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Max Loppert


(b Itazuke, Japan, Oct 14, 1959). American tenor. After studying with Marilyn Tyler at the University of New Mexico (1980–84), he made his first European appearance at Hamburg in 1987; the relationship with the Hamburg company (1987–91) brought him, inter alia, leading roles in a Gluck double bill, Le cinesi and Echo et Narcisse, which was recorded at Schwetzingen. But it is as a Mozart tenor – light, gentle and romantic of tone, capable of proud utterance – that he swiftly rose to international prominence. He made his Glyndebourne début as Belmonte in 1988, and sang the part to acclaim at Covent Garden in 2001. He has been heard and seen to particular advantage as Tamino, a role that has taken him to many of the world's leading stages. Among his other roles are Ramiro (La Cenerentola), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Strauss's Flamand and Britten's Lysander and Quint. Streit's recordings include ...


(b Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Sept 16, 1916; d Chennai, Dec 11, 2004). South Indian singer. One of the greatest singers of Karnatak music of the 20th century, she was the daughter of the ṇā player and singer Shanmukhavadivu, who was her first teacher. She subsequently studied with Semmangudi Srinvasa Iyer and K.S. Narayanaswamy. Before the age of ten she was performing at recitals given by her mother and she soon became known as a soloist, giving her first performance for The Music Academy, Madras, at the age of 17. National fame quickly followed, particularly due to her appearance in the Tamil film Meera (1944, released in Hindi in 1947), in which she played the 16th-century singer-saint Mīrabai. Her singing of Hindi bhajan attributed to Mīrabai enthused northern audiences traditionally indifferent to Karnatak musicians. She maintained her pan-Indian appeal, in part by her continuing performance of devotional songs....


Joseph Jordania


(b Kavtiskhevi, nr Gori, 1891; d Tbilisi, 1969). Georgian folksinger. The most outstanding female folksinger in Georgia, she was expert in eastern Georgian (Kartli-Kakhetian) traditional singing, with a repertory acquired from her family. Her debut with a choir came in 1910, and by 1920 she had organized a tour throughout Georgia with her own choir. In 1921 Dimitri Arakishvili invited her to lead an ethnographic choir at Tbilisi State Conservatory. During the 1930s she made personal appearances in Russia and the Ukraine, including recording sessions and radio broadcasts. She performed the traditional repertory of both women and men, and many of her versions of traditional songs (including Orovela, a virtuoso solo harvest song) are known as the ‘Tarkhnishvili versions’. Her performance style was based on a beautiful voice with virtuoso technique.

L. Gegechkori: ‘Maro Tarkhnishvili’, Kartuli khalkhuri simgeris ostatebi, 2 (Tbilisi, 1958), 86–102 Maro Tarkhnishvili: Recordings of 1920–1950s...


Bonnie C. Wade and Inderjit N. Kaur

(b Jahaj, near Baroda, 1897; d Bombay, 1967). North Indian (Hindustani) classical music vocalist, educator, and musicologist. He was born to an impoverished military family. In about 1909 a wealthy Parsi patron sent him for musical training in the Gwalior style of singing to Vishnu Digambar Paluskar’s Gandharva Mahāvidyālaya in Bombay. In 1916 Paluskar assigned Thakur the position of principal of the school’s Lahore branch; there he became acquainted with the Patiala Gharānā style. In 1919 he started his own musical institution, the Gandharva Niketan, in Broach. He regularly performed the patriotic song Vande Matram at the annual sessions of the Indian National Congress and in the 1920s served as president of the Broach District Congress Committee.

Thakur was among the first Indian musicians to perform widely in Europe, and between 1933 and 1954 he gave concerts in many cities. His Khayāl style differed in important ways from the Gwalior ...


J.B. Steane

(b Plovdiv, June 16, 1894; d Pasadena, ca , June 12, 1960). Armenian tenor. His parents settled first in Bulgaria and then in Egypt, where he made his début in 1914. After studying in Milan he appeared there in 1921 as Chevalier des Grieux (Manon Lescaut). Later that year he travelled to the USA, inaugurating a substantial career with Antonio Scotti’s touring company and from 1923 to 1946 he appeared frequently at the Metropolitan. He sang mostly in lyric roles such as Nicias in Thaïs (with Jeritza) and Corentin in Dinorah (with Galli-Curci). House premières included Falla’s La vida breve (1926) and Puccini’s La rondine (1928), in which he took the light baritone role of Prunier. During the 1930s he travelled widely in Europe, appearing at Covent Garden in 1934 as Calaf. His few recordings show a bright, well-defined voice rather than a rich one, with adequate rather than distinctive powers of characterization....


Robert C. Provine

(b South Ch'ungch'ŏng Province, Korea, 1916). Korean performer of the dramatic narrative genre p'ansori . He began his vocal studies at the age of 16, studying each of the five stories in the active modern repertory with a different teacher. He was appointed to the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts (Kungnip kugagwŏn) in 1962. He built up an enormous repertory; in addition to the standard set of five stories, he composed new musical settings for seven more stories, which had fallen out of the active repertory, as well as a lengthy new story about Yi Sunsin, a famous Korean admiral of the late 16th century. After his conversion to Christianity he composed Yesujŏn, narrating the life of Jesus.

In the 1960s and 1970s Pak became particularly famous for his ability to perform complete p'ansori stories non-stop; this included The Story of Hŭngbo over five hours, The Story of Ch'unhyang...


Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, March 5, 1944). Japanese trumpeter, singer, and leader. At the age of 13 he taught himself to play trumpet, mainly influenced by Hollywood films featuring jazz. A specialist in New Orleans jazz and the playing and singing style of Louis Armstrong, he graduated in 1966 from Waseda University in Tokyo, where he was very active in the New Orleans Jazz Club. He lived in New Orleans from 1968 to 1969 with his wife, Keiko, who plays banjo and piano, and studied under and performed with many legendary players, including George Lewis (i), Jim Robinson, and Danny Barker. In summer 1970 he led a band in Osaka, then in 1971 and 1972 he toured Europe and the USA as a member of Barry Martyn’s New Orleans Jazz Band. After returning briefly to New Orleans and then in spring 1973 to Japan, Toyama led his Dixieland Saints from ...


Svetlana Sarkisyan

(b Erevan, Aug 3, 1958). Armenian bass . He studied in Erevan, where he made his début with the Spendiaryan Opera in 1980 in the title role of Armen Tigranyan’s David-Bek. After further study at La Scala and in Moscow with Yevgeny Nesterenko, he won the Busseto Verdi Prize (...


Gail Holst-Warhaft

(b Syros, 1905; d Athens, 1972). Song-writer, bouzouki-player, and singer. Vamvakaris is considered the father of the rebetiko style. He moved to Piraeus at the age of 12 and frequented hashish dens where refugees from Turkey gathered to smoke and play music. Together with two refugee musicians, Anestis Delias and Stratos Pagioumtzis, and a local player, Yiorgos (Giorgos), Vamvakaris formed a quartet that defined the characteristics of the ‘Piraeus-style’ rebetika. The music was strongly influenced by the popular urban style of Turkey, but the combination of Vamvakaris’s bouzouki-playing with lyrics he wrote about his tough life in the underworld of Piraeus transformed the music into a new Greek style.

From 1934 to 1935 the quartet played regularly in a small club in Piraeus where Vamvakaris wrote many of the songs that became classics of the rebetika repertory, such as Antilaloun oi fylakes (‘The prisons ring out’), Kantone Stavro!...


Armineh Grigorian

revised by Robert Atayan and Aram Kerovpyan

[Gomidas Vartabed; Soghomonian, Soghomon]

(b Kütahya, Turkey, Oct 8, 1869; d Paris, Oct 22, 1935). Armenian composer, ethnomusicologist, choral conductor, singer and teacher. One of the first Armenians to have a classical Western musical education, as well as instruction in the music of his own people, he laid the foundations for a distinctive national style in his many songs and choruses, all of which are deeply influenced by the folk and church traditions of Armenia. His work on Armenian folksong is also of musicological importance.

Robert Atayan, revised by Aram Kerovpyan

Both of his parents (his father Gevorg Soghomonian was a cobbler) had gifts for music and poetry; in 1881, however, the boy was orphaned and sent to Armenia to study at the Gevork’ian Theological Seminary in Vagharshapat (now Edjmiadzine), and was ordained as a celibate priest in 1894, being given the name Komitas (a 7th-century Catholicos who was also a hymn composer). There his beautiful voice and his musical talents attracted notice, and under Sahak Amatuni’s guidance he mastered the theory and practice of Armenian liturgical singing. He also made decisive contact with folksong, to the collection and study of which he gave himself wholeheartedly. When he had only just learnt Armenian modern notation he set about recording the songs of the Ararat valley peasants and immigrant Armenians of other regions. Although he had no knowledge of European music theory, he harmonized these songs for performance with a student choir at the academy. His earliest surviving collection of folk melodies dates from ...


Matthew Harp Allen

(b Madras [now Chennai], India, Aug 13, 1927; d Hartford, CT, Sept 10, 2002). flutist, vocalist, and ethnomusicologist of Indian birth. Born into a family of musicians and dancers, he received his musical training from his mother T. Jayammal and from flutist T.N. Swaminatha Pillai, an MA in economics from Annamalai University (1951), and a PhD in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University (1975).

He first came to the United States as a Fulbright scholar at UCLA (1958–60), was reader and head of the department of Indian music at the University of Madras (1961–6), and returned to the United States, where he studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University (1967–1970), taught at the California Institute of the Arts (1970–5), and then worked in the faculty of Wesleyan University (1975–2002).

He was honored in India with the Kalaimamani Award by the government of Tamil Nadu (...


Elizabeth Forbes

(b Fukuoka, July 12, 1953; d Milan, July 15, 2004). Japanese soprano . After studying in Tokyo and Milan, she made her début at Treviso in 1978 as Nedda and sang throughout Italy. Although her repertory included Donna Elvira, Micaela, Marguerite, Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Manon Lescaut, Suor Angelica and Liù, the role of her début at La Scala (...


Howard Rye and Barry Kernfeld

(b Chicago, Jan 7, 1936; d Thailand, February 12, 2007). American bass player and singer. He learned double bass at high school and later studied at the Chicago Conservatory. After working with King Kolax (1951) and with various blues singers, including Joe Turner (ii), T-Bone Walker, and Joe Williams (mid-1950s), from 1956 he played cello and double bass in Ramsey Lewis’s trio, which made many recordings for Argo. Young also recorded as a sideman with Lorez Alexandria (1957) and James Moody (Hey! It’s Moody, 1959, Argo 666) and as a leader (1961). In 1966 he and Redd Holt (Lewis’s drummer) left Lewis and formed the soul band Young–Holt Unlimited, with which Young played both double bass and electric bass guitar. In 1990 Young–Holt Unlimited was a trio with the pianist Jeremy Monteiro. Young and Holt also appeared together in April 1984...


Peng Benle

(b Shanghai, Nov 4, 1917). Chinese Suzhou tanci ballad singer. Jiang Yuequan was born into a theatrical family, encountering many styles as a young man, and being particularly influenced by Beijing opera. Jiang’s Suzhou tanciteachers included Zhang Yunting and Zhou Yuquan, and he was himself earning a living in this field by the mid-1930s, performing such traditional ballads as Zhenzhu ta (‘Pearl Pagoda’). In 1951 Jiang joined the Shanghai People’s Pingtan Troupe (Shanghai Shi Renmin Pingtan Gongzuotuan).

In the early 1940s, Jiang developed his own style by combining elements of Beijing opera (such as methods of pronunciation and breath control), Western singing and the basis of Zhou Yuquan’s teachings. Jiang has continued to develop this style, in response to the demands of the stories he has performed. For instance, in the early 1950s, he devised methods for representing the strength and heroism of various revolutionary characters, at the same time expanding his range of melodic variation, the better to express the many traditional romances characteristic of the ...


Razia Sultanova

(b Andizhan, Fergana Basin, Nov 26, 1960). Uzbek singer. From 1978 to 1985 she studied Uzbek classical music at the Tashkent State Conservatory with Shavkat Mirzayev, who became her spiritual teacher as well as her musical instructor. From 1980 to 1982 she performed with the makom ensemble at Uzbek State Radio, and in 1982 she began to work with the Uzbek State Philharmonia. She has appeared widely in concerts and festivals, but unlike many other Uzbek professional singers, she has chosen not to perform at weddings. During the last decade of the 20th century she toured the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America. She was awarded the titles of Honoured Artist of Uzbekistan (1991) and People’s Artist of Uzbekistan (1994), and gained first prize and the accolade ‘Golden Nightingale’ in the Samarkand International Festival in 1997.

Her repertory includes Uzbek classical music and the music of the ...


Kate Stevens

[Xiao Caiwu]

(b nr Shanghai, 1914). Chinese narrative-singer. Most influential of the female performers of jingyun dagu (Beijing drumsong) following Liu Baoquan, she created her own ‘Luo style’. She began by singing Beijing opera arias, only commencing serious study of drumsong in 1934. When she moved north with her teacher (later also accompanist), she reworked the repertory of Liu Baoquan, adding other pieces and winning acceptance in Tianjin (1936) and Beijing (1939). Alone among her contemporaries, Luo deliberately went beyond the confines of a single school, adopting elements from Bai (Yunpeng) and Young Bai (Fengming) styles. Her most successful pieces date from this period: Jian’ge wenling (‘Eavesbells at Sword Hall’), a slow reflective lament of the emperor for his lost love, created by Luo, became her signature piece. In 1951 Luo joined the new Tianjin Narrative arts troupe, where she both taught and performed through the years, creating many new pieces. She sang well into her seventies, making many recordings....


Noël Goodwin

(b Bromberg [now Bydgoszcz], Dec 15, 1917). German soprano . A refugee from Nazi Germany in 1934, she went to Palestine and worked as a nurse in Jerusalem; she studied singing there with Rose Pauly and, from 1945, in Zürich with Ria Ginster. Her début as Aida at the Vienna Staatsoper in 1947 began her international career. She sang in the première of Antigonae (Orff) at the 1949 Salzburg Festival, and the next year made her British début at the Edinburgh Festival with Glyndebourne Opera under Beecham as Ariadne in Strauss’s first version of the opera. Later that year she sang at Covent Garden as Aida, Tosca and Lisa in quick succession, and during the early 1950s she was engaged at the Colón, Buenos Aires, the Metropolitan and San Francisco as well as in major European centres. A dark-toned and deeply musical dramatic soprano, she recorded a notable Donna Anna under Moralt (...


Abdul-Wahab Madadi and John Baily

(b Kabul, 1946; d Kabul, 1979). Afghan singer. He was the son of a prominent Afghan politician, Dr Abdul Zāhir, who was prime minister during the period 1971–2. Remarkably for someone from an upper-class Pashtun family, Dr Zāhir encouraged his son's interest in music. As a student at the Lycée Habībī Ahmad Zāhir was a member of a music group, with which he made his first recordings at Radio Afghanistan in 1961. He gained his baccalaureate and enrolled in a teachers' training programme, but then pursued his interest in music in earnest. He recorded music at Radio Afghanistan on a frequent and sometimes daily basis, and in his short career released about 30 cassettes of music, far more than any other singer. He had a charismatic personality which very much appealed to young people and he became exceptionally popular. During the communist era, while still in his early thirties, he was murdered in a politically motivated assassination. His funeral procession is remembered for its unprecedented size....


Colin Mackerras

(b Suzhou, 1902; d 1992). Chinese Kunqu opera performer. Undoubtedly the 20th century’s most distinguished performer of Kunqu, Yu Zhenfei was most noted for his performance of xiaosheng (young scholar-lover) roles. He also performed in Beijing opera , belonging to troupes headed by such notable performers as Mei Lanfang and Cheng Yanqiu, and was an accomplished player of the dizi, the transverse flute which is so essential to the musical accompaniment of Kunqu. He wrote a treatise on Kunqu acting and several other works.

Yu Zhenfei was the son of the Kunqu specialist Yu Zonghai (1847–1930). After early training, in 1923 he gained a major opportunity when the great dan performer Cheng Yanqiu visited Shanghai and invited him to share the stage with him in the role of the scholar-lover in the centrepiece scene of the famous ‘Peony Pavilion’ (Mudan ting) by Tang Xianzu (...



Eckhard Neubauer

[Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Nāfi‘ ]

(b Iraq; d Córdoba, Spain, Aug 852). Arab musician . A mawlā (‘freedman’) of Caliph al-Mahdī (775–85) at Baghdad, he was a pupil of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī and a rival of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī at the court of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). He left Baghdad for Syria, served the Aghlabid ruler Ziyādat Allāh (817–38) in Qairawan (Tunisia), and later received a generous welcome from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–52) in Córdoba. His influence there as a court musician and companion (nadīm) must have been exceptional: customs in clothing and eating that he had brought from Baghdad became fashionable, and the tradition of his school of music was maintained by his descendants at least two generations after his death. Like his contemporary al-Kindī he seems to have known the musical theory of late antiquity and to have reconciled it with the teachings of his masters in Baghdad. Details of his vocal training techniques are described by Ibn Ḥayyān (...