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Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Verona, July 21, 1874; d Abington, pa , July 26, 1951). Italian tenor . He made his début in 1895 at Nuovi Ligure. In 1897, after singing Rodolfo for the first time at Cagliari, he took the role in the American première of La bohème at Los Angeles and in the New York première (...

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Iain Fenlon

(b Ferrara, 1534; d Ferrara, Sept 20, 1590). Italian composer and singer. He was a relation (probably nephew) of Agostino Agostini. He came from a family with strong musical traditions, and from an early age studied for a musical and religious career. The appearance of his first known piece in Barré’s Terzo libro delle muse (Rome, 15627) suggests that he received his early training in Rome, as does the dedication of his first book of six-part madrigals to Tiberio Cerasi, who was also the dedicatee of Marenzio’s first book of villanellas. According to Cavicchi (MGG1), he was associated from 1572 with the cappella of Ferrara Cathedral, where older members of his family had also worked; in 1577 his name first appeared in the payment records of the Ferrarese court of Duke Alfonso II d’Este, in whose service he remained until his death. During the 1580s he served as an informal composition tutor to Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga, with whom he exchanged letters on matters of mutual musical interest. He was associated with many notable poets, among them Tasso and Guarini, and with members of the highest aristocracy. He was a priest, and pursued a distinguished religious career which culminated in his being created a Monsignore and an apostolic prothonotary. Although he composed no liturgical music his writings on religious subjects, ...

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John Koegel

(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...

Article

Ingmar Bengtsson

revised by Bertil H. van Boer

(b Löth, Östergötland, Feb 1, 1701; d Nuremberg, Jan 19, 1765). Swedish composer, violinist and harpsichordist. His father was a priest. He went to school in Linköping and studied at Uppsala University from 1721 to 1722 or 1723, where he played in the university orchestra, then led by the director musices Eric Burman. Early biographers said that Prince Maximilian of Hesse heard Agrell's violin playing in 1723 and called him to Kassel. Firm evidence of Agrell's activity there is, however, found only from 1734, when F. Chelleri was Kapellmeister. He was still working in Kassel between 1737 and 1742 during the reign of Count Wilhelm VIII and the court long owed him payment for service, as well as ‘ale and food money’, for the years 1743 to 1746. During his time at Kassel Agrell is reported to have made several journeys, visiting England, France, Italy and elsewhere.

Uncertain economic circumstances seem to have driven Agrell to seek the post of Kapellmeister in Nuremberg, a post which he obtained in ...

Article

(b Modena, 1722; d Berlin, 1780). Italian soprano, wife of Johann Friedrich Agricola. She was the first of the three leading ladies (the other two were Giovanna Astrua and Elisabeth Schmeling Mara) at the Berlin Opera under Frederick the Great. A pupil of Porpora, Hasse and Salimbeni, she made her début as prima donna in C.H. Graun’s Cesare e Cleopatra (1743). The arrival of Giovanna Astrua in 1748 forced her to take second place, but strengthened her impulse towards oratorio: thus, for example, she sang the leading solo soprano part in Graun’s Tod Jesu at its première in 1755. Burney (Present State of Music in Germany, 1773) wrote of her singing: ‘she is now near fifty years of age, and yet sings songs of bravura, with amazing rapidity … her compass extends from A in the base, to D in alt, and she has a most perfect shake and intonation’. When her husband died in ...

Article

E. Eugene Helm

revised by Darrell Berg

(b Dobitschen, Saxe-Altenburg, Jan 4, 1720; d Berlin, Dec 2, 1774). German musicographer, composer, organist, singing master and conductor. His father occupied an important post as government agent and jurist in Dobitschen. Burney, who visited the Agricolas in 1772, reported that Johann Friedrich’s mother, born Maria Magdalena Manke, ‘was a near relation of the late Mr Handel, and in correspondence with him till the time of his death’; but later Handel research has failed to substantiate this claim.

Agricola began his study of music as a young child. In 1738 he entered the University of Leipzig, where he studied law; during this time he was a pupil of J.S. Bach and visited Dresden, where he heard performances of Passion oratorios and Easter music by Hasse. In 1741 he moved to Berlin, became a pupil of Quantz, made the acquaintance of C.P.E. Bach, C.H. Graun and other musicians, and embarked on a career that touched many aspects of Berlin’s musical life. He became keenly interested in music criticism and theoretical speculation in Berlin, and his work as a musicographer has proved to be his most lasting accomplishment. In ...

Article

Dieter Härtwig

(b Ballenstedt, July 13, 1790; d Berlin, Oct 8, 1873). German pianist, music teacher and composer, son of Carl Christian Agthe. He received his musical education from Ebeling in Magdeburg and Seebach in Klosterbergen before studying composition and counterpoint with M.G. Fischer in Erfurt. In 1810 he settled in Leipzig as a music teacher and second violinist in the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and there published his first compositions. He founded a music academy in Dresden with C. Kräger in 1823 which was publicly endorsed by Carl Maria von Weber; J.B. Logier’s methods of keyboard instruction were used there. In the next decade he set up similar institutes in Posen (1826), where Theodore and Adolf Kullak were his pupils, in Breslau (1831) and finally in Berlin (1832). He was forced to retire in 1845 because of weak eyesight. His compositions include at least nine opus numbers for piano (some with other instruments) and two manuscript songs in the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin....

Article

Katherine Hagedorn

(b Simpson, Matanzas, Cuba, Oct 10, 1925; d Los Angeles, CA, May 7, 2010). Cuban drummer. A master drummer, Francisco Aguabella’s expertise in Afro-Cuban sacred drumming traditions included Lucumí batá, Iyesá, Arará, and Abakwá, as well as the popular genres of rumba, comparsa, salsa, rock, and Latin jazz. At age 12, Aguabella began playing Lucumí batá drums with friend and mentor Esteban “Chacha” Vega. At 18, he joined the local Abakwá society Efi Yumane, befriending fellow drummer Julito Collazo. In 1947 Aguabella moved to Havana to work as a longshoreman and musician. He played sacred batá drums for Lucumí ceremonies and performed in the popular “Sun Sun Babae” show at the Sans Souci Club with Trinidad Torregrosa, Raul Díaz, and Merceditas Valdés until the early 1950s. He also played lead quinto for the comparsa band “Los Dandys de Belen.” In 1953 choreographer Katherine Dunham invited Aguabella to join her dance company, with whom he toured Europe, South America, the United States, and Australia for the next four years. In ...

Article

Thomas F. Heck

(b Madrid, April 8, 1784; d Madrid, Dec 29, 1849). Spanish guitarist and composer. ‘Padre Basilio’ of Madrid, possibly Miguel Garcia, gave him his first instruction in the guitar, an instrument for which tablature notation was still commonly used in Spain. In about 1800 Aguado, like Fernando Sor, was influenced by the Italian Federico Moretti and adopted the conventional staff notation for the guitar; thereafter both Spaniards published their music in the improved manner championed by Moretti, distinguishing the musical parts by the direction of note stems, use of rests, etc. Aguado's artistic career unfolded slowly, owing to the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and its aftermath. He retreated to the village of Fuenlabrada in 1803, teaching and perfecting his technique there until 1824, the year his mother died; his Colección de estudios para guitarra appeared in Madrid in 1820. He moved to Paris in 1825 (while Sor was in Russia) and immediately gained an enviable reputation as a virtuoso and teacher; a revised version of his ...

Article

(b Mexico City, Dec 7, 1945). Mexican pianist and composer. She studied the piano at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and composition in the workshop of the Conservatorio Nacional de Música under Héctor Quintanar and Mario Lavista. Her extensive output reveals a diversity of techniques and styles without formal adherence to compositional schools or avant-garde trends, but with an emphasis on the search for expressive freedom. Avant-garde techniques, however, are sometimes used to enhance the colour and integrity of her music, as in Navegantes del crepúsculo (‘Voyagers of the Twilight’, 1993), a trio in four movements for clarinet, bassoon and piano, which she describes as ‘a fantasy of abstract lyricism’. In Arabesco for solo recorder, the music explores the technical potential of the instrument and the performer, including the simultaneous use of two recorders, the contrapuntal exposition of the theme through multiphonics and nimble alternation between voice and instrument....

Article

Kathleen Kuzmick Hansell

[‘La Bastardina’, ‘La Bastardella’]

(b Ferrara, 1743; d Parma, May 18, 1783). Italian soprano. Traditions explaining her nickname describe her variously as a foundling raised by Leopoldo Aguiari, his natural daughter or that of Marchese Bentivoglio, while her pronounced limp was supposedly the result of having been partly eaten in infancy by a dog or hog. Her early studies in Ferrara with Brizio Petrucci, maestro di cappella at the cathedral, and then with Abbé Lambertini revealed her exceptional talents. After her opera début (1764, Florence) and initial successes (Padua, Lucca and Verona, 1765; Genoa, Lucca and Parma, 1766) she settled in Parma, where she met the composer Giuseppe Colla, the new maestro. On 1 January 1768 the court at Parma appointed her virtuosa di camera. She became one of Europe’s most sought-after sopranos.

In May 1768 Aguiari sang at Naples in Paisiello’s Le nozze di Peleo e Tetide for the wedding of the king and Maria Carolina. Paisiello, reportedly out of spite, composed for her two extremely difficult arias, which, however, she carried off triumphantly. At Parma in the summer of ...

Article

Eldonna L. May

(b Brownsville, TX, Nov 2, 1962). American percussionist, improviser, and composer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Corpus Christi State University; his master’s degrees in percussion performance from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with John Bergamo; and a DMA in contemporary music performance from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Steven Schick and Anthony Davis. An experimental performer and composer, he also studied with AACM member Wadada Leo Smith, who shaped his interest in the improvisatory and free jazz elements of Chicago’s creative music scene. Aguilar’s interdisciplinary approach to composition combines improvised and fully notated musical elements with the use of new technologies and informed by an interest in cultural and critical studies. His compositions, such as Different Paths, Same Destination (2003), incorporate elements of free jazz, structured improvisation, industrial sound, white noise, guitar as a hand-percussion instrument, and spatial sound relationships—while using instrumentation that relies primarily on various percussion instruments. Aguilar’s compositional processes include what he calls “imaginative reaction compositions” whereby he shares with musicians a number of elements—such as poetry, a variety of musical excerpts, and random thoughts and ideas—prior to recording their collective improvisation. The musicians listen to pre-recorded melodic and rhythmic structures Aguilar has composed and create collective, free improvisations, incorporating their interpretation of the shared elements. Dedicated to Julio Estrada, Aguilar’s ...

Article

Abel Stewart

(María )

(b New York, NY, Dec 18, 1980). American singer. She is one of the most popular singers of her generation. Her father (originally from Ecuador), a sergeant in the US Army, and her American mother, a Spanish teacher, divorced when Aguilera was seven. As a child, Aguilera placed second on the television show Star Search, and performed on the Mickey Mouse Club along with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. In 1998, she launched her recording career with a track for Disney’s animated film Mulan. In 1998 she also signed with RCA, and her first album, Christina Aguilera (1999) reached number one on the Billboard 200. Her singles from that album, “Genie in a Bottle,” “What a Girl Wants,” and “Come on Over Baby” reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her first Spanish language album, Mi reflejo (2000), stood for 20 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Latin charts and earned her a Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. In ...

Article

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

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

Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Riga, May 24, 1947). Armenian violinist and conductor. He began to study the violin in Riga and continued his studies at the Central Music School in Yerevan (1963–6), the Yerevan Conservatory (1966–8) and the Moscow Conservatory (1968–74), where his teachers were Y.I. Yankelevich and Leonid Kogan. From ...

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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Harold Rosenthal

(b Cologne, June 29, 1896; d Garmisch-Partenkirchen, July 23, 1979). German baritone. He studied with Karl Niemann in Cologne and made his début at Mönchengladbach in 1929 as Wolfram. He sang at the Kroll Oper, Berlin (1930–31), at the Hamburg Staatsoper (1931–3 and 1946–61), and at the Dresden Staatsoper (...

Article

Howard Schott

(b Vienna, July 31, 1914; d Vienna, Oct 11, 1995). Austrian harpsichordist. She played the piano in public while still a child. After completing her education at the Music Academy (now the Hochschule für Musik) in Vienna, where she was a pupil of Viktor Ebenstein, Franz Schmidt and Emil von Sauer, she changed to the harpsichord and early piano in 1935, teaching herself technique and style from 17th- and 18th-century treatises. Ahlgrimm made numerous concert tours of Europe and the USA. Her large repertory included the complete keyboard music of Bach, which she often performed as a cycle of 12 recitals and recorded. She was also a noted exponent of Austrian harpsichord music, especially the works of Johann Fux. Richard Strauss wrote a suite from his opera Capriccio for her (1944). Ahlgrimm joined the teaching staff of the Vienna Hochschule in 1945, where she was appointed reader in ...