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Harrison Ryker

(b Hong Kong, Feb 2, 1954). Hong Kong Chinese composer and teacher. His experience of singing polyphonic music in a Catholic church choir from the age of 16 fuelled his later commitment to composition and choral conducting. He studied with David Gwilt at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and after graduating in 1979, studied with John Beckwith at the University of Toronto (MM 1981, DMus, 1985). He became strongly influenced by the music of the European avant garde, especially Henze and Messiaen, after attending the Darmstadt summer course in 1986. Joining the Chinese University as a lecturer in 1986, he became chair of the music department in 1992.

By contrast with most Hong Kong composers, there is little reference to vernacular Chinese music in his compositions, a notable exception being the court music episode of Symphony no.3. Chinese instruments however are widely employed, as in the two solo pipas of Symphony no.2. He won a prize in the USA with the refined, colourfully scored chamber piece ...

Article

Lana Paćuka

(b Tbilisi, Georgia, April 12, 1947). Russian cellist and music pedagogue , who established the Bosnian and Herzegovinian cello school. His propensity for music was shown in childhood, and his first musical training was given by his mother, the pianist Maria Rahmanina von Hohenzollern. He finished his primary and secondary cello education from 1954 to 1965 in the 11-year music school for gifted children within the V. Saradžišvili Tbilisi Conservatory. He enrolled in cello studies in 1970 at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. There he took the master’s degree in 1975 (class of S. Aslamazjan, M. Rostropovich, N. Gutman, and G. Kozolupova).

He has enjoyed a successful artistic career, which includes over 500 concerts in several major concert halls (the Bolshoi Theater of Opera and Ballet of Belarus, the S. Rachmaninoff Academy of Music in Paris, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Prague Philharmonic, among others). He has performed on 15 recordings....

Article

Elise Kirk

(b Manjing, Jiangsu, April 20, 1935). Chinese composer. He graduated from the Central Institute of Music in Beijing, then for political reasons was sent to Xingjiang, where he worked for 20 years as a farm labourer. In 1979 he became conductor of the Beijing SO; in 1984 he joined the faculty of the Chinese Music Conservatory, where he is professor of composition and director of the Composition Research Centre. A widely recognized Chinese composer, Jin has written in all genres. His operas comprise A Warm Breeze Outside (1980), Savage Land (1987, First International Art and Music Festival, Beijing) and Sunrise (1990). In 1989 Savage Land won a prize at the Third International Music Theater Workshop in Munich. It was given its North American stage première in January 1992 by the Washington Opera (Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC) to great acclaim, the first opera with a Chinese libretto (by Wan Fang, after her father’s play ...

Article

Zhang Weihua

(b Guizhou, Sept 6, 1952). Chinese composer. A self-taught violinist and violist, he played with a Beijing opera company in his home town. His work as a farmer during the Cultural Revolution is reflected in his compositions, which demonstrate a concern for nature and a respect for Chinese folklore and folk music. After graduating from the Central Conservatory in Beijing (1983), he became a member of the composition faculty. In 1989 he was invited to the USA as a visiting scholar at Columbia University.

Many of Qu’s early works were inspired by the spirit of nature in rural southern China. Mong Dong (1984) is a sonic manifestation of the indigenous art of the Wa people in Yunnan province; in this work, as in many others, Qu blends an expressive human voice with instruments. His cantata Cleaving the Coffin (1987) synthesizes traditional Sichuan opera with Western techniques. Two operas based on the Oedipus story, ...

Article

Masakata Kanazawa

(b Hyōgo, Feb 24, 1922; d Tokyo, July 12, 1996). Japanese pianist and teacher. While a baby she was taken to Paris and brought up there. At the age of ten she was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire and studied with Lazare Levy, receiving the première prix in 1937 and also winning the first prize at the International Competition for Female Musicians in Paris in the same year. Returning to Japan in 1939, she made a sensational début the following year, and continued to play frequently until her retirement in 1982. She began to teach at the Tokyo School of Music (now the Tōkyō Geijutsu Daigaku) in 1946 and was a professor from 1952 until her retirement in 1989; her students included Kiyoko Tanaka and Izumi Tateno. In 1980 she was one of the founders of the Japanese International Music Competition. In a musical culture traditionally dominated by German influence, Yasukawa was the first musician in Japan to represent the French school, and through her teaching and editions she successfully promoted the music of Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. After ...

Article

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Blur, Turkey, 25 Nov/Dec 8, 1908; d Yerevan, Nov 4, 1988). Armenian composer and teacher. He moved to Yerevan in 1918 but later went to study in Moscow at the music college and the conservatory with Glière, Myaskovsky and Shebalin (1930–36). Back in Armenia he taught at the Leninakan Music College (1936–8), was head of the Armenian Composers' Union (1952–5) and rector of the Yerevan Conservatory (1954–60) where, as professor of composition, he taught many leading Armenian composers including Chitchian, Hovunts, Israyelian and Hovanesian. He received the titles People's Artist of Armenia (1960), the State Prize of Armenia (1970) and People’s Artist of the USSR (1977). His major compositional achievement was in the development of Armenian orchestral music; his works continue the tradition established by Spendiarian with their programmatic nature, use of variation and dance forms, their incorporation of eastern folk music and their expressive handling of colour. His use of harmony and timbre bears comparison with Impressionism, but this is counterbalanced by an epic, narrative quality which first became evident in the symphony ...

Article

Yosihiko Tokumaru

(b Tokyo, Oct 12, 1916). Japanese musicologist . After studying Japanese literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo (BA 1941) and completing military service, he began research on music. He joined the Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties (1953), becoming research director of the music and dance section (1963) and director general of the performing arts department (1964). He worked at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music as professor (1976–84) and was appointed director of the Research Institute of the Okinawa Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music (1986). There he founded a music faculty and established it as the centre of research on Okinawan performing arts. He has pursued a wide range of research interests on Japanese traditional performing arts. He clarified the multi-layered structure of theatre in terms of dramatic, melodic and rhythmic aspects; undertook research on ...

Article

George J. Grella Jr.

(b Dandong, China, 1973). Conductor of Chinese birth. Zhang studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing where she undertook conducting at the age of 16 (BA 1994, MA 1996). She made her conducting debut in 1992, leading the China National Opera Orchestra in Le Nozze di Figaro. She then went on to serve as conductor-in-residence of the China Opera House, Beijing, and as the conductor of the Jinfan Symphony Orchestra. Zhang taught one year of conducting at the Central Conservatory (1997) before relocating to the United States for doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. After completing her doctoral work, she joined the faculty at Cincinnati as an assistant professor of conducting (2000). In 2002, Zhang won the Maazel/Vilar International Conductor’s Competition, upon which Loren Maazel appointed her to be his assistant at the New York Philharmonic. In ...

Article

Su Zheng

(b Wuchang, March 18, 1904; d Shanghai, Sept 15, 1968). Chinese musicologist and teacher . After graduating in 1931 from a teachers’ college in Shanghai, he studied privately from 1932 to 1935 with the Russian Jewish musician Aaron Avshalomov. He also kept contact with leading Chinese traditional musicians, and later with Beijing opera actors. He taught the history of Western and Chinese music at Hujiang University from 1940 to 1946, and the State Music School of Shanghai (later the Shanghai Conservatory of Music) from 1946 to 1949. After the Communist revolution he held leading positions on the faculty at the Conservatory. He died tragically in the Cultural Revolution.

Apart from his broad and thorough knowledge of both Chinese and Western music, Shen was much admired as an inspirational teacher. He was chief editor, compiler or translator of several influential publications. He also composed works for orchestra such as Xiao zuqu...

Article

Joseph S.C. Lam

(b Yangzhou, 1899; d Tianjin, 1991). Chinese qin zither master . Born in the historical site of the Guangling school, Zhang studied qin as a teenager with Sun Shaotao. By his early twenties he was already an accomplished performer, though remaining true to the amateur ideal of the qin. In the 1930s Zhang moved to Shanghai, acquainting himself with the qin players Zha Fuxi and Peng Zhiqing; their regular meetings led in 1936 to the founding of the Jin Yu qinshe (Qin Society of Contemporary Yu Region) in Suzhou. After the founding of the People’s Republic, Zhang was enlisted to the state-sponsored Shanghai Folk Music Troupe (Shanghai minzu yuetuan), and in 1957 he was appointed a teacher of qin at the Shanghai Conservatory. Zhang promoted the Guangling style through his performances, teaching and publications. His distinctive style of rhapsodic rhythm and flexible phrasing can be heard in his recordings of pieces such as ...