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Emilio Casares

(b Bilbao, Aug 10, 1838; d Mendoza, Argentina, July 19, 1901). Spanish composer. He studied in Madrid, Paris, and then Milan, where he was a pupil of Lauro Rossi. He held conducting posts in Bilbao and Madrid before settling in Buenos Aires in 1876, where he conducted at the Teatro de la Opera. He sometimes acted as impresario, and his final appointment was as director of the National Conservatory of Music.

Most of Aguirre’s music is lost, including the opera Gli amanti di Teruel (first performed at the Teatro Principal in Valencia on 16 December 1865). With an Italian text (by Rosario Zapater) and cast with Italian singers, the opera reflected the domination of Italian opera in Spain at the time. It was favourably received in the press, but comparisons made with Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti suggest it was of no great originality. Aguirre wrote two other operas, ...

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Susana Salgado

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 28, 1868; d Buenos Aires, Aug 13, 1924). Argentine composer and pianist. He attended the Madrid Conservatory (1882–6), studying composition with Arrieta, harmony with Aranguren and fugue with Cató, and taking first prizes for piano, harmony and counterpoint. While in Spain he impressed Albéniz with his playing, and when he returned to Argentina in 1886 he made a reputation as a pianist. He gave concerts in the interior of the country, staying for a year in Rosario, and then settled in Buenos Aires, where he played a significant part in the musical life of the city. As a composer he followed the national style initiated by Williams, using native folk melodies of the gauchos, particularly tristes, in numerous songs. These established him as one of the most highly esteemed Argentine composers of his generation. He was secretary and harmony professor at the conservatories founded by Gutiérrez and Williams; and he helped to create the music section of the Buenos Aires Athenaeum (...

Article

Craig H. Russell

(fl ? late 17th to early 18th century). Mexican music copyist. He may have been related to Juan Rodríguez de Aguirre, a músico and cantor at the royal chapel in Madrid in the latter part of the 17th century. The only known manuscript copied by him is the Códice Saldívar no.2 (a tablature in the possession of Gabriel Saldívar y Silva's family, Mexico City), one of the most valuable and fascinating instrumental anthologies to come out of the New World. It contains over 100 works of Mexican, Caribbean, Central American and Spanish origin. The American pieces are particularly interesting, bearing such engaging titles as Portorrico, Panamá, Corrido and Tocotín; most give only a bare harmonic skeleton in block chords followed by a few bars of melodic improvisation. This is some of the earliest, if not the earliest, notated secular music indigenous to New Spain, while the piece entitled Portorrico de los negros por 1 y 2 rasgado...

Article

(b ?Mexico City, c1625; d ?Toluca, 1695). Mexican composer. He was named as a singer in Mexico City Cathedral on 20 May 1647 with a salary of 100 peso; this was reduced to 90 peso, because of the cathedral’s financial difficulties, some time after 1646, but increased to 120 peso on 30 April 1665. In 1676 Agurto was made maestro de los villancicos, in 1677 maestro compositor and in 1685/6 maestro de capilla. On 3 September 1688 he was succeeded by Antonio de Salazar, but he remained active at the cathedral at least until 1695, the probable year of his death. By then he was living in nearby Toluca.

Agurto collaborated with the celebrated Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz, and with other librettists, on several villancico cycles between 1676 and 1686. The music of only one villancico survives (ed. F. Ramírez Ramírez: Trece obras de la colección J. Sánchez Garza...

Article

John A. Parkinson

revised by Simon McVeigh

[Joseph]

(b c1725; d ?April 1803). Italian composer and violinist. By 1748 he was in London, where his orchestral career lasted over half a century. He was particularly in demand as a composer of ballet music for the Italian opera, and by 1758 works by him were included in the anthology known as Hasse’s Comic Tunes. A selection from the eighth volume is entirely by him, and between 1768 and 1788 he published no fewer than seven further books of opera dances. In addition to publishing collections of his own vocal and instrumental music, Agus edited Six Favourite Overtures in 8 Parts (London, 1762) containing works by Cocchi, Galuppi, Jommelli and Graun. His sonatas and trios are fluent essays in the Tartini idiom, with judicious use of double stopping. However, public taste was best suited by his flair for brief but tuneful dance movements in a variety of styles, the tambourin being especially favoured....

Article

John A. Parkinson

revised by Simon McVeigh

(Francis)

(b 1749, d Paris, 1798). Italian violinist and composer. He was probably the son of Giuseppe Agus. Having studied the violin under Nardini in Italy, ‘Agus jr’ first appeared in London on 26 February 1773 at the Haymarket. In 1778 Blundell published his duets for two violins.

On 19 March 1778 he was found guilty at Kingston assizes of attempted rape upon his 11-year-old godchild, Elizabeth Weichsell, and as a result of this scandal he emigrated to France. He was appointed maître de solfège at the Paris Conservatoire in 1795, where he received a grant of 3000 livres from the National Council. He contributed to the collection of solfeggi issued under the Conservatoire’s auspices. Two collections of instrumental arrangements of catches and glees were published in England, and a set of trios in Paris, where Barbieri impudently republished his violin duets as Boccherini’s op.37.

Many errors in earlier editions of ...

Article

Gerard Béhague

(b Montevideo, August 4, 1940). Uruguayan composer, musicologist and teacher of Armenian parentage. He studied composition with Tosar (1955–7, 1966–9), the piano with Adela Herrera-Lerena (1945–59), conducting with Jacques Bodmer (1966–9), musicology with Ayestarán (1964–6) and electro-acoustic techniques with Henry Jasa (1961–3). In Buenos Aires he studied at the Instituto Torcuato di Tella with Gandini and Kroepfl (1969), in Venice with Nono (1970), at the Darmstadt summer courses with Ligeti, Aloys Kontarsky, Xenakis, Globokar and Christian Wolff (1970, 1974), and at various of the Latin American Courses for Contemporary Music with Mumma, Rabe and others (1971–89).

Aharonián has been influential as a teacher and as an organizer of activities in music and music education both in Uruguay and abroad. His teaching specializations range from composition, choral conducting and organology to analysis, musical folklore and music and society; he has taught mainly at the Uruguayan National University and the National Institute for Teacher Training, as well as privately. An assiduous participant and lecturer in seminars and workshops in Europe, the Americas and the Philippines, he has been a member of the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and of the presidential council of the ISCM, and the executive secretary of the Latin American Courses for Contemporary Music. He has received numerous awards from Uruguay and other countries for his work as a composer, musicologist and choral conductor, and commissions from France, Poland, Sweden and Germany....

Article

Ernie Gallagher

(Anthony)

(b Sydney, Nov 2, 1947; d Sydney, Jan 31, 1988). Australian composer. He studied with Butterley and Meale, and began composing at a young age, writing many works, the most significant being After Mallarmé (1966). Following this came Music for Nine and Ned Kelly Music, the latter representing a break with European tradition. During the late 1960s and the 1970s Ahern continued to challenge the Sydney music establishment with his unconventional works and uncompromisingly avant-garde ideals.

In 1968 Ahern studied with Stockhausen, gaining a diploma in new music from the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne and attending the Darmstadt summer course. On returning to Australia, he completed his next work, Journal (1969), commissioned for Australia’s bicentenary. In 1969 Ahern returned to Germany to work as Stockhausen’s assistant. He then travelled to London where he was included in the early concerts of Cardew’s newly formed Scratch Orchestra....

Article

George J. Buelow

(b Mühlhausen, bap. June 12, 1651; d Mühlhausen, Dec 2, 1706). German composer, theorist, organist and poet, son of Johann Rudolf Ahle. He no doubt received his musical education from his father, whom he succeeded at the age of 23 as organist of St Blasius, Mühlhausen. Like his father he held the post until his death, and he was succeeded by the young Bach. Again like his father, he was elected to the town council. He was described on the title-page of his Sapphisches Ehrenlied (1680) as a bachelor of law, but it is not known where he studied. His education may well have included training in literary composition, for he distinguished himself as a poet and was made poet laureate by the Emperor Leopold I in 1680. His music, some of which is lost, is almost totally unknown. Much of it is scattered through his series of anecdotal novels, named after the Muses, which themselves deserve closer study. He clearly followed his father in his interest in writing songs, both sacred and secular, and his style in them seems to be even more popular and folklike. He also composed music for the church and for occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, celebrations of political events and ceremonies honouring distinguished visitors to Mühlhausen. Among his theoretical writings is his enlarged and copiously annotated edition of his father's singing manual. Here, as in his own treatises, among which the four ...

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George J. Buelow

(b Mühlhausen, Dec 24, 1625; d Mühlhausen, July 9, 1673). German composer, organist, writer on music and poet, father of Johann Georg Ahle. He was a prolific composer of popular sacred music, notably songs, in central Germany a generation before J.S. Bach.

The date of Ahle’s birth derives from a report published in the Neues Mühlhäusisches Wochenblatt (1798, no.31; see Wolf). He was educated first at the local Gymnasium and then, from about 1643, at the Gymnasium at Göttingen. In the spring of 1645 he entered Erfurt University as a student of theology. Nothing is known of his musical training, though in 1646, while enrolled at the university, he was appointed Kantor at the elementary school and church of St Andreas, Erfurt, and at this period he became well known for his ability as an organist. He returned to Mühlhausen to marry in 1650, but only at the end of ...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

revised by Hildegard Surner

(b Regensburg, Feb 28, 1755; d Prague, Dec 20, 1810). German composer, writer and pianist. The daughter of Prince Alexander Ferdinand of Thurn and Taxis and his third wife Maria Henrietta Josepha, princess of Fürstenberg - Stühhugen, and a goddaughter of Empress Maria Theresa, she spent her early years at her father's court in Regensburg. In 1780 she married the Danish diplomat Count Ferdinand von Ahlefeldt-Langeland-Rixingen. In the following decade they lived at the court of the last Margrave of Ansbach, Karl Alexander, where she belonged to the circle of Lady Elizabeth Craven (later margravine) and was active in musical and literary spheres. In 1791, after the dissolution of the Ansbach court, Countess Ahlefeldt moved to Denmark with her husband, who was superintendent of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen from 1792 to 1794. The couple later moved to Dresden (1798) and Prague (1800). Ahlefeldt came to public notice as a composer in both Ansbach and Copenhagen, having particular success with the four-act opera-ballet ...

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Bryan S. Wright

(b New York, NY, Sept 19, 1892; d New York, NY, Oct 20, 1953). American songwriter and arranger. He was raised in Manhattan and, after graduating from the City College of New York and Fordham Law School, took a job with publishers Waterson, Berlin, and Snyder. He began writing songs for vaudeville acts and had his first notable success with the 1920 song “I’d Love to Fall Asleep and Wake Up in My Mammy’s Arms” (co-written with Sam Lewis and Joe Young). In the 1920s and 1930s, he wrote arrangements for such dance orchestras as Irving Aaronson’s Commanders and Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians. He is perhaps best remembered for his Tin Pan Alley collaborations with lyricist Roy Turk, with whom he wrote such songs as “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You),” “Mean to Me,” “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day” (which became Bing Crosby’s theme song), and “Love, You Funny Thing!” For a time in the early 1930s, Ahlert lived in Los Angeles where he wrote scores for films such as ...

Article

Harry Haskell

(b Lancaster, NY, Feb 22, 1927; d San Francisco, Aug 23, 1992). American composer. He studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School and the California Institute of Asian Studies. His principal teachers were Hovhaness, Cowell and Bernard Rogers. He taught at Northwestern University (1961–2), Southern Methodist University (1962–7) and Eastern Illinois University (1967–76) before moving to San Francisco as a freelance composer and writer. In 1982 he founded VOICES/SF, Bay Area Youth Opera, an ensemble specializing in new American musical theatre. Ahlstrom’s one-act chamber opera Three Sisters who are not Sisters, to a libretto by Gertrude Stein, was first performed on 1 March 1953 at the Cincinnati Conservatory. Two years later he set another Stein text, Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights; it was first performed by VOICES/SF on 29 October 1982. Both works recall the Thomson-Stein operas in their mixture of straightforward tonality and sophisticated prosody. His musical comedy ...

Article

Axel Helmer

(b Visby, June 5, 1805; d Stockholm, May 4, 1857). Swedish composer, conductor and organist. He studied music at the University of Uppsala and became the musical director of E.V. Djurstrms theatre company in 1828. From 1832 to 1842 he was a teacher at the Gymnasium in Vsterå and the city’s cathedral organist. He then moved to Stockholm, where he was a conductor of various theatre orchestras, for which he composed the music for about 100 productions, often in collaboration with August Blanche. His only full-length opera, Alfred den store (Alfred the Great), based on a text of Theodor Krner, was written in 1848 but never performed; another opera, Abu Hassan, was not finished. His other compositions include about 300 entractes, a vocal symphony, some orchestral works, a piano concerto and solo piano pieces. He also edited collections of Swedish and Nordic folksongs and folkdances and compiled a pocket dictionary of music (...

Article

Bertil H. van Boer

(b Åletorp, Värdinge, Aug 14, 1756; d Stockholm, Aug 11, 1835). Swedish composer. After early musical education with a local organist, he moved in 1772 to Stockholm, where he was instructed in composition by Ferdinand Zellbell the younger. In 1777 he was appointed organist at the Mariakyrka and in 1786 at the Jakobskyrka. Though he made his livelihood mainly in government posts, he was active as a music publisher from 1787 to 1823, under royal privilege; in the journals he founded, Musikaliskt tidsfördrif (‘Musical Pastimes’, 1789–1834) and Skaldestycken satte i musik (‘Poetry Set to Music’, 1790–1823) he often published his own piano reductions of portions of the most popular operas in Stockholm during the period. His own operatic works, beginning with the nationalist comedy Frigga (1787), demonstrate a good sense of lyrical line coupled with influences from the opéras comiques of Grétry and Dalayrac. His orchestration is often fairly dense, and sometimes rich in texture. He was highly esteemed as a pianist and composer of songs, most of which were published in his own journals. He also wrote numerous pedagogical keyboard pieces for the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm....

Article

Samha El-Kholy

(b Cairo, Jan 6, 1896; d Cairo, Feb 16, 1961). Egyptian composer. He studied the vocal repertory (mūwashshaḥ and adwār) with Darwish Al-Hariry, learnt to recite the Qur'an with Ismail Succar and also studied the ‘ūd. He started his career as a member of the chorus of the singer Aly Mahmud, and shortly afterwards started to compose religious chants, scoring his first success with some taqtuqas (light songs), which were later recorded by several leading singers. From 1924 he composed operettas; of the 56 he wrote, the two best known are Youm el qiyamah (‘Doomsday’, 1940) and Aziza wa Younes (‘Aziza and Younes’, performed 1941), both written for the National Theatre and both still sometimes performed. His 1075 songs embrace the taqtuqa, mūwashshaḥ and adwār and include long narrative songs in the sentimental modern manner and songs for films. There is a shift in output from ...

Article

Ilkka Oramo

(b Forssa, March 9, 1949). Finnish composer. He studied composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara at the Sibelius Academy (diploma, 1971) and in Berlin with Boris Blacher (1971–2). From 1974 to 1988 he taught music theory at the Helsinki University and, as acting professor, composition at the Sibelius Academy (1988–93). Since 1993 he has worked as a freelance composer supported by a state scholarship. His many activities include membership of the board of the Society of Finnish Composers (1974–8, 1982–9 and 1997–2005) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (1996–2005). He also in 1975 co-founded the Society for the Publication of Finnish Music (Edition Pan), later taken over by Edition Fazer. Since 1992 he has been composer-in-residence of the Lahti SO, which has recorded many of his orchestral works under Osmo Vänskä. As a member of the Programme Committees of the Helsinki PO (...

Article

Klemens Schnorr

(Johannes Clemens)

(b Sommersell [now Nieheim], Westphalia, April 17, 1904; d Berlin, Dec 21, 1997). German composer and organist. After studying with Wilhelm Schnippering at the Lehrerseminar (Büren), he studied church music in Münster with Werner Göhr and Fritz Volbach (1924–5). In 1925 he went to Berlin where he pursued further study with Alfred Sittard and Max Seiffert at the Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik and attended Wilhelm Middelschulte’s organ masterclasses. He also studied Gregorian chant at the Benedictine abbeys of Gerleve and Beuron. In 1928 he became a lecturer at the Berlin Akademie, where in 1936 he was promoted to professor. After the war he was appointed to the post of ordinarius for Catholic church music at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where, for a time, he was also deputy director. He served as the organist at St Hedwig’s cathedral in Berlin from 1934 until its destruction in ...

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John Morgan and Roswitha Sperber

(b Berlin, Feb 19, 1936). German composer and organist. She had her first music lessons from her father, Joseph Ahrens, with whom she continued organ studies at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where her composition teacher was Boris Blacher. Subsequently she studied with Messiaen and Milhaud at the Paris Conservatoire. She made her début as an organist in 1947 and from then until 1957 played at the Salvatorkirche, Berlin. In 1962 she was appointed to teach at the Folkwang-Hochschule, Essen, becoming professor of organ in 1970. She has made concert tours in Germany, France and the Netherlands and won numerous awards, including the Förderungspreis (the arts prize of North Rhine-Westphalia; 1964). Ahrens, in her relatively small output, shows herself to be more concerned with personal expression than with technical innovation or with an ‘avant garde’ expansion of musical material. A certain affinity with the work of Petr Eben...