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Dezső Legány

(b Szent-György-Ábrány, Oct 15, 1822; d Budapest, Dec 20, 1903). Hungarian writer on music, composer and pianist. He came from the wealthy Eördögh family: the name means ‘devil’ and his father changed it to Ábrányi, the name of their estate. He studied the piano under János Kirch (1810–63) and Vilmos Dolegni. His first composition, Magyar ábránd (‘Hungarian Fantasy’), was published in 1841. In the early 1840s he gave concerts in Hungarian towns, and in 1846 left for Vienna to take piano lessons with Joseph Fischhof. There is no reliable evidence that he was ever a student of Chopin in Paris. From 1847 he lived in Pest, in the 1850s as a piano teacher, and studied composition with Mosonyi, together with whom he became a devoted follower of Liszt and Wagner. He was one of the founders of the first Hungarian music periodical, the Zenészeti lapok, in ...

Article

Jernej Weiss

(b Dobrova, nr Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dec 25, 1877; d Ljubljana, Dec 6, 1936). Slovenian music educator, conductor, and writer on music. Uncle of composer Bojan Adamič. He received his first musical education at the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica society music school, from 1911 to 1912 he studied at the Conservatory in Trieste, and in 1912 he passed the national examination at the Ljubljana Conservatory. During World War I he joined the Austrian Army, and from 1915 to 1920 was a prisoner of war at Tashkent. In 1920 he returned to Ljubljana, where he taught music at the teacher’s college and at the classical gymnasium until his retirement in 1932. From 1925 to 1928 he was conductor of the Orchestral Society at the Glasbena Matica music society, and from January 1928 to December 1929 editor of the Nova muzika (‘New Music’) magazine. He was also active as a music critic and reviewer for the magazines ...

Article

Owen Wright

(fl first half of the 11th century). Arab musician and writer. The son of an eminent musician, he became a prominent singer at the Cairo court of the Fatimid caliph al-Ẓāhir (1021–36), and was still active as a teacher in 1057. His music treatise, completed after 1036 and entitled Ḥāwī al-funūn wa-salwat al-maḥzūn (‘Compendium of the arts to comfort sad hearts’), is of particular interest in that it deals with various topics of little concern to other authorities. Written from the perspective of a cultured musician rather than that of a philosopher-theorist, it calls upon a literary tradition of writing about music, and its historical content is frankly derivative, even if of interest for the implication of continuity with the court music of 9th-century Baghdad. But it is wide-ranging in its treatment of contemporary practice, dealing not only with such basics as mode and rhythm, but also with such matters as the normal sequence of events in performance, deportment and etiquette, the materials and construction of the ‘...

Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, 2/Aug 14, 1893; d Bucharest, Feb 18, 1959). Romanian composer, pianist, conductor, teacher, music critic, and director of music programmes. A leading figure of the first half of the 20th century, he laid the foundation of the Romanian school in music, concert life, and musical journalism. He studied with A. Castaldi, D. Dinicu, D.G. Kiriac, and E. Saegiu at the Bucharest Conservatory (1903–11), completing his education with two periods of study in Paris (1913–14, 1923–4), where he studied with d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum and with Paul Vidal at the Conservatoire. A remarkable accompanist, he worked with Enescu, Thibaud, Mainardi, Moodie, and others during the period 1919–45. As a conductor he always achieved a soberly balanced performance; he conducted more than 1500 performances at the Romanian Opera in Bucharest (1921–59), where he specialized in the French repertory (Bizet, Massenet, and Gounod). In his capacities as conductor of the Romanian Philharmonic Society, and as conductor and artistic manager of the Romanian RSO, he did much to encourage Romanian composers. He was also active as a music critic for Romanian and French reviews. Much of his compositional work was done during his youth, including ...

Article

Robert Paul Kolt

(b Portland, OR, Dec 15, 1906; d Richmond, CA, Aug 19, 1999). American pianist, organist, accompanist, educator, and critic. After childhood training in piano and organ, Allen received his formal music education at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, OH, (BM, 1928, MM 1936), where he studied piano with George C. Hastings and Frank H. Shaw; in the interim he studied with Gordon Stanley and James Friskin at the Juilliard School (1928–9). He taught at Howard University, Washington, DC (1929–35), and at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee (1936–43, 1951). Allen held a fellowship from the US Department of Education to study piano with Egon Petri in Kraków, Poland (1938–9). When his visit was cut short by the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he used the remainder of his fellowship to study with Isabelle Vengerova at the Mannes College of Music in New York City (...

Article

Viorel Cosma

revised by Ruxandra Arzoiu

(b Bucharest, Dec 22, 1894/Jan 5, 1895; d Bucharest, Feb 4, 1974). Romanian composer, pianist, teacher, and critic. An erudite personality of Romanian music, he contributed to the formation of a Romanian school of composition during the inter-war years. At the Bucharest Conservatory (1906–13) he studied with Kiriac-Georgescu, Castaldi, Klenck, and Dunicu. In 1919 he graduated law school in Bucharest and then took the PhD in 1922 in Paris. During his stay in France, he participated in the courses of composition of Vincent d’Indy and Gabriel Faure. In 1920, he founded the Society of Romanian composers with other important musicians. At the Bucharest Conservatory (now the National University of Music Bucharest) he taught chamber music (1926–48) and composition (1948–59). His students include Stefan Niculescu, Dumitru Capoianu, and Aurel Stroe. He was not only a partner at the chamber concerts of George Enescu, but also promoted together with Enescu the new Romanian and French chamber music. He wrote for numerous publications on subjects ranging from music aesthetics to jazz and folk music, for instance, ‘George Enescu the Way I Met Him’ in ...

Article

Hans Åstrand and Bo Wallner

(Magnus)

(b Göteborg, Dec 12, 1887; d Stockholm, Feb 15, 1974). Swedish composer, administrator, conductor and critic. He studied the cello at school in Göteborg and then entered the Stockholm College of Technology. Having passed the examination in civil engineering in 1911, he spent his working life (1912–68) in the patent office. He was largely self-taught although he studied composition and instrumentation with Hallén at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music (1910–11), and partly used the state composer’s scholarships he received between 1911 and 1915 to study in Germany (1911 and 1913). He made his début as a conductor at Göteborg in 1912, when the programme included his First Symphony; thereafter (particularly during the 1920s) he often conducted his own music and that of contemporaries, both at home and abroad (where he promoted Swedish music). From 1916 to 1922 he was kapellmästare at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm; he also worked enthusiastically as co-founder and president (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b New York, April 17, 1926; d New York, Feb 1, 2007). American writer on jazz and broadcaster. After graduating from Cornell University (BA 1951) he joined the staff of the New Yorker. For the Saturday Review (1953–7) and then for the New Yorker he contributed reviews of jazz concerts, recordings and books, as well as interviews with jazz musicians; many of these articles have been reprinted in a continuing series of books. He has also published poetry. In 1957 he conceived the idea and was adviser for a television programme, ‘The Sound of Jazz’, broadcast live by CBS. Balliett’s writings are eloquent and highly stylized. His interviews portray his subjects with dignity, and his reviews often create effects that parallel those of the music being discussed. At his best, in an assessment of style or a description of an improvisation, Balliett provided insights more penetrating than many formal musical analyses....

Article

John Edwin Henken

(b Madrid, Aug 3, 1823; d Madrid, Feb 17, 1894). Spanish composer, musicologist, conductor and critic. Barbieri’s father died in 1823 and the composer used his matronym throughout his life although, in the heated polemic wars of the period, that was sometimes held against him as an Italianate pretence.

Barbieri received his early music training from his maternal grandfather and entered the fledgling Royal Conservatory in 1837, studying the clarinet with Ramón Broca, the piano with Albéniz y Basanta, singing with Saldoni and composition with Carnicer. In 1841 his family moved to Lucena, but Barbieri remained in Madrid, eking out a living as a clarinettist, pianist, teacher and copyist. His earliest compositions were songs and dances, and a paso doble for a militia band in which he played. He also sang baritone roles in Italian operas at the Conservatory and the Teatro del Circo. He wrote the libretto for a one-act zarzuela but did not complete the music in time for its scheduled première in ...

Article

John C.G. Waterhouse

(b San Domenico di Fiesole, Florence, June 20, 1883; d Tunis, Sept 22, 1927). Italian critic, composer and pianist. Largely self-taught, he became music critic of the newspapers La nazione (Florence) from 1915 to 1918 and Il resto del Carlino (Bologna) during 1919–23. He also taught composition and music history at the Nuova Scuola di Musica, Florence (1917). From 1909 to 1915 he regularly contributed to the influential Florentine cultural periodical La voce. His books, notably La crisi musicale europea (1912) in which he explored in depth the idea of decadence, are among the most thought-provoking written by any Italian musician of the time; and he had a knowledge and understanding of current trends (Skryabin, Schoenberg, etc.) which was then rare. His ideas exerted an important influence on progressive Italian musical opinion, and particularly on other composers: in 1911 he was the chief spokesman for a short-lived pressure group known as La Lega dei Cinque or ‘I “Cinque” Italiani’, whose other members were Pizzetti, G. F. Malipiero, Respighi and Renzo Bossi. Bastianelli’s propaganda advocated ‘the ...