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[Gaspare, Gaspero] [Gasparini, Domenico Maria Angiolo]

(b Florence, Feb 9, 1731; d Milan, Feb 6, 1803). Italian choreographer, dancer and composer. Along with his rival Jean-Georges Noverre, Angiolini was one of the principal exponents of the new danza parlante, or ballet en action. He began his dance career in Lucca (1747) and also in Venice (1747–8, 1750–51), Turin and Spoleto (1751), Lucca again, this time also working as a choreographer, and Rome (1752–3) before moving to Vienna. There, in 1754 he married his partner, Maria Teresa Fogliazzi (1733–92), notwithstanding the rivalry of Casanova. During Carnival 1756–7 Angiolini produced ballets for the operas given at the Teatro Regio, Turin, also performing as primo ballerino, partnered by his wife. He returned to Vienna as premier danseur at the French theatre, and when the choreographer Franz Hilverding van Wewen departed for Russia in November 1758, the director Giacomo Durazzo named Angiolini as his successor. Gluck succeeded Joseph Starzer as composer of ballet music....

Article

Maureen Needham

(b Paris, Oct 30, 1631; d Paris, early Feb 1705). French dancer, choreographer, composer and conductor. He has been wrongly identified with Charles-Louis Beauchamps. Called the father of all ballet-masters, he codified the five positions of feet and arms, and developed a rational system of dance notation which is now called after Raoul-Auger Feuillet, who published it (in his Chorégraphie, ou L’art de décrire la dance) in 1700.

Beauchamps was Louis XIV’s personal dancing-master and favourite partner in ballets de cour in the 1650s and 60s. Throughout his career he collaborated with Lully, whom he first met as comic dancer in, and later as composer of, ballets de cour. Beauchamps choreographed intermèdes and dances for Molière’s comédies-ballets, beginning with Les fâcheux (1661), for which he also composed the music and conducted the orchestra. He choreographed entrées for Le mariage forcé (1664), Le bourgeois gentilhomme...

Article

Gabriella Biagi Ravenni

(b Lucca, Feb 5, 1742; d after 1798). Italian librettist, dancer and choreographer. A brother of Luigi Boccherini, he made his début as a dancer in Venice in 1757, but his major successes were achieved in Vienna between 1759 and 1767 (for example, Noverre’s revived Médée et Jason) and from 1769 to 1771. He used this success to begin a career as a librettist; he was a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (with the name of Argindo Bolimeo) and published a collection of sonnets. His libretto Turno, re dei Rutoli, a dramma tragico (Vienna, 1767), was never set to music, but reveals a progressive approach to drama; its commendation by Calzabigi, appended to the libretto, led to contact with Salieri, who set to music most of Boccherini’s subsequent librettos. These reveal a talent for pantomime and choreography, and handle theatrical conventions with ease. From 1772 to 1775...

Article

Claude V. Palisca

(b Rome, c1550; d Rome, March 11, 1602). Italian composer, organist, singing teacher, dancer, choreographer, administrator and diplomat. He was the composer of the first surviving play set entirely to music, the Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo (Rome, 1600), the score of which is the earliest one printed with a figured bass.

Cavalieri was the son of Lavinia della Valle and Tommaso Cavalieri (1512–87), an architect and intimate friend of Michelangelo Buonarotti. His brother, Mario (d 1580), coordinated the Lenten music in the Oratorio del SS Crocifisso in S Marcello, Rome, between 1568 and 1579. He himself also participated in this Oratorio both as an organist and as a coordinator of Lenten music from 1578 until at least 1584 (the account books are missing for 1584–94); during his administration the yearly expenditure on music rose from 51 to 140 scudi....

Article

Irene Alm

(b Milan, ?1755; d after 1838). Italian dancer, choreographer and composer. A pupil of Noverre, he danced at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna in 1775 and presented his first choreography at the Teatro S Agostino in Genoa during Carnival 1776. Most of Clerico’s works were created for the opera houses in Venice, where he worked during the 1780s at S Samuele, S Benedetto and S Moisè, and later in his career at the Fenice, and in Milan, where from 1790 he graced the stage of La Scala for nearly 40 years. He also created ballets for opera houses in Turin, Rome, Brescia, Padua, Bologna, Parma and Florence, and returned to work in Vienna, 1798–1800. Clerico often danced in his own ballets with his brother Gaetano and sister Rosa (who in 1786 married the choreographer and dancer Lorenzo Panzieri). Their exceptional abilities as dancers, according to Ritorni, contributed in part to the success of Clerico’s ballets. Not only was he a renowned choreographer and dancer, but he also composed the music for many of his ballets. He was considered the heir to Angiolini, and an important precursor of Viganò. His enormous output totals nearly 80 ballets, many of which were restaged throughout Italy and in foreign theatres....

Article

Kate Van Winkle Keller

(b Paris, France, c1762; d Washington, DC, April 11, 1841). American dancing master, choreographer, and composer of dance music. He was born into a family named Landrin with close connections to the court of Louis XVI. He was a pupil of Maximilien Gardel (1741–87), and for six years he was dancing master for the Paris Opéra. He left Paris three days after the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and arrived in Philadelphia in mid-1790. He changed his name, placing advertisements for his dancing schools as Mr. De Duport. Chiefly a choreographer and teacher of social dancing, Duport blended amateur and professional dancing with theatrical standards of content and performance. He wrote music and created hornpipes and other solo dances for his students, as well as duos such as figured minuets, allemandes, and waltzes; group dances, including complex French contredanses, cotillions, and English country dances; and ballets for his classes to perform at recitals. A music copybook in Duport’s hand traces his creative career from ...

Article

Carol G. Marsh

[l'aîne]

(b Paris, March 1648; d Paris, 1719). French dancing-master, choreographer, violinist and possibly composer. He came from a family of violinists and dancing-masters. He danced the role of a monkey in 1660, and by 1666 he was clearly an accomplished and versatile professional. In 1674 he choreographed a divertissement by Cambert for performance at the English court. Among his illustrious pupils was the dauphine, Marie-Anne Christine-Victoire.

Favier was one of several late 17th-century French dancing-masters to devise a dance-notation system. He used it to preserve his choreography for A.D. Philidor's Le mariage de la grosse Cathos (1688), which includes movement notation for all 28 performers, including singers and instrumentalists. Favier notation lacks the visual attractiveness and readily discernible floor patterns of Beauchamp-Feuillet notation, but it has two advantages over the latter: dances for large groups are more easily notated, since each dancer has his own ‘part’, as in a music score; and greater rhythmic precision is possible....

Article

Wolfgang Bender

(b Oshogbo, Dec 18, 1931; d Ibadan, March 11, 1978). Nigerian playwright . Ladipo was an internationally famous author of Yoruba popular plays. For the Duro Ladipo Theatre Group he served as director, actor, composer, choreographer and manager. He was the grandson of a drummer and the son of an Anglican catechist. He was a member of his school's choir from the age of nine, and wrote his first play while still in school. At the same time he began composing and adapting European hymns to the tonality of the Yoruba language. The performance of his Easter Cantata (1961) in Oshogbo sparked a controversy concerning the use of drums in churches. Ladipo thereafter began performing outside the church, changing his topics to historical themes that integrated Yoruba singing and drumming. He ‘Yoruba-ized’ popular theatre, and his new directions were highly successful. He produced 36 plays, not including his television scripts....

Article

Kyle Gann

(Jane)

(b New York, Nov 20, 1942). American composer, singer, dancer and choreographer. She attended Sarah Lawrence College (BA 1964), where she studied a combination of theatre, dance and music. On her return to New York, she became involved in the James Tenney-Philip Corner-Malcolm Goldstein-Morton Feldman experimental music scene, and in the happenings and performance art of the Judson Theater. In her first important piece, 16-Millimeter Earrings (1966), she filmed herself dancing and made her own experimental soundtrack by running three tape loops simultaneously. Her first large theatre work, Juice (1969), an attempt to overturn concert conventions, was performed on three non-consecutive nights over a six-week period in three different and increasingly smaller spaces.

During the early 1970s Monk concentrated primarily on solo work and singing. The majority of her early works are for solo voice, or voice and piano. Despite her activity in other media (she is as often written about by dance, theatre and performance art critics as by music critics), her lithe vocal effects are her most characteristic trademark. Her repertory of vocal techniques includes glottal stops, Amerindian-style vibrato, nasal singing, nonsense syllables and child-like vocal tones, sounds featured in Balkan singing, Tibetan chanting and other non-Western traditions. ...

Article

J.G. Prod’homme and Marian Smith

(b Paris, Sept 17, 1821; d Paris, Sept 2, 1870). French violinist, dancer, choreographer and composer. His real surname was Michel. He studied ballet with his father, a ballet-master at the royal theatre in Stuttgart, and studied the violin with Paganini and Mayseder. He made his début as a violinist in Stuttgart in 1834 and as a dancer in Munich in 1835, when he adopted the name Saint-Léon. In 1837–8 he studied ballet with François Decombe (known as Albert) at the Paris Opéra. From 1838 he toured Europe as a dancer and in 1843 he created the ballet La vivandiera ed il postiglione (music by Rolland) in Rome. He married the ballerina Fanny Cerrito (1817–1909) in 1845; they danced together frequently until their separation in 1851. Meanwhile he became famous as a choreographer. In the early 1850s he was premier maître de ballet at the Opéra. He appeared as choreographer, dancer and violinist in ...