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Axel Helmer

(b Visby, June 5, 1805; d Stockholm, May 4, 1857). Swedish composer, conductor and organist. He studied music at the University of Uppsala and became the musical director of E.V. Djurstrms theatre company in 1828. From 1832 to 1842 he was a teacher at the Gymnasium in Vsterå and the city’s cathedral organist. He then moved to Stockholm, where he was a conductor of various theatre orchestras, for which he composed the music for about 100 productions, often in collaboration with August Blanche. His only full-length opera, Alfred den store (Alfred the Great), based on a text of Theodor Krner, was written in 1848 but never performed; another opera, Abu Hassan, was not finished. His other compositions include about 300 entractes, a vocal symphony, some orchestral works, a piano concerto and solo piano pieces. He also edited collections of Swedish and Nordic folksongs and folkdances and compiled a pocket dictionary of music (...


Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof

(b Muar, Johor, Malaysia, June 12, 1941). Malaysian singer and lute player. He became interested in music at an early age, as a result of watching bangsawan (Malay opera) performances; his father, a musician, was important in nurturing this interest. At the age of 18 he joined the Setia Ghazal Party in his home town (the principal centre of the syncretic vocal genre ghazal in Malaysia) as a singer and musician; he later joined the well-known Seri Maharani Ghazal, becoming famous as a gambus (short-necked lute) player (the lead instrument in ghazal ensembles) and featuring on Seri Maharani Ghazal's many recordings.

He has visited around 40 countries, often giving solo performances, but principally as a member of exchange troupes through the Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, which he joined in 1976. Shortly after joining this organization, he worked as a gambus teacher at Kompleks Budaya Negara (National Cultural Complex), where he continued until his retirement. He continues to work part-time at the Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (National Arts Academy). In addition to being a highly successful ...


David Cummings

(b Stockholm, Aug 1, 1942). Swedish tenor . He studied at the Stockholm Opera School with Erik Saedén, Aksel Schiøtz and Max Lorenz. From 1969 he has appeared at the Royal Opera, Stockholm, notably in works by Mozart and Rossini (début as Tamino). At Drottningholm he has sung in many revivals of Baroque operas. He left Stockholm in ...


Pekka Gronow

(bLapinjärvi, nr Lovisa, Finland, Dec 10, 1918). Finnishtrumpeter and trombonist. He began his career in dance bands in the late 1930s in Helsinki and played with Eugen Malmstén and others. During World War II he led a band that introduced the big-band swing style to Finland; as the Rytmiorkesteri it made a series of recordings in ...


Pekka Gronow


(bGloucester, MA, May 24, 1902; dGloucester, Feb 13, 1995). Americantrumpeter. He played drums from the age of six and two years later changed to cornet. After playing in the brass band of the local Finnish-American temperance society he became a professional dance-band musician in Boston. In 1925 he moved to New York to play with the violinist and bandleader Paul Specht (to February 1927). From December 1927 he lived in London, where he performed with the Savoy Orpheans and Ambrose and his Orchestra (October 1928 – August 1931) and played in many studio groups. He moved back to the USA in 1931 and worked as a studio musician in New York, then returned to Gloucester in 1940. Ahola was much admired for his technique, pure tone, and imaginative solos, but he never recorded jazz as a leader. His solos are scattered through the hundreds of recordings he made with obscure and often indifferent studio groups. From the 1970s his work was the subject of renewed interest among record collectors....


Noël Goodwin


(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 13, 1932; d Cologne, Oct 31, 2002). Israeli conductor of Soviet birth. He studied at the Leningrad Central School of Music and the Leningrad Conservatory, and also with Natan Rakhlin and Kurt Sanderling. In 1956 he was appointed conductor of the Saratov PO; he also taught at the conservatory there and conducted his first operas. The next year he became conductor at Yaroslav, remaining there until his appointment as chief conductor of the Moscow RSO in 1964; his guest engagements included appearances with the Bol′shoy Ballet. Ahronovich left the USSR in 1972 and became an Israeli citizen. After concerts with the Israel PO he began touring, appearing in London with the RPO and with the New York PO in the USA. He made his operatic début in the West with Otello at Cologne, where he was conductor of the Gürzenich Concerts from ...


Howard Rye


(bCharleston, SC, July 26, 1902 or 1903; dNew York, April 1973). Trumpeter. He was unsure of his year of birth (his social security file gives 1903), and he was brought up in the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina, where he received extensive musical tuition and toured with the orphanage bands. In about 1921 he moved to New York, and from November 1921 until January 1922 he toured with the Black Swan Masters under the direction of Fletcher Henderson, accompanying Ethel Waters. From May 1922 to mid-1924 he was a member of the Real Jazzers of Jazz, under the singer Gonzell White, working mainly in New York, although the band also made a lengthy tour of Cuba in 1923. He continued working with shows in the later 1920s and recorded with Charlie Johnson in 1930, as well as with such vaudeville blues singers as Clara Smith, on whose ...


Susan Au

(b Rogers, TX, Jan 5, 1931; d New York, Dec 1, 1989). American dancer, choreographer, and dance company director. He began to study dance at Lester Horton’s studio in Los Angeles in 1949 and went to the East Coast as a member of Horton’s dance company in 1953. After Horton’s sudden death and the company’s disbandment he joined the cast of the Broadway musical House of Flowers (1954), the first of several musicals and plays in which he appeared. In 1958 he assembled a group of dancers to perform his choreography at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA in New York City, and this group eventually grew into the company now called the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His choreographic style combined modern dance, ballet, jazz dance, and elements of social and ethnic dance forms. Many of his works reflect the African-American experience in their themes and music; his best-known work, ...


Richard Wigmore

( b Lyon, Sept 9, 1957). French pianist . He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won four premiers prix, and continued his studies with Yvonne Loriod and Maria Curcio. Since winning first prize in the 1973 Messiaen Competition he has been closely asssociated with Messiaen's music, performing all of the composer's works for piano and making a widely praised recording of the Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jésus. At the age of 19 Aimard was invited by Boulez to become solo pianist with the Ensemble InterContemporain. He has performed and recorded many of Boulez's works, and in the mid-1980s began to collaborate regularly with Ligeti, who chose Aimard to record his complete piano works for Sony and dedicated several of his Etudes to him. Aimard's repertory also includes works by Ives (whose Quarter-Tone Pieces he has recorded), Webern and Berio, in addition to Classical and Romantic works. During the ...


Bruce Carr

revised by George Biddlecombe


(b L’Isle, nr Avignon, Oct 4, 1779; d Paris, Feb 2, 1866). French conductor and composer. He became conductor at the theatre at Marseilles when he was 17. He moved to Paris in 1817, where his opera Les jeux floraux was performed, with little success, in 1818. He was conductor at the Théâtre du Gymnase from 1820 to 1821 and at the Théâtre Français from 1822 to 1832. He composed various songs, of which Michel et Christine (1821) was particularly popular. Aimon later turned to teaching: his Abécédaire musical appeared in 11 editions by 1866. (DBF; G. d'Orgeval)

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James Jolly

(b Crewe, July 9, 1963). English tenor. He studied music at Oxford University and with Diane Forlano. After early engagements with Gothic Voices and other groups he made his first operatic appearance in Scarlatti's Gli equivoci nel sembiante at Innsbruck's Early Music Festival (1988). He made his American début in 1990 with concerts in Boston and New York, and has sung with the ENO (début in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, 1989), the WNO (Idamantes), Scottish Opera (Fenton), and at the Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne festivals (Don Ottavio). He made his San Francisco début in 1995 as Don Ottavio (a role he has recorded with Norrington) and his Netherlands Opera début as Monteverdi's Orfeo in 1996. More recent roles have included Lensky, David in Nielsen's Saul og David, and Jupiter in Semele, which he performed to acclaim at the ENO in 1999. A supple lyric tenor in the English tradition, Ainsley has an extensive discography ranging from Monteverdi to Britten. Among his recordings are Britten's ...


Bruce Mather


(b Kentville, NS, Aug 28, 1939). Canadian flautist, conductor and composer. He studied with Nicholas Fiore (in Toronto) and Marcel Moyse; later with Rampal and Gazzelloni. He was principal flautist of the Vancouver SO (1958–9) and of the Toronto SO (1965–70). In 1971 he was a prizewinner of the Concours International de Flûte de Paris. In 1964 he formed the Lyric Arts Trio with his wife, the pianist Marion Ross, and the soprano Mary Morrison. He is musical director of New Music Concerts (Toronto) and Music Today (Shaw Festival, Ontario), as well as a soloist whose engagements take him to Europe, North America, Japan and Iceland. In 1977 he was one of 12 instrumentalists invited by Boulez to give a solo recital at IRCAM in Paris. Some 50 works have been wrtten for him by composers including Carter, Crumb, R. Murray Schafer and Takemitsu. Technically adept, he has a pure, intense tone and a finished sense of phrasing. In ...


Richard Dyer

revised by Justin Krawitz

(b Los Angeles, CA, June 17, 1908; d Sante Fe, NM, May 11, 1981).

American pianist. After studying in California under Alexis Kall and Alfred Mirovitch, and at the Curtis Institute under Herbert Simpson, he departed for Berlin to pursue further studies with three pupils of Liszt—Arthur Friedheim, Moriz Rosenthal, and Emil Sauer—as well as with Artur Schnabel and Marie Prentner (Theodor Leschetizky’s principal assistant). He made his professional debut in Vienna in 1929 and his New York debut at Town Hall on 17 November 1935. In 1938 he played the complete cycle of Schubert’s piano sonatas both in London and in New York. During the 1940s Aitken commanded the esteem of Virgil Thomson and of the intellectual public as Schnabel had in the previous generation; his wide-ranging repertory included contemporary works such as Elliott Carter’s Piano Sonata, of which Aitken gave the first performance in a radio broadcast in ...


Mark Gilbert

(b Sendai, Japan, March 16, 1953). Japanese pianist and keyboard player. He grew up in Cleveland and studied piano, theory, and music history at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (1959–65). In his early teens he returned to Japan, where he read philosophy and composition at the International Christian University in Tokyo (1971–5); he then began, but did not complete, a doctorate in philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Apart from leading his own small groups, Akagi played with, among others, Art Pepper (1975), Blue Mitchell (1975), Eddie Harris (1976), Airto Moreira and Flora Purim (1979–86), Kazumi Watanabe (mid-1980s), Joe Farrell (1984–5), James Newton (from 1985), Allan Holdsworth and Jean-Luc Ponty (both 1986), Al Di Meola (1986–7), Miles Davis (1989–91), Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks (1990), Stanley Turrentine (from ...


André Clergeat

(b Paris, Dec 7, 1968). French guitarist, leader, and composer. He studied guitar under the guidance of Philippe Petit and Marc Ducret and was influenced by the avant-garde musicians Derek Bailey and John Zorn. After having played alongside John Abercrombie, Tal Farlow, and Dave Liebman he abandoned bop, oriented himself “beyond” jazz, and adopted a violent “jungle style,” which had nothing to do with Duke Ellington’s aesthetic of the same name but borrowed instead mainly from electronics. In the early 1990s he founded the groups Unit (including Julien Lourau) and Trash Corporation (involving Bojan Zulfikarpasic), played in the cooperative Astrolab, and appeared frequently in Henri Texier’s group. Later he joined the groups Machination (alongside Hélène Labarrière), Tribulation, and the Recyclers, and led the ensemble M.A.O. Akchoté has taught at the Centre d’Information Musicale and at EDIM (Enseignement Diffusion Information Musique).


Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer


(b Stockholm, Jan 19, 1860; d Stockholm, Jan 20, 1938). Swedish composer, organist and conductor. He attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1882–6), studying counterpoint and composition with J. Dente, and was a pupil of Franck in Paris (1887–8). In Stockholm he was coach at the Royal Opera (1888–90), organist at the synagogue (1890–1928), music teacher at Norrmalm’s grammar school (1895–1923) and teacher at Richard Anderssons Musikskola (1897–1909). From 1886 he conducted several choirs, including the Bellman Choir (1895–1926), which he also founded, and the Philharmonic Society (1900–03). Åkerberg’s compositions often approach the style of Swedish folk music, especially the ballads Kung Svegder and Prinsessan och Svennen. They are technically sound but conventional.

MSS in S-Skma, Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå


(fl 1684–1706). English violinist and composer. Someone of this name was living in the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, London, in 1686. He is listed among the king's musicians between 1687 and 1691, in which year he was in the party that accompanied King William to Holland. Thereafter he does not appear in the Lord Chamberlain’s records, but he was admitted a wait of the City of London in 1695. The following year John Blow wrote to Sir Joseph Williamson recommending him as one of his entourage for the Treaty of Ryswick (1697): he was described as ‘a fit person on several accounts, for his understanding French and Italian, and a good scholar’. Blow mentions that he had been one of the Stewards of the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy the year after Williamson, though in fact it was the year before, in 1687. Apparently in ...


Amelia Maciszewski

[Faizabadi, Akhtari Bai]

(b Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, 1911–14; d Lucknow, 1974/5). North Indian vocalist. She was hailed as a child prodigy by Gauhar Jan, who heard her sing at her school in about 1919. Akhtari's mother then took her to study classical vocal music with Ustad Zamir Khan of Gaya, Bihar. Akhtari made her début as a vocalist at a charity concert in Patna. Subsequently she moved to Calcutta and underwent arduous classical vocal training as a disciple of Ustad Ata Hussein Khan of the Patiala gharānā. She made her first commercial recording in 1933, the ghazal Dīvāna banāna hāi to, in which she sang to the accompaniment of sāraṅgī, tablā and harmonium. She also acted in a few musical films, notably Roṭi, and spent some time at the court of the Nawab of Rampur. Later she settled in Lucknow, regularly performing both publicly and in private soirées and often travelling to Calcutta to perform at music conferences....


(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...


Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Jan 17, 1955). Japanese guitarist. Self-taught, he took up drums at the age of eight and guitar when he was ten. In 1975 he made his professional début with Isao Suzuki’s group Soul Family. He performed with Mikio Masuda, Motohiko Hino, Hiroshi Murakami, Yoshio Suzuki (...