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Article

Catherine Parsons Smith

(b New York, Sept 9, 1905; d Bridgeport, CT, May 21, 1992). American composer, teacher and editor. She studied with Homer Grunn in Los Angeles. In 1922 she toured the midwestern Chautauqua circuit as a pianist. She studied composition with Goetschius (1922–3), Rubin Goldmark (1924–7, with fellowships from the Juilliard Graduate School) and Boulanger (1927); piano with Boyle and Lhévinne. Dissatisfied with teaching and with the reception of her music, she worked on the editorial staff of Time magazine from 1945 until 1952. Later she travelled widely, living for several years on Tahiti and Vanuatu.

Her elegant music, which uses the pandiatonic harmonic vocabulary of its time, is marked by its neo-classical, symmetrical form and its rhythmic forcefulness. The Piano Quintet and the Violin Sonata no.1 both won awards from the Society for the Publication of American Music. Her orchestral works have been performed by the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Rochester, Scranton and Sydney....

Article

Christopher Fifield

(Aloys Theodor)

(b Cologne, Jan 23, 1813; d Berlin, Aug 17, 1887). German music historian, editor, organist and composer. He was a pupil of Joseph Klein and Carl Leibl and in 1828 became organist of the Carmelite church at Cologne and a member of the cathedral choir. In 1832 he went to Berlin, where he studied with A.W. Bach (organ) and K.F. Rungenhagen (composition) and attended A.B. Marx’s lectures. His interest in old music was stimulated by his friendship with Carl von Winterfeld, whom he met in 1835, and by a commission to set in order the library of the Royal Institute for Church Music, which from 1845 held much of Forkel’s personal library. In 1839 Musica sacra, the first of Commer’s many important editions of early music, began to appear. In 1845 he became regens chori of the Hedwigskirche and singing teacher at the Elisabeth School, and he held several other similar positions. He was much decorated by royalty for his research. In ...

Article

Katherine K. Preston

(b Warren, MA, Oct 7, 1832; d Englewood, NJ, Oct 18, 1918). American composer, writer, editor, and organ-maker. His early education was at the Elmira (New York) Academy, where he demonstrated a gift for composition. He subsequently spent several years teaching music and languages in New York City and served as organist at the Broadway Tabernacle Church to earn money for study abroad. In 1855 he went to Leipzig to pursue studies in law, philosophy, and music. At the Leipzig Conservatory he studied with E.F. Richter, M. Hauptmann (theory and composition) and L. Plaidy (piano); he later studied organ with Haupt in Berlin. Several of his compositions were performed in Leipzig and Berlin; both Liszt and Spohr expressed interest in his work as a composer. In 1857 Converse returned to America via England, where he declined an invitation by Sterndale Bennett to submit his sacred cantata When the Lord Turned Again...

Article

Wallace McKenzie

(b Dec 17, 1850; d West Palm Beach, FL, July 17, 1916). American tunebook compiler, arranger and composer. In 1902 he published The Sacred Harp, Revised and Improved (Dothan, AL), a revision of B.F. White and E.J. King's The Sacred Harp (Philadelphia, 1844), in which he arranged the formerly three-part tunes for four voices. When J.S. James published another version of The Sacred Harp (1911) in four parts, Cooper filed a law suit claiming James had used his alto parts in the book; the suit was dismissed on the grounds that an alto voice alone was not an original composition. Further editions of Cooper's book appeared in 1907, 1909 (the last in which he is listed as the publisher) and 1927. With the 1949 edition the name of the Cooper revision changed to The B.F. White Sacred Harp; it reappeared under that title in 1960...

Article

Colin Timms

revised by Graham Dixon

(b Staffolo, nr Ancona, c1570–75; d ?Tivoli, in or after June 1644). Italian music editor, composer and singer, brother of Alessandro Costantini and uncle of Vincenzo Albrici. He served the Bishop of Aquila as a musician from boyhood and sang treble under Palestrina at S Pietro, Rome, where he remained as a tenor until 31 July 1610, having served as a singer at S Luigi dei Francesi in the middle of the decade. In 1610 and 1616 he directed festal music at S Giacomo degli Incurabili. He was maestro di cappella of Orvieto Cathedral from 1610 to 1614 and may have been in Naples when his op.2 was published there in 1615. By then he was in the service of Cardinal Aldobrandini, on whose recommendation he was made maestro di cappella of S Maria in Trastevere, a post he held from October 1615 to some time before ...

Article

Stefano Ajani

(b Naples, Dec 7, 1827; d Naples, March 30, 1879). Italian music publisher, lawyer, poet, writer and politician. He studied the piano with F. Festa, composition with Salvatore Pappalardo and also learnt some music from his father, Guglielmo Cottrau (b Paris, 9 Aug 1797; d Naples, 31 Oct 1847), a gifted amateur double bass player and director of the Girard firm. In 1846 Teodoro succeeded his father at Girard’s and in 1848 became joint owner, carrying on independently from 1855. He republished with greater success his father’s edition of Neapolitan songs, Passatempi musicali. Besides the anthology Cottrau’s much admired publications include L’ape musicale pianistica, collections of romanze, neopolitan songs, piano pieces particularly by Neopolitan composers and vocal scores of operas including Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Herold’s Le pré aux clercs, for which he provided a translation and promoted the Italian première at the Teatro Filarmonico, Naples (...

Article

David Nicholls and Joel Sachs

(Dixon )

(b Menlo Park, CA, March 11, 1897; d Shady, NY, Dec 10, 1965). American composer, writer, pianist, publisher, and teacher. Described by Cage as “the open sesame for new music in America,” he was an early advocate for many of the main developments in 20th-century music, including the systematization of modernist techniques, the exploration of timbral resources, and transculturalism.

Many facets of Cowell’s remarkable personality resulted from the unusual circumstances of his upbringing. His father, Harry, had immigrated to British Columbia with his brother after their own father, the Dean of Kildare’s Anglican Cathedral, bought them some land. Finding no satisfaction in farming life, Harry moved to San Francisco in search of a literary career. Henry’s mother Clara (usually called Clarissa) Dixon, a gifted writer, was the daughter of a fundamentalist Midwestern farming family. She had left the church and their community, married, and produced a son called Clarence. After he ran away from home as a teenager, Clarissa fled her stifling small-town life for San Francisco. In the Bay area, she met Harry, with whom she founded a philosophical-anarchist newsletter. As dedicated anarchists, they rejected the heavy hand of government, including what they saw as the homogenizing power of conventional public schooling. They built a little cottage on the still-rural edge of Menlo Park, where Stanford University was being constructed. Henry Cowell was born there, and Menlo Park remained his principal base until ...

Article

Shelley Davis

(b Quedlinburg, March 7, 1752; d Paris, Dec 8, 1807). German linguist, publisher, writer on music and composer. He was the eldest son of Johann Andreas Cramer, a noted professor of theology and later chancellor at Kiel University, and in 1775 became professor of Greek and oriental languages at the same university. His sympathies with French Republican forces led to his removal from this office in 1794. He stayed briefly in Hamburg, then in late 1795 emigrated to Paris and became a printer and bookseller there by 1797.

From the 1770s Cramer was in close contact with various musicians of the North German school, especially C.P.E. Bach. Beginning in 1782 he edited a series of vocal scores, first advertised (at Leipzig and Dessau) under the collective title Polyhymnia; these include Salieri’s Armida (1783), J.G. Naumann’s Orpheus og Euridike (1787), J.A.P. Schulz’s Aline, reine de Golconde...

Article

Harry B. Soria Jr.

[Albert R. ]

(b Honolulu, HI, Oct 1, 1879; d Honolulu, HI, Jan 23, 1933). Composer, arranger, publisher, pianist, and bandleader, active in Hawaii. Cunha’s compositions early in the 20th century spearheaded the development of the hapa haole song, featuring predominantly English lyrics with some references to Hawaii and the Hawaiian language, earning him the title of “Father of Hapa Haole Songs.” His innovation is credited with making Hawaii’s music accessible to a much wider audience, which rapidly grew to global proportions over the next few decades.

Cunha left Hawaii to attend Yale University, where he excelled in sports, the Yale Glee Club, and composed Yale’s “Boola, Boola.” Rather than practice law after graduation, he toured the mainland United States performing a new kind of Hawaiian song, combining the popular ragtime rhythm of American music with Hawaiian songs. Cunha returned to Hawaii and composed his first hapa haole song, “Waikiki Mermaid,” in ...

Article

Evan Feldman

(b Port Huron, MI, April 17, 1943). American composer, conductor, educator, and publisher. He received some of his earliest training in the Salvation Army Instrumental Music program, a debt he later repaid as editor of their music publications. He undertook undergraduate studies at Wayne State University (BM 1966) and graduate studies at Michigan State (MM 1970), studying euphonium with Leonard Falcone and conducting with Harry Begian. His composition teachers were F. Maxwell Wood, James Gibb, Jere Hutchinson, and Irwin Fischer. He has over 400 works in his catalog, mostly tonal, many of which take their inspiration from literature. He is widely known for his symphonic band and brass band works, several of which have won major awards: Symphonic Triptych, Collage for Band (ASBDA/Volkwein, 1977, 1979), Mutanza, Symphonic Variants for Euphonium and Band (ABA/Ostwald, 1980, 1984), and Lochinvar (Coup de Vents, France, 1994). His prolific output for young musicians reflects his many years teaching at public school and college levels. He founded and presides over Curnow Music Press, Inc....