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Sven Hansell

revised by Daniel E. Freeman

(b Venice, c?1698; d after 1739). Italian composer and singer, active mainly in Bohemia and Silesia. Other than his Venetian origins, which are confirmed in many documents, almost all the information usually given about his life before his arrival in Bohemia is unverifiable, including reports of his birth in 1698 as the son of a tailor in the Rialto district of Venice, study with Giovanni Porta and productions of his operas in Chioggia, Ferrara, Venice and Baden-Baden in the years 1721–4. The first known records of him date from 1720, when he sang in productions of Lucio Papirio and Astarto in Udine and La ninfa bizzarra in Rovigo. He may be the singer listed as Antonio Biondi in librettos for productions of Il pastor reggio in Chioggia in 1721 and L’Arminio in Mantua in 1722.

In May 1724 Bioni was contracted by Antonio Denzio in Venice to serve as composer for the Peruzzi company that was to perform in Prague, but before arriving in Bohemia the Peruzzi company was engaged to provide operatic entertainments during summer ...


Leonidas Economou

(b Athens, Greece, Dec 11, 1922; d Athens, April 7, 2005). Greek singer and composer. He began his career as a laïko composer and bouzouki soloist and sang only occasionally. He made his first great hit as a singer in 1956, with a song by Manos Hadjidakis, but he became widely known in the early 1960s when Mikis Theodorakis chose him as the main interpreter of some of his most important works. His career peaked between 1960 and 1974. He became the most important male voice of the entechno laïko song, performing a great number of songs of all the composers of this genre. He also recorded new influential versions of classic rebetika and many laïko and elafrolaïko hits (often his own compositions). His timid acceptance of the Junta regime blemished his image and, due also to the deterioration of his voice, his career declined and he made only a few recordings after ...


Pavla Jonssonová

(b 22 July 1958, Bruntál in Czechoslovakia). Czech vocalist, violinist, composer, and actress..Bittová grew up in a musical family and with sisters Ida and Regina often accompanied her father, the composer and multi-instrumentalist Koloman Bitto. She gave up playing violin at the age of fourteen and so her mother, a choir singer and teacher, enrolled her to study acting at Brno Conservatory. In 1978, Bittová became a member of the avant garde theatre Husa na provázku (Goose on a String), starring as Eržika in the popular musical Balada pro banditu (Ballad for a Bandit). She also began her film acting career at this time. She quit her theatre career in 1982 to fulfill her father’s wishes and restarted her study of the violin under Rudolf Šťastný of the Moravian String Quartet. Enabled by her theatrical professionalism, improvisational skills, command of pitch, and purity of tone, Bittová developed a unique performance style consisting of combining the voice and the violin. This avant garde interplay of violin and extended vocalization techniques (ranging from primordial and nature-inspired clicking, screeching and ululating to folkloristic tunes) shocked her audiences. In ...


Bertil H. van Boer

(b Stockholm, Aug 10, 1757; d Vaxhälla, March 17, 1810). Swedish actor, singer and librettist . He made his début as an actor as Count Almaviva in Beaumarchais’ play Le barbier de Séville in 1785 at the New Swedish Theatre, where he became well known for his comic roles and original opera librettos, mostly written for Carl Stenborg’s comic opera. In 1790 he became an administrator at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, a position he held until after Gustavus III’s assassination in 1792. In 1794 he turned to publishing in the provincial town of Linköping. During his career he supplied the texts for more than 65 one-act comedies with music, including the Singspiels Födelsedagen (‘The Birthday’, 1790), Fricorpsen eller Dalkarlarne (‘The Free Corps or Men from Dalacarlia’, 1788) and Marknaden (‘The Market Place’, 1792), all with music by Kraus. His tenor voice was considered expressive but fairly weak; his main talent as an actor lay in his satirical portrayals of figures such as Abbé Vogler in the first of the operas named above....


Peter Holman

(b c1620; d London, Nov 21, 1688). English composer, cornett player, violinist and singer. He was the son of Richard Blagrave, wind player at Charles I's court, and joined his father in the cornett and sackbut consort in 1637, inheriting his place in 1641. He shared the role of Mustapha with Henry Purcell the elder in Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes (1656), and was one of Cromwell's musicians (probably 1657–8). At the Restoration, Blagrave took up his former post as a court wind player, also receiving a place in the Twenty-Four Violins; his nephew Robert served alongside him in this dual capacity. Thomas was also a member of the revived Chapel Royal, was made Clerk of the Cheque in 1662, and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey (where he was buried) in 1664, though according to Anthony Wood he was ‘a player for the most part on the cornet’ in the Chapel Royal. Wood thought him ‘a gentile and honest man’, and Pepys often mentioned him in his diary. His portrait is in the Oxford Music Faculty, and two songs of his survive: ...


Howard Rye

[Chabania, Jacinto ]

(b Gary, IN, Jan 23, 1908; dc 1961). American saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, and singer. He studied violin, then alto saxophone and clarinet. After playing briefly with Charlie Turner’s Arcadians he took ship for Europe with Sam Wooding (1928), with whom he recorded in Barcelona and Paris (1929). He then moved to New York, played with Chick Webb, toured with Zack Whyte’s Chocolate Beau Brummels, performed and recorded with Don Redman (late 1933 – late spring 1934) and Willie Lewis (in Europe, to c spring 1935), and worked with Claude Hopkins, both in New York and on tour (mid-1936). In October 1936 he joined Fletcher Henderson’s group, with which he made several recordings in 1937, but around February 1938 he left the group to become Cab Calloway’s music director. In April 1942 he recorded with Count Basie, and later that year, having left Calloway’s employ, he played briefly with Basie (June) and with Earl Hines (September) before rejoining Henderson (October–November). In ...


Ian Brookes

[Hunsecker, Ralph Uriah]

(b Broken Arrow, OK, July 26, 1914; d Broken Arrow, OK, Nov 13, 1995). American songwriter, composer, lyricist, arranger, and singer. He began his career as a singer, appearing in such Broadway musicals as New Faces of 1936 (1936), Hooray for What! (1937), and Louisiana Purchase (1940). In 1940, with his friend Hugh Martin, he formed a vocal quartet, the Martins, which performed in night clubs and for radio. With each partner contributing both words and music, Blane and Martin wrote the campus musical comedy Best Foot Forward (1941) which became a Broadway hit. The pair subsequently moved to Hollywood for MGM’s film version (1943). Their next film became their best known work, the MGM musical Meet me in St Louis (1944) featuring Judy Garland. Their score included “The Trolley Song” (for which they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song), “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “The Boy Next Door.” In ...


Luis Robledo

(b ?Barrachina, Teruel province, c1561; d Madrid, Aug 6, 1631). Spanish composer, singer, guitarist and theorbo player. On 11 August 1592 in Alba de Tormes (near Salamanca) he received 30 reales for vihuela strings in his capacity as musician to the 5th Duke of Alba. At the duke’s court he formed a lasting friendship with Lope de Vega, through whose Arcadia of 1598 we know that Blas de Castro sang and played at courtly festivities as well as setting Lope’s poems to music. In 1596 he was in the service of the future king, Felipe III, singing his own compositions in a scene incorporated by Lope into his comedy La bella malmaridada (dated Madrid, 17 December 1596), and in 1597 he entered the service of the aged Felipe II as a part-time chamber musician. At the accession of the new king in 1599 the chamber musicians obtained full-time posts with annual salaries of 30,000 maravedís, and Blas de Castro was offered an additional post as usher of the king’s privy chamber, with a total salary of 43,800 maravedís....


(b Clearfield Co., PA, July 9, 1838; d nr Ashtabula, OH, Dec 29, 1876). American singer and composer of gospel hymns. He was the compiler with I.D. Sankey of Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs (1875). See Gospel music, §I. See also D.W. Whittle, ed.: Memoirs of Philip P. Bliss...


Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(b Glinno, nr Poznań, April 9, 1757; d Warsaw, July 23, 1829). Polish impresario, librettist, actor and singer. He was a central figure in the history of the Polish theatre. He studied in Kraków (1770–73), where he attended many theatrical and concert performances organized by Sierakowski, prompting him to change the direction of his career away from the army and towards the theatre. He probably completed his studies at the Piarist school in Warsaw. For a few months during 1778 he studied acting with L. Montbrun, a Warsaw theatrical impresario. Soon afterwards he made his début as an actor in N.T. Barthé’s comedy Zmyślona niewierność (‘Imaginary Infidelity’), and on 11 July 1778 as a singer and librettist in the première of Maciej Kamieński’s opera Poverty made Happy. In 1783 he became the director of the National Theatre in Warsaw, remaining in this position (with some breaks) until ...


Jane Schatkin Hettrick


(b ?Russia,?1739/40). Italian composer and singer. She was the daughter of the (?Venetian) scenographer and librettist Girolamo Bon (Boni, Bonno, Bono, Bonn, Le Bon, Buon, Bunon) and the Bolognese singer Rosa Ruvinetti Bon. In 1743, at the age of four, she entered the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice as a pupil. She probably rejoined her parents at some time during their engagements at St Petersburg, Dresden, Potsdam and Regensburg between 1743 and late 1754. By 1755 she and her family were in Bayreuth in the service of Margrave Friedrich of Brandenburg Culmbach and his wife Wilhelmine, sister of Frederick the Great. After Wilhelmine’s death in 1758 music at Bayreuth declined. In 1759–60 the Bon family all sang in opera performances directed by Girolamo in Pressburg. On 1 July 1762 the three Bons were contracted to serve the Esterházy court of Prince Nicolaus at Eisenstadt, where Anna remained until at least ...


Kathryn R. Beckett

(b Rome; fl Bologna, 1630–66). Italian composer, singer, lutenist and theorbo player. He was employed as a theorbo player at S Petronio, Bologna, under the maestri di cappella Francesco Milani (1630–49), Alberto Bertelli (1650–57) and Maurizio Cazzati (1657–71). From 1631 he was also a lutenist in the Concerto Palatino, Bologna. He held both posts until 1666 but from 1661, due to ill-health, he was joined by his son Giovanni Battista, who succeeded him at S Petronio. His other son Antonio succeeded him at the Concerto Palatino.

Although Bonini's music is lost, three librettos survive. Cirillo tradito (Bologna, 1635), particularly notable for its instrumentation, states that Bonini composed the music, sang in the performance and was a member of the Accademia dei Filomusi, with the name ‘Il Raddolcito’. La Siringa, ovvero Gli sdegni d'amore (Bologna, 1646), performed at the Teatro Guastavillani during Carnival, was dedicated to Bonini's patron Odoardo Pepoli. ...


Joshua Rifkin

revised by David Fallows

(b Picardy; fl late 15th century). French singer and composer. It is just possible that he is identifiable with the ‘Pierre Donnell’ or ‘Donelli’ reported at the court of King René of Anjou from 1462 to 1472 and again in 1479. But he certainly worked at the court of Savoy in 1488–9 and at both the cathedral and the convent church of the SS Annunziata in Florence in 1490–91 and 1492–3; later in the decade – perhaps from 1496 to 1499 – he sang in the chapel of Anne of Brittany, Queen of France. He had probably worked at the French court before, for he copied one of his chansons, Qu’en dictez vous, and added attributions for three others in I-Fr 2794, a manuscript almost certainly written at the court during the 1480s. In this source as elsewhere his works appear under his first name alone, which has led some writers to ascribe them to Pierre de La Rue or to Guillaume Pietrequin, a musician by whom no compositions survive....


Jonas Westover

[Salvatore Phillip]

(b Detroit, MI, Feb 16, 1935; d South Lake Tahoe, CA, Jan 5, 1998). American singer, composer, producer, actor, and politician. Bono began his career as a composer; one of his first songs, “Things You Do To Me,” was recorded by Sam Cooke in 1957–8. He eventually made contact with Phil Spector, with whom he worked closely for several years. One of his first successes came in 1963, when his song “Needles and Pins” (co-written with Jack Nitzsche) was recorded by Jackie DeShannon and reached number one on the charts in Canada. The height of his musical career came in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the duo Sonny and Cher. He wrote, produced, and performed on many of their hits, including “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.” Success with Cher, to whom he was married from 1964 to 1975, led to many appearances on television, including ...


Biancamaria Brumana and Colin Timms

(b Perugia, Feb 21, 1625; d Brufa, nr Perugia, July 1, 1705). Italian composer, singer, librettist, historian, and architect. Born Angelini, he studied under Sozio Sozi, father superior of the Oratorio dei Filippini at Perugia, in 1635, continuing in Rome as a protégé of Cesare Bontempi, a nobleman whose name he adopted. There he studied singing under Virgilio Mazzocchi and won the patronage of Cardinal Francesco Barberini. From November 1640 to January 1641 he was a singer in S Lorenzo in Damaso. In 1641 he travelled to Florence, where he met Maximilian I of Bavaria, who brought him to Munich (he was in Maximilian’s service as a singer from July to December 1641, under the direction of Giovanni Giacomo Porro). From1643 to 1650 he was a singer at S Marco, Venice, under Monteverdi, Rovetta, and Cavalli, and in other churches. In 1651 he entered the service of the Prince Johann Georg II of Saxony in Dresden, where, after the death of Johann Georg I and the amalgamation of the two Kapellen in ...


(d 1576). Italian composer and singer. He had entered the service of the Gonzaga family at Mantua in succession to Giacomo Buserachi, probably by 1563 and certainly before the appointment in 1565 of Wert as maestro di cappella of the recently completed ducal chapel of S Barbara. As the leader of a faction of the cappella that resented Wert’s preferment, he was active in a number of attempts to humiliate and discredit him. These included challenges to Wert’s musical competence and culminated in March 1570 in the disclosure of Bonvicino’s adultery with Wert’s wife, as a result of which both she and Bonvicino seem to have left the Mantuan court. Two masses by Bonvicino, Missa in festis semi duplicibus maioris and Missa in festis Beatae Marie Virginis, both for five voices, survive in manuscript (in I-Mc ) and were presumably composed for S Barbara. The latter involves a good deal of contrapuntal elaboration and concludes with a seven-voice Agnus Dei....


Elżbieta Głuszcz-Zwolińska


(d probably at Kraków, c1570). Polish composer and singer. From 1547 he worked at the Polish royal court, as a singer in Queen Bona's chapel. By 1558 he was praepositus of the Cappella Rorantistarum at Kraków Cathedral; he apparently held this post until his death. Two five-part masses by him survive (in PL-Kk , incomplete): Missa ‘Te Deum laudamus’ (ed. H. Feicht, Muzyka staropolska, Kraków, 1966) and an untitled mass (Sanctus, ed. Z.M. Szweykowski, Muzyka w dawnym Krakowie, Kraków, 1964). Both are for men's voices and were thus probably intended for the Cappella Rorantistarum. Two other masses attributed to him (in Kk ) are of doubtful authenticity.

SMP Z. Jachimecki: ‘Kilka niekompletnych kompozycji polskich z XVI wieku’ [Some incomplete Polish compositions of the 16th century], KM, 1 (1911–13) A. Chybiński: Słownik muzyków dawnej polski do roku 1800 [Dictionary of early Polish musicians to 1800] (Kraków, 1949)...


Ellen Rosand

revised by Beth L. Glixon

(b Rome, c1638; d Venice, Dec 29, 1672). Italian composer and singer. Much of the information concerning his brief career, spent primarily in Venice, derives from prefaces to librettos of operas he wrote in the late 1660s and early 70s. The preface to Alessandro amante (dated 1667) cites him as the composer of the opera and also as interpreter of one of the leading roles. His singing career had in fact begun somewhat earlier, but he is not the Guid’Antonio Boretti from Gubbio who was listed in the cast of La maga fulminata (1638, Venice) and who was a singer in the papal chapel (1619–46). He was a bass singer at S Antonio, Padua, between 1659 and 1661, when he was dismissed for being absent without leave. He probably moved to Venice in 1662, spending much of the next nine years there. However, his name appears in the cast-list of an opera performed in Turin in ...


J.B. Steane

(b Helsinki, Aug 7, 1919; d Copenhagen, April 28, 2000). Finnish bass-baritone and composer. He studied at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and later in several cities abroad including Vienna, Rome and New York. He confined himself to concert work for three years and then made his operatic début in 1952 at Århus, Denmark, as Colline in La bohème. An international career opened up in 1956 when he sang at Salzburg and Glyndebourne, his roles there being Don Giovanni, Pizarro (1959) and Prince Gremin in Yevgeny Onegin (1968). He made his Metropolitan début in 1959 as Count Almaviva. From 1960 he was a member of the Swedish Royal Opera, also singing regularly in Hamburg where in 1966 he appeared in the world première of Schuller's The Visitation. His repertory included Boris and Pimen (sung in 1977 at Tel-Aviv), Baron Ochs, Méphistophélès and Osmin; he also sang Fafner and Hagen in the ...


(b Gavio, nr Genoa, c1580; d in or after1631). Italian composer, singer and instrumentalist. He was active mostly in Germany and Austria. There seems to be no documentary evidence to support Giazotto's claim that Borlasca was born about 1560; since his first published compositions appeared in 1609, a later date seems more plausible. By 1 July 1611 he was appointed vice-Kapellmeister at the Munich court of Maximilian I, and from 1612 until 1615 Borlasca had sole charge of the Bavarian music chapel. He also had contacts with the Habsburg court at Innsbruck, receiving money for travel in 1612. After Ferdinand de Lassus's return to Munich from studies in Italy, Borlasca shared the post of Kapellmeister with him. By 1617, however, Lassus had been appointed sole Kapellmeister, and Borlasca was relegated to the dual position of vice-Kapellmeister and Konzertmeister, with primary responsibility for the instrumentalists. In 1621...