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Ron Pen

(b Louisville, KY, April 28, 1892; d nr Lexington, KY, March 1, 1980). American Folksinger, folk-music collector, and composer. He began collecting and transcribing songs at age 14 and composed his first song, “Go ’way from my window,” in 1907. A skilled pianist upon his graduation from Louisville’s Dupont Manual High School, he continued his studies at Cincinnati Conservatory and the Schola Cantorum in Paris. A pilot with the US Army Signal Corps during World War I, he published two collections of wartime songs, Singing Soldiers (1927) and The songs my mother never taught me (1929).

While based in New York, Niles toured internationally with contralto Marion Kerby from 1929 to 1933, arranging African American and Appalachian material for their repertoire. He also began publishing his arrangements and compositions with Carl Fischer and G. Schirmer and recording for Victor’s Red Seal label. From 1931 to 1934...

Article

Kerala J. Snyder

revised by Geoffrey Webber

(b Magdeburg, bap. March 17, 1664; d Wolfenbüttel, June 6, 1735). German music collector, singer and composer. The son of a brewer, he began his musical education with the Magdeburg Kantor Johann Scheffler, spent two years (1678–80) at the Thomasschule in Leipzig under Johann Schelle and continued his studies at the Johanneum in Hamburg. There he began his professional career as alto and later tenor soloist in the city's Kantorei, interrupted by a year at the university in Leipzig (1683–4). From 1686 to 1689 he worked as a tenor at the court in Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; during this time he lived with the Kapellmeister Johann Theile, receiving lessons in composition from him and in singing from the two Italian castratos in residence at the court. He himself became Kapellmeister in 1689 to Duke Christian Albrecht of Schleswig-Holstein and moved to Gottorf Castle with his new bride, Magdalena Darnedden, daughter of a Brunswick brewer....

Article

Juan Pablo Gonzalez

(b San Carlos, Nuble, October 4, 1917; d Santiago, February 5, 1967). Chilean traditional singer, collector, cantautor (singer-songwriter), poet and artist. Parra inherited a folkloric repertory from her parents, singing with members of her family in circuses, theatres and bars in Santiago. From 1953 she dedicated her life to the subject of Chilean folklore: collecting, broadcasting on radio, recording and teaching. During the periods 1954–6 and 1961–4 she lived in France, based in Paris, performing in festivals, theatres, clubs, radio and television and recording Chilean music. In 1964 her art was exhibited at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decoratifs. On her return to Chile she installed a tent in a suburb of Santiago called La Reina, and here she lived and worked with Chilean popular culture, performing until her premature death by suicide.

With intuitive and powerful talent, Parra consciously introduced an original aesthetic to popular urban song, bringing together distinctive aspects of different Latin American traditions in a manner which could be described as a kind of ‘primitivism’, while at the same time developing literary, musical and performing aspects of the tradition, establishing her own influential models of popular Chilean musics during the 1960s. She had seminal influence on the emerging, groundbreaking generation who were to forge Chile’s ...

Article

David Cooper

(b Dublin, Jan 1, 1790; d Dublin, Jan 17, 1866). Irish artist, antiquary, violinist and folksong collector. His father, a portrait painter and miniaturist of Scottish descent, wished him to be trained as a surgeon, but Petrie showed a much greater inclination towards landscape painting, developing a particular skill in the area of draughtsmanship. In 1828 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy and to the Royal Hibernian Academy, becoming librarian of the latter in 1830 and president in 1857.

In his introduction to The Ancient Music of Ireland (1855), Petrie notes that ‘from my very boy-days, whenever I heard an air which in any degree touched my feelings, or appeared to me to be either an unpublished one, or a better version of an air than what had already been printed, I never neglected to note it down’. Several of these tunes found their way to Thomas Moore (ii) and appeared in his ...

Article

Izaly Zemtsovsky

(Viktorovich)

(b Moscow, 1944; d Moscow, 1996). Russian ethnomusicologist, collector, folklorist, ensemble director and actor. In the mid-1960s he studied the balalaika at the Gnesin Academy of Music. After undertaking fieldwork with his mother, who was an ethnographer, he became fascinated by folklore and founded an experimental ensemble which rehearsed for the first time on 16 September 1973 under his direction. The young participants did not learn the songs from memory but improvised them as though they had adopted them from traditional singers. Their songs were in the style of the drawn-out songs of the Don Cossacks, which have distinctive qualities of timbre, texture and structure. This was the beginning of a powerful revival of traditional songs in various regions of Russia. Pokrovsky's work encouraged others to establish ensembles for the purpose of performing regional traditional musics, and by the early 1980s thousands of such groups were playing traditional material based on his principles. Pokrovsky's ensemble and the revival movement won enormous popularity, which troubled the KGB. After ...

Article

Jennifer Spencer

(b Aleksandrovka, Bobrov district, 21 June/July 3, 1864; d Moscow, Jan 21, 1927). Russian folksinger and collector of folksongs. From 1899 to 1903 he was a clerk in a Moscow hospital, and for some years took singing lessons from Camillo Everardi. In 1903 he was invited to join a commission on folk music set up by the Society of Friends of Natural Science, Anthropology and Ethnography, attached to Moscow University. He appeared in folk concerts organized by this commission in Moscow and elsewhere: he had a fine baritone voice and was particularly successful in his interpretations of the songs of the Voronezh government, which he had known since childhood. These concerts captured the interest of Russian audiences, and Pyatnitsky was encouraged to form an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists to give regular performances of folk music.

In 1910 Pyatnitsky founded a larger choir, whose programmes featured not only folksong arrangements but also choral dances, children's games and dramatized scenes of peasant life. He made more than 400 cylinder recordings of folksongs from the Voronezh government, and also formed an invaluable collection of folk instruments and peasant costumes....

Article

(d Zürich, 1587 ). Swiss burgomaster and musician. He is listed as a citizen of Zürich in 1558, a guild master (Zunftmeister) of Meisen between 1574 and 1583, a head governor (Obervogt) to the villages of Wettswil and Bonstetten during the period 1575–82, and a provincial governor (Landvogt) in Andelfingen between 1583 and 1587. Johannes is the first member of this prominent Zürich family for whom an interest in music can be documented. His musical activities, when taken together with other members of the Schannis family, reveal the types of music that were collected, copied, sung and played by several generations of this family between 1578 and 1630.

On 12 November 1578 in Speyer, Johannes purchased for 14 batzen a second edition copy of George Forster’s Frische teutsche Liedlin (RISM 1549³5). To this collection of German Tenorlied ( CH-Zz T410–13) he added a manuscript appendix, in which he copied songs and motets by Clemens non Papa, Jean Mouton, Stephan Zirler, Nikolaus Selnecker, and Cosmas Alder. The partbooks remained in the possession of the Schannis family until ...

Article

José Quitin

revised by Philippe Vendrix

(fl Liège, early 17th century). Flemish musician. His family, prominent in Liège during the 16th and 17th centuries, produced several ecclesiastics, clerks and musicians (among them Lambert Scronx, who worked on the revision of the Liège Breviary in the early 17th century). He was a monk at the monastery of the Crutched Friars, Liège. Dart showed that he was there between 1619 and 1621; he may have been a pupil of the blind organist of the monastery, Guillaume Huet. He was most likely the copyist of a manuscript of 1617 containing organ pieces by such composers as Andrea Gabrieli, Peter Philips, Sweelinck and Merulo ( B-Lu 153, olim 888). He included an echo of his own composition, which Dart described as ‘competent, but entirely uninspired’; the manuscript also includes 38 anonymous pieces, some of which may be by him. Dart was probably wrong in identifying the ‘Griffarius Scronx’ cited in the monastery records of ...

Article

Jean R. Freedman

[Margaret ]

(b New York, NY, June 17, 1935). American folksinger, songwriter, and folksong collector, daughter of musicologist charles Seeger and composer, educator, and folksong anthologist Ruth Crawford Seeger. Peggy learned piano, guitar, music theory, and transcription from her parents. With her brother mike Seeger , she learned banjo from a book written by their half-brother pete r. Seeger . She later became proficient on autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer, and English concertina. She made her first recording, Folk Songs of Courting and Complaint, while a student at Radcliffe College (1953–5). During the autumn of 1955, she studied at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. From 1956 to 1959 she traveled throughout Europe, the United States, Russia, and China before settling in England with folksinger, songwriter, and playwright Ewan MacColl [James Henry Miller] (1915–89), who became her musical partner, husband, and father of her children, Neill, Calum, and Kitty. With MacColl, she made more than 100 recordings of traditional Anglo-American ballads, political songs, love songs, work songs, and songs from literature. They frequently performed in folk clubs and concert halls, at festivals, on television, and in films. Seeger and MacColl felt that traditional music was a solid foundation on which the modern songwriter could build. They brought to their songwriting a political dimension, believing that folksongs represent the struggles of ordinary people whose lives are often ignored and whose creations are frequently slighted....

Article

Linda Troost

(b Swalwell, nr Newcastle upon Tyne, March 5, 1748; d London, Jan 25, 1829). English composer, viola player and song collector. As the son of a music teacher he learnt the rudiments of music early, but after the death of his father in 1757 he was apprenticed to a boat builder, Edward Davison of South (or North) Shields. He resumed musical studies with Charles Avison of Newcastle, playing the violin in local concerts. His earliest known composition, now lost, was an anthem written for the consecration of St John’s, Sunderland, on 6 March 1769. About 1770, after finishing his apprenticeship, he became leader of the theatre band and conductor of the concerts first at Scarborough and then at Durham. Encouraged by Luigi Borghi, in 1772 he moved to London to play second violin at the King’s Theatre, transferring to principal viola the following season. He held that position for 18 years, even after replacing Michael Arne as house composer to Covent Garden in autumn ...