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Stefano Zenni

(b Turin, Italy, March 21, 1952). Italian tenor and baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and leader. He first played jazz in the Turin area in the early 1970s. In 1974 he was a founding member, with the guitarist Claudio Lodati, the double bass player Enrico Fazio, and the drummer Fiorenzo Sordini, of the quartet Art Studio, for which all four members provide compositions and arrangements; the group plays throughout Europe in a style mixing free improvisation techniques, extended forms, and contrapuntal work. In 1984 Actis Dato formed his own quartet, consisting of the saxophonist Piero Ponzo, Fazio, and Sordini; it toured internationally through the 1990s, from the USA to Africa to Japan. He was also a member of the Democratic Orchestra (1982–5), Mitteleuropa Orchestra (1982–90), Pino Minafra’s quintet (1984–9) and Sud Ensemble (from 1994), and the Italian Instabile Orchestra (from 1990). In ...

Article

Francesco Bussi

[Charles]

(b Naples, Aug 25, 1829; d Portici, nr Naples, Feb 2, 1909). Italian composer and pianist. He studied the piano and composition in his native town, where he spent his entire life. His prolific output of fluently written, light and brilliant pieces (more than 400 works) won great success with the conventional middle class in Naples, which was culturally behind the times and inclined towards the flimsy, often frivolous genre of salon pieces: Acton's works became an indispensable part of the piano repertory of all daughters ‘of good family’ in Bourbon Naples. An amiable figure but of little distinction, he had no following of his own as a teacher, unlike his Neapolitan colleagues Costantino Palumbo and Alfonso Rendano.

Article

Liz Thomson

(Claxton)

(b Maynardville, TN, Sept 15, 1903; d Nashville, TN, Nov 23, 1992). American country singer-songwriter and publisher. He was first influenced by traditional music heard at home, much of it British, and by music at the church where his father was the pastor. His Southern Baptist heritage became evident in the mournful, wailing style of his vocals. A keen sportsman, he was denied a professional athletic career through ill-health, but learnt to play his father’s fiddle. His early career was in so-called medicine shows, and radio appearances with local musicians led to the formation of his first group, the Tennessee Crackerjacks. His first record followed in 1937, and he made his début on ‘The Grand Old Opry’ radio show, subsequently becoming a regular contributor as Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys. His recording of the Carter family classic Wabash Cannonball earned him a gold disc and led to nationwide tours as well as work in Hollywood....

Article

Catherine Collins

revised by Barry Kernfeld

[AlejandroNeciosup-Acuña, Alejandro]

(bPativilca, Peru, Dec 12, 1944). Peruviandrummer and percussionist. He learned trumpet and piano with his father, but was self-taught as a drummer. At the age of 16 he became a studio musician in Lima and in 1964 he was engaged by the dance-band leader Perez Prado to work in Las Vegas. From 1966 to 1974 he played in bands and worked as a studio musician in Puerto Rico. After moving to Las Vegas in 1975 he joined Weather Report, first as a percussionist (October 1975 to April 1976), then as the drummer (April 1976 to October 1977); he recorded two albums with the group, one of which was the highly successful Heavy Weather (1976, Col. PC34418). He also worked with Al Jarreau and Lee Ritenour, joined the Christian fusion group Koinonia (1980), and recorded with (among others) Clare Fischer (...

Article

Lars Westin

(b Spånga, Sweden, April 18, 1945). Swedish trumpeter, composer, and leader. He started playing in amateur bands around Stockholm while in his teens and worked towards a career as a lawyer before becoming a full-time musician in 1972, upon the formation of the group Egba; he eventually became the leader of the band and the main contributor of compositions to its repertory. Egba’s music combined jazz-rock with African and Latin rhythms and melodies, though its last album (it disbanded in 1991) incorporates drum machines and other computerized elements. Adåker also worked with Johnny Dyani, the Stockholm-based orchestra Hot Salsa, and Radiojazzgruppen (ii), among others. From the early 1990s he has appeared as a jazz soloist in a variety of settings, often playing in the hard-bop tradition. His own groups have varied in size from quartet to octet (including a string section), and he has displayed great skill and imagination as a composer of works for Radiojazzgruppen (as heard on the album ...

Article

T.M. Scruggs

(b Danlí, 1872; d Tegucigalpa, 1947). Honduran composer and concert bandleader. He studied at the Honduran National Conservatory and was active as an organist in Guatemala City and in Danlí. Trained also as a civil engineer, he invented an organ of bamboo pipes he named the orquestrofono. In 1895 he formed a municipal band and orchestra in Danlí, from whose success he was promoted to supervise all military bands, the salient performance ensembles of classical music at the time. Under his leadership, the band of the Supremos Poderes achieved regional prominence. His output of polkas, waltzes, mazurkas and marches all scored for concert band reflects the musical environment of the Honduran middle class in the first decades of the 20th century. Two of his major compositions received international exposure: La suita tropical in Seville, Spain; and Los funerales de un conejito, which was performed by the US Service Orchestra in Washington, DC, in ...

Article

José López-Calo

(b La Coruña, Aug 24, 1826; d Lóngora, nr La Coruña, Oct 16, 1881). Spanish composer. He studied the piano with Moscheles in London from 1840 to 1844, and possibly also had lessons from Chopin in Paris. On his return to Spain he lived in La Coruña and Madrid, where some of his compositions were performed, and then at his palace of Lóngora, where he dedicated himself wholly to composition. The influence of Moscheles and, particularly, Chopin was decisive throughout his creative life. He composed one opera, Inese e Bianca, which, in spite of his efforts, was never staged. More important are his piano works and songs, the latter clearly influenced by lieder. In his Cantares nuevos y viejos de Galicia (1877) he united the folklore of Galicia with the technique and spirit of Romantic piano music. He also promoted the musical culture of his native province, developing courses and competitions in music....

Article

James Wierzbicki

( b Sumatra, Nov 5, 1917; d New York, July 4, 1983). American cellist and composer . He spent the first six years of his life in Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), where his father, Tassilo Adam, worked as an ethnologist; after the family returned to Europe he studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum. In 1929 the family moved to New York, where Adam studied the cello with E. Stoffnegen, D.C. Dounis and (from 1938 to 1940) Feuermann; he also studied conducting with Barzin and composition with Blatt, and was a member of the National Orchestral Association, a training group for young instrumentalists (1935–40). From 1940 to 1943 he was principal cellist of the Minneapolis SO. After serving in the US Air Force during World War II, he studied composition in New York with Wolpe. In 1948 he formed the New Music Quartet, with which he performed until ...

Article

Charles Pitt

(b Hinsbourg, Jan 4, 1904; d Illkirch-Graffenstaden, Sept 7, 1984). French conductor, composer and opera administrator . He studied in Strasbourg with Erb and in Paris with Koechlin and Gédalge. He joined the Strasbourg Opera in 1933 as a répétiteur and stayed until he retired in 1972, being successively chorus master (1933–6), conductor from 1936, co-director (with Ernest Bour) from 1955 to 1960 and director (1960–72).

Adam sought to create a balanced repertory of French, German and Italian classics, together with contemporary works (such as Jean Martinon’s Hécube, 1956, which was specially commissioned) and revivals of rarely given masterpieces such as Les Troyens (1960) and Roussel’s Padmâvatî (1967). He gave the first French performances of Bizet’s Don Procopio (1958), Françaix’s L’apostrophe (1958), Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero (1961), Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten (1965), Britten’s ...

Article

Ferenc Bónis and Anna Dalos

(b Szigetszentmiklós, Dec 12, 1896; d Budapest, May 15, 1982). Hungarian composer, conductor and teacher. From 1911 until 1915 he received instruction in organ playing and theory at the Budapest teacher-training college. Then, as a prisoner of war (1916–20), he organized and conducted a men’s choir and an orchestra in Russia. He studied composition at the Budapest Academy of Music under Kodály (1921–25) and conducting in Weingartner’s masterclass in Basle (1933–5). He conducted the orchestra (1929–39) and the choir (1929–54) of the Budapest Academy where he also taught Hungarian folk music, choral conducting and methodology from 1939 to 1959, and where he directed the singing department from 1942 to 1957.

Ádám began his career as a conductor in Budapest in 1929 with a performance of Haydn’s The Seasons. From 1929 until 1933 he was deputy conductor of the Budapest Choral and Orchestral Society. With the male choir Budai Dalárda, which he directed from ...