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Theodore van Houten

(b Brussels, Jan 16, 1904; d Laren, nr Hilversum, Aug 9, 1976). Dutch composer. He studied with Henri Geraedts in The Hague and, from 1926 to 1927, with Dukas in Paris, where he was directly influenced by Roussel. He settled in The Hague, where he taught at the conservatory, was active as a pianist and choral conductor, and founded the Modern Music Study Circle. From 1936 to 1940 he was back in Paris as musical correspondent of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche courant and AVRO Radio. Because of his Jewish background he fled in 1941 to Batavia (now Jakarta), where he was interned by the Japanese. During this period he took part in musical activities arranged for his fellow internees. Several of his earlier works seem to have been confiscated or destroyed by the Nazis. Among Vredenburg’s lost scores is the orchestral prelude to a Palestinian open-air play (successfully performed in The Hague before the war). From ...


Mary Riemer-Weller

revised by J. Richard Haefer

End-blown flute of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It consists of two internode sections of wa:pk (‘river cane’, Phragmites communis) and about 4 cm of each adjoining section for a total length of 48 to 55 cm and 2.5 to 4 cm diameter. The two end nodes are perforated, but the centre node is left intact and is bridged by a rectangular hole cut in the side of the instrument and covered with a piece of cloth or leather. Three fingerholes are cut in the lower portion of the flute. The index finger of the left hand is placed over the cloth or leather to help direct the air over the internal partition, thus creating a flue for the passage of air, and allowing for minor adjustments in the airstream. The fingerholes are controlled by the right hand.

One does not ‘play’ the flute but rather ‘sings’ it. Although the cane flute may have been used as a courting instrument and in the ...


Paula Morgan

revised by Sue Carole DeVale

(b Berlin, March 8, 1907; d Tisbury, Wilts., July 17, 1984). British ethnomusicologist of German birth . After reading law for four years at his father’s urging, he studied musicology at the University of Berlin with Blume and Schering and comparative musicology with Hornbostel and Sachs (1930–32). In spite of a Lutheran upbringing, he was prohibited as a person of Jewish background from attending German universities after 1933. He moved to Switzerland in 1934 and took the doctorate under Fellerer at the University of Fribourg in 1935 with a ground-breaking dissertation on pre-Gregorian chant. Forced to leave Germany permanently in 1936, he fled to London and enrolled at the London School of Oriental and African Studies for work in linguistics, notably on the Bantu languages. He moved with his wife to Uganda in 1937 and spent several years supervising missionary education. He was then appointed curator of the Uganda Museum, Kampala (...





Erik Ryding and Rebecca Pechefsky

(b Berlin, Sept 15, 1876; d Beverly Hills, CA, Feb 17, 1962). American conductor and composer of German birth. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, Walter attended the Stern Conservatory in Berlin, initially planning to become a concert pianist. Around 1889, however, he resolved to pursue a conducting career after hearing Hans von Bülow direct an orchestra. He obtained a position as vocal coach in Cologne, making his conducting début there in 1894 in a performance of Lortzing’s Der Waffenschmied. From 1894 to 1896 he worked in Hamburg under Mahler, who profoundly influenced Walter’s artistic development. Impressed by his protégé, Mahler found employment for him in Breslau in 1896, though the director there requested that Bruno Schlesinger change his name, ostensibly because Schlesinger was too common a name in Breslau, the capital of Silesia.

After appointments in Pressburg, 1897–8, Riga, 1898–1900 (where he met the soprano Elsa Korneck, his future wife), and Berlin, ...


Ronit Seter

(b Tel-Aviv, Oct 23, 1953). Israeli composer. After studying composition with Schidlowsky and Sadai at the Rubin Academy at Tel-Aviv University (BM 1979), he studied the piano at Northwestern University (MM 1980). He started teaching at the Open University, Tel-Aviv, in 1979, and the Rubin Academy, Tel-Aviv, in 1994. Weidberg initiated and organized ‘Music Now’, a series of Israeli music concerts at Tel-Aviv Museum of Art (1988–95), chaired the Israeli Composers' League (1995–7); he became the musical director of Musica Nova Consort in 1997. Influenced by Schidlowsky, Weidberg began his career as an avant-garde composer, but in 1980 he changed his style radically and adopted a witty and richly tonal style, influenced by Poulenc, Weill, Prokofiev and the neo-classical works of Stravinsky, epitomized in his Variations on a Theme by Mozart (1991). His gift for orchestration and contrapuntal skills are particularly evident in the concertos for piano (...


Charlotte Erwin

revised by Michael Meckna

(b Vienna, Feb 6, 1881; d New York, Aug 11, 1949). Austrian composer, naturalized American. After graduating from the Vienna Music Academy in 1902, he studied composition with Zemlinsky and musicology with Adler at the University of Vienna (PhD 1904). He served as a rehearsal conductor for Mahler at the Vienna Hofoper (1904–06) and taught at the Vienna City Conservatory (1918–28), before becoming professor of theory and composition at the University of Vienna in 1930. In 1938, with the annexation of Austria by Hitler, Weigl, who was Jewish, found that his works could no longer be performed. He left Vienna for the USA, where, after considerable difficulty, he obtained teaching positions at the Hartt School of Music (1941–2), Brooklyn College (1943–5), the Boston Conservatory (1946–8) and the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1948–9) among other institutions. He became an American citizen in ...


J. Bradford Robinson and David Drew


(b Dessau, March 2, 1900; d New York, April 3, 1950). German composer, American citizen from 1943. He was one of the outstanding composers in the generation that came to maturity after World War I, and a key figure in the development of modern forms of musical theatre. His successful and innovatory work for Broadway during the 1940s was a development in more popular terms of the exploratory stage works that had made him the foremost avant-garde theatre composer of the Weimar Republic.

David Drew, revised by J. Bradford Robinson

Weill’s father Albert was chief cantor at the synagogue in Dessau from 1899 to 1919 and was himself a composer, mostly of liturgical music and sacred motets. Kurt was the third of his four children, all of whom were from an early age taught music and taken regularly to the opera. Despite its strong Wagnerian emphasis, the Hoftheater’s repertory was broad enough to provide the young Weill with a wide range of music-theatrical experiences which were supplemented by the orchestra’s subscription concerts and by much domestic music-making....