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Raoul F. Camus

(b New York, Jan 25, 1921; d Coral Gables, FL, Sept 17, 2005). American composer and conductor of Austrian descent. Born Alfred Friedman, he began studying the trumpet at the age of ten and was playing professionally under the name Alan Reed while still in high school. Private study in theory and harmony with John Sacco and Paul Yartin (1937–8) led to a position as staff composer, arranger and assistant conductor for the Radio Workshop, New York (1938–42). After serving as associate conductor of the 529th US Air Force Band, he attended the Juilliard School (1946–8) where his teachers included Giannini. In 1948 he took a post as staff composer and arranger for NBC and later held a similar position at ABC. He became conductor of the Baylor University SO in 1953, and continued his education at that institution (BM 1955, MM ...

Article

Bruno Hoffmann

[Carl Leopold; Johann Ludwig]

(b Hamburg; d Vienna, March 4, 1804). German glass harmonica player and composer. His birthdate is often given as about 1754 (a calculation from the age of 50 given in the Viennese register of deaths) but it is presumably too late, since Röllig was musical director of Ackermann’s theatrical company in Hamburg from 1764 to 1769 and in 1771–2. His lost opera Clarisse was performed in Hamburg in 1771 and two years later in Hanover. About 1780 he took up the glass harmonica and went on a concert tour; in Dresden he was the guest of J.G. Naumann, and appearances are recorded in Hamburg (1781 and 1788) and Berlin (1787). From 1791 to his death he lived in Vienna, where he had a post at the court library and frequently performed on the glass harmonica.

Röllig was much concerned with the improvement of Franklin’s glass harmonica. He visited most of the glassworks of Bohemia and Hungary in his search for the best glasses, and about ...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

revised by David Patterson

(b Fairfield, IA, Sept 9, 1947). American composer, performer and designer and maker of electronic instruments. He studied music at the University of Illinois (1965–7, composition with Binkerd and Martirano, electronic and computer techniques with Hiller) and also privately, learning various instruments, conducting and Indian music. In 1967–8 he went to the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at SUNY, Buffalo, and from there to New York University as a guest lecturer (1968–70). He was director of computer and electronic media research at York University, Toronto (1970–77), developing a computer language for the composition and performance of synthesized music, and computerized electronic instruments for live performance. He also carried out research on biofeedback and the relationship between the information-processing mechanisms of the brain and aesthetic experience. He served as artistic director of the Electric Circus in New York (1967–8) and helped found the Neurona Company, which carries out research and development in arts and technology. He joined the faculty at Mills College in ...

Article

Flora Dennis

(b Portogruaro, April 30, 1885; d Cerro di Laveno, Varese, Feb 6, 1947). Italian inventor, painter and composer. Although from a musical family, he joined the futurist movement in 1910 as a painter. Inspired by the violent reception of Pratella's Musica futurista, in 1913 he published the radical manifesto L'arte dei rumori. This advocated the creation of a music in which everyday sounds, including noise, are used in a non-imitative manner. With his assistant Ugo Piatti, he constructed intonarumori (noise intoners) between 1913 and 1921 with which he put his theories into practice. These instruments were mostly based on the principle of the Hurdy-gurdy; the instrument was housed in a brightly painted box and the performer turned a crank or pressed an electric button at the rear to operate it; pitch was controlled by a lever on the top. By the end of 1913, 15 such machines, bearing onomatopoeic names such as the ...

Article

Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller

(b Bamberg, Nov 8, 1718; d Karlsruhe, Oct 24, 1809). German composer, conductor and glass harmonica maker. He received his musical education from the organ builder J.P. Seuffert in Würzburg and was a musician at the Rastatt court from about 1745 until its dissolution in 1771. There he was Konzertmeister in 1762 (leading the orchestra from the harpsichord) and Kapellmeister from 1765. In 1772 he became Konzertmeister at the Karlsruhe court, but in 1775 he went to Cologne as Kapellmeister at the cathedral and director of public concerts. Although his stay was brief, he had a lasting influence on Cologne’s musical life through his sacred compositions (in particular his mass for Epiphany, 1776, published in 1781) and through his introduction of modern orchestral methods in the style of Mannheim. In 1777 he accepted an invitation to return to Karlsruhe as Kapellmeister, and was also active there as a teacher and maker of glass harmonicas, whose range he extended from two octaves to four (...

Article

George J. Buelow, Maribel Meisel and Philip R. Belt

(b Hohnstein, Saxony, Aug 10, 1699; d Nordhausen, May 20, 1782). German organist, composer, keyboard instrument designer and music theorist.

George J. Buelow

After early training in music from his father, he was sent in 1706 to nearby Dresden, where he joined the royal chapel as a soprano and took keyboard lessons from the Kapellmeister, J.C. Schmidt. In 1709 ill health forced him to live for a while with his godfather Hentschel in Bischofswerda. Returning to Dresden in 1710, on Schmidt’s recommendation he was appointed, together with the slightly younger C.H. Graun, Ratsdiskantist (town discantist). With his change of voice he enrolled at the Kreuzschule, where according to his autobiography (see Marpurg) he studied, among other subjects, fugue with Schmidt. He did not say, however, with whom he studied the organ, but he reported practising on the instruments in the Kreuz- and Sophienkirchen as well as on an organ in the royal residence. In ...

Article

Wolfgang Maria Hoffmann

(Alcantara) [Josef Anton]

(b Häselgehr, July 18, 1810; d Salzburg, Jan 25, 1882). Austrian composer, music theorist, organist, choirmaster and instrument maker. He was musically mainly self-taught; at the age or 9 he learnt to play the piano and organ, as well as the violin, harp, flute, clarinet and horn. When he was 11 he took lessons in harmony and basso continuo from P. Mauritius Gasteiger in Reutte. He attended the Gymnasium in Hall (1824–30), and took some organ and piano lessons from the organist Ignaz Heinz. He entered the Franciscan monastery of Salzburg in 1830 under the name of Peter von Alcantara, and was ordained in 1834. From 1837 to 1840 he was organist and choirmaster in Bolzano and Innsbruck, and he spent the rest of his life in the Franciscan monastery in Salzburg.

Singer became famous for the building of his ‘Pansymphonikon’ in 1845; this was a keyboard instrument with sets of reeds, two manuals and 42 registers which imitated an entire orchestra. He wrote contemplative works, a treatise on choral singing entitled ...

Article

Pamela L. Poulin

(Paul)

(b Bruck an der Leitha, June 28, 1753; d Vienna, June 15, 1812). Austrian clarinettist, composer and inventor. He was a son of a Viennese musician and shoemaker, Joseph Stadler, and his wife Sophie (née Altmann). At some time after the birth of his brother Johann (Nepomuk Franz) (b Vienna, ?1755; d Vienna, May–June 1804), the family returned to Vienna. Both boys became clarinettists; the earliest evidence of a joint performance appears in a programme of the Tonkünstler-Societät (1773). In 1779 they were engaged in the imperial eight-part Harmonie (Anton initially played second clarinet because of his interest in the low register), and they played in the court orchestra on a freelance basis. In 1780, the year of Anton’s marriage to Francisca Pichler (?Bichler), the brothers were also in the service of Count Carl von Palm, while Anton was also employed by the Russian ambassador Count Dmitry Golitsïn and the order of Maria Treu. By ...

Article

(b Birmingham, England, Jan 29, 1802; d Philadelphia, PA, Dec 15, 1871). American organ builder, organist, and composer, of English birth. The son of a pharmacist, he came to the USA as a child with his family. He studied at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and assisted his father before turning to organ building in 1840, his first instrument being a parlour organ. In 1841 he published a piano method book, followed by numerous arrangements, hymns, and other compositions. By the 1850s Standbridge had established a substantial business, and in 1852 built a three-manual organ for the Presbyterian Church, Arch Street, Philadelphia. By 1860 he had built organs for several churches in Philadelphia as well as for St Bridget’s, New York (1855). In 1868 he rebuilt the organ of St Augustine’s in Philadelphia, using storage batteries for the electrically operated Choir action; this is said to be the first use in the USA of an electric action. In that same year he completed a large organ for the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul at a cost of $10,000. He was succeeded by his sons John G. and George O. Standbridge, the firm becoming known as Standbridge Bros....

Article

José López-Calo

(b Lérida, Sept 27, 1817; d Santiago de Compostela, Sept 26, 1874). Spanish organist, organ builder and composer. Tafall began his career as an instrumentalist. In 1836 he was already conductor of an important military band, but resigned the post within a year to become an instrumentalist at the Cathedral of Burgos. In 1854 he went to Santiago as an instrumentalist for the cathedral there; he was later appointed organist and made and repaired organs. As an organ builder Tafall was active in the provinces of Galicia, repairing and constructing organs in various cathedrals and churches. By 1855, he had fully repaired one of the two main organs of the Cathedral of Santiago.

In his last years, he assembled the knowledge gained from his long experience as an organ builder in his four-volume treatise: Arte completo del constructor de órganos, o sea guía manual del organero (Santiago de Compostela, ...

Article

Suzanne Beal

(b Istein, now part of Efringen-Kirchen, Germany, Nov 26, 1951). German instrument inventor, kinetic sculptor, sound artist, and composer, known as Trimpin. His father was a brass and woodwind player, and Trimpin played with old instruments as a child but developed an allergy to metals that precluded performing on brass instruments. Instead he experimented with making new devices using old radios and parts of discarded instruments. He studied music and art at the University of Berlin from 1975 to 1979. From 1976 to 1979 he was a musician for the Theater Zentrifuge in Berlin, and designed sets for the San Quentin Drama Workshop under the direction of Rick Cluchey and Samuel Beckett. In 1979 he left Berlin for Seattle and began independent research in sound sculpture design, combining music composition and kinetics with computer technology. From 1985 to 1987 he taught at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, and in ...

Article

Stephen Bonner

(b c1781; d 1856). Inventor, composer and teacher. He worked in London from at least 1813 and taught Princess Augusta Charlotte from that year until her death in 1817. This opportunity, and an early partnership with Edward Light, enabled him to create and market eight harp-lute-guitar hybrids, for which he gave lessons and published simple song arrangements and 16- or 32-bar compositions, mostly in binary form.

His most important invention was the ‘Harp Ventura’, patented in 1828, a 17–19-string harp-lute, measuring about 83 × 33 × 13 cm, and apparently tuned diatonically from e to b′, with three notes on the fingerboard: c″, c‴ and a‴. This was perhaps the most flexible harp-lute for song accompaniments with awkward modulations, or in unusual keys. Its seven pushstops (later levers) raised the open strings by a semitone, using forks similar to Erard's fourchettes of the 1780s. An attractively decorated example is displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (no.248)....

Article

Jacqueline Oskamp

(b Leiden, 1949; d June 18, 2008). Dutch composer, inventor of instruments and performer. He was self-taught. He became acquainted with electronics at the age of 16, when his father built a theremin. From 1981 he was director of the Studio voor Elektronische Muziek in the Netherlands.

In the mid-1970s he invented the kraakdoos (cracklebox), which is based on the instability of electronic circuits, usually considered undesirable. In 1981 he composed De Slungels, the first theatrical piece to be performed entirely by robots. Using these theatrical robots, Waisvisz studied both the relationship between man and machine and ways of improving the operation of electronic systems. An important step in this respect was the development of De Handen (hands), a sensitive instrument with which material stored in the computer can be played in real time. Variants on this same principle are De MIDI-Conductor (1985) and Het Web...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(b London, May 22, 1783; d London, July 23, 1866). English composer. He was the third son of William Walmisley, Clerk of the Papers to the House of Lords. Like his four brothers, he was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and was then sent to Westminster School. The others all obtained parliamentary clerkships, but Thomas, because of his exceptional talent, was educated for the musical profession, first under the Hon. John Spencer and then under Thomas Attwood. In 1803 he began his career as a teacher of the piano and singing, and in 1805 as a composer of vocal music. He was successively assistant organist to the Asylum for Female Orphans (1810–14) and organist of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1814–54). He was secretary of the Concentores Sodales from 1817 until its dissolution in 1847, when the society’s stock of wine was given to him. As an early member of the Philharmonic Society he proposed an Academy of Music, to be run by the society and hence by the musical profession. But his scheme was, perhaps unfortunately, overtaken by the founding of the RAM under aristocratic direction....