year founded and directed the Akademischer Gesangverein and the Bachverein, which made Heidelberg an important musical centre. Wolfrum was made professor of music history in 1898. His pupils included Fritz Stein, Karl Hasse and Hermann Poppen.

Wolfrum was a champion of the works of Liszt, Bruckner, Strauss and Reger. He conducted all of Reger's works composed between ...

Article

Francisco J. Albo

(b Alzey, Rheinhessen, Germany, Dec 14, 1834; d Deal Beach, NJ, July 30, 1907). American pianist, teacher, conductor, and composer of German origin. He studied with Aloys Schmitt in Frankfurt, making his début there in 1848. Later he studied with Vincenz Lachner and toured Bavaria. After a two-year stay in London, he moved to the United States in 1854, settling in Philadelphia. A scholarly performer, for the next twenty years he gave annual series of chamber music concerts and piano recitals, introducing many classical works to American audiences. He gave recitals devoted entirely to the piano music of Chopin and Schumann, a rare feat at the time. In 1866–7 he performed the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven in a series of matinées in New York. In 1873 he moved to Chicago, where he gave momentum to the musical life of the city and founded the Beethoven Society choir. His goal being education through the works of the masters, he gave several “historical” recitals with programs designed chronologically, from Couperin to Brahms. Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler was one of his pupils....

Article

William D. Gudger

revised by Andrew D. McCredie

(b Lettin, Sept 7, 1880; d Munich, Feb 25, 1957). German composer and conductor of Latvian birth. After early education in St Petersburg, he studied natural sciences at German universities. In Leipzig he also studied music with C. Heymsen and R. Teichmüller in 1901, and the following year became a pupil of Max Reger (counterpoint) and Martin Krause (piano) in Munich. After a few years of travel, during which he befriended Henri Matisse in Paris, Wolfurt served as choral director at theatres in Strasbourg (under Pfitzner) and Kottbus before the outbreak of World War I. During the war he returned to Latvia to manage a paper mill; afterwards he lived for a while in Stockholm and then Berlin, where he taught composition at the municipal conservatory (1936–45). From 1923 to 1945 he also served as the secretary of the music division of the Prussian Academy of the Arts. Wolfurt taught composition at Göttingen (...

Article

N. Lee Orr

(b Bethlehem, PA, April 4, 1863; d Bethlehem, PA, Jan 12, 1933). American conductor and organist. He served as organist-choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem from 1881 to 1884 before studying under Rheinberger in Munich. After returning to Bethlehem he was organist at the Moravian Church and at Lehigh University. In 1882 he organized a choral union and in 1898 he founded the Bethelehem Bach Choir. On 27 March 1900 he conducted the Bach Choir in the first complete American performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass. From 1905–11 he held a music appointment at the University of California, where he organized a chorus of 300 and also established a Bach choir of 125, which presented the St Matthew Passion and the B minor Mass in 1909–10. After returning to Bethlehem he reorganized the Bach choir, leading the Bach Festivals at Lehigh University until his death. In addition to performing as an organist, Wolle helped found the American Guild of Organists. He played a major role in the introduction of Bach’s choral music into the United States....

Article

Klaus L. Neumann

(b Emmerich, Lower Rhine, April 8, 1910; d Emmerich, June 25, 1989). German choirmaster and musicologist . He studied German philology and musicology in Cologne with Kroyer and Bücken and in Berlin with Schering. After some years as a publisher’s reader, his work as a choral conductor began in 1942 and resulted in the formation of the Norddeutscher Singkreis in Hamburg in 1950. Wolters’s excellent work with this choir has had a lasting influence on the style of other choirs. His series of 120 songsheets, Das singende Jahr (1951–68), drew on old and new German material and on folksongs from all over Europe. He was a co-founder, with César Geoffray, of the European Federation of Youth Choirs, and helped to shape the federation’s ‘Europa Cantat’ festivals. He composed many songs and choruses, and prepared several editions, notably of works by Monteverdi (including a critical edition of the Vespers, ...

Article

Philip L. Scowcroft

(Henry)

(b Heckmondwike, Jan 24, 1875; d London, Jan 18, 1953). English composer, conductor and flautist. He gained early experience playing the flute in orchestras in Harrogate, then at Bournemouth under Dan Godfrey. He subsequently conducted at various London theatres (among them the Adelphi, Terry's, Daly's and Drury Lane), for over 30 years. He toured the USA with Messager's Véronique and recorded excerpts from the Savoy operas. He also composed musicals of his own, but these have survived less well than the splendidly scored orchestral works produced for Boosey & Hawkes, both original pieces and arrangements, for whom he was a staff composer.

His compositions include suites and separate movements, many betraying his northern origins and evoking the outdoors, also a concertino for his one-time instrument, the flute. His most durable piece is ‘Barwick Green’ from the suite My Native Heath, inspired by his home county of Yorkshire and used as the signature tune to the long-running BBC radio programme ‘The Archers’. This apart, only ...

Article

(b London, March 3, 1869; d Hitchin, Aug 19, 1944). English conductor . His father, an optician and engineering model-maker, was a keen amateur cellist who also sang in the choir of St Sepulchre’s, Holborn, in London. Wood’s early aptitude for music was mainly nurtured from home, though he also took organ and piano lessons from E.M. Lott, the organist of St Sepulchre’s, and from the age of 14 won public notice as an organ recitalist. At the RAM (1886–8) he studied composition with Prout, organ with Charles Steggall and piano with Walter Macfarren, and he also developed skill as a piano accompanist for singers, playing for Manuel Garcia’s lessons. Ambitious as a composer, he had several songs and other short pieces published while he was still at the Academy; three operettas were later produced, though without success.

In 1889 Wood was engaged as musical director of Arthur Rousbey’s touring opera company, subsequently moving to a similar post with the Carl Rosa Opera and also assisting Sullivan in the preparation of ...

Article

John Warnaby

(Peter)

(b Barton-on-Sea, May 27, 1953). English composer, choral conductor and percussionist. He studied composition with Boulanger in Paris before becoming organ scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. The New London Chamber Choir was founded by him in 1981 to perform medieval and Renaissance music alongside contemporary repertory. He was professor of percussion at the Darmstadt summer courses between 1982 and 1994, becoming increasingly involved in building percussion instruments, and established the London Centre for Microtonal Music, and its associated ensemble, Critical Band, in 1991. His awards number the Gemini Fellowship (1993), the Arts Foundation Fellowship for electro-acoustic composition (1994–6) and the Holst Foundation Award (1995).

Wood's major compositions reflect diverse interests. His song cycles for soprano and percussion are among several works stemming from oriental ideas, while Phaedrus, for voice and ensemble, belongs to a group of works inspired by ancient Greek subjects. In addition he has explored African traditions, and all his output has been influenced by rituals and ceremonies of various kinds. In the later 1980s, Wood moved away from a predominantly vocal output for two of his most ambitious scores: ...

Article

Rodney H. Mill

(b Boston, MA, Nov 6, 1902; d Cambridge, MA, July 18, 1969). American choral conductor, organist, and music educator. At Harvard University he studied history (BA 1924) and music (MA 1926), and on a Paine Traveling Fellowship he studied conducting under Malcolm Sargent at the Royal College of Music, London (1927–8). As an undergraduate he was accompanist for the Harvard Glee Club and on graduating he was appointed instructor of music at Harvard and conductor of the Radcliffe Choral Society (1924). Later he conducted the Pierian Sodality Orchestra (1928–32) and the Harvard Glee Club (from 1933), and served as university organist and choir director (from 1940); he succeeded A.T. Davison as James Edward Ditson Professor of Music (1954–69). In 1958 he resigned all conducting and performing posts to devote himself to teaching. From 1951 he broadcast a series of lectures called “Tomorrow’s Symphony” on Boston radio (WGBH). He was first president of the College Music Society (...

Article

Mervyn Cooke

(Anthony)

(b Ipswich, July 12, 1937). English composer and conductor. He received his early musical education at Westminster Abbey, where he was senior chorister. After graduating from Cambridge University (BA 1959), he studied conducting at the GSM with Norman Del Mar and worked as a professional horn player at Sadler’s Wells Opera (1960–61). In 1961 he joined the music staff of the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon, serving as head of music and resident composer (1963–98); he composed over 150 scores for the company, including incidental music for all of Shakespeare’s plays. His musical based on The Comedy of Errors won the Ivor Novello Award and the Society of West End Theatre Award for the best British musical of 1976. Woolfenden’s conducting career has included work at Morley College (1968–78) and as principal conductor of the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra (1970–92) and Warwickshire SO (...