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Gary Theroux

[Bohannon, Hamilton Frederick ]

(b Newman, GA, March 7, 1942). American drummer, bandleader, and producer. He received a BA in music education from Clark College in Atlanta and taught music in public schools. While in Atlanta, he met Jimi Hendrix, who became a major influence on his style. He began his professional performing career in 1965 as a drummer for Stevie Wonder. In 1967 he became the leader of the Motown’s leading road band—known on radio as Bohannon and the Motown Sound—and spent the next five years on tour backing such acts as Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Spinners, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and the Four Tops. When Motown moved its headquarters from Detroit to Los Angeles, Bohannon left the company and signed a contract with Dakar, a small label based in Chicago. There he began writing and arranging, and produced a series of disco albums, dominated by his percussion playing, which blended mellow funk with primitive, irrepressible rhythms. In ...

Article

Peter Branscombe

(b ? Moravia or Upper Austria, ?1740s; d Aachen, bur. Aug 7, 1792). Austrian theatre manager, actor and singer. He was engaged at Brünn (now Brno) in 1770, from the autumn of that year as director of the troupe. For long periods he toured in Austria, southern Germany and the Rhineland. In early summer 1776 he directed an opera season at the Kärntnertortheater, Vienna, in collaboration with Noverre: 14 works were given, almost all of them Singspiel adaptations of French operettas, many of which later became standard fare in Vienna. He was Joseph II’s original choice as producer for the new National Singspiel company, but his appointment was frustrated. However, he and his wife (Maria Anna [Marianne]; née Jacobs) appeared in his translation of the Sedaine-Monsigny Rose et Colas at the Burgtheater on 9 May 1778 and were with the company for the remainder of the season; their daughters appeared in minor roles....

Article

Jonas Westover

[Salvatore Phillip]

(b Detroit, MI, Feb 16, 1935; d South Lake Tahoe, CA, Jan 5, 1998). American singer, composer, producer, actor, and politician. Bono began his career as a composer; one of his first songs, “Things You Do To Me,” was recorded by Sam Cooke in 1957–8. He eventually made contact with Phil Spector, with whom he worked closely for several years. One of his first successes came in 1963, when his song “Needles and Pins” (co-written with Jack Nitzsche) was recorded by Jackie DeShannon and reached number one on the charts in Canada. The height of his musical career came in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the duo Sonny and Cher. He wrote, produced, and performed on many of their hits, including “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.” Success with Cher, to whom he was married from 1964 to 1975, led to many appearances on television, including ...

Article

[Bortnyansky, Dmitry Stepanovich]

(b Hlukhiv, Ukraine, 1751; d St Petersburg, 28 Sept/Oct 10, 1825). Ukrainian composer, singer and music director, active in Russia. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, and in 1758 went to sing in the Russian imperial court chapel in St Petersburg, where he became one of Empress Elizabeth's favourite choirboys. Singled out for his unusual talent, he was trained in opera and eventually performed major roles in court productions: in 1764 he played the role of Admetus in H.F. Raupach's Al′tsesta.

During this period he studied composition with Galuppi. In 1769, after Galuppi had left for Venice, Catherine the Great sent Bortnyans′ky to further his studies there, with Galuppi. His first extant compositions date from his years in Italy: he composed three opere serie, two of them, Creonte (1776) and Alcide (1778), for Venice and the third, ...

Article

Roger Steffens

[Blackbeard]

(b St Peter, Barbados, 1953). English reggae guitarist, bandleader and producer. He grew up in London where in the early 1970s he co-founded Matumbi, one of the first reggae groups in Britain, and also ran the Jah Sufferer sound system. Although he recorded with such rock and punk bands as the Pop Group and the Slits, his true strength was dub music which he recorded under the name Blackbeard (Strictly Dub Wize, Tempus, 1978). Brain Damage (Fontana, 1981), released under his own name, provides an overview of Bovell's creative production, with its shrieks, deep echo effects and syncopated hi-hats. In 1979 Matumbi recorded Point of View which placed traditional reggae toasting in a big band setting. Bovell is perhaps best known for his collaborations, in the studio and on tour, with the political dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Among their best work is Dread Beat an' Blood...

Article

David Sanjek

(b Santa Rita, NM, Nov 30, 1937). American instrumentalist, record producer, and label executive. Bowen first made his mark as a recording artist with “I’m Stickin’ with You” in 1957, which originally appeared as the B-side of Buddy Knox’s “Party Doll.” It peaked at number 14 on Billboard’s pop charts, sold a million copies, and was certified gold by the RIAA. In the early 1960s, Bowen moved to Los Angeles, where Frank Sinatra hired him as a producer at Reprise Records. He supervised his recordings as well as those by Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., leading some to joke that Bowen had rejuvenated the Rat Pack for the youth market. Bowen also brought together producer-singer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood with Nancy Sinatra, and a sequence of hits ensued. Bowen ran an independent label, Amos Records, from 1969 to 1971, whose catalogue includes some of the earliest work by future Eagles members Glenn Frey and Don Henley. He moved to Nashville thereafter and began his ascendance to the head of a sequence of labels, including MGM, Elektra, Warner Brothers, MCA, Universal, and Capitol, which he re-named Liberty. He oversaw the careers of such country stars as Hank Williams Jr., the Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, George Bogguss, and Garth Brooks. Bowen was known for his dedication to digital technology and desire to integrate out-of-town musicians with Nashville’s session players. He retired in ...

Article

David Buckley

(Robert)

(b Brixton, London, 8 Jan 1947; d New York, 10 Jan 2016). English rock singer, songwriter, and producer. His career witnessed a large number of musical changes. His influence on a succession of styles and their attendant subcultures – glam and punk in the 1970s, new romanticism in the 1980s, and Britpop in the 1990s – made him arguably the most important British recording artist since the Beatles.

He began recording in the mid-1960s as Davy [Davie] Jones, heading a succession of short-lived rhythm and blues and mod groups. In 1966 he changed his name to Bowie in order to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees. His early work, influenced by Anthony Newley, had little in common with the dominant rock styles of the day and was largely overlooked. In 1969, in the guise of a hippy singer-songwriter, he achieved his first hit with the single Space Oddity...

Article

Joseph J. Ryan

(b Riverstown, Sligo, Nov 30, 1909). Irish radio producer, conductor and composer. He joined the Army School of Music in 1932 as an officer cadet under Brase. As part of his training he completed a degree in music at University College, Dublin, where he studied with Larchet and O'Dwyer. In 1940 he became the director of music and the principal conductor of the national broadcasting service. He expanded the station orchestra and instituted a series of public concerts for the ensemble; he also founded the Radio Éireann Concert Orchestra and the choral group, Cór Radio Éireann. Bowles resigned from his post in 1948, responding to pressure brought about by extensive expansions in broadcasting. He subsequently taught and conducted in New Zealand and the USA before returning to Ireland in 1970. His publications include a number of articles and a book, The Art of Conducting (New York, 1959). Sacred choral settings and songs number among his compositions....

Article

Richard Will

(b Winter Park, FL, July 28, 1935; d Amherst, MA, July 21, 2009). American singer, choral director, educator, and music historian. He studied at Bethune-Cookman College (BA 1957) and the Eastman School of Music (MA 1964, PhD 1973), and was Professor of Music Theory and African-American Music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1973–99). Boyer was a leading authority on African-American gospel music, to which he made contributions as a scholar, editor, performer, and educator. With his brother James, he performed and recorded with major gospel stars and also as The Boyer Brothers duo. At the same time he toured widely as a soloist and directed many gospel choirs, including the Voices of New Africa House Workshop Choir (1973–7) and the Fisk Jubilee Singers during his tenure as United Negro College Fund Distinguished Scholar-at-Large (1985–7). He arranged spirituals and gospel songs and edited ...

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Naples, 1873; d Bogotà, Aug 28, 1935). Italian impresario and cellist . He joined the orchestra of an Italian opera company touring the Balkans in 1890, and also performed in Egypt, but decided to try his hand as an impresario in 1895, giving performances in Alexandria (Alhambra Theatre) during August and September and in Cairo (Ezbekieh Gardens) for the next two months. The company was joined in Cairo by the young and not yet famous Enrico Caruso, who sang in five operas. Bracale was again impresario in Cairo, but at the much more important Khedivial theatre from 1908 to 1912; here he continued his practice of hiring outstanding young singers (Amelita Galli-Curci, Hipolito Lazaro) before they became famous. Salomea Krusceniski, Eugenia Burzio, Carmen Melis, Antonio Magini-Coletti and Eugenio Giraldoni also sang for him during these years. In 1912 he put on Aida at the Pyramids.

Bracale’s Latin-American activities began in ...