(b Strelna, Russia, 1848; d Tallinn, Estonia, 1925). Russian baron, military officer, musician, and instrument collector. From 1882 he led the St Petersburg court vocal and instrumental ensemble, which used some violins and flutes that had belonged to Alexander I (whose ancestor Peter III had acquired more than 60 valuable instruments). From 1897 Shtakelberg directed the court’s professional orchestra. In 1899 he joined a commission to examine the status of the imperial theatres. With the support of Alexander III, a serious amateur musician, Shtakelberg initiated in 1902 a museum of music that was to have five divisions: a comprehensive collection of instruments of all peoples from antiquity to the present; a centre for instrument design and construction, intended to encourage Russian manufacture; an acoustical laboratory for the exploration and explanation of musical sound; a musicological research library, with a section on the history of music printing; and an archive of music manuscripts, iconography, and memorabilia. The museum was to be complemented with concerts, using instruments from the collection or copies. The project was not completed, but through extensive correspondence and exchanges with other European and American collectors, donations from Russian nobles—the empress Maria Feodorovna herself donated a group of richly decorated Persian instruments—and his own travels, Shtakelberg built an impressive assemblage of historical and exotic instruments that formed the nucleus of the present collection of the St Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music....
revised by David Johnson
(b? Edinburgh, c1684; d ?London, after 1752). Scottish singer and folksong collector . His father was Daniel Thomson, one of the king's trumpeters for Scotland. He sang solos as a boy at a Musical Society concert in Edinburgh on St Cecilia's Day 1695. By 1722 he had settled in London, where he gave a benefit concert in February that year, including (according to Burney) a Scottish folksong as an encore.
Thomson published Orpheus Caledonius, a Collection of the Best Scotch Songs set to Musick (London, 1725), a lavishly produced volume dedicated to the Princess of Wales, with a subscription list of 300 notable people. It contains 50 Scottish folksongs, most of them taken from Allan Ramsay's Tea-table Miscellany (Edinburgh, 1723); the melodic ornaments and the figured bass accompaniments are Thomson's own. Hawkins described Thomson as ‘a tradesman’ and the collection as ‘injudicious and very incorrect’; it is true that some of the song texts are in crude, oral versions and that the figured basses have grammatical mistakes. In ...
(b Enfield, May 5, 1949). English composer, musician, writer and curator. He studied at Hornsey College of Art (1967–8) and, following a brief period at Watford College of Art and Design, returned to Hornsey to study painting, where he met Max Eastley. Due to lack of funding Toop secured a job at the Roundhouse, where he met the percussionist Paul Burwell. Together, Burwell and Toop, along with Steve Beresford and sound artist Peter Cusack, set up the London Musicians Collective in 1975. With Burwell, Toop established the band Rain in the Face, in which he played guitar and flute. Eager to explore mixed media, they collaborated with various musicians, dancers and the sound poet Bob Cobbing. Toop later worked with Brian Eno, John Zorn, Prince Far I, Jon Hassell, Derek Bailey, Talvin Singh, Evan Parker, Scanner, Ivor Cutler, Akio Suzuki, Haco and Jin Hi Kim, Steven Berkoff, Mitsutaka Ishii and John Latham amongst others....
Israel J. Katz
(b Oviedo, April 8, 1888; d London, Feb 17, 1955). Spanish folklorist, writer on music and literature, teacher, choral conductor and composer . He began his musical education in Oviedo, studied the piano and composition at the Madrid Conservatory (1907–10), and, after two years in Oviedo conducting research on traditional Asturian music, went to the Schola Cantorum in Paris (1912–14), where he studied composition with d’Indy; he also went to lectures by Tiersot (who had influenced him earlier) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales. He was invited by Ramón Menéndez Pidal to work at the Madrid Centro de Estudios Históricos in 1916, and was one of the remarkable group of artists living at the Residencia de Estudiantes which included Bal y Gay, Falla, Turina, Adolfo Salazar, Sainz de la Maza, Lorca, J. Ramón Jiménez, Buñuel and Dali. Later he dedicated to the institution his ...
(b Poroszló, Apr 5, 1927; d Budapest, Nov 6, 1992). Hungarian choirmaster, composer and folksong collector. After Lajos Bárdos, Vass was the last figure of great consequence in the history of the Hungarian choral movement linked with the name of Kodály. He completed his secondary education at a teacher-training college in Debrecen (1941–6), after which he studied composition and singing at the Liszt Academy of Music; he graduated in 1951. His composition teachers were Veress and Ferenc Farkas. He held appointments as conductor (from 1949) and artistic director (1953–7) of the Hungarian Army Art Ensemble, conductor of the Hungarian State Male-Voice (1957–8) and Steel Sound (1960–64) choirs and as chief conductor of the Art Ensemble of the Ironworkers' Union (1964–92).
As choirmaster he was a faithful interpreter of the works of Kodály and Bartók and a disseminator of more recent Hungarian choral works. With his choirs he raised the standard of Hungarian singing to an international level, as attested by the many prizes he won at international competitions. His dynamic personality was well suited to the dissemination of musical knowledge. (He was, among other things, a well-known personality on Hungarian television and radio.) Additionally, he played an important role in the Hungarian folk music revival of the 1970s. Understandably, vocal music lies at the centre of his output. His musical language developed gradually from the early folksong adaptations to a style involving discernible use of dodecaphonic technique. He was awarded the Erkel Prize (...
revised by Laura Otilia Vasiliu
(b Mânerău, Arad district, Dec 17, 1863; d Lugoj, Feb 7, 1931). Romanian composer, choral conductor, and folklorist. He began his musical studies at the Conservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Arad (Austro-Hungarian Empire) (1880–81), and continued them in Caransebeş (1885) and at the Conservatory of Music and Declamation, Iaşi (1890–91). In Iaşi he studied harmony, composition, and choral conducting with Gavriil Musicescu, a well-trained musician who had studied in Saint Petersburg. He was a music teacher and choir conductor (with the Reuniunea română de muzică şi cântări (‘Romanian Convention for Music and Song’) in Lugoj), and he managed the most important local institution dedicated to the promotion of national culture – the Asociaţia corurilor şi fanfarelor române din Banat (‘The Choral and Brass Band Society of Banat’, 1888–1927). He was a passionate folklore collector active in Western Transylvania and the Banat (he had connections with Bartók, Musicescu, and Kiriac-Georgescu). His exclusively choral compositions are representative of both lay works (folklore adaptations, patriotic songs, etc.) and religious ones, inspired by the Orthodox chanting music from the Banat. His first collection of choruses, ...
(Ignác František)[Voyachek, Ignaty Kasparovich ]
(b Zlín, Moravia, Dec 4, 1825; d Tsarskoye Selo [now Pushkin], 27 Jan/Feb 9, 1916). Czech musician, active in Russia . He was brought up in Vsetín, where his father obtained a teaching post in 1830, and in Brno, as a chorister of the Augustinian monastery (from 1838). He studied for a year at the University of Vienna (1845–6) and founded a Slavonic student choral society, for which he wrote a large number of male-voice choruses. After working as a music tutor (1846–8) to the family of Count Bethlen in Hermannstadt, Transylvania (now Sibiu, Romania), he returned to Brno, conducting Czech concerts of the Brno Männergesangsverein. He returned to Vienna and in 1852 helped compile a collection of Valachian and Slovak folksongs (he had begun collecting folksongs himself in 1838). In Vienna he got to know the Russian composer Aleksey Fyodorovich L′vov, who obtained a post for him (...