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Robert Falck

revised by John Haines

(b Autafort [now Hautefort], ?1150; d Dalon, nr Hautefort, before 1215). Troubadour. His birthplace was in the Périgord region of the former province of Limousin; he was lord of the family castle at Autafort. In about 1195 he entered the Cistercian monastery at Dalon, Ste Trie, and remained there until his death. He is probably best known for his praise of military and political exploits; in the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno he is referred to as the ‘headless trunk that followed in the tread … and by the hair held its severed head’. He was punished in this way because he was the instigator of the quarrels between Henry II and his sons in the 1180s. Though his actual participation in these events has possibly been exaggerated by his medieval biographers, many of his poems do refer to the events directly or indirectly.

Of over 40 poems attributed to Bertran, only one, ...


[Bortnyansky, Dmitry Stepanovich]

(b Hlukhiv, Ukraine, 1751; d St Petersburg, 28 Sept/Oct 10, 1825). Ukrainian composer, singer and music director, active in Russia. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, and in 1758 went to sing in the Russian imperial court chapel in St Petersburg, where he became one of Empress Elizabeth's favourite choirboys. Singled out for his unusual talent, he was trained in opera and eventually performed major roles in court productions: in 1764 he played the role of Admetus in H.F. Raupach's Al′tsesta.

During this period he studied composition with Galuppi. In 1769, after Galuppi had left for Venice, Catherine the Great sent Bortnyans′ky to further his studies there, with Galuppi. His first extant compositions date from his years in Italy: he composed three opere serie, two of them, Creonte (1776) and Alcide (1778), for Venice and the third, ...


Iain Fenlon

(b Mantua; fl 1591–1611). Italian composer and singer. He is documented as maestro di cappella at the Madonna dei Monti, Rome, in 1591 and from 1593 to 1594. He occupied a similar position at the Santa Casa, Loreto, between 25 May 1594 and 20 April 1595, and from 1 November 1608 until 31 July 1611 he is recorded as a contralto in the Cappella Giulia in Rome. During his years in Rome he was patronized by Carlo Trotti, an ecclesiastic; the second book of madrigals, which is warmly dedicated to Trotti, also contains a piece in his honour, Ornasti voi signor.


Eliot Gattegno

(b Wichita Falls, TX, April 13, 1962). American composer and singer. She studied theater and French at Wellesley College (BM 1984), music at the Berklee College of Music (BM 1986), and composition at the Manhattan School of Music (MM 1990). Her teachers have included Hilda Harris, drew Minter , Myron McPherson, and Nancy Armstrong.

Botti has had a remarkable career as a performer and composer. Relationships with composers including Sofia Gubaidulina, Matthias Pintscher, and Toshio Hosokawa have played a crucial role in her development. Composer Tan Dun has created several significant works for her, including Red Forecast for soprano and orchestra and the role of Water in his opera Marco Polo. She has appeared as a soloist performing her own compositions with the New York PO, Cleveland Orchestra, BBC Scottish SO, and Los Angeles PO, among others.

Botti’s sheerly beautiful scores often persuade the listener with soft elegies, ethereal interludes, and vigorous, lumbering dances; as is evident in her work Translucence (...


David Tunley


(b Fontaine-L'Evêque, Oct 24, 1676; d Paris, Jan 1750 or1751). French composer and singer. His name first appears as a composer in 1701 when two volumes of Pièces en trio were published in Paris by Ballard. He is next heard of as maître de musique at Strasbourg Cathedral where he worked from 1703 to 1706. According to the title-page of his ballet Les plaisirs de la paix (1715) he at some time held a similar position at Toul. From 1708 to 1711 he sang at the Paris Opéra; La Borde spoke highly of his countertenor voice. Bourgeois' last major appointment was as surintendant de la musique to the Duke of Bourbon in whose service he worked from 1715 to 1721, after which he seems to have led a professional life that took him from one provincial city to another, including Lille, Lyons, Poitiers and Dijon, and also to Belgium and the Netherlands. His last years are obscure and he died in poverty....



(b Asnières, nr Dijon, 1662; d Paris, Oct 3, 1725). French composer and singer. After studies with Jacques Fargeonnel, maître de musique at the Ste Chapelle in Dijon, he moved to Paris in the early 1690s. Some time before 1700 he became maître de musique to the Académie Française, with the main duty of composing and conducting a motet each year for the feast of St Louis (25 August), celebrated with a mass held in the chapel of the Louvre. By 1702 he was maître de musique also to the Académie des Sciences and the Académie des Inscriptions, who celebrated the feast of St Louis jointly in the church of the Oratoire. For his work for the académies Bousset received a royal pension of 600 livres tournois, of which half was reimbursement for monies paid to the musicians he had engaged.

Little of Bousset's sacred output has survived, however, and his main achievements lay elsewhere. About ...


Robert Fajon

(b Lyons, c1683; d Paris, March 2, 1760). French composer, teacher and opera singer. The main source of information about him is the Parfaict brothers’ Dictionnaire des théâtres, which states that Bouvard entered the Opéra at a very young age to sing soprano parts, with a ‘voice of such a range that its like had never been heard’. After his voice broke, when he was about 16, he spent a couple of years in Rome. He was back in Paris by February 1701, where his first (Italian) air appeared in a collection published by Ballard. In 1702, thanks to the patronage of M. de Francine, the Académie Royale de Musique performed his first opera, Médus, with great success, but in 1706 Cassandre, composed in collaboration with Bertin de La Doué, was a failure. Throughout the years 1701–11 Bouvard regularly published airs in Ballard’s collections, initially airs sérieux...


John Bergsagel

(fl Copenhagen, 1602–38). Danish composer and singer. He is first heard of in 1602, when he was one of a group of Danish musicians sent by King Christian IV to Venice to study with Giovanni Gabrieli. After his return in 1604 he was in the charge of Melchior Borchgrevinck until in 1611 he was appointed a singer at court. In the same year he was sent with three others (Mogens Pedersøn, Jacob Ørn and Martinus Otto) to England, where for three years they served Queen Anne, the Danish king's sister. Brachrogge is known to have paid another visit to Italy in 1619 and to have been rewarded with a benefice from Roskilde Cathedral in 1621. He figures in the court accounts until 1638, after which nothing is heard of him. His only known music is Madrigaletti a III voci, libro primo (Copenhagen, 1619¹³), a set of 21 pieces, including two by Pedersøn (ed. in Dania sonans, ii, ...


Lewis Lockwood

revised by John T. Brobeck


(d shortly before Jan 22, 1512). French singer and composer. Several musicians were known by this sobriquet. Braconnier ‘dit Lourdault’ was a member of three important musical establishments of the late 15th and early 16th century. He entered the service of Duke René II of Lorraine no later than 1478, and was paid as a singer and canon of the ducal chapel of St Georges, Nancy, between 1485 and 1506. His service to René was not continuous, however, for in 1496 he was employed as a ténoriste in the chapel of Archduke Philip the Fair of Burgundy, whom he accompanied on his voyages to Spain in 1501 and 1506. By April 1507, after Philip’s death, Braconnier had joined the entourage of King Louis XII of France, who then was campaigning in northern Italy. French and papal documents from 1510–12 identify Braconnier as a singer and chaplain of the French royal chapel. He obtained numerous ecclesiastical benefices both in France and in the Low Countries, and his date of death may be estimated from records pertaining to the benefices left vacant by his demise....


Horace Clarence Boyer

(b Bessemer, AL, Jan 23, 1927; d Newark, NJ, Feb 15, 1978). American gospel singer and composer. At the age of 13 he joined the Protective Harmoneers, a children’s gospel group in Bessemer, and had his own radio show on a local station. He attended Snow Hill Institute in Snow Hill, Alabama, and as a student teacher acquired the title “professor,” which he maintained throughout his career. While traveling with Mahalia Jackson in 1941–2, he copied down the names of promoters from her address book and left her employ to organize his own group, the Bradford Singers. When they made no great impression on the gospel field, Bradford joined Willie Webb and his singers, with whom he recorded “Every day and every hour” (1950). On the strength of its success he organized the Bradford Specials, an all-male group who sang in robes with pastel stoles and choreographed most of their songs. In ...


Chris Albertson


(b Montgomery, AL, Feb 14, 1893; d New York, NY, April 20, 1970). American jazz composer, pianist, and singer. He was raised in Atlanta, GA, where he had piano lessons as a child. After leaving home at an early age, he led a nomadic existence as a vaudeville performer and solo pianist before settling in Chicago in 1909 and moving to New York around 1912. He wrote, published, and energetically promoted his own music, but none of his efforts proved as rewarding as a 1920 Okeh Records release of Mamie Smith singing two of his songs, “That Thing Called Love” and “Crazy Blues.” The release resulted from Bradford’s persistent attempts to convince Okeh’s Fred Hagar that there was a market for African American singers. It is generally recognized as the first commercial recording of a blues sung by a black performer. Sales reached a million copies, generated a blues craze that boosted the careers of such singers as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Ida Cox, and awakened the record industry to an untapped potential that ultimately changed the sound and direction of America’s popular music....


Charles Hamm

revised by Kimberly Greene

(b London, England, March 20, 1774; d London, England, Feb 17, 1856). English tenor and composer. He made his debut as a boy soprano at Covent Garden in 1787. He sang in Europe after his voice broke, returning to England at the turn of the century, where he established a reputation as one of the country’s leading tenors. He traveled to the United States in the autumn of 1840 and, at the age of 68, “surpassed all expectations” with the “pathos, sublimity, power, and wonderful execution” of his voice. He appeared first in concert, with a selection of tenor and baritone airs from opera and oratorio mixed with popular ballads. His American operatic debut, at the Park Theatre in New York, was in Stephen Storace’s The Siege of Belgrade, and he went on to re-create many of his famous roles, in Charles Horn’s The Devil’s Bridge, Thomas Dibdin’s The Cabinet, and Weber’s Der Freischütz. At one point he astonished audiences and critics by appearing in seven demanding roles in less than two weeks....


(b ?Lowaige [now Lauw], Belgium, c1400–05; d before Oct 22, 1455). South Netherlandish composer and singer. The fact that he celebrated his first mass as a priest in 1426 suggests a date of birth of about 1400–05, while the designation ‘de Ludo’ sometimes appended to his name is thought to indicate that he was born in the village of Lowaige in the province of Limburg. Throughout his career he had close ties with Liège, where he held benefices at several churches. His earliest and most important connections were with the church of St Jean l'Evangeliste (from c1422) and the cathedral of St Lambert (from 1428), at each of which he for a time held the post of succentor. His associations with both institutions continued into the 1430s, and several of his motets were apparently composed for them. He visited Rome in the mid-1420s, and in ...


Lewis Lockwood

revised by David M. Kidger

(fl late 15th century; d before Feb 12, 1479). French singer and composer, active in Italy. In November 1471 he was listed under the name ‘fra Zoane de Franza cantadore’ among the first singers hired by Duke Ercole I d’Este of Ferrara for his newly founded court chapel. In the following year he is listed in court records as ‘fra Zoanne Biribis, maestro de cappella’. In 1473 Johannes Martini joined the Ferrarese chapel and took over the position of cantadore from Brebis. It is known that in 1472 Brebis was in debt to the Ferrara court exchequer, and that in 1475 a debt of this kind was partly cancelled through the intervention of Duke Ercole. He remained in service at the court until 1478, in which year Ercole made him archpriest of the parish church of Coccanile, in the Ferrarese contado. A notarial document of 12 February 1479...


Katherine K. Preston and Martin Marks

(b Pittsburgh, June 29, 1870; d Los Angeles, Jan 23, 1926). American singer and composer. He began to study music at the age of 11. After attending Pittsburgh College, St Fidelis College (Butler, Pennsylvania) and Curry University (Pittsburgh), he was sent to Leipzig to study law. In Leipzig he also studied music at the Conservatory and took singing lessons with Ewald; these were followed by singing lessons in Milan and Philadelphia (with Giuseppe del Puente). He toured as principal tenor of the Emma Juch Opera Company (1891–2) before returning to Pittsburgh to teach singing and to direct the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral (1892–7). From 1897 to 1903 he was music director for several theatre companies, and from 1903 to 1910 he worked as a reviser and music editor, also composing many songs. He first gained recognition as a composer in 1909 with his incidental music to ...


Ann Willison Lemke

[Bettine, Elisabeth]

(b Frankfurt, April 4, 1785; d Berlin, Jan 20, 1859). German writer, editor, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist and patron of young artists. Although known today primarily for her writing and her illustrious associates, Bettine was also a talented musician. She composed songs in a simple folk style, choosing texts by poets she knew and loved, including Goethe, Achim von Armin, and her brother, Clemens Brentano. She helped gather songs for Armin and Brentano’s influential collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1806–8) and decades later published a fourth volume based on their notes (ed. Ludwig Erk, 1854). From 1808 to 1809 she studied singing and composition with Peter von Winter and the piano with Sebastian Bopp in Munich. Her first two songs appeared under the pseudonym ‘Beans Beor’ (‘blessing I am blessed’) with Arnim’s literary works. After her crucial meeting with Beethoven in Vienna (May, 1810), she mediated between him and Goethe....


David Griffioen

(b Năsăud, March 25, 1887; d Cluj, Dec 1, 1968). Romanian composer, singer, director and conductor. He began formal studies in Năsăud and continued in 1906 at the conservatory in Cluj (then Kolozsvár). In 1908 he entered the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied singing with Gustav Geiringer and Julius Meixner. After a temporary disruption he enrolled at the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, studying this time with József Sík. He graduated in 1912, having also earned his licentiate in law from the University of Cluj in 1910.

Bretan’s professional career began at the Bratislava Opera in 1913, followed by a position at the Oradea Opera. In 1917 he settled permanently in Cluj, fulfilling responsibilities as singer, stage director and even briefly director-general (Romanian Opera, 1944–5) for the various resident Hungarian and Romanian opera companies there, until political circumstances forced his retirement in 1948...


David Fallows

[Breeu, Brawe] [Constans de Languebroek, Constans de Trecht]

(d 1481). Franco-Flemish singer and composer. He was chaplain in the Burgundian court chapel from December 1442 to 1479, and he also held a prebend ‘pro nobili’ at Cambrai Cathedral from 5 November 1451 to 17 November 1452 ( F-CA 1046, f.143v–144). In the 1460s he was listed as a member of the confraternity of St Jacques-sur-Coudenberghe at Brussels as ‘her Constans de senghere’ (see Pinchart). His nephew, Johannes Bouvart ‘de Tricht’ or ‘de Mastricht’, was in the Burgundian chapel from 1453 to 1476. (Languebroek, then, may have been north of Maastricht where a Langbroekbeek still exists, although Marix, 1939, suggested it was Langeboeken near Ghent.)

From November 1456 to December 1457 Hayne van Ghizeghem, a young boy and a protégé of the future Charles the Bold, was lodged at the home of Constans. The account books for subsequent years are lost, but Hayne may well have remained there and received his initial musical training from Constans. The two three-part textless pieces in ...


(b Honolulu, HI, Nov 9, 1909; d Honolulu, HI, April 27, 1992). Hawaiian singer, musician, bandleader, composer, and impresario. Sol Bright was a master entertainer of the old school: an energetic showman, accomplished musician, comic hula dancer, composer, raconteur, and entertainment director during Hawaiian music’s era of greatest international appeal, the 1920s through the 1960s.

His professional experience began as a teenager playing drums with his sister Hannah’s dance band. In 1928 an offer to play rhythm guitar and sing with Sol Ho`opi`i took him to Kaleponi (California), where a large community of Hawaiian musicians had formed. He started his own group, The Hollywood Hawaiians, in 1932. Playing steel guitar and singing, he recorded prolifically for major labels. He also appeared on radio and in four films: South Sea Rose,Charlie Chan’s Greatest Case,Flirtation Walk, and White Woman. Bright composed a number of songs that have become standards, including the jazzy English language “Sophisticated Hula” and “Hawaiian Cowboy,” a show-stopping novelty song in Hawaiian. With rapid-fire verses, reflective of fast ...


Chadwick Jenkins

[Hapgood, Hattie L.]

(b Los Angeles, CA, Oct 29, 1916; d Los Angeles, CA, Nov 21, 2002). American jazz pianist, singer, and composer. She was raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. After attending the University of Chicago, she worked as a dance studio accompanist in the early 1940s for the choreographer Willie Covan, who trained such figures as Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple. She began to mold her style in the manner of Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. The recording mogul Jules Bihari gave her the name Hadda Brooks, and it was for his label Modern Music Records that she recorded her first hit, “Swingin’ the Boogie” (1945), after which she soon earned the billing Queen of the Boogie. Charlie Barnet suggested that Brooks learn to sing the song You won’t let me go, and it became her first vocal release in 1947. That same year Brooks was cast in the film ...