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Simon Collier

[El Polaco ]

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 29, 1926; d Buenos Aires, Aug 27, 1994). Argentine tango singer. Despite his nickname, he was of pure Basque ancestry. His first jobs as a young man were driving buses, taxis and trucks, but he entered the flourishing tango scene of the 1940s on the strength of his untrained but superb baritone voice which, with its rhythmic sensitivity and dramatic sense, was quickly recognized by the public as one of the best since Carlos Gardel’s. He worked with a number of distinguished tango bands in the 1940s and 50s, notably those of Horacio Salgán and Aníbal Troilo, with whom he made some memorable recordings. After 1964 he fully established himself as a solo artist, winning much popularity and success in theatres, nightclubs, on the radio and in the recording studio, backed by a variety of groups including Roberto Pansera’s band and the Baffa-Berlingieri Trio. Goyeneche also wrote a few tangos, the best known being ...


(b Vienna, Sept 1, 1879; d New York, May 30, 1944). Austrian composer, pianist and librettist. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with Salomon Judassohn, then was engaged as a coach at the Vienna Hofoper, also working at the Viennese cabaret Nachtlicht as a pianist and singer. His first major success was the operetta Bub oder Mädel (1908), which shows the influence of Lehár. By 1930 he had written 16 operettas, eight of which also credited him as librettist, and also the libretto for Oscar Straus’s operetta Die Königin. Der Orlow (1925) became his most popular work, with some 400 performances in major European cities, and he contributed the song Zuschau ’n kann i net to Benatzky’s Im weissen Rössl (1930). He went to Hollywood in 1930 to team up with Nacio Herb Brown and write the music for the film One Heavenly Night...


William A. Everett and Lee Snook

[Hedrick, Zelma Kathryn]

(b Winston-Salem, NC, Feb 9, 1922; d Los Angeles, Feb 17, 2010). American actress and singer. During the 1940s and 50s she was one of the most popular of Hollywood's singing stars. Discovered by MGM talent scouts as a radio singer, she spent most of her career under contract to that studio. Her two most important roles were Magnolia Hawkes in Show Boat (1951) and Katharine in Kiss Me, Kate (1953). Other significant film credits include Rio Rita (1942), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Ziegfield Follies (1946), Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), That Midnight Kiss (1949), Lovely to Look At (1952), as the singer Grace Moore in So This Is Love (1953), and The Vagabond King (1956), her final film. Grayson was acknowledged by her contemporaries as a very fine legitimate soprano. She sang very easily with a minimum of facial distortion, a quality essential to the film medium. The lack of physical tension in her singing is a hallmark quality of her technique....


David Ades

(b London, 1911; d Dublin, Oct 6, 1982). English arranger, composer and conductor. At the age of 19 Green was the youngest musical director in London's West End, and his first recordings were for EMI in 1933. Before World War II he was closely involved in commercial radio, and after the war many of his works became familiar radio and television themes, for example that of ‘Meet the Huggetts’. He was one of the most prolific musicians in his field, responsible for hundreds of recordings and over 150 film scores. Many of Green's own works were written specifically for those publishers who served the requirements of radio, television and films, such as Chappell, Francis, Day & Hunter, Paxton and Photoplay. He began writing film scores when Romance was chosen by Menuhin for the theme of The Magic Bow (1946). Often writing under pseudonyms, his biggest international success was as ‘Jose Belmonte’ with ...


Leon Berger

(b London, Dec 9, 1847; d Folkestone, March 1, 1912). English actor, singer, composer and writer, father of George Grossmith. He was a courtroom reporter and comic recitalist, like his father of the same name, before becoming a drawing-room entertainer: he was sometimes called ‘G.G. II’, to distinguish him from his father, or ‘G.G.’. He began a 12-year association with the Gilbert and Sullivan Savoy operas when he made his stage début in the title role of The Sorcerer in 1877. Of slight stature, with excellent diction, dapper footwork and a light comic touch, he created what became known as the patter parts or the ‘Grossmith roles’. In 1889 he resumed his lucrative Humorous and Musical Recitals, touring in England and America.

According to contemporary accounts he was not much of a singer, but his own songs display a wider tessitura than the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory suggests. He was the author of and often a performer in eight operettas, nearly 100 musical sketches and some 400 songs and piano pieces. This prolific song output was mostly in a patter style, with an infectious melody and a syllabic setting for fast delivery: a third of them were published and survive, but his manuscripts along with his performing librettos from the Savoy operas were destroyed in World War II. His songs are couched in quotidian detail: London streets and their surly cab drivers and bus conductors, seedy lodging houses, obstreperous babies, and fashionable dances as in ...


Thomas L. Gayda

[Will; Williams, Hugh; Milos, André]

(b Vienna, Aug 11, 1894; d New York, Dec 10, 1939). Austrian composer, pianist and conductor. Born into a Jewish family of jewellers, he studied with the operetta composer Richard Heuberger, Robert Fuchs, the musicologist Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. After he left the Vienna Music Academy in 1919, his Zwei phantastische Stücke was given its first performance by the Vienna PO. The following year he received a doctorate in music from Vienna University. While he remained initially faithful to the late-Romantic, Impressionist line, he became the first Austrian composer to introduce jazz idioms into his music. His grotesque ballet-pantomime Baby in der Bar (1928) marked him as one of the prime exponents of the Zeitgeist of the Weimar era.

In 1927 Grosz moved to Berlin and became the artistic director of the new Ultraphon record company, quickly building up its catalogue as a conductor, arranger and pianist. He formed a well-known piano duo with Wilhelm Kauffman and toured Europe as a highly-sought accompanist and conductor. When the National Socialists seized power in ...


Stanley Goscombe


(b Zsámbék, Dec 1, 1809; d Weimar, Feb 1, 1889). Hungarian composer, bandmaster and violinist. At 15 he held the post of teacher’s assistant and later taught at a school in the Pest suburb of Franzen. At 18 he gave up teaching and joined the 5th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Pest, and in 1835 entered the 4th Imperial Austrian Artillery Regiment in Graz as an oboist, soon becoming its bandmaster. Here he became known as the ‘Graz Strauss’, and introduced orchestral music with stringed instruments into public entertainments. In 1836 he composed his first successful work, the Ungarischer Marsch; it was published in Berlin in 1839. In 1840 he married Cajetana Barbara Reichl, in whose honour he composed the Cajetana-Tänze op.116.

With 16 Styrian musicians, Gung’l left Graz in 1843 on his first concert tour of Austria and Germany, ultimately arriving in Berlin, where, assisted by his friend and publisher Gustav Bock, he became the resident conductor of his own 36-piece orchestra at Sommer’s Lokal (...


[Hale-Monro, Beatrice Mary]

(b Liverpool, May 22, 1899; d Hastings, Jan 10, 1984). English soprano. She was born into a theatrical family; both her parents were on the stage and her brother was the comedy actor Sonnie Hale (1902–59). She first appeared professionally in Follow the Crowd at the Liverpool Empire (1916), and in the same year was engaged by C.B. Cochran as Annette in Houp La! She appeared in many revues and musical comedies, notably Puppets! (1924, with music by Ivor Novello), in which she displayed her abilities as a mimic. She created the title role in Youmans’s No, No, Nanette (1925) and Jill in Vivian Ellis’s Mr Cinders (1929). She also appeared in Kern’s Sunny (1925), Billy Mayerl’s Nippy (1930), and introduced ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ in C.B. Cochran’s revue Home and Beauty (1937...



(b London, May 2, 1898; d Eastbourne, Oct 28, 1989). English band-leader and trumpeter. In London he studied the trumpet and orchestration at Trinity College of Music and the RAM before World War I, and at the Guildhall School of Music in 1922. In 1914 he joined the music editorial department of the Salvation Army and after the war worked in music halls, as a cinema pianist, and as a member of provincial bands; from 1924 he led his first important band, at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, with which he made his first recordings. By 1930 he was musical director for a hotel chain and controlling 32 bands. He replaced Jack Payne as leader of the BBC Dance Orchestra in 1932. As director of dance music for the BBC (1932–7) he had an unusually heavy broadcasting schedule, including (from 1934) a weekly ‘Guest Night’ show which ran until the late 1950s. In ...


Andrew Lamb

[Rhodes (née Guy), Helen M.]

(b Château Hardelot, nr Boulogne, c1858; d London, Jan 7, 1936). French composer, pianist and singing teacher. She was the daughter of an English sea captain and the singer Helen Guy. At the age of 15 she was taken to Paris, where she studied at the Conservatoire under Renaud Maury, and success came in her early 20s with the song Sans toi (words by Victor Hugo). Gounod and Massenet were among those who encouraged her in composition, and those who introduced her songs included Nellie Melba, Victor Maurel and Pol Plançon, as well as Emma Calvé, with whom she went to the USA in 1896 as accompanist. After marrying an Englishman she settled in London, where she continued to produce sentimental songs, about 300 in all, notable for their easy melody and typical dramatic climax. They include Three Green Bonnets (H.L. Harris; 1901), Because (E. Teschemacher; ...