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Jonas Westover

(b Tilfis, Georgia). American baritone of Georgian birth. He is considered one of the world’s leading interpreters of Puccini and Verdi’s music. He made his debut in 1989 as Renato in Verdi’s Un Ballo in maschera at the Tilfis National Theater. In the following three years, Ataneli received several major awards, including first prize and the Grand Prix at the International Francisco-Vinas Competition in Barcelona (1991), and first prize at the “I Cestelli” Competition. He has appeared across the world, including with the Vienna State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Hamburg State Opera, and the Bavarian State Opera. His relationship with the Metropolitan Opera blossomed in the 21st century, as Tonio in I Pagliacci in 2006, Macbeth (under the direction of James Levine) in 2007–8, and Rigoletto in 2010. He also has been active as a performer in concert and on television and radio. His tremendously powerful voice has engaged audiences worldwide, and his skill is featured on numerous recordings and DVD releases....

Article

Henry Johnson

Japanese saucer-shaped gong. It has a flat face about 9 to 15 cm in diameter and a perpendicular wall about 3 to 5 cm deep that angles outward to form a rim around the opening. The face normally has concentric grooves. The term atarigane, which is often used interchangeably with the term surigane, refers both to the playing method and the material of the instrument: atari (strike); gane/kane (metallophone). The alternative term surigane (suri means rub, as in rubbing the beater along the inside of the instrument during certain playing techniques) is also used, but because of a negative connotation associated with a homonym, meaning to lose money, the term atarigane is usually preferred.

A further term, kane, is used generically for this type of instrument. Several onomatopoeic terms for the instrument include chanchiki, konchiki, and changiri. The atarigane is either held in the player’s palm or suspended from a cord attached to two projections on the circumference, and is usually struck on the inner surface. A small T-shape beater (...

Article

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Tehran, Nov 7, 1915; d Los Angeles, March 5, 1994). Armenian musicologist, folklorist and composer. After moving to Yerevan in 1923 he studied composition at the Yerevan Conservatory. From 1944 he taught harmony at the conservatory and completed a second degree at the Institute of Art of the Armenian Academy of Sciences with Kushnaryov, 1945–8. In 1951 he began taking part in folklore expeditions around Armenia and in 1955 he completed his dissertation at the conservatory on Armenian neumatic (khazer) notation. He joined the staff of the Institute of Arts in 1956 and was appointed professor in 1962 at the conservatory, where he also served intermittently as head of the music theory department until 1991. He was made an Honoured Representative of the Arts of Armenia in 1961. He participated in many congresses both within and outside the former Soviet Union, and was highly regarded as a teacher....

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

( b Haifa, Nov 17, 1933). Israeli conductor . She studied the piano at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, and subsequently studied conducting in Europe and the USA with Franco Ferrara, Celibidache, Hans Swarowsky and Boulez. From 1954 to 1960 she taught piano at the Rubin Academy of Music. Atlas won several international conducting awards, including the Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition (1964), the Leopold Stokowski Prize (1978) and the Eugene Ormandy Award (1980). In 1981 she was appointed associate professor and director of musical studies at the Technion in Haifa. She is the founder and principal conductor of the symphony orchestra and choir of Technion, the Israel Pro Musica Orchestra and the Atlas Camerata. She has also appeared as a guest conductor with the RPO in London, the Royal Liverpool PO and the Stockholm PO, among others. Atlas has given the first performances of works by the Israeli composers Amy Maayany and Zvi Avni, and has recorded Stravinsky's ...

Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Arthur Jacobs

(b Budapest, July 30, 1931). Israeli conductor. His family settled in British-mandated Palestine in 1944 and he followed Israeli custom in changing his original surname to the present Hebrew form. Having studied the piano and horn, he graduated from the Tel-Aviv Academy of Music in composition and conducting (1962) and was encouraged by Antal Dorati to pursue a conducting career. In London, where he studied at the GSM, he won the school's conducting prize in 1963, followed in 1964 by the first prize at the international conducting competition sponsored by the Royal Liverpool PO. In 1967 he conducted the Vienna PO at the Salzburg Festival. From 1969 to 1971 he was chief conductor of the Sydney SO, and in 1972 he became chief conductor of the NDR SO and of the Basle SO. After a spell in Tokyo as musical adviser for the Tokyo Metropolitan SO (...

Article

Ian D. Bent

(b Paris, Feb 14, 1874; d Dieppe, Aug 31, 1910). French musicologist and philologist. He graduated in philology (1892) and law (1894), and subsequently became archiviste paléographe at the Ecole des Chartes in Paris (1898). He took a diploma in Armenian (1900), and after travelling in Central Asia published articles on Armenian church music and on music of the Tajiks and Sarts in Turkestan. He later taught in Paris at the Institut Catholique, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales and at the Schola Cantorum, through whose Bureau d’Edition he issued his early articles.

Aubry brought to bear on musical problems the skills of the philologist (comparing concordant sources and establishing the best reading for a text) and of the palaeographer. In this he resembled his contemporary Friedrich Ludwig and others of the senior generation of 20th-century music scholars. He continued the work of Coussemaker and Riemann in the field of 13th-century French music, making texts available in edition and facsimile: his name is closely associated with three major sources, the Roman de Fauvel, the Chansonnier de l’Arsenal and the Bamberg manuscript. He produced much textual criticism in article form, and two series of larger studies, many of them in collaboration with literary scholars....

Article

Āvaj  

Alastair Dick

[āvaja]

Indian drum name of medieval and later times, found nowadays only in certain compound and derivative forms. It probably derives from the Sanskrit ātodya, through the intermediate Prakrit (Middle Indo-Aryan) form āojja (‘musical instrument’, but with a root meaning ‘percussion’), rather than from vādya, as has been thought. The 13th-century Sa ṅgītaratnākara gives the huḍukkā (barrel drum) the alternative names āvaja or skandhāvaja (‘shoulder āvaja’), the latter referring to the use of the shoulder-strap in obtaining variable tension. In the same source the smaller local (deśi) version of the elongated barrel drum pa ṭ aha is named a ḍḍāvaja (‘half āvaja’). The late 16th-century Ā’īn-i–akbarī describes the āvaj as ‘similar to two falconers’ drums joined together’, probably, like the modern hu ṙuk (hourglass drum), also played with variable tension. As well as mentioning the ardhāvaj, the same source gives an early reference to the pakhāvaj (‘side ...

Article

(b Armavir, Russia, March 15, 1919). Record producer and writer of Armenian descent. He grew up in New York, played piano (from 1930), and studied English literature at Yale University (BA 1941); while a student he began to work as a jazz critic for Tempo (1937). Later he was a contributing editor on jazz to Mademoiselle and Pic (1946–8), contributed to Esquire’s 1947 Jazz Book, and, with W. E. Schaap, revised and enlarged Charles Delaunay’s Hot Discography for its first American edition (1948). He wrote articles for Down Beat and Metronome and provided numerous liner notes for jazz albums. Avakian produced the pioneering documentary jazz album Chicago Jazz (1939–40) for Decca, and in early 1940 began to work for Columbia, where he established a series of jazz reissues. After four years of military service he returned to Columbia as a full-time record producer for jazz and popular music; he was director of the international department and later head of the popular album department. In ...

Article

Jeremy Montagu

Sanskrit term for ‘tied on’ and thus for drums in general. It is one of the four categ ories of Indian instruments as classified in Assam, the others being ghana (idiophones), su ṣira (aerophones), and tata (chordophones).

D.R. Barthakur: The Music and Musical Instruments of North Eastern India (New Delhi, 2003)....

Article

Avant  

Gary W. Kennedy

Record label formed in Japan in 1992 as a subsidiary of Disk Union, with John Zorn as its sole executive producer. Its initial issues were recordings of Zorn’s group Naked City, whose repertory went beyond the stylistic bounds of Nonesuch (the company to which he was otherwise contracted at that time). Avant has issued more than 70 recordings in various genres, especially free improvisation, avant-garde rock, and ethnic music. Representative jazz artists, or artists associated with jazz, include Derek Bailey, notably in a duo with the pipa (Chinese lute) player Min Xiao-Fen and in a trio with Zorn and William Parker; Wayne Horvitz’s group Pigpen, Joey Baron’s Barondown, and Bobby Previte’s Slay the Suitors; the duo of Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier; and Anthony Coleman, George Lewis (ii), Erik Friedlander, Dave Douglas, Joe Maneri, Misha Mengelberg, Duck Baker, Steve Beresford, and the percussionist Cyro Baptista. Avant has continued to make and issue recordings into the new century. (<...

Article

William Y. Elias

[Loewenstein, Herbert]

(b Danzig [now Gdánsk], May 25, 1908; d Magen, Sept 16, 1994). Israeli musicologist. He studied musicology, literature and art history at the universities of Leipzig, Munich, Frankfurt and Königsberg (Kaliningrad), where he took the doctorate under Wilhelm Warringer in 1931 with a dissertation on Minnesang. He was prevented from pursuing an academic career in Germany, and turned to publishing Jewish art in Berlin (1932–6). In 1936 he settled as a publisher in Palestine, where research in musicology had barely begun, and he had to carry on his musicological work independently, publishing articles mostly in foreign periodicals. Urged to adapt himself to the demands of a country under war conditions, he developed a chemical production process and worked as a technical manager in industry (1941–8) before joining the Israel Air Force research department. He left the service with the rank of major to take up a research fellowship in musicology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem (...

Article

(b Stanislav, Jan 6, 1908; d Tel-Aviv, Aug 5, 1995). Israeli composer of Russian birth. His mother was a cousin of Mahler; his adopted surname combines the word ‘Avi’ (‘father of’) with the initials of his children's names. He studied at the American University in Beirut and at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers included Rabaud. In 1925 he emigrated to Palestine, where, in addition to his work as a composer, he served as a music critic, secretary general of the Israel PO (1945–52), chair of the Israel Composers' League (1958–71) and general director of ACUM, the Israeli performing rights society (1955–80).

In the late 1930s, after writing early works in an Impressionist style, Avidom turned towards atonal composition. While studying in Beirut and during a four-year stay in Egypt, however, he became deeply influenced by Mediterranean and Asian folk music and French culture. These influences found their expression in arrangements for the Yemenite singer Bracha Zefira (...

Article

Carole Pegg

(b 1936, Hovd, west Mongolia; d Aug 1998). Altai Urianghai Mongol epic bard (tuul'ch). Avirmed performed in the deep declamatory häälah vocal style and accompanied himself on the two-string plucked lute, Topshuur Although born after the communist revolution in Mongolia, Avirmed inherited this traditional vocal style and associated folk-religious beliefs (see Mongol music). At least seven generations of Avirmed's lineage were bards; his grandfather is believed to have been the famous bard Jilker. Included in Jilker's repertory were the epics Bayan Tsagaan Övgön (‘Rich White Old Man’), Argil Tsagaan Övgön (‘Snow White Old Man’) and Naran Han Hövgüün (‘The Boy Naran Khan’), all of which were also performed by Avirmed. Other members of Avirmed's family who performed included his father, Baatar, and uncles Buyan, Shirendev and Rinchen. Avirmed began training seriously at the age of 13 years. His principal teacher was his paternal uncle, Shirendev. After ten years, he gained recognition as a bard by performing throughout two whole nights before Jilker, his pupil Choisüren and Shirendev. He then received the ...

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Jerusalem, Sept 15, 1941). Israeli composer and conductor. He studied at the Rubin Academy of Music (teacher's diploma 1967, BMus 1972) and at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1976). From 1968 to 1973 he served as the director of Renanot, the Institute of Jewish Music, Jerusalem. In 1971 he joined the music department at Bar-Ilan University, where he founded an electro-acoustic laboratory in 1995. He has conducted numerous concerts in Israel, as well as national television and radio broadcasts. In 1973 he helped establish the Natanya SO, with which he has performed concerts of contemporary Israeli music. An award-winning youth orchestra conductor, he became music director of the Jerusalem Youth Orchestra in 1987.

Avitsur's compositions express a deep commitment to Jewish and Israeli culture. Many of his works are large-scale vocal compositions based on scenes from recent Jewish history. Much of his music, such as the Symphony no.2 ‘Shirat Hadorot’ (‘Generations’ chanting’, ...

Article

Miri Gerstel

(b Saarbrücken, Sept 2, 1927). Israeli composer of German origin. He studied composition with Erlich, Ben-Haim and Seter, and the piano with Pelleg, graduating from the Israel Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv, in 1958. From 1961 to 1975, Avni served intermittently as the director of the AMLI Central Music Library. Between 1962 and 1964 he continued his studies in the USA: at the Columbia–Princeton Electronic Music Center with Ussachevsky and in Tanglewood with Copland and Foss. Avni later taught composition and served as director of the electronic music laboratories at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (1971–95); he was appointed head of the department of theory and composition there in 1976. From 1968 to 1982 he also served as editor of Guitite, the bi-monthly publication of the Israeli Jeunesses Musicales, and from 1978 to 1980 he was chairman of the Israeli League of Composers. Avni was appointed chairman of the jury of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in ...

Article

David Stabler

(b Nikolayevsk, Siberia, Oct 31, 1894; d New York, April 26, 1965). Russian composer, father of Jacob Avshalomov. Self-taught except for one term at the Zürich Conservatory, he spent 30 years in China, where he composed symphonic and dramatic works. Fascinated by Chinese culture, he integrated authentic Chinese thematic material into Western musical styles. In addition to composing, he became head librarian of the Municipal Library of Shanghai (1928–43) and conductor of the Shanghai SO (1943–6). He emigrated to the USA in 1947, joining his son, Jacob Avshalomov. Although he continued to compose, his work never achieved much recognition in the USA, where he became a naturalized citizen. Of his three operas, Kuan Yin (c1925), The Twilight Hour of Yan Kuei Fei (1933) and The Great Wall (1945), all composed in China, the last had the most success. First performed in Shanghai in ...

Article

David Stabler

(David)

(b Qingdao, China, March 28, 1919; d Portland, OR, April 25, 2013). American composer, son of Aaron Avshalomov. After emigrating to the USA in 1937, he studied in Los Angeles with Ernst Toch, at the Eastman School of Music (MA 1942) with Bernard Rogers, among others, and at Tanglewood with Aaron Copland (1947). From 1946 to 1954 he taught at Columbia University, where he conducted the university chorus and orchestra in the American premières of Bruckner’s Mass in D minor, Tippett’s A Child of our Time and Handel’s The Triumph of Time and Truth. In 1954 he began a 41-year tenure as conductor of the Portland (Oregon) Junior SO (later the Portland Youth PO), the country’s first student orchestra. A number of recordings, six international tours, and praise from New York and European audiences followed. In 1968 President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the National Council of the Humanities. He also served on the committees of the NEA’s Music Planning Section (...

Article

Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof

(b Pasir Mas Kelantan, Malaysia, Aug 13, 1941). ma'yong Malaysian (dance theatre) performer. From an early age she developed an interest in singing, dancing and acting, later participating as a singer and dancer in activities organized by both the regional radio and television stations in Kota Baharu and the Kelantan state cultural troupe, as well as in several performances marking national events in Kuala Lumpur. In the mid-1960s she joined the National Cultural Complex under the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism as a dancer.

Although there have been notable performers of ma'yong, main puteri (shamanic dance) and silat (Malay martial art form) on both sides of her family, Awang's involvement in ma'yong developed mainly as a response to the Traditional Drama and Music of Southeast Asia conference, held in Kuala Lumpur in August 1969, during which the plight of the genre (then on the verge of extinction) was highlighted. The goal of the ...

Article

Sabine Trebinjac

(b Yi-isar (Yingjisha), Xinjiang, 1881; d ?Kashgar, 1956). Uighur musician . Turdi Axon has had the stature of national hero for the Uighurs in Chinese Xinjiang since the 1950s. His photograph appears in numerous books on Uighur music, Uighur culture, and even on tourist attractions of China. It shows a gaunt man of medium height with long white hair and beard, wearing a cap as he bends over his satar.

40 years after his death, his reputation endures as a harsh and demanding character. Living in Kashgar, Yarkand, and then Khotan, the only disciples he accepted were his sons, a nephew, and exceptionally a young boy outside his own family, on whom he imposed preliminary humiliations. Teaching was based on imitation, since neither he nor his pupils could read music; it involved constant listening, imitation and repetition. One month was sufficient to memorize one muqam of about two hours. Before every performance, to help his pupils avoid mistakes, Turdi would sing the whole ...