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Article

W.H. Husk

revised by Alfred Loewenberg and George Biddlecombe

(b London, c1766; d London, Jan 30, 1844). English double bass player and composer. He was the son of an inventor and at an early age he learnt to play several instruments. In 1791 he married the singer Elizabeth Willems (c1785–c1840), granddaughter of H.T. Reinhold (who sang for Handel). During his career Addison pursued various professional musical activities, frequently determined by his wife’s engagements. In 1791 she sang at Vauxhall Gardens and then at Liverpool, where Addison (hitherto a cellist) deputized for a double bass player and settled on this as his preferred instrument. From Liverpool they went to Dublin, where Addison directed the amateur orchestra of a private theatre partly run by the Earl of Westmeath. In 1792 Mrs Addison sang in the oratorios at Covent Garden and appeared at Vauxhall Gardens; Addison wrote the words of two of her songs, set by James Hook. Later he composed songs for her, and claimed she was his pupil (in ...

Article

Christopher Palmer

(Mervin)

(b Chobham, March 16, 1920; d Bennington, VT, Dec 7, 1998). English composer. He studied at the RCM with Jacob (composition), Goossens (oboe) and Thurston (clarinet) and was Professor of Composition and Theory there from 1950 to 1956. His first major concert work, which shows a particular aptitude for wind writing, was the Woodwind Sextet (1949) performed at the 1951 ISCM Festival. Addison became well known for his theatre music, such as that for John Osborne’s The Entertainer (1957) and Luther (1961). As a prolific composer for films he favoured small ensembles, associating solo instruments with specific characters as demonstrated by his use of the oboe in The Girl with Green Eyes (1964) and of the harpsichord in Tom Jones (1963), for which he won an Academy Award, and Sleuth (1973). Other notable films are Pool of London...

Article

Donald R. Boomgaarden

(b Milston, Wilts., May 1, 1672; d Kensington, London, June 17, 1719). English librettist and writer on opera. He studied at Oxford, then held minor political offices and toured on the Continent (1699–1704), hearing performances in the most important operatic centres. He documented his impressions of opera in his Remarks upon Several Parts of Italy (London, 1705), commenting perceptively on the differences between the Italian, French and English poetic styles and criticizing the dramatic vacuity of Italian opera librettos. He later wrote a libretto on the story of Rosamond, mistress of Henry II, which was set by Thomas Clayton (1707) and was not successful, partially because of the composer's ineptitude. The libretto, while not Addison's best work, is an elegant attempt to create an opera on a British theme and shows that he had studied the dramatic and technical sides of opera. It was set successfully by T.A. Arne (...

Article

Dezső Legány

[Abranovics, Ritter von August]

(b Pera, Turkey, Nov 1, 1830; d Vienna, Oct 20, 1873). Violinist and composer of Croatian and Italian descent. In his childhood he lived in Constantinople, where his father was in the Austrian diplomatic service; his mother was the Contessa Franchini. From the age of 12 he studied in Vienna, and against his father’s will chose an artistic career as a student of Mayseder (violin, 1850–54) and Hoffmann (composition). After 1855 he had a career as an excellent violinist in various cities including Prague, Leipzig and (in 1858) Paris; he married in Pest in 1859. Nevertheless, he always remained close to the spirit of the orient, as is manifested in his literary works (e.g. Orientalische Musik). Among his 120 works there were operas composed to his own librettos, including the spectacular but short-lived Zrinyi (Pest, 1868, after Körner), Martinuzzi (Buda, 1870), choral works (a mass, ...

Article

Lesley A. Wright

[Colombeau, Jules-Adenis]

(b Paris, June 28, 1823; d Paris, Jan 1900). French playwright and librettist. He studied at the Collège Bourbon (Lycée Condorcet) and began his career as a dramatist with Le fils du bonnetier (1841), a vaudeville written with Ludger Berton. For the next decade, however, he was employed in business and on the editorial staff of the daily newspaper Le corsaire (1847–9). He began writing more vaudevilles and comedies in the 1850s, usually in collaboration with others. He was a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres and secretary of the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

From 1856 onwards Adenis, in collaboration or alone, produced the librettos for more than two dozen opéras comiques, opérettes and opéras. He worked with Bizet, also a good friend, and with Guiraud and Massenet early in their careers. Contemporary critics occasionally judged his work harshly but he seems to have been generally regarded as competent and dependable, if unoriginal. His sons Eugène and Édouard also wrote plays and librettos; their work is sometimes confused with that of their father....

Article

Arnold Whittall

(Joseph Edmund )

(b London, March 1, 1971). English composer. After early success as a performer, winning second piano prize in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1989, he read music at Cambridge (1989–92). His rise to prominence as a composer was rapid, with commissions from the Hallé Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, Almeida Opera and the City of Birmingham SO, combined with various residencies. Adès's connection with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group led to his appointment as its Music Director, and as well as teaching composition at the RAM he became increasingly active as a conductor. In 1999 he received both the Ernst von Siemens Prize and the Grawemeyer Award, and became joint artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival.

Adès's compositions showed exceptional assurance of style and technique from the beginning, and his success had much to do with the unmistakable presence of a personal accent in music which blends vividness of detail with a clear sense of compelling overall design: the inexorable build-up in the third section of ...

Article

Maria Eckhardt

(b Mosonszentjános, April 20, 1789; d Buda, 1862). Hungarian composer. From 1800 to 1827 he was a church musician in Győr. In 1827 he went to Pest-Buda, where he became a founding member of the Táborsky String Quartet (playing second violin). In 1838 he became regens chori of the Mátyás church in Buda, a post he held until his death. His daughter Adél (1820–99) married Ferenc Erkel and his son Vince (1826–71) became famous as a piano virtuoso in France and Switzerland.

Alder wrote a quantity of vocal and chamber music, much of which was published in his lifetime: a set of variations on a Hungarian theme and a Grande Polonaise for string quartet; a sonata for violin and piano; various piano works, including a sonatina, an ‘easy and agreeable’ fantasia, a set of variations, and a rondo on a theme from Rossini's La Cenerentola...

Article

Geoffrey Block

(b New York, August 3, 1921; d Southampton, NY, June 21, 2012). American composer and lyricist. Although the son of the distinguished pianist and pedagogue Charles Adler, he received no musical training and instead studied playwriting with Paul Green at the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1943. In 1950, after completing service in the navy (1943–6), he began to compose radio programmes and special material with co-composer and lyricist, Jerry Ross (Jerrold Ross; b Bronx, NY, 9 March 1926; d New York, 11 Nov 1955). By 1953 Adler and Ross had written a popular song hit, Rags to Riches, and contributed songs for the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. Over the next two years they composed two critically acclaimed and long-running musicals for Broadway: The Pajama Game(1954), a musicalization of labour relations in a pajama factory, and Damn Yankees (...

Article

Marie Rolf

(Hans)

(b Mannheim, March 4, 1928). American composer and conductor of German birth. Both of his parents were musical, his father being a cantor and composer of Jewish liturgical music. The family came to the USA in 1939 and Adler attended Boston University (BM 1948) and Harvard University (MA 1950). He studied composition with Aaron Copland, Paul Fromm, Paul Hindemith, Hugo Norden, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson; musicology with Karl Geiringer, A.T. Davison and Paul A. Pisk; and conducting with Sergey Koussevitzky at the Berkshire Music Center. In 1950 he joined the US Army and organized the Seventh Army SO, which he conducted in more than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria; he was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. Subsequently he conducted concerts and operas, and lectured extensively throughout Europe and the USA. In 1957 he was appointed professor of composition at North Texas State University, and in ...

Article

Christine de Catanzaro

(b Niederachen, nr Inzell, Upper Bavaria, Oct 1, 1729; d Salzburg, Dec 22, 1777). German composer and organist. His father, Ulrich Adlgasser (1704–56), was a teacher and organist. On 4 December 1744 he registered in the ‘Grammatistae’ class at Salzburg University, and in the same year he became a chorister at the Salzburg court chapel. His brothers Joseph (b 1732), later organist at Laufen, and Georg (b 1736) were also choirboys in Salzburg. While a student he sang and acted in several Schuldramen, including seven by J.E. Eberlin. He studied the organ and violin, and probably also received instruction in composition from Eberlin.

Adlgasser became court and cathedral organist in 1750, shortly after Eberlin’s promotion to the post of Hofkapellmeister. According to Leopold Mozart’s account of the Salzburg musical establishment (in Marpurg’s Historisch-kritische Beyträge, iii, 1757) Adlgasser’s duties also included the accompaniment of court chamber music on the harpsichord and composing for both the court and the cathedral. After ...

Article

Natan Shahar

(b Yekatrinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 5, 1894; d Tel-Aviv, April 2, 1982). Israeli composer and singer. He emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1906. He studied at the Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem where his teachers included Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. During World War I he moved to Egypt and enlisted in the British Army. After the war he returned to Palestine and, while earning his living as an accountant, took singing lessons with Jehuda Har-Melaḥ. A countertenor with a phenomenal ability to improvise, he travelled to the USA in 1923 to further his singing studies; there he specialized in improvisation and distinctive vibrato singing, similar in style to Arab-Bedouin singing or ululation. Commissioned to write an orchestral accompaniment for songs improvised in a Bedouin style, he enlisted the compositional assistance of Lazar Seminski, who encouraged him to continue to compose. His first songs, Ya leil (‘Oh night’) and ...

Article

Sven Hansell

revised by Carlida Steffan

(b Venice, 1721 or 1722; d Padua, Oct 28, 1760). Italian composer. After studying with Galuppi, he became maestro di cappella of S Maria della Salute in Venice. In 1745 he left this post to serve the Modenese court as maestro di cappella to the archduchess, where his La pace fra la virtù e la bellezza was performed the following year. Adolfati provided recitatives, choruses and six arias for Hasse’s Lo starnuto d’Ercole (P.G. Martelli). A printed libretto indicates that it was performed with puppets (bambocci) at the Teatro S Girolamo, a very small theatre within the Venetian palace of Angelo Labia, in 1745 and during the carnival of 1746. From 1748 until early 1760 Adolfati was director of music at SS Annunziata del Vastato in Genoa; then he moved to Padua, where he succeeded Rampini as maestro di cappella on 30 May.

Adolfati's music did not please Metastasio, who heard his setting for Vienna of ...

Article

James P. Cassaro

(b New York, May 31, 1955). American composer. A graduate of the Juilliard School (1976), he has taught at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts (1983–1993), at Yale University (1984–5) and in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School (1974–93). In 1992 he was appointed education director and music administrator of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was composer-in-residence at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (1989), Music from Angel Fire (1988) and the 92nd Street Y School Concert Series (1988–90). A prolific composer of chamber music, Adolphe has been the recipient of numerous commissions, including those from the Metropolitan Opera Guild (The Amazing Adventure of Alvin Allegretto), the Concert Artists Guild (Whispers of Mortality) and the Dorian Wind Quintet (Night Journey). His brass quintet, ...

Article

(b Frankfurt, Sept 11, 1903; d Brig, Switzerland, Aug 6, 1969). German writer on music and philosopher. The son of a businessman of Jewish extraction, Oscar Alexander Wiesengrund, and a professional singer of Catholic Corsican origin, Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana, he adopted his mother's name in the 1920s, initially as Weisengrund-Adorno, dispensing with the hyphen in 1938. In 1937–8 he also wrote briefly under the pseudonym Hektor ‘Rottweiler’.

Strongly influenced by Ernst Bloch's Vom Geist der Utopie and Georg Lukács's Theorie des Romans while still at school, and having had a musical upbringing, with piano, violin and composition lessons from an early age, in 1921 he went on to study philosophy (with Hans Cornelius) at the University of Frankfurt with musicology, sociology and psychology as subsidiary subjects, continuing composition studies with Bernhard Sekles and piano with Eduard Jung. During his student years he became friendly with the philosopher Max Horkheimer and the literary critic Walter Benjamin, who both had considerable influence on his development. Three years after starting university he took the doctorate with a dissertation on Husserl (...

Article

[Emmanuel]

(b Antwerp, c1554; d Antwerp, bur. Feb 27, 1604). Flemish lutenist, teacher and composer. He went to Rome to study in 1574, a visit that probably accounts for the Italian elements in his publications. He was a Protestant, but after the fall of Antwerp in 1585 he was compelled for political reasons to embrace the Catholic faith. With his brother Gysbrecht he opened a school for lutenists at Antwerp, but in 1587 they came into conflict with the musicians’ guild because neither of them was a member; later, however, Emanuel must have qualified as a freeman of the guild, for he occasionally assumed the title of master. He was appointed captain of the citizens’ watch, which brought him a regular income, and in 1595 he took part in the relief of the nearby town of Lier, which had been occupied by the Dutch. He moved in the highest circles in Antwerp, and the principal families doubtless admired his virtuosity as a lutenist and engaged him to perform. His publications brought him wider fame, and they were to be found in the libraries of many prominent people, among them Constantijn Huygens, King João IV of Portugal and Cardinal Mazarin. He was mentioned by Adrian Denss (...

Article

Patricia Ann Myers

(b S Severino, nr Ancona, 1539; d Rome, Aug 16, 1575). Italian composer. It is uncertain when he went to Rome, but he is listed among the members of the Cappella Sistina from 17 July 1572 until 1573, when he succeeded François Roussel as maestro di cappella at S Giovanni in Laterano, a post he retained until his death (E. Celani: ‘I cantori della Cappella Pontificia nei secoli XVI–XVIII’, ...

Article

Marie Louise Pereyra

revised by George Biddlecombe

(b Liège, May 26, 1767; d Paris, Nov 19, 1822). Flemish bass, teacher and composer. He learnt music as a chorister at St Lambert’s Cathedral, Liège, and later at the Ecole Royal de Chant in Paris. He appeared as a singer at the Concert Spirituel in 1781, and in 1783 sang the role of Calchas in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide at the Opéra. His last known appearance at the Opéra was as Rosmor in Le Sueur’s Ossian in 1804. In 1806 he was appointed chef de chant, a post he held until his death. In March 1822 he succeeded Laîné as professor of lyric declamation at the Ecole Royale de Musique, but died eight months later. An advocate of the old French system of declamation, he was said to have had a harsh voice and a bad vocal method, but some ability as an actor.

Adrien composed choral settings of Revolutionary texts, including ...

Article

Peter Holman

(bap. ?Watford, Northants., ?Jan 24, 1587; d London, June 29, 1640). English wind player and composer. He was perhaps the Johannes Adson baptized at Watford, Northamptonshire, on 24 Jan 1587, though nothing is known of him for certain before 1604, when he is recorded as a cornett player at the court of Charles III of Lorraine in Nancy. Charles died in 1608, and Adson was back in England by the end of 1613, when he joined the Waits of London. He married Jane Lanerie in about February 1614 and settled in the parish of St Giles Cripplegate. At least two of his sons, Islay (or Islip; bap. 30 May 1615) and Roger (bap. 24 June 1621), became musicians. In November 1633 he became a royal wind musician, and on 18 January 1636 he was paid £4 15s. for a treble cornett and a treble recorder, which presumably were the instruments he played at court. In ...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen and Robert Anderson

[Aischylos]

(b Eleusis [now Elefsina], 525 bce; d Gela [now Terranova], Sicily, 456 bce). Greek tragic poet. He wrote about 80 dramas, tragedies, and satyr plays, of which eight, all tragedies, have survived.

Probably the earliest of Aeschylus’s plays was the Persians (472 bce), which celebrated the Greek victory over vast invading forces led by Xerxes; set at the Persian court, the play is one long lament. With one exception (the singing of a paean by the Greeks, 393), the references to music emphasize the tone of mourning: ‘there resounds a song unlike that of victory’ (kelados ou paiōnios, 605). The hymns of the Persians are directed to the dead (619–20, 625) and their singing is a cry of pain (1043, iuze melos). In the remarkably extended sequence of strophic lyrics with which the play closes (852–1076), the chorus speaks of the lamentation of a Mariandynian mourner (939). The scholiast on this line referred to a saying about playing on Mariandynian auloi, famous for the playing of dirges, in the Iastian (or Ionian) mode; the resulting problem of modal ethos remains unresolved....

Article

Jennifer Spencer

(b Tobol′sk, 31 Dec/Jan 12, 1821; d St Petersburg, 22 May/June 3, 1898). Russian violinist and composer. He received his musical education from his father, the violinist Yakov Ivanovich Afanas′yev, an illegitimate son of the writer and poet Prince Ivan Dolgorukov. In 1836 he made his début as a violinist in Moscow, and two years later was appointed leader of the Bol′shoy Theatre Orchestra. He resigned in 1841 to become conductor of the serf orchestra maintained by the wealthy landowner I.D. Shepelyov at Vïksa, near St Petersburg. In 1846 he decided to pursue a career as a solo violinist and toured the major provincial cities of Russia, settling in St Petersburg in 1851. There he made occasional appearances as a soloist, and also led the orchestra of the Italian Opera, sometimes deputizing for the regular conductor. In 1853 he became a piano teacher at the Smol′nïy Institute and relinquished his orchestral post. He visited western Europe in ...