(b Moscow, Sept 8, 1947). Russian pianist, conductor, writer and poet. A student of Yakov Zak and Emil Gilels at the Moscow Conservatory (1965–73), he won the 1968 Leipzig Bach Competition, four years later taking the gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. After seeking political asylum in Belgium in 1974, he settled in France in 1980, but since 1989 he has returned regularly to his native country for concerts and recordings. Intent on philosophical truths more than absolutes of pianistic finish, placing emotions of the mind and spirit above ‘outward prettiness’, Afanassiev is a provocatively inspirational artist, indebted on his own admission to many of the great individualists of the past: Gilels, Gould, Horowitz, Michelangeli, Rachmaninoff and Sofronitsky all receive tribute in his ‘Homages & Ecstasies’ album (1996). Partial to mono/duographic programming, with a repertory extending from Froberger to Crumb, his extensive discography includes Bach (Book 1 of ...
Tom R. Ward
revised by David Fallows
(fl ?c1430). Composer, possibly Italian. He may have been active in Brescia, if that is indeed the origin of the manuscript I-Bu 2216, which contains his only known work. This is a Sanctus (ed. in MLMI, 3rd ser., Mensurabilia, iii, vol.ii, 1970, pp.86–8), written in major prolation, with two equal high voices in florid style over a tenor....
(b Cape Town, Oct 18, 1950). South African pianist, composer, and arranger. He grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town with the guitarist Russell Herman, studied music at the University of Cape Town, and played in various groups with Herman, including Oswietie, with which they toured South Africa and Angola. After joining Sipho Gumede in the funk-jazz group Spirits Rejoice he traveled along Africa’s west coast as far as Gabon, then in 1979 he settled in London. There he worked with Julian Bahula’s Jazz Africa and with Dudu Pukwana, and in 1981 he founded the trio (later, sextet) District Six with Herman and Brian Abrahams, the latter serving as the group’s leader. In 1984 Afrika performed in the USA as a member of Hugh Masekela’s group, and in 1986 he recorded with Pukwana. He led his own quartets and quintets and accompanied the singer Carmel, and during the same period he collaborated with Masekela, Courtney Pine, and the reed player David Jean-Baptiste and performed frequently as an unaccompanied soloist. In ...
(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in ...
(b c1580; d Siena, Jan 1642). Italian composer and theorist.
Agazzari’s parents were evidently of Sienese origin, and he himself settled in Siena as a boy and received his training there, perhaps from Francesco Bianciardi. He was organist at Siena Cathedral from 1597 to 1602, when he left to direct the music at the Collegio Germanico, Rome (1602–3). In 1604 he attended the celebrations marking the centenary of Siena’s Accademia degli Intronati. By 1606 he was maestro di cappella at the Seminario Romano, but returned to Siena in 1607 after being blacklisted by the Cappella Sistina. In the following years he was organist at Siena Cathedral on three different occasions: in 1609, 1611–17, and 1629–33; he also served for two short periods as music director at S Maria di Provenzano, Siena, 1617–19 and 1620–?1622. Not until February 1641 was he appointed maestro di cappella...
Joseph A. Brown
(b Knoxville, Nov 27, 1909; d New York, May 16, 1955). American novelist, screenwriter, journalist, poet, and film critic. Son of Laura Tyler Agee and Hugh James (Jay) Agee, James Agee graduated from Exeter Academy and Harvard University (1932), before becoming a staff writer for Fortune magazine, eventually writing film reviews for both Time (1939) and The Nation (1942). On assignment from Fortune, Agee worked in collaboration with the photographer Walker Evans on the study of Alabama tenant farmers, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Boston, 1941). His book of poetry, Permit Me Voyage, was published by the Yale Series of Younger Poets (New Haven, CT, 1934). In 1951, Agee published the novella, The Morning Watch(Boston). He was the principal author of the screenplay for The African Queen (1950) and The Night of the Hunter (1954...
(b Salzburg, May 10, 1946). Austrian composer. He studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum (piano, conducting, composition), Salzburg University (musicology) and the Paris Conservatoire (composition), where his teachers included Pierre Schaeffer and Olivier Messiaen. In 1973 he worked with Radio France in Paris and was appointed assistant lecturer at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where he became chair of the department of music analysis in 1979. A co-founder of the Edition 7 self-publishing association, he has also founded and directed (1975–86) the Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik. He has served as chair and artistic director of the Aspekte festival in Salzburg (from 1977) and as professor of composition at the Bregenz Conservatory (1981–6). He was appointed rector of the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1995.
Ager’s compositions before 1975 explore new performance techniques and the full sound potential of instruments, interests most obvious in silences VI for harp (...
Samuel S. Brylawski
(b Chicago, Oct 6, 1893; d Los Angeles, May 6, 1979). American composer. He began his career as a song plugger and arranger for the publishing companies of George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin, and had his first success as a songwriter (in collaboration with the composer George W. Meyer) with Everything's peaches down in Georgia (G. Clarke, 1918), introduced by Al Jolson. He wrote many songs to lyrics by Jack Yellen (with whom he founded the publishing firm Ager, Yellen & Bornstein in 1922), including I wonder what's become of Sally (1924), Ain't she sweet? (1927) and Happy days are here again (1930); the last became closely associated with the presidential campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other well-known songs by Ager are I'm nobody's baby (lyrics by B. Davis; 1921), Auf Wiedersehen, my dear (A. Hoffman, E.G. Nelson, A. Goodhart; ...
Anna Maria Busse Berger
(fl early 16th century). South Netherlandish scribe. He was previously thought to be a theorist and priest at the church of St Martin at Akkergem near Ghent, but was in fact Anthony of St Maartensdijk, a small town on the Dutch island of Tholen. He copied folios 63–206 of the manuscript ...
(b Pest, Oct 30, 1855; d Budapest, Oct 8, 1918). Hungarian composer and pianist. He studied at the National Conservatory in Pest (1867–70), at the Vienna Conservatory (1870–73) and at the Academy of Music in Budapest (1875–8), where he was a pupil of Liszt (piano) and Volkmann (composition). With A. Juhász and I. Lépessy, he won the Liszt Scholarship in two successive years, and at the final examination he made a great impression with his Andante and Scherzo for orchestra, first performed in 1878 by the National Theatre orchestra under Sándor Erkel. He and Jenő Hubay established a reputation as a concert duo from the end of 1879 in Paris, which they consolidated the following summer in Austria and during the autumn on an extended tour through Hungary. Their first joint composition, Fantasia Tziganesque, for violin and piano (op.7), dates from that time. Between ...
Margaret M. McGowan
(b 1604; d Turin, July 19, 1667). Italian poet, choreographer and composer. He began a brilliant political and artistic career in the service of Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy. About 1630 he entered the household of Duke Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, on whose death in 1637 he became chief counsellor and favourite of the Duchess Cristina, accumulating honours and fortune. Except for an enforced sojourn in Paris from 1640 to 1644 his official duties kept him at the Savoy court where he wrote or conceived more than 30 ballets, plays with music, water festivals and carousels to celebrate significant political alliances and Cristina's birthdays. His first work, Bacco trionfante dell'India e caccia pastorale, dates from 1624, his last, La perla peregrina, from 1660.
Variety, ingenuity and spectacle characterize all d'Aglié's works, which also include elegant and witty allusions to court personalities (Il Gridelino, 1652) or to specific tastes (...
(fl 1599–1621). Italian composer. A monk, he is described on title-pages as ‘of Spoltore, Abruzzo’. Apart from eight motets (in RISM 1627²) all his music is either lost or incomplete. Into the latter category fall the Canzonette spirituali for three voices (Venice, 1599) and Il quinto libro dei motetti a 1–4 voci con una messa e vespero...
revised by Elizabeth Roche
(b March 25, 1610; d 1674). Italian composer. The title-page of his Salmi e Messa (Venice, 1637) describes him as an Olivetan monk who worked in Bologna. This publication includes vesper psalms and a mass, all for four voices and organ continuo, and places Agnelli among the many north Italian composers of unambitious liturgical music at this period. Although he still used outdated falsobordone chanting in some psalm settings, others are interesting for their use of structural devices aimed at unifying long pieces: one has a straightforward chaconne pattern in the continuo part, another is based on a complex variation scheme in the bass in the manner of some of Monteverdi's later psalms. Melodious solos are offset by tuttis with imaginative harmonies. The mass is bound together by a recurring motif in the voice parts, an unusual formal device at this time, and has interesting and varied melodic lines with much syllabic writing. The volume also includes some motets, and Agnelli published his ...
Giovanni Carli Ballola
(b Palermo, 1817; d Marseilles, 1874). Italian composer. At the age of eight he entered the Palermo Conservatory and in 1830 the conservatory of S Pietro a Majella in Naples, where he studied until 1834 with Furno and Zingarelli (counterpoint) and Donizetti (composition). Donizetti supported his theatrical début in 1838 at the Teatro Nuovo with the opera buffa I due pedanti. Agnelli followed this first success with nine other comic operas, performed in Naples and Palermo between 1838 and 1842. In 1846 he moved to Marseilles, where he tried his hand at opera seria with La jacquerie (1849) and Léonore de Médicis (1855) and composed three ballets. He also produced some sacred music and a cantata in honour of Napoleon I, performed with three orchestras in the Jardin des Tuileries in 1856. In 1872 he visited Naples, hoping in vain to arrange a performance there of his opera ...
(b Erpent, Namur, July 17, 1833; d London, Feb 2, 1875). Belgian bass and composer. He studied in Brussels where his opera Hermold le Normand was performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie on 16 March 1858. After a period of study in Paris he toured Germany and the Netherlands with Merelli’s Italian company, then in ...
Sven Hansell and Robert L. Kendrick
(b Milan, Oct 17, 1720; d Milan, Jan 19, 1795). Italian composer. As a girl she performed in her home while her elder sister Maria Gaetana (1718–99; she became a distinguished mathematician) lectured and debated in Latin. Charles de Brosses, who heard them on 16 July 1739 and was highly impressed, reported that Maria Teresa performed harpsichord pieces by Rameau and sang and played compositions of her own invention. Her first cantata, Il restauro d’Arcadia, was written in honour of the Austrian govenor Gian-Luca Pallavicini in Milan in 1747. In the following years, she sent La Sofonisba to Vienna for possible performance on Empress Maria Theresa’s nameday. At about this time she dedicated collections of her arias and instrumental pieces to the rulers of Saxony and Austria; according to Simonetti the Empress Maria Theresa sang arias that Agnesi had given her. She married Pier Antonio Pinottini on ...
(b Sydney, Aug 23, 1891; d Sydney, Nov 12, 1944). Australian composer and pianist. He studied the piano in Sydney with Daisy Miller, Sydney Moss and Emanuel de Beaupuis and composition briefly with Alfred Hill at the NSW Conservatorium. From 1920 Agnew's pieces were performed by several eminent pianists, including Moiseiwitsch, Murdoch and Gieseking. Working in London from 1923 to 1928, Agnew studied composition and orchestration with Gerrard Williams. The Fantasie Sonata was given its première there by Murdoch in 1927 and, on his return to Sydney in 1928, the tone poem The Breaking of the Drought was conducted by Hill. From 1928 to 1935 Agnew performed and broadcast both in Australia and Britain, while from 1935 onwards he taught the piano, composition and a class entitled ‘General Interpretation and the Art of Pedalling’ privately in Sydney. For five years from 1938 Agnew presented a weekly radio programme for the ABC in which he introduced a wide spectrum of 20th-century music, including his own. In ...
(b Korça, Albania, Oct 4, 1950). Albanian composer. After studying the piano (1956–60) in Durrës, she entered the Tirana Conservatory, where she studied composition and orchestration with Daïja. From 1974 until her retirement in 1994, she taught solfège, harmony, and analysis at the Jordan Misja Art Lyceum, Tirana, where she encouraged children's composition with an experimental programme for 12- and 13-year-olds.
Although her output has declined in recent years, Agolli remains an outstanding figure among Albanian composers of her generation. As her Second Violin Concerto (1983) testifies, her music combines original melodic invention with subtle rhythmic differentiations and exhibits a tendency to thwart initial expectations through its elegant and intelligent design. Beginning in 1999, she served as head of the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances for several years.
(b Voroshilovgrad, Armenia, Nov 23, 1953). Finnish composer of Armenian birth. He studied composition with Aram Khachaturian and instrumentation with Denisov in Moscow. On moving to Finland in 1978 he continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy, where he began to teach theory in 1982. His first works, which culminated in the Sonata for clarinet and piano (1981), recall the style of his teacher, Paavo Heininen, in their 12-note writing and linear polyphony. In his First String Quartet of the following year the instruments are treated as one; thereafter the texture of his works consists not of individual sounds but of webs characterized primarily by their rhythmic and harmonic density. The development of these webs, themselves sometimes the outcome of aleatory counterpoint, results in lively music within natural forms. Among his most successful works is the Cello Concerto (1984).
(b ?Ferrara; d Ferrara, Sept 20, 1569). Italian composer and singer. He was a relation (probably uncle) of Lodovico Agostini. He served as a singer at the ducal court of Ferrara between 1540 and 1545, and then as a beneficed priest and canon at Ferrara Cathedral. In 1563 Pendaglia described him as a priest, singer and practising doctor, and according to Scalabrini he was rector of S Salvatore, Ferrara. His known works comprise two four-voice madrigals published in Lodovico Agostini’s Musica … libro secondo de madrigali (RISM 15727), and two pieces to Latin texts, for six and seven voices respectively, in Lodovico’s Canones, et echo (RISM 1572¹³). His madrigals, Questa che’l cor m’accende and Deh salvator de l’anime smarite, both demonstrate a discreet understanding of contemporary madrigalian techniques.B. Pendaglia: Quattro canti (Ferrara, 1563), 30 G.A. Scalabrini: Riassunto di spese di sacrestia del Duomo di Ferrara...