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Elisabeth Cook

( b Dijon, Oct 7, 1719; d Paris, Sept 25, 1792). French writer . Educated at the Jesuit college of Dijon, he entered the marine ministry, serving as contrôleur to the West Indies from 1747 to 1759. He retired at an early age, due to ill health and on his return to France he adopted literature as his profession. The themes of his fashionable fairy stories, contes and romances inspired contemporary opera: Dalayrac's Agnès et Olivier (1791) was based on the romance Olivier, which had secured Cazotte's literary reputation, and his masterpiece, the conte Le diable amoureux, served as the model for Paisiello's L'infante de Zamore (1781). His one libretto, to Duni's opéra comique Les sabots (1768), was unsuccessful: Duni sought the assistance of Sedaine, who refashioned the text substantially but retained Cazotte's name on the title-page.

Cazotte also contributed two pamphlets to the Querelle des Bouffons while on leave in Paris in ...


David E. Campbell

revised by Laura L. Broughton


(b Newport, Rhode Island, April 29, 1902; d Boston, July 27, 1961). American composer and critic. He studied the piano and composition with Hans Ebell and theory with Arthur Shepherd, and in 1919 entered the New York Institute of Musical Art to study with Richard Buhling (piano) and Goetschius (counterpoint). Later he worked under Ernest Bloch at the Cleveland Institute and attended Brasenose College, Oxford University (1923–5). After studying composition for three years with Boulanger in Paris, he returned to the USA in 1933; for a short time in the following year he was music critic for the Boston Herald. He won the League of Composers Town Hall Award in 1940 with Four Rhymes from Peacock Pie, and received two Guggenheim fellowships (1940, 1944). He taught at the Peabody Conservatory (1945–7) and later at the Longy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remained until his retirement in ...


April Fitzlyon

(b Taganrog, 17/Jan 29, 1860; d Badenweiler, 2/July 15, 1904). Russian dramatist and short-story writer. He moved to Moscow in 1879 and, while qualifying as a doctor, wrote (for comic papers) stories which became popular; some appeared in book form in 1886. The publisher Suvorin then gave him financial security, and his style began to change: his stories became less anecdotal, more profound, sometimes tragic; plot and narrative diminished, replaced by evocations of mood alone. His first play to be produced, Ivanov (1887), was a success; but The Seagull (1896) was a failure until it was restaged by the newly formed Moscow Arts Theatre in 1898, at which time it established Chekhov as a major dramatist and created the theatre’s reputation. Uncle Vanya (1899), The Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904) were all triumphs. In ...


John Tyrrell

( b Prague, Jan 1, 1851; d Prague, Oct 28, 1924). Czech critic and composer . He studied as a railway engineer in Vienna and worked all his life as an official of a railway company in Prague. A composition pupil of Fibich and Josef Foerster, he began writing music criticism for Lumír in 1878. He was best known for his writing in the daily press, in Politik and Národní politika (1880–1921, under the cypher ‘-la’), where he championed Dvořák and Fibich and, of the younger generation, Suk and Novák. Conscientious and well informed, his reviews were to the point and free of malicious polemics and chauvinism. Particularly valuable is his early, eye-witness account of Czech national music (1886). Four volumes of memoirs remain unpublished, apart from a few excerpts (e.g. 1916). His compositions, now forgotten, include the opera Záboj (3, J. Vrchlický, 1906–7), belatedly performed at the Prague National Theatre on ...


H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Michael Meckna

(b Skierniewice, Poland, Feb 6, 1909; d London, May 4, 1974). American composer and critic. He was brought to the USA at the age of three and became an American citizen. He studied with Copland and Sessions in New York, and from 1927 to 1931 with Boulanger in Paris. In 1932 his String Quartet was performed at the first Festival of Contemporary American Music at Yaddo. During the 1930s he published considerable criticism of new music, especially in Modern Music and Musical Mercury; his essay ‘The Role of Heinrich Schenker’ (MM, xi, 1933–4, pp.18–23) was probably the first in English to treat that theorist. In 1939 he was appointed teacher of counterpoint and composition at the Dalcroze School of Music in New York. In 1969 he moved to London. Although not a prolific composer, he gained some recognition for his choral and chamber music. He had a special gift for text setting, and lyrical qualities also dominate his instrumental music....


Paul Griffiths and Barbara L. Kelly

(b Villeneuve-sur-Fère-en-Tardenois, Aisne, Aug 6, 1868; d Paris, Feb 23, 1955). French writer. His most important musical collaborator was Milhaud, whom he first met in 1912. Milhaud was soon involved in providing music for his translations of the first two parts of the Oresteia (1913–15), thus beginning a working friendship that lasted, with more or less intensity, for 40 years. There is some curiosity in the fact that Claudel – a northerner and an undoubting Catholic, who came increasingly to see his role as that of a Biblical exegetist and interpreter of the faith – should have been able to collaborate with the Provençal Jewish composer. Milhaud might have shared Claudel’s enthusiasm for the Old Testament, but nothing came of the major religious works they discussed. When Claudel produced a work of patriotic and Catholic hagiography, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, it was to Honegger that he turned for the music. However, Claudel did admire Milhaud’s facility, his ability to intensify verbal rhythms (often in percussion music) and his handling of declamatory choruses. And the very eclecticism of Milhaud’s music made it an adaptable instrument in defining the complicated levels of Claudel’s drama. These separate levels of action are sometimes physically present on the stage, as in the nocturnal-forest ballet ...


Gerald Larner

(b London, July 6, 1917; d London, March 2, 1995). English composer and critic. He was educated at Winchester and King’s College, Cambridge, where he read natural sciences. Already an accomplished cellist, he entered the Royal College of Music in 1944 to study the instrument with Ivor James as well as harmony with Morris and composition with Howells. He played freelance in various London orchestras and also studied with Boulanger in Paris. From 1964 he combined the role of composer with that of music critic for The Guardian, where his notices were distinguished not only by their authority, derived from a long all-round experience of music-making, but also by their engaging intellectual vivacity.

Cole’s music has something of the same quality as his criticism. It is fresh, never short of good ideas and, if limited in expressive and structural scope, never pretentious. The clarity of his writing, its uncomplicated rhythms, and the general familiarity of his idiom – basically neo-classical and recognizably English in spite of the echoes of Copland – have made him a particularly successful composer of operas and other pieces for young and amateur performers. His ...



Richard Langham Smith

[Gauthier-Villars, Sidonie Gabriel]

(b St Sauveur-en-Puisaye, Jan 28, 1873; d Paris, Aug 3, 1954). French writer. After she married the music critic known as Willy (Henri Gauthier-Villars) she became prominent in Parisian musical circles, and her association with the world of music continued long after their divorce. She was the librettist of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, but the collaboration involved little personal contact and it was not until after Ravel had finished the opera that she came to know him. Her infamous ‘Claudine’ novels, which Willy published under his own name, created a vogue, one result of which was the operetta Claudine by Rodolphe Berger. Music criticisms signed ‘Claudine’ were probably Colette’s work and on several occasions she was sent to the same concert as Debussy to produce a different viewpoint.

H. Jourdan-Morhange: Ravel et nous (Geneva, 1945) Colette: En pays connu (Paris, 1949) [memoirs relating to Ravel and L’enfant et les sortilèges...


Walter Simmons

(b Rochester, NY, June 12, 1982). American composer, organist, writer, and critic. He was exposed to music from an early age (his paternal grandmother was a music teacher and an Eastman graduate). He began piano lessons at age 3; organ lessons with Bruce Klanderman followed at age 10. It was then that he began to turn his attention to composition. His formal education took place at Harvard (AB, 2000) and Carnegie Mellon (MM, 2006). Among his chief composition teachers were bernard Rands and Judith Weir.

With a voracious interest in the entire history of Western music and an unquenchable drive to compose, Cooman has amassed an enormous body of work (nearly a thousand opus numbers before reaching the age of 30), while pursuing parallel career tracks as an organist specializing in contemporary works (including more than 100 premieres), as a writer on many musical subjects, and as a consultant to other composers. His own music embraces a vast range of styles and genres, sacred as well as secular, from tonal choral anthems to atonal orchestral, solo, and chamber music, from songs to full operas, along with a variety of postmodern hybrids. He has written a large number of occasional pieces, as well as compositions for unusual instrumental combinations, avowing a belief in the value of such utilitarian pieces equivalent to that of more ambitious, large-scale works. Most of his recent music has been composed on commission, and his works are performed frequently throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and elsewhere. Dozens have appeared on recordings....


John Trevitt

(b Paris, May 26, 1846; d Noirmoutier, Vendée, Aug 20, 1910). French composer and critic. He was a fellow pupil of Duparc at the Jesuit college in the rue Vaugirard, where in 1865–6 he received instruction in harmony from César Franck. His ambitions, however, lay in a legal career; he gained his doctorate of jurisprudence in 1870 and became, after distinguished service in the National Guard, secretary to Senator Martel. He continued to practise law until 1881; only Le chant des épées, a ballade for baritone and orchestra (Colonne Concerts, 1876) had been performed. On returning to composition he cultivated this genre assiduously, notably in the monologue dramatique Le songe d’Andromaque (1884). His interest in classical literature and French classical drama is reflected in his incidental music, although for his operas, such as L’épée du roi (1884), he chose more contemporary subjects. He was one of the most industrious of Franck’s circle and spent much time in the propagation of the music of others; he assisted in the orchestration of Franck’s ...