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Horace Clarence Boyer

(b McCormick, SC, Sept 25, 1921; d Philadelphia, PA, July 30, 2008). American gospel singer, pianist, and composer. She moved to Philadelphia at an early age and sang and played at a local Church of God in Christ. In 1942 she joined a female quartet, the Spiritual Echoes, and served as their pianist for two years, leaving the group in 1944 to organize the Angelic Gospel Singers with her sister Josephine McDowell and two friends, Lucille Shird and Ella Mae Norris. Their first recording, “Touch Me, Lord Jesus” (1950), sold 500,000 copies in less than six months. Her most famous composition is “My Sweet Home” (1960). The incidental harmony of their rural singing style and Allison’s sliding technique appealed to a large number of supporters who otherwise found the gospel music of the period controlled and calculated. The group traveled and recorded with the Dixie Hummingbirds during the 1950s. Allison toured, recorded, and performed gospel music for over seven decades....

Article

Patti Jones

(John, Jr. )

(b Tippo, MI, Nov 11, 1927). American jazz and blues pianist, singer and songwriter. His style was influenced by the blues music he heard on the juke box at his father’s general store. Primarily self taught on piano and trumpet, Allison began playing professionally in Delta roadhouses and attended the University of Mississippi, Oxford. However, he left to enlist in the US Army in 1946, and during his service he played trumpet and piano and wrote arrangements for an army band. After completing a degree in English at Louisiana State University, he moved to New York in 1956 and attracted attention nationally playing piano with such leaders as Chet Baker, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, and Stan Getz.

Allison created a hybrid style that integrated country blues with urbane jazz; it can be heard on his first album, Back Country Suite (1959, Prst.), which includes what became his signature tune, “Young Man’s Blues.” In the 1960s Allison’s music influenced British rock musicians, and this tune was covered as a generational anthem by The Who. During the same period Allison recorded for Atlantic and wrote pithy lyrics about public service and social commentary (“Everybody Cryin’ Mercy”) and personal crisis (“Hello There, Universe”), some with a playful sense of humor (“Your Mind’s on Vacation”). Later songs such as “Ever Since the World Ended” and “Certified Senior Citizen” focused on contemporary culture and aging. Allison has also interpreted blues and jazz standards such as Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son,” Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone,” and Duke Ellington’s “I ain’t got nothin’ but the blues.” His elaborate piano instrumentals and improvisations draw upon the music of Charles Ives and Alexander Scriabin and reflect his experimentation with conventional ideas of time....

Article

Roger Covell

(b Melbourne, June 8, 1927). Australian baritone . He began his career with Gertrude Johnson’s National Theatre Movement. He left Australia in 1954 for further study in Paris and worked at Covent Garden from 1956; in 1959 he moved to Germany, where he was based for the next decade, appearing in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, and becoming a principal baritone at Cologne until ...

Article

Eric Thacker

(bHartford, CT, July 19, 1923). Singer. He first performed and recorded with Jack Teagarden’s big band (1940–42). From 1944 he worked with Boyd Raeburn, sometimes singing complicated arrangements by George Handy; his style is well represented by I only have eyes for you, which he recorded with Raeburn in 1946 (Jwl 10002). (By this time he was using both forms of his surname.) Also in 1946 he recorded as a leader, accompanied by a quintet that included Lucky Thompson. Later he was associated with Paul Smith (1949), Johnny Mandel, Stan Kenton, and Count Basie. He sang at clubs, among them those on the Playboy Club circuit (1960–64), then from 1968 was less active in music for a period during which he worked with drug addicts in New York and Los Angeles. In 1975, however, he resumed recording in New York, making the album ...

Article

William A. Everett and Lee Snook

[Geisman, Ella]

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 7, 1917; d Ojai, CA, July 8, 2006). American singer and actress. Trained as a dancer and with a career which began on Broadway, she became known as the perennial ‘girl next door’ in MGM motion pictures. Her early career in film was as a dancer in shorts such as Dime a Dance (1937), but she gained attention with her first major Broadway role in Best Foot Forward (1941) and reprised her role in the 1943 film version. Other musical films in which she appeared include Thousands Cheer (1943), Girl Crazy (1943), Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), Music for Millions (1944), Two Sisters from Boston (1946) and Good News (1947). In 1948, she began to appear in non-musical films, including dramas and comedies. She received a Golden Globe Award in ...

Article

Harry B. Soria

(b Honolulu, HI, Nov 28, 1897; d Honolulu, HI, Oct 9, 1985). Hawaiian singer, musician, composer, and bandleader. Almeida lost his eyesight completely by age ten, and left school after the sixth grade. His father returned to Portugal, and his Hawaiian mother and adoptive Hawaiian father nurtured him, immersing him in the music and culture of the rural community. At age 15, Almeida formed his first musical group, the Waianae Star Glee Club, and soon achieved local fame as “John C. Almeida, Hawaii’s Blind Musician.” Eventually, he replaced his birth middle name of Celestino, with the name of his adoptive father, Kameaaloha, and is remembered today as John Kameaaloha Almeida.

Almeida could not read or write, but shared the poetry of over 200 Hawaiian language compositions, earning him the title of “the Dean of Hawaiian Music.” Almeida also popularized numerous other Hawaiian compositions from the 19th century. Among his most famous recordings are “Ku’u Ipo Pua Rose,” “’A ’Oia,” “Gorgeous Hula,” “Holoholo Ka’a,” “Noho Paipai,” “Kiss Me Love,” “Roselani Blossoms,” and his radio theme song, “’O Ko’u Aloha Ia ’Oe.” Over his 70-year career, Almeida mastered the mandolin, ukulele, guitar, steel guitar, violin, banjo, bass, saxophone, and piano. Almeida was a prolific recordings artist on numerous labels, and a successful radio host on several Hawaii stations. He served as mentor to numerous protégés, including Bill Ali’iloa Lincoln, Joe Keawe, Billy Hew Len, Genoa Keawe, and Almeida’s adopted son, Pua Almeida....

Article

Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

(fl1482). Iberian composer. He was a singer in the Aragonese royal chapel of Ferdinand V over a period of almost 30 years, from 1482 until 1510. He was presented to various ecclesiastical benefices under royal patronage and held, presumably by proxy, the position of head chaplain of the Dominican monastery in Madrid until 1505.

He was also closely associated with Segovia Cathedral for the best part of his life, being appointed chapel master there from 1 October 1504. For some years he held both positions, but this must have proved incompatible for in the autumn of 1507 he was suspended from his post as chapel master for an unspecified breach of the rules and replaced by Francisco de San Juan. He remained a member of the chapter, however, and was much involved in cathedral business during long periods of absence from the royal chapel during the period ...

Article

David Cummings

(b Budapest, March 5, 1903). Hungarian soprano . After study with Laura Hilgermann she sang in Budapest from 1923. In Munich, Berlin and Vienna her agile coloratura was admired in the roles of Gilda, Rosina and the Queen of Night. She had her greatest success in operetta, appearing in Millöcker’s ...

Article

J.B. Steane

(b Obra, Poland, April 7, 1880; d New York, Jan 31, 1975). Polish-American soprano . Born of a French mother and Norwegian father, she trained in Breslau as a contralto and sang first in public at short notice and from memory in the St Matthew Passion. Her operatic début followed in ...

Article

David Cummings

(b Hildesheim, Oct 12, 1906; d Vienna, Oct 25, 1978). German bass . He studied at the Berlin Musikhochschule and made his début at Hagen in 1929 as Rocco. After engagements in Dessau and Wiesbaden he sang Gurnemanz at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1935, remaining with the company until ...

Article

[Overton ]

(b Washington, DC, Dec 14, 1905; d Washington, July 5, 1989). American trumpeter and singer. His birth and death dates, previously unknown, are taken from the social security death index. After working in New York with the trombonist Bill Brown (1928–30) he performed and recorded with Claude Hopkins (1931–6); a good example of his playing may be heard on I would do anything for you (1932, Col. 2665D), and he may be seen with Hopkins in the short films Barber Shop Blues (1933) and By Request (1935). He then formed his own big band, which made its début at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in December 1936 and held residencies at various clubs in New York, including the Ubangi Club (1937), the Plantation Club (1937–8), the Roseland Ballroom (1939–41, 1942–7) and the Baby Grand Café (...

Article

Philip L. Miller

(Shearer)

(b Reading, PA, Dec 2, 1889; d New York, NY, Feb 6, 1954). American tenor. Educated at Bucknell University, he studied with P.D. Aldrich in Philadelphia and Oscar Saenger and P.R. Stevens in New York. The first American tenor without European experience to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, he made his debut there as Grigory in the American premiere of Boris Godunov under Toscanini (1913); between then and 1920 he participated in its first productions of Giordano’s Madame Sans-Gêne, Herbert’s Madeleine, De Koven’s Canterbury Pilgrims, Cadman’s Shanewis, and Breil’s The Legend. His voice was described as a “lyric tenor of the more robust Italian type.” During part of the 1920s he devoted himself exclusively to concerts, but after a visit to Bayreuth, he decided to retrain as a Heldentenor. In 1933 he sang Tristan in San Francisco, and returned to the Metropolitan as Siegmund, which he repeated in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(Theresa )

(b La Habra, ca , May 2, 1948). American soprano . She studied with Lotte Lehmann in Santa Barbara and later at Salzburg. After winning the Illinois Opera Guild Auditions in 1971, she made her début at the Metropolitan as the Heavenly Voice in Verdi’s Don Carlos. She sang Freia at the Chicago Lyric Opera (1972), Salzburg (1973) and Covent Garden (1975). After several seasons at Stuttgart (1975–9) she sang Sieglinde in Patrice Chéreau’s production of the Ring (1979) at Bayreuth, where she also sang Isolde (1986). Apart from her Wagnerian roles (which include Elsa, Eva, Elisabeth, Gutrune and Brünnhilde), Altmeyer sings Agathe (Der Freischütz), Strauss’s Salome and Chrysothemis, Lisa (The Queen of Spades) and Leonore, which she sang at La Scala in 1990. The radiant tone of her voice and the intensity of her expression make her a particularly fine interpreter of Wagner and Strauss....

Article

Walter Emery

revised by Andreas Glöckner

(b Berna bei Seidenberg, Oberlausitz, bap. Jan 1, 1720; d Naumburg, bur. July 25, 1759). German organist and composer. He attended the Lauban Lyceum in 1733, and was a singer and assistant organist at St Maria Magdalena, Breslau, from about 1740 until the beginning of 1744. He then wished to return to Germany and devote himself to ‘higher studies’ at Leipzig, and as his parents were poor, he asked for a viaticum. He was granted four thalers on 23 January 1744, and on 19 March he matriculated at Leipzig University as a theological student. He soon began to assist Bach, chiefly as a bass, and did so regularly from Michaelmas 1745. In taking on a university student Bach exceeded his authority, but he was always short of basses, for the boys of the Thomasschule often left before their voices had settled. On 16 April 1746 W.F. Bach recommended Altnickol as his successor at Dresden, saying that he had studied the keyboard and composition with his father; but he was disregarded. On ...

Article

Harold Rosenthal

[Alva Talledo, Luis Ernesto]

(b Lima, April 10, 1927). Peruvian tenor. He studied in Lima with Rosa Morales and in Milan with Emilio Ghirardini and Ettore Campogalliani. He made his début in 1949 in Luisa Fernanda at Lima, where he sang Beppe (Pagliacci) the following year. His European début was at the Teatro Nuovo, Milan, in 1954 as Alfredo. He sang Paolino in Il matrimonio segreto to open the Piccola Scala in 1955, repeating the role in Edinburgh in 1957. At La Scala in 1956 he sang Almaviva, a role in which his highly developed sense of comedy and lack of exaggeration were to win him widespread admiration. He sang regularly in Milan (where he appeared in the premières of Luciano Chailly’s Una domanda di matrimonio and Riccardo Malipiero’s La donna è mobile), at Covent Garden (1960–77), at Chicago (1961–77) and at the Metropolitan (...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Rio de Janeiro, June 10, 1947). Brazilian tenor . He studied in Rio, Rome and Vienna, making his début in 1970 at Linz as Don José. He has appeared in Vienna, Munich, Oslo and Rio, as the Duke, Alfredo, Gabriele Adorno, Don Carlos, Don Alvaro, Faust, Werther and Lensky. At Wexford he sang Konrad in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

[Gourron, Raymond ]

(b nr Bordeaux, Jan 16, 1861; d Nice, Feb 26, 1933). French tenor . He studied in Paris and made his début in 1886 at Ghent as Gounod’s Faust. From 1892 until 1906 he was engaged at the Opéra, where he created Nicias in Massenet’s Thaïs (1894) and roles in Holmès’ La montagne noire (1895), Duvernoy’s Hellé (1896), Bruneau’s Messidor (1897), Vidal’s La burgonde (1898), Leroux’s Astarte (1901), Erlanger’s Le fils de l’étoile (1904) and Guiraud’s Frédégonde (1905). At Covent Garden he sang Leicester in the first performance of De Lara’s Amy Robsart (1903) and created Araquil in Massenet’s La navarraise (1904). In Monte Carlo he sang Paris in the first performance of Saint-Saëns’s Hélène (1904). His large repertory included Romeo, Samson, Don José, Fernand (La favorite...

Article

Richard Wigmore

(b Córdoba, 1963). Argentine tenor. After leaving school he took an economics degree and worked in the family firm of furniture builders while taking singing lessons. In 1993 he sang for Giuseppe Di Stefano, who encouraged him to go to Italy to pursue a singing career. In 1995 he won a singing competition in Milan, and later the same year made his professional début, as Elvino (La sonnambula) at La Fenice, Venice. His success led to immediate invitations from several other Italian opera houses, including the Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste, where he sang his first Duke in Rigoletto in 1996. The following year Álvarez made his French début, in Toulouse, in the same role, and scored triumphs as Werther at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and as Arturo (I puritani) at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna.

Within two years of his arrival in Europe Álvarez had established a reputation as an outstanding Italianate lyric tenor, with a warm, clear, easily produced voice and an elegant sense of style. In ...

Article

Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Genoa, Italy, 1908). Italian pianist, singer, and violinist. He first worked in Genoa with Tullio Mobiglia and others (1927–33). From 1934 he played piano and violin in a small band led by Kramer Gorni in Milan, which made several recordings, including Anime gemelle (1935...

Article

Harold Rosenthal

[Anders, Max]

(b Düsseldorf, May 3, 1856; d Grosstabarz, Thuringia, Nov 7, 1898). German tenor. He pursued his singing career over the initial objections of his father, the painter Andreas Achenbach, and studied in Frankfurt with Julius Stockhausen and in Milan with Francesco Lamperti. He made his début (1879) in Weimar, under the name of Max Anders, singing the title role of Flotow's Alessandro Stradella, and remained at the Weimar Opera until 1885, enjoying the favour of the grand duke. He had great success at the Metropolitan in New York, making his début there on 25 November 1885 singing Don José in German. He was the USA's first Siegfried (in Siegfried), his most celebrated role, in 1887; other important roles of his four years at the Metropolitan included Adolar in Euryanthe (1887), Alvar in Spontini's Fernand Cortez (1888) and Loge in Das Rheingold...