(b Vienna, March 6, 1852; d Vienna, March 12, 1913). Austrian violinist, conductor and composer. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Georg and Joseph Hellmesberger (violin), Dachs (piano) and Bruckner (theory). He later played the violin in the Vienna Hofoper orchestra and, from 1885 to his retirement in 1898, was director of the ballet at that theatre. He travelled throughout Europe as a conductor and visited America in 1881 to conduct his operetta Der Chevalier von San Marco in New York. His other operettas include Menelaus (1892), Fräulein Hexe (1898) and Der Polizeichef (1904), while he also wrote two comic operas, Alien Fata and Der Goldasoka. It was, however, as a composer of some 22 ballets that he made his reputation; many of them were produced in Vienna or Berlin, the best-known being Die Puppenfee (1888).ES (W. Boetticher...
revised by Christopher Fifield
revised by Philippe Vendrix
(b Mannheim, Feb 20, 1734; d Bordeaux, Dec 31, 1809). German composer, conductor, violinist and organist, active in France. He received violin lessons from his father Johann Aloys Beck (d 27 May 1742), an oboist and choir school Rektor at the Palatine court whose name is listed in the calendars of 1723 and 1734. He also learnt the double bass, among other instruments, and eventually came under the tutelage of Johann Stamitz, who arrived in Mannheim in 1741. The Palatine court, under Carl Theodor, recognized Beck’s talent and undertook responsibility for his education.
Several sources maintain that Beck left the Palatinate at an early age to study composition with Galuppi in Venice. According to his pupil Blanchard (1845), however, Beck was the object of a jealous intrigue that involved him in a duel during which his opponent was supposedly killed (many years later Beck met his former opponent, who had only feigned death); Beck then presumably fled and travelled in Italy, giving concerts in principal cities. In any event, he spent several years in Venice before eloping to Naples with Anna Oniga, the daughter of his employer....
(b Cleveland, OH, Sept 12, 1856; d Cleveland, May 26, 1924). American conductor, composer and violinist. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1879 to 1882, and made his European début as a violinist at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in his own String Quartet in C minor. On his return to Cleveland he continued activity with the Schubert String Quartet, which he organized in 1877, and the Beck String Quartet, giving frequent concerts during the 1880s and 1890s. After 1878 he was active as a conductor. He directed the Detroit SO (1895–6) and local Cleveland orchestras during the early years of the 20th century, and appeared frequently with major orchestras in other cities. He conducted his own works with much success and numerous contemporary articles and reviews give him high praise. Only his Elegiac Song op.4 no.1 seems to have been published. Beck was active in the Music Teachers National Association and the Ohio Music Teachers' Association. An extensive collection of his manuscripts and memorabilia is in the Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library....
revised by Roger T. Dean
(b Melbourne, Australia, Sept 7, 1914; d Sydney, June 13, 2012). Australian bandleader, composer, and pianist, brother of Roger Bell. He began classical piano studies at the age of 11, and was introduced to jazz by his brother. In 1941 he held a pioneering jazz residency at Leonard’s Café in Melbourne and played for the Contemporary Art Society, indicating his radical interests. After working briefly in Queensland (1943) he returned to Melbourne, where he took over the group led by his brother at Heidelberg Town Hall and performed regularly for the Hot Jazz Society of the communist Eureka Youth League. In 1946 he started the Uptown Club in their premises and helped to inaugurate the Australian Jazz Convention. Having established his reputation in Australia with recordings in the dixieland style made in 1947, he toured Europe with his band (1947–8) under the Eureka’s sponsorship. In England his “jazz for dancing” policy was influential in promoting the acceptance of jazz as a major form of youth entertainment. In ...
(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...
(b Detroit, March 28, 1866; d Chicago, Dec 6, 1945). American violinist, conductor, musical director, teacher, and composer. Bendix was born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Germany. His father William was a music teacher. Bendix began formal study at the Cincinnati College of Music where, at the age of twelve, he performed with the college orchestra, directed by Theodore Thomas. This began a long association between the two men, leading to Bendix’s appointment as first violinist and concertmaster of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in 1886. In August 1893 Thomas resigned his position as music director of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition following a series of unsuccessful concerts. Bendix took Thomas’s place as conductor of the Exposition orchestra. This created tension between the two men, and Bendix left the Thomas orchestra in 1896. He went on to serve as conductor at the Manhattan Opera House and to conduct orchestras for world fairs in St. Louis (...
(b Copenhagen, May 17, 1851; d Copenhagen, Jan 5, 1926). Danish composer, pianist and conductor. He studied at the Copenhagen Conservatory and was trained as a composer by Gade and J.P.E. Hartmann and as a pianist by, among others, Liszt (from 1881). After leaving the conservatory he worked as a répétiteur at the Copenhagen Royal Theatre. Later he worked at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was much in demand as a piano teacher; he was extremely active as a concert pianist, sometimes with his second wife, Dagmar Bendix, also a fine pianist. He was an excellent conductor, and in this role made great contributions to the musical life of Copenhagen. From 1897 he established and conducted the Copenhagen Philharmonic Concerts, and his concert performances of Siegfried and Tristan und Isolde and his staged performances of Verdi’s Don Carlos were welcome innovations, in contrast to the usual repertory (mainly Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Gade) of the Copenhagen Musical Society. He was also a founder of the Copenhagen Korforening....
(b Fort Worth, Feb 12, 1914; d Costa Mesa, CA, May 30, 2000). American tenor saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. As a child he played soprano saxophone, and in his teens he worked with territory bands in Texas and Oklahoma. In 1938 he joined Glenn Miller, to whom he had been recommended by Gene Krupa. Miller gave him a highly prominent role, and his playing may be heard on In the Mood and other pieces. Beneke also became one of the band’s principal singers; he often took duets with Marion Hutton, and sang with the Modernaires on such recordings as Chattanooga Choo Choo. He appeared with the band in films and became extremely popular, winning several polls. When the ensemble disbanded in 1942 Beneke toured with the Modernaires. During World War II he directed a navy dance band in Oklahoma, and following his discharge he was selected by the administrators of Miller’s estate to assume leadership of the latter’s band (...
(b Charleston, WV, 1902). American tuba player and bandleader, brother of Tommy Benford. His mother died when he was young, and after his father, aunt, and uncle ran into personal difficulties they sent the brothers to the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina, where they received their musical education; despite reports to the contrary, only Bill toured with its band to England in 1914. To escape from the orphanage the brothers joined the Green River Minstrels (c1920), then, around 1922, played together in New York, where they worked for a number of bandleaders, including Marie Lucas and Elmer Snowden. In the mid- to late 1920s Benford led his own band. Jelly Roll Morton admired this group and recorded with it under his own name between 1928 and 1930; Benford’s playing is well represented on Morton’s Kansas City Stomps (1928), Shoe Shiners Drag (...
Géza Gábor Simon and Rainer E. Lotz
(b Budapest, Aug 25, 1940). Hungarian bandleader, clarinetist, and alto saxophonist. He learned violin (1947–52) and then clarinet (1950–58). In 1957 he formed the Benkó Dixieland Band, which, although it originally also played dance music, from 1962 has performed only in the dixieland style. It has made a large number of recordings, often performing with such soloists as Albert Nicholas, Wild Bill Davison, George Probert, Al Grey, Buddy Tate, Joe Newman, the banjo player Eddie Davis, Chris Barber, Milt Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, and Joe Muranyi. Benkó won several prizes and his group received awards at various jazz festivals. He performed as a leader in Germany (twice a year from 1966), the USA (1982, 1983, 1986), Mexico (1984), and Indonesia (1985), and at the Oude Stijl Jazz Festival Breda (1976), the Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee (1983...