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Article

Anne Beetem Acker

(b Bermuda, July 10, 1957). American audio engineer, musician, and owner of Keith McMillen Instruments, based in Berkeley, California. He received his BS in acoustics from the University of Illinois, where he also studied classical guitar and composition. In 1979 he founded Zeta Music, which designed and sold electric and electronic violins and basses. In 1992 he organized a research laboratory for Gibson Guitars. He developed a computerized composition, notation, and performance system, and also helped devise ZIPI, a MIDI-like music control language. At the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley, he researched audio networking, synthesizers, and string instruments. In 1996 he became director of engineering for the audio processing and distributed music networks division of Harmon Kardon. In 1999 he founded Octiv, Inc., an Internet audio signal processing company, which produced the ‘Volume Logic’ plug-in for iTunes that allows digital audio remastering to improve the sound produced by computers and MP3 players....

Article

Mem1  

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

Experimental electronic performance ensemble. Formed in 2003 by Laura and Mark Cetilia, a wife-and-husband team, Mem1 creates original music for cello and electronics, as well as video and installation art. Based in Los Angeles, California, and Providence, Rhode Island, Mem1 owns and operates Estuary Ltd., a record label dedicated to experimental music and sound art, and organizes CTRL+ALT+REPEAT, a performance series for new music programmed annually in Los Angeles. The duo has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, and has collaborated with Steve Roden and the Penderecki String Quartet, among many others. In addition to several albums dedicated to the duo’s original music—including Alexipharmaca (2006), Stationary Drift (2009), and Tetra (2010)—Mem1 has released an album of collaborative works, titled +1 (2009), and an album-length collaboration with Stephen Vitiello, Age of Insects (2011).

A Mem1 piece is typically an improvised, collaborative birthing and nurturing of a singular yet texturally complex sound. Spontaneously but carefully and gradually, the sound may begin as the breathing of the cello, played by Laura. In the opening of “Somniferum” (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Multipurpose musician-machine interface and gesture transducer for electro-acoustic music and multimedia use, developed by the French musician and sound engineer Serge de Laubier (coordinator/designer), Yvon Alopeau (designer), Jean Loup Dierstein (electronics), and Dominque Brégeard (mechanical design) at the Puce Muse studios/Espace Musical in Rungis, south of Paris. Laubier is also co-inventor of the Space octophonic processor and author of the MIDI Former software distributed by Opcode Systems, Inc. The Meta-Instrument was designed to be portable, MIDI compatible, fun to play and look at, and ergonomic in operation.

The first Meta-Instrument was built in 1989, the second generation completed in October 1995, and the third completed in 2004. Each later instrument is compatible with the previous version. The player interface is connected to an analogue-to-digital interface which is connected to a Mac laptop computer that runs different programs for the many different possible ‘instruments’ that the Meta-Instrument can control. The early versions allowed the manipulation of 32 variables simultaneously and independently, while the third version accommodates up to 54 simultaneous and independent variables. The seated performer’s arms embrace the two symmetric sides of the Meta-Instrument. Ten keys for the performer’s fingers, arranged in two rows of five keys each, measure attack speed and then key position. In the ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Interactive audiovisual instrument created by the music and sound designer Norbert Schnell of the Institut de Recherce et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) with the Berlin-based artist and composer Christian Graupner and software artist Nils Peter of Humatic Berlin, in cooperation with the Trans Media Academy (TMA) Hellerau and dancer/choreographer Roberto Zappalà of Compa-gnia Zappalà Danza. Humatic, a media arts and tools firm, was founded in 2000 by Christian Graupner and Nils Peter.

The Mindbox Slot Machine was originally created as a stand-alone media installation that performed pre-recorded songs ‘from the swamps of Casino Capitalism and Total Body Control’, according to Graupner. In 2000 Zappalà began to experiment with repeating amplified environmental noises together with the rhythmic vocal patterns integral to his dance performances. Graupner met Zappalà’s managing partner in Monaco where both were showing their work at the Monaco Dance Forum, and in 2006 Zappalà and Graupner began working jointly on the slot machine project. They created an extensive video and audio library of choreographed gestures and sound patterns that became the basic material for MindBox. In summer ...

Article

MTV  

Nick Rubin

[Music Television]

Cable TV channel launched on 1 August 1981 as a joint venture between Warner Bros and American Express. It was originally conceived as a television analog to mainstream rock radio. However, a limited supply of video clips from mainstream rock artists led the channel to include new wave artists, who had been producing videos for urban “rock discos” as well as for British television. Often these bands were particularly telegenic, displaying dramatic fashion sensibilities and sleek, modern instruments like synthesizers and electronic drums. Although mainstream artists still constituted the majority of MTV programming, the channel became strongly identified with this so-called new music, partially because it had hitherto received scant radio airplay in the United States. When such artists as the Human League, Soft Cell, and Duran Duran exploded in popularity after receiving MTV airplay, the channel pushed commercial radio into the same territory, helping to drive a mainstream New British Invasion in the United States from ...

Article

Thomas S. Hischak

By strict definition, a musical film, or movie musical, is a film that utilizes songs sung by characters rather than a movie that just includes singing or music on the soundtrack. There are exceptions to this definition, such as movies about classical composers that feature only instrumental music, or films that are comprised of dance and have no singing, but the true screen musical involves story, characters, songs, and usually dance. Since the very first talkies included songs, the history of the film musical begins with the advent of cinematic sound. Eventually most movies employed a musical soundtrack, much as stage melodramas had relied on an orchestral underscoring. It was the singing (and usually dancing as well) that made movie musicals distinctive. The genre has evolved over the decades and audiences’ expectations for a film musical have changed greatly. Yet movie musicals have always conjured up a somewhat fantastic and highly romanticized kind of reality that still makes them unique....

Article

Hugh Davies

(Swed.: ‘Music Machine I’)

Sound sculpture constructed in Stockholm in 1961 by Knut Wiggen and Per-Olof Strömberg, with Öyvind Fahlström. This automated electronic sound machine produced randomized musical structures over 20 loudspeaker channels. It was designed as a prototype for Musikmaskin II, which was the initial, conceptual stage in the development of the Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm....

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

[Gjergji, Ludovik Ndoj]

(b Shkodër, Albania, 11 Nov 1923; d Shkodër, 27 Dec 2015). Albanian singer. His name is linked in particular to the musical repertoire of Ahengu and Kânge Jare, songs in which Ottoman musical roots blend with Western influences.

Born into a family from the Mirdita region, from childhood he was interested in the urban song of Shkodër. Between 1945 and 1947, in Tirana, he came to the fore as a performer with the ensemble Grupi Karakteristik Shkodran directed by Paulin Pali. In 1947 he took part in the performance of Dasma shkodrane, by Prenkë Jakova, an important pioneer of Albanian musical theatre.

In the early 1950s Bik Ndoja emerged in the musical milieu of Shkodra by singing on the radio, in the House of Culture, and at the Perlat Rexhepi musical club.

During the years of the dictatorship, he continued to live in Shkodra and worked as a tailor, though his renown as a singer grew steadily, thanks to his activity at Radio Shkodra and Radio Tirana, and at the local ...

Article

Donald A. Henriques

(Alberto )

(b Guanajuato, Mexico, Nov 30, 1911; d Los Angeles, CA, Dec 5, 1953). Mexican film actor and singer. Jorge Negrete was the second of five children born into an upper-class military family. In 1931 he debuted on Radio XETR singing operatic arias and romantic ballads. During this time Negrete also studied voice with José Pierson, a respected vocal coach in Mexico City. In 1936, at the request of Emilio Azcárraga, owner of Radio XEW, Negrete moved to New York City to costar on an NBC radio show entitled The Mexican Caballeros. Although his movie career began in 1937, it was the 1941 film ¡Ay, Jaliscono te rajes! (Hey Jalisco…Don’t Give Up) that made Negrete a star. The singing charro (cowboy) role as played by Negrete displayed the character qualities of what would become the model for the singing charro of the 1940s and 1950s—a brave, God-fearing, macho figure with “right” on his side....

Article

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

(b Madison, WI, 1979). American sound artist, installation artist, electronic composer, laptop performer, and visual artist. Based in Los Angeles, he has collaborated with Will Long, Mise_En_Scene, and Marc Manning, among others, and exhibited and performed throughout the United States and Europe. He owns and operates Dragon’s Eye Recordings, which promotes promising but under-recognized sound artists and composers.

Novak’s installations, along with his electronic compositions and performances, typically consist of quiet, subtly shifting textures. These sounds are often field recordings of environmental sounds, digitally transformed into exquisite drones or slow-moving melodies, as in +ROOM (2009). Novak’s work is often associated with Ambient music, demonstrating the fluid, and indeed questionable, nature of the boundary between music and field recording or, generally speaking, between music and sound art. However, unlike ambient music, Novak’s pieces are often programmatic. The goal, in many of his works, is to transform documentation into narrative by digitally altering prerecorded sounds and images. His alterations often consist not of fleshing out sounds and images by adding to their characteristics, but of digitally erasing their distinguishing features. He may obliterate the movement that we typically see in video, reducing it to a static expanse of color. Similarly, he alters environmental sounds beyond recognition into contemplative textures....

Article

Ian Mikyska

A biannual festival of new and experimental music held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, since 2001, founded by petr kotík and Renata Spisarová.

The performers include guest ensembles and soloists, as well as a core of both international and Czech soloists specializing in contemporary music, who coalesce into the resident ensemble, Ostravská banda. Since its conception, the festival has established strong relations with other local arts organizations, including Bludný Kámen, the National Moravian-Silesian Theater, the Janáček Philharmonic, the Canticum Ostrava choir, and, more recently, the PLATO art gallery and the multi-arts space Provoz Hlubina. The festival also features dance and opera, as well as performance, multimedia, and installation work.

The 9-day festival at the end of August is the finale of a three-week-long ‘Institute’ for aspiring composers from around the world. Some ten established composers are invited as instructors for master classes, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one lessons at the Institute. The festival then features music by the invited composers, as well as one piece by each of the 35 composer-students....

Image

Miriam Cutler arrives at the Outfest Opening Night Gala of "Vito" on Thursday, July 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

Article

Hugh Davies

Environmental sound sculpture devised in 1973 by the American pianist and composer David Tudor. It was based on the concept of the ‘instrumental loudspeaker’, which Tudor developed in 1966 and used in all four works in the Rainforest series, starting in 1968. The first instrumental loudspeakers consisted of containers into one end of which electronic or other sounds were fed through small loudspeakers. The sounds were picked up by microphones at the other end and passed to a conventional sound system. The containers in these early examples were metal boxes into which various materials were introduced to filter the signals acoustically as they passed between loudspeaker and microphone. In Rainforest IV the boxes are replaced by a great variety of objects, many of them in everyday use or scrap materials, to which loudspeaker-like transducers are attached; together these create an elaborate sound environment, which is operated by members of the group Composers Inside Electronics (founded by Tudor)....

Article

revised by Martin Marks

(Stephen)

(b South Weymouth, MA, 4 Dec 1940; d Rhinebeck, NY, 7 Nov 2012). Composer. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music (1962–8) and studied the piano with Howard Goding. He then studied in Vienna with Hilda Langer-Rühl (1972–4), later becoming the director of the Music School at Rivers (Weston, MA, 1980–84). While there, he met the film producer Ismail Merchant and the director James Ivory, who helped him to make a documentary about Mannes's musically gifted children, Sweet Sounds (1976). Two years later he was asked to score the Merchant–Ivory adaptation of Henry James's The Europeans (1979). He scored more than a dozen films directed by Ivory, and worked on other independent films and related projects.

Robbins achieved particular distinction in his music for the three Merchant–Ivory films taken from E.M. Forster novels (A Room with A View...

Article

Gary Galván

(b Hempstead, NY, Oct 12, 1952). American composer, media artist, and educator. Raised in California, she studied music and theater briefly at the University of California, Santa Barbara with emma lou Diemer before pursuing music theory and composition at Humboldt State University in California (BA 1975) where she studied with Charles Moon. Roberts studied contemporary music with robert Ashley and David Behrman at Mills College (MFA 1977), focusing on electronic music and recording media. Postgraduate studies centered on video production and editing as she focused her interdisciplinary skills into multimedia composition.

Her early avant-garde works include Suite for a Small Chamber (1974), an installation piece that included dance-activated sound, and brings to mind 1930s dance experiments with the theremin. Similarly, Factory (1976) echoes the multimedia collaboration, Ballet Mécanique, of George Antheil and Fernand Léger. Roberts endeavored to create a visually percussive piece through a patchwork of video clips. Roberts garnered significant attention with ...

Article

William Rosar

(Heinrich)Erich

(b Milwaukee, WI, 1 May 1901; d Huntington Beach, CA, 11 Feb 1985). Composer. After graduating from the Wisconsin College of Music (1918) he studied in Germany with Hugo Kaun, Rudolf Breithaupt, and Egon Petri. He made his concert debut as a pianist with the Berlin PO in 1922. From 1923 to 1929 he was musical director for Carl Laemmle theaters in Milwaukee (the Alhambra, 1923–6), Washington, DC (the Rialto, 1927–8), and Berlin (1928–9). In 1929 Laemmle brought him to Universal Studios in Hollywood, where he succeeded David Broekman as general music director in 1930. Sometimes writing under the pseudonym Rox Rommell, he was the most prolific composer in Hollywood; he composed music for over 300 films, working for every major motion picture studio, as well as for many independent producers. He wrote music for more Warner Bros. films than any of his colleagues. In ...

Article

David Ades

(b London, 15 June 1910; d Burbank, CA, 23 Aug 1990). Composer, arranger, and conductor. His family immigrated from England when he was four, and he grew up in Chicago, absorbing the vibrant sounds of the emerging jazz scene. During the 1930s he worked with Benny Goodman and other dance bands, eventually moving to Hollywood to work in the film and recording industries. A long association with MGM resulted in many film scores and, after the introduction of LPs, regular record albums. In 1941 he became Judy Garland's first husband, and his radio show “California Melodies” grew into something of an American institution, providing the showcase for his new compositions. In 1943 Rose startled the Light Music establishment with his Holiday for Strings, in turn inspiring a whole generation of composers including Leroy Anderson, Trevor Duncan, and Robert Farnon. Following war service in the US Army Air Force, Rose gained his first Oscar nomination for his score for the ...

Article

Hugh Davies

[rumorarmonium, russolofono, psofarmonio]

Series of four keyboard instruments, based on the principle of the hurdy-gurdy, developed by Luigi Russolo in Thiene and Milan from about 1921 and continued in Paris in 1928–9. They incorporated many of the basic principles and sound qualities of his intonarumori (and probably some of their mechanisms), combining the equivalent of several separate instruments in a single console. The consoles resembled harmoniums; the fourth (and possibly the third) was somewhat larger, about the size of a small chamber organ. The first two were constructed in parallel between about 1921 and 1924 in Thiene, the third, about which no detailed information is available, in 1925–6, and the fourth in 1927–9. Between 1928 or 1929 and 1931 the final rumorarmonio was installed at Studio 28 in Paris, where it was used for accompanying silent films and at other events. A plan to manufacture this version of the instrument commercially came to nothing, and the only surviving ...

Article

Kate Daubney

(b Brookline, MA, 1901; d BelAir, CA, ?17 June 1962). Orchestrator and composer. Part of lyricist Arthur Freed's production unit at MGM, Salinger orchestrated some of the greatest film musicals released during the 1940s and 50s. The unit's first project was Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) directed by Vincente Minelli, with songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. Salinger orchestrated the score within musical adaptation by Roger Edens and musical direction by George Stoll and Lennie Hayton. The musical featured songs that were integrated into the narrative fabric, rather than following the show-stopping Broadway tradition: Salinger shared producer Freed's desire to blend the timbre of the songs with that of the soundtrack as a whole. He used about 36 musicians instead of the 100-strong orchestra usually employed for film musicals. He also worked on other classic film musicals such as The Wizard of Oz (...

Article

Preston Neal Jones

(b Vienna, Austria, 14 Jan 1896; d Studio, City, CA, 23 July 1994). Composer and conductor of Austrian birth. He studied at the University of Vienna with Guido Adler, Egon Wellesz, and Hans Gál, and at the Vienna Music Academy with Franz Schreker. Later, while working as an assistant conductor in Viennese theaters, he studied conducting with Felix Weingartner and composition with Alban Berg. From 1930 to 1933 he composed musicals and drama scores for UFA Studios in Neubabelsberg. He immigrated to Hollywood in 1937.

Originally hired as an orchestrator for Universal Studios, Salter was soon promoted to the rank of composer. With Frank Skinner he wrote music for serials, westerns, dramas, Deanna Durbin musicals, and Abbott and Costello comedies. Although he received six Academy Award nominations for his musical comedy and drama scores, he is remembered today chiefly for his contribution to horror films such as The Wolf Man...