( b Rome, Jan 25, 1960). Italian harpsichordist, organist and conductor . Largely self-taught, he conducted his first major concert, of Cavalli's Calisto, in Rome in 1985, with a group of singers that were to form the nucleus of a permanent ensemble, Concerto Italiano. The ensemble's first recording, of Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals, was widely acclaimed for its passion and colour, winning a Gramophone award in 1994; subsequent recordings have included madrigals by Monteverdi, Marenzio and Frescobaldi, and vocal works by Lassus. In 1995 Alessandrini founded the complementary Concerto Italiano instrumental ensemble, with whom he has performed and recorded concertos by Bach and Vivaldi, and made an imaginative recording of Bach's Art of Fugue. His other recordings include Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, vocal works by Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Pergolesi, and Handel's Roman oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. With Concerto Italiano he has appeared at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe. In ...
(b St Gall, March 17, 1911; d Lausanne, March 17, 1959). Swiss composer, pianist and organist. He began his music studies in Zürich in 1932, for the most part teaching himself; from 1934 to 1937 he studied in Paris with Dupré, Paul Roës and Nadia Boulanger, and returned to Switzerland in 1940. Settling in Lausanne, he worked as a concert pianist, composer, music critic and broadcaster. His eclectic style took elements from the varied musical currents of the time, but he retained a basis of sonata form and tonal harmony. He favoured driving rhythms and his writing is complex and compact. (L. Marretta-Schär: Raffaele d’Alessandro: Leben und Werk, Winterthur, 1979)
Dorothy C. Pratt
(b Constantinople, 1881; d Chamonix, July 27, 1954). Armenian cellist. He studied with Grützmacher and while a student played chamber music with Brahms and Joachim. At the age of 17 he appeared as the soloist in Strauss's Don Quixote with the composer conducting and scored a triumph; he was then invited to play concertos with Nikisch and Mahler. In 1901 he settled in Paris, where Casals saw some of his fingerings and recognized that Alexanian shared his own, then revolutionary, ideas on technique and interpretation. Many years' collaboration followed, leading to the publication in 1922 of their joint treatise Traité théorique et pratique du violoncelle and in 1929 of Alexanian's analytical edition of the solo cello suites of Bach. Alexanian was professor of the Casals class at the Ecole Normale de Musique from 1921 to 1937, when he left for the USA. His classes in Paris, Baltimore and New York attracted artists and students from all over the world, and his influence extended far beyond his own pupils (among them Maurice Eisenberg and Antonio Janigro) to such cellists as Feuermann, Cassadó, Piatigorsky and Fournier. He was also a conductor of distinction....
(b Stockholm, May 1, 1872; d Falun, May 8, 1960). Swedish composer, conductor and violinist. He attended the Stockholm Conservatory (1887–91) and then took private lessons with Lindegren (composition) and Zetterquist (violin); from 1887 he also studied painting. A violinist in the Hovkapellet (the opera orchestra, 1890–92), he decided in 1892 to make his career in music. From 1904 to 1957 he conducted the Siljan Choir – a group of five church choirs and regional choirs in Dalarna – and he was the director of other choruses, including the Orphei Drängar (1910–47), with whom he made 22 tours throughout most of Europe. In addition he was Director Musices of Uppsala University (1910–39). A Hugo Alfvén Foundation has been established in Stockholm.
Alfvén's music is distinguished by orchestral subtlety and by a painterly exploitation of harmony and timbre. His output was almost entirely of programme music, often suggested by the Swedish archipelago; he commented that ‘my best ideas have come during my sea-voyages at night, and, in particular, the wild autumns have been my most wonderful times for composition’. A few pieces, often performed, have maintained his reputation: ...
James L. Jackman
(b ?Milan, c1710; d Frankfurt, c1792). Italian cellist and composer. Although early sources (Eitner, Rudhart) claimed a Milanese origin for Aliprandi, the family has not been definitely traced. One of the numerous Italians who found careers north of the Alps, Aliprandi first appears in the records of the Bavarian court at Munich on 1 October 1731 as a chamber and court musician, with a yearly stipend of 1000 florins. On 22 August 1737 he succeeded G.B. Ferrandini as composer of chamber music; on 11 March 1744 he was promoted to Konzertmeister, with his salary increased to 1200 florins. By 1777 this amount had been reduced to 1105 florins, and in 1778 he retired with a pension of 500 florins. In 1791 he was living in Frankfurt; a petition by his son Bernardo Maria dated May 1793 indicates that he had died by then.
Aliprandi’s works for the Bavarian court opera include ...
James L. Jackman
revised by Valerie Walden
(b Munich, Feb 5, 1747; d Munich, Feb 19, 1801). Italian cellist and composer, son of Bernardo Aliprandi. The young Bernardo probably studied with his father and, like many cellists of the era, would have been familiar with the viol. He began playing the cello for the Munich court between ...
(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.
Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...
(b Sin-le-Noble, Nord, May 25, 1923). French bassoonist and teacher. A precocious talent, he won a premier prix at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 17. He won a first prize at the Geneva International Competition in 1949 and was appointed to the Paris Opéra the same year. In ...
(b Florence, Nov 16, 1567; d Florence, July 15, 1648). Italian composer and lutenist. Cesare Tinghi, the Medici court diarist, called him (in Solerti) ‘Lorenzo [or Lorenzino] todesco del liuto’, which has encouraged the notion that he may have been German, but his baptismal record confirms that he was from Florence. He entered the ranks of salaried musicians at the Medici court on 15 April 1604 as a lutenist; during the period 1636–7 he was referred to as maestro di liuto. In January 1622 he was appointed guardaroba della musica, and in due course he was also placed in charge of the pages who played, sang and danced in court entertainments. He continued to serve the court until his death. He seems chiefly to have written instrumental music. Only two vocal pieces by him are known: Tu piangi, a madrigal for solo voice and continuo published in Antonio Brunelli's ...
Terence J. O’Grady
revised by Bryan Proksch
(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...