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Barry Kernfeld

(b Mons, Belgium, 1962). Belgian trombonist and leader. He studied piano and guitar and at the age of 15 played piano in an amateur band; he then took up trombone (on which he is self-taught) and joined a succession of dixieland bands, including that of Claude Luter. In 1984 he turned to modern jazz as an occasional soloist with Félix Simtaine’s Act Big Band and the BRT (Belgische Radio & Televisie) Big Band and as the leader of a quartet; the latter group appeared at clubs and festivals, recorded its first album in 1986, and toured Europe from the late 1980s. Abraham joined Guy Cabay’s quintet in 1989. In the 1990s he appeared on television as a guest artist with a big band in Moscow, and he recorded with his quartet (including the albums Stapler, 1991, Igloo 091, and En public, 1996, Lyrae 9703007), as well as with Michel Herr’s big band (...

Article

Val Wilmer

(Stanley )

(b Cape Town, June 26, 1947). South African drummer, percussionist, singer, and leader. Known first for his singing, he developed as a drummer by accompanying other singers in Cape Town and playing with the quartet led by the pianist Cecil May. In 1962 he joined the Coon Carnival stage show. He then spent seven years in Swaziland, where he played bop with the pianists Roy Peterson and Howard Belling and accompanied Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. In 1975 he traveled to England and worked in variety and dance bands before joining Dudu Pukwana’s group Zila. In 1981 he founded the trio District Six with Mervyn Afrika and the guitarist Russell Herman, both of whom grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town; with Abrahams as its leader, the trio expanded to a sextet (including Jim Dvorak from 1983 to 1993 and Claude Deppa at some point thereafter) and became an important focus for musicians who played both jazz and African rhythms. Abrahams also worked with Ronnie Scott, John Taylor, Johnny Dyani, and the Brotherhood of Breath. In ...

Article

John Shand

(b Oamaru, New Zealand, April 9, 1961). Australian keyboard player. Having moved with his family to Australia in 1964 he began taking piano lessons at the age of five; his early inspirations included the boogie-woogie pianists and Teddy Wilson. He took Australian citizenship in 1975. During high school he heard Red Garland on a recording by Miles Davis, which led him to contemporary jazz. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he formed The Benders with fellow students Dale Barlow, Lloyd Swanton, and the drummer Andrew Gander; the quartet recorded three albums in the first half of the 1980s. Abrahams was also involved with an improvised music collective, the Keys Music Association, which saw the start of an important association with Mark Simmonds. With the saxophonist Jason Morphett having replaced Barlow, The Benders recorded two more albums (1983, 1985), then toured India, Europe, and Cuba before disbanding. In those same years Abrahams recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ...

Article

John Bergsagel

(Schack Olufsen)

(b Brande, Jutland, April 9, 1893; d Copenhagen, Feb 17, 1949). Danish musicologist. After studying at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music (1910–13), where he graduated as an organist, he was organist and choirmaster at the Luther Church (1914–24) and head of the music division of the Copenhagen Royal Library (1916–21). As a student he attended Hammerich's lectures in music history at Copenhagen University (there was no degree course in music history until 1915) and in 1917 he became the first MA in musicology in Denmark, graduating with a dissertation on the transition from Catholic to Protestant liturgy in Denmark in the 16th and 17th centuries. During his years at the Royal Library he began to study its large collection of Latin liturgical fragments on the basis of which he tried to reconstruct the Danish medieval liturgy and to provide a demonstration of Peter Wagner’s theory of the two traditions, Roman and Germanic, of Gregorian chant. He submitted this as a doctoral dissertation to the university in ...

Article

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Yerevan, March 8, 1932). Armenian cellist and teacher. She studied first at the Yerevan Central Music School (where her teachers were K. Khizanov and L. Grigoryan) and then with Grigoryan at the Komitas Conservatory in Yerevan (1950–53). She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–6) and became a laureate of the H. Wihan International Cello Competition (1955). In 1956 she made her début as a soloist with the Armenian PO, and has performed regularly with the orchestra since then. In 1960 she became professor of cello at the Yerevan Conservatory. She has performed widely in Russia, the USA, Canada and Western Europe, as a soloist and during numerous festivals, specializing in 20th-century works, notably those by Armenian composers. She has given premières of some 100 works, a number of which are dedicated to her. Her playing is distinguished by refinement of intonation, a broad range of colour and a strong dramatic impetus....

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b c1758; d Torquay, March 8, 1821). English soprano and composer. She made her début in October 1775 as the little gypsy in May Day, a piece designed for her by Garrick with music by her teacher Thomas Arne. However, she had limited success as a stage personality and in 1780 she left Drury Lane to become a principal singer at fashionable London concerts and provincial festivals. She appeared in the Handel Commemoration concerts in 1784, when Burney praised the sweetness and taste of her singing, in the next three Handel festivals, the Concerts of Ancient Music, and concert series organized by Rauzzini, Ashley and Salomon. Her sister Theodosia (d Torquay, 4 Nov 1849), whose voice Mount-Edgcumbe described as the most beautiful contralto he ever heard, often sang with her. In 1783, the Public Advertiser, while admiring Harriett's solo singing, commented that the ‘Forte...

Article

[Abrams, Richard Louis ]

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album DADDY-O PRESENTS MJT+3 (1957, VJ 1013). Beginning in 1961 Abrams led the Experimental Band, a composer-centered rehearsal ensemble whose members included the double bass player Donald Rafael Garrett, Jack DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell, and the reed player Joseph Jarman. He subsequently co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965...

Article

[Abramson, Raymond Joseph]

(bNew York, Jan 23, 1920). Americantenor saxophonist, brother of Lee Abrams. In the early 1940s he played in the resident band at Monroe’s Uptown House, which accompanied Coleman Hawkins in performances and on the first studio recordings of bop (16 February 1944); he remained with the group when it became the core of Dizzy Gillespie’s first big band in 1945. The following year he recorded with Kenny Clarke and (during a tour of Europe) Don Redman; his solo playing is well represented on Redman’s For Europeans Only (1946, Ste. 6020–21). His own band (formed 1947) recorded with the singer Billy Stewart (1947, 1949) and under Abrams’s name (1948); Fats Navarro and Coleman Hawkins were among his sidemen. After playing with Andy Kirk (1947–8) he rejoined Gillespie and recorded with Cecil Payne (both 1949). He toured and made recordings with Hot Lips Page (...

Article

Tibor Tallián

revised by Anna Dalos

(b Budapest, Sept 22, 1882; d Budapest, Feb 11, 1970). Hungarian composer and conductor, grandson of Kornél Ábrányi. He studied composition, the organ and piano at the Budapest Academy of Music, and spent a year with Nikisch in Leipzig. From 1904 he was a theatre conductor in Cologne, and from 1907 in Hanover. In 1911 he returned to Budapest to become conductor at the Royal Hungarian Opera House; he was director there (1919–20) and then at the Budapest Theatre (1921–6). He taught conducting at the Liszt Academy of Music.

Ábrányi was the most prolific Hungarian opera composer of his generation; between 1903 and 1923 five of his operas and a Singspiel were produced at the Budapest Opera House and the City Theatre. Rather than subscribing to the established Hungarian romantic opera style or folklore, Ábrányi composed in a cosmopolitan style. The operas Monna Vanna...

Article

Dezső Legány

(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...