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Article

Martha Furman Schleifer

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 19, 1843; d Philadelphia, PA, 1918). American pianist, singer, educator, and composer. He studied music with his father Thomas à Becket Sr. (b 17 March 1808; d 6 Jan 1890) and in Philadelphia public schools. The father, a music teacher, actor and composer, wrote Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean. In 1855 Thomas à Becket Jr. performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in a work written by his father. He developed into one of the finest, most sought after accompanists in the city, joining with leading artists and singing groups. Member and president of the Mendelssohn Club, he sang in a series of 35 light operas produced at the Amateur Drawing Room (1868–72) and accompanied the Orpheus Club (1877–98). An important educator, from 1873 until he died à Becket taught and played the organ at Girard College, a residential school for orphaned boys. À Becket became a member of a group of professional musicians who evaluated music teaching methods in the Philadelphia Public Schools. À Becket family archives at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts include diaries (...

Article

Giovanni Carli Ballola

revised by Roberta Montemorra Marvin

(b Alessandria, March 20, 1851; d Alessandria, May 2, 1894). Italian organist and composer. He began his musical studies with his stepfather, Pietro Cornaglia. From 1868 to 1871 he attended the Milan Conservatory, studying the piano with Antonio Angeleri and composition with Lauro Rossi and Mazzucato. His graduation exercise, the cantata Caino e Abele, won the first prize and a medal of honour. He toured abroad as a concert pianist, but from 1880 until his death was organist at the cathedral in Alessandria, where he also founded a school of composition, singing and piano, and conducted concerts for the Associazione filarmonica alessandrina. He composed three operas, Isabella Spinola (1877, Milan), Maria di Warden (1884, Venice) and Una partita a scacchi (1892, Pavia), the latter based on Giuseppe Giacosa's popular comedy. In these works, which did not have much success, Abbà Cornaglia remained uninfluenced by the innovatory tendencies of the ‘Scapigliatura’ and of Catalani and by the new ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Genoa, 1821; d Milan, 1896). Italian mezzo-soprano . She studied with her father, the composer and teacher Natale Abbadia, making her début in 1836 at Sassari. In Vienna she sang Corilla in Donizetti’s Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1840). At La Scala she created Giulietta in Verdi’s ...

Article

H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Katherine K. Preston

(b Chicago, Dec 9, 1850; d Salt Lake City, Jan 5, 1891). American soprano and impresario. She studied first with her father and by the age of nine was performing professionally. She joined an itinerant concert troup in 1866 and after it disbanded went to New York to study with Achille Errani; her concert début there was in December 1871. In 1872 she went abroad to study with Sangiovanni in Milan and Marchesi, Wartel and Delle Sedie in Paris. Her operatic début at Covent Garden was as Marie in La fille du régiment (2 May 1876), but her contract was cancelled when she refused to sing Violetta on moral grounds.

Abbott secretly married Eugene Wetherell (d 1889); in 1876 they returned to the USA, where she gave concerts. Her American operatic début was in New York on 23 February 1877, again as Marie. In ...

Article

C.F. Pohl

revised by John D. Drake and Stephan Hörner

(b Bayreuth, Feb 20, 1761; d Stuttgart, March 2, 1838). German composer, pianist and organist. In 1771 he became a pupil of A. Boroni at the Hohe Karlsschule in Stuttgart, where in 1782 he joined the private band of the Duke of Württemberg as a harpsichordist. On Zumsteeg's death in 1802 he succeeded him as Konzertmeister, and took over the direction of the ensemble until the appointment of J.F. Kranz. By 1815 he held the position of organist at court and director of the official music. In 1832, having completed 50 years' service with the court, he was given a gold medal and a pension.

Most of Abeille's compositions date from the first 30 years of his service at Stuttgart. Besides two sonatas for keyboard with accompanying violin (1783), his published instrumental works include sonatas and other pieces for both piano solo and piano duet, a piano trio, a piano concerto and a concerto for piano duet, which was favourably mentioned by Gerber (...

Article

J.B. Steane

(b Lemberg [now L’viv], July 14, 1872; d Weidling, nr Vienna, Sept 1, 1932). Polish soprano of Austrian parentage . She first appeared as a child prodigy, singing operatic arias in her native town. At 13 she entered the Vienna Conservatory; she later studied in Milan, becoming highly proficient in florid singing while developing a voice of considerable power. She made her début (1889) in La sonnambula at the Vienna Opera. In the Munich première of Falstaff she sang Mrs Ford, and at Dresden in 1902 sang Tosca in the opera’s German première. She retired in 1908, having sung some 70 operatic roles, ranging from coloratura parts such as the Queen of Night and Lucia to dramatic roles including Sieglinde and Venus. A few rare gramophone records made in 1902 display some dubious stylistic qualities along with an extraordinary fluency in decorative work and a warm, limpid tone characteristic of the Lamperti school....

Article

Nicholas Michael Butler

(fl 1773–1820). Scottish violinist, viola d’amore player, and teacher. Abercromby was born in Scotland but educated in French Flanders. After hearing Abercromby play at a St Cecilia Society concert in Charleston in 1773, Josiah Quincy Jr. of Boston wrote, “A Frenchman just arrived, [who] played a first fiddle and solo incomparably, better than any I ever had heard.” During the American Revolutionary War, Abercromby remained in Charleston, where he advertised to teach guitar and dance, and performed at concerts during the British occupation of the city. He left Charleston in 1791, and over the next two decades lived in Bucks County, PA, Baltimore, Richmond, and Lexington. By 1815 he was in Tennessee, where he opened a music academy in Nashville.

J. Wooldridge, E. E. Hoss, and W. B. Reese: History of Nashville, Tennessee (Nashville, TN, 1890) J. Carden: Music in Lexington before 1840 (Lexington, KY, 1980) N. B. Butler...

Article

(b Riverside, ny , 1878; d New York, Feb 9, 1919). American soprano . She appeared first with her sister Jessie in vaudeville, then, in London, in operetta; she was heard there in 1898 by Jean de Reszke, who helped her to study in Paris with Victor Capoul and Mathilde Marchesi. Her début at the Opéra as Juliet in ...

Article

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

Francesco Bussi

[Charles]

(b Naples, Aug 25, 1829; d Portici, nr Naples, Feb 2, 1909). Italian composer and pianist. He studied the piano and composition in his native town, where he spent his entire life. His prolific output of fluently written, light and brilliant pieces (more than 400 works) won great success with the conventional middle class in Naples, which was culturally behind the times and inclined towards the flimsy, often frivolous genre of salon pieces: Acton's works became an indispensable part of the piano repertory of all daughters ‘of good family’ in Bourbon Naples. An amiable figure but of little distinction, he had no following of his own as a teacher, unlike his Neapolitan colleagues Costantino Palumbo and Alfonso Rendano.

Article

José López-Calo

(b La Coruña, Aug 24, 1826; d Lóngora, nr La Coruña, Oct 16, 1881). Spanish composer. He studied the piano with Moscheles in London from 1840 to 1844, and possibly also had lessons from Chopin in Paris. On his return to Spain he lived in La Coruña and Madrid, where some of his compositions were performed, and then at his palace of Lóngora, where he dedicated himself wholly to composition. The influence of Moscheles and, particularly, Chopin was decisive throughout his creative life. He composed one opera, Inese e Bianca, which, in spite of his efforts, was never staged. More important are his piano works and songs, the latter clearly influenced by lieder. In his Cantares nuevos y viejos de Galicia (1877) he united the folklore of Galicia with the technique and spirit of Romantic piano music. He also promoted the musical culture of his native province, developing courses and competitions in music....

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

Jeffrey R. Rehbach

revised by Charles S. Freeman

[Tymoteusz]

(b Warsaw, Poland, March 24, 1858; d Boston, MA, April 18, 1943). Polish violinist, active in the USA. He began violin studies at age seven and later studied under Apolinary Katski and Gustaw Robusky at the Warsaw Conservatory, where he graduated with honors in 1874; he also studied with Massart at the Paris Conservatoire. He made his first American tour in 1879, appearing with Clara Louise Kellogg and Max Strakosch before undertaking his own tour. He settled in Boston thereafter, playing with the Boston SO from 1884 until 1907 (except in 1887–8 when he made a European tour) and teaching at the New England Conservatory. Adamowski appeared 82 times as soloist with the orchestra and conducted the summer popular concerts from 1890–4 and again from 1900–7. He also appeared with orchestras in London, Paris, and Warsaw. In 1888 he formed the Adamowski Quartet with violinist Emmanuel Fiedler, violist Daniel Kuntz and cellist Giuseppe Campanari; the group was reconstituted the following year with A. Moldauer, Max Zach and Adamowski’s brother Joseph (who immigrated to the United States in ...

Article

H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by June C. Ottenberg and Jonas Westover

(b Charlestown, MA, Feb 9, 1834; d West Harwich, MA, July 4, 1900). American tenor. Adams was one of the most prominent American singers in European opera houses throughout the 19th century. He studied singing in Boston and in 1856 was soloist in the Handel and Haydn Society’s performance of Haydn’s The Creation. In 1861 he made concert and opera appearances in the West Indies and Holland. He studied in Vienna with Carlo Barbieri and was engaged for three years by the Berlin Royal Opera, then for eight out of nine years (1867–76) as principal tenor of the Vienna Imperial Opera. He also sang at La Scala and Covent Garden. In 1877 he returned to the United States. During the 1877–8 season at the Academy of Music in New York he sang the title role in the first American production of Wagner’s Rienzi. An excellent singer and fine actor, he had a commanding stage presence. His voice was described as very powerful and “a very sweet one and one of great range.” Adams made his way to Chicago in the 1880s, where he regularly performed oratorios with the Chicago Musical Union. Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Manrico, and Rienzi were his most celebrated parts. From ...

Article

W.H. Husk

revised by Alfred Loewenberg and George Biddlecombe

(b London, c1766; d London, Jan 30, 1844). English double bass player and composer. He was the son of an inventor and at an early age he learnt to play several instruments. In 1791 he married the singer Elizabeth Willems (c1785–c1840), granddaughter of H.T. Reinhold (who sang for Handel). During his career Addison pursued various professional musical activities, frequently determined by his wife’s engagements. In 1791 she sang at Vauxhall Gardens and then at Liverpool, where Addison (hitherto a cellist) deputized for a double bass player and settled on this as his preferred instrument. From Liverpool they went to Dublin, where Addison directed the amateur orchestra of a private theatre partly run by the Earl of Westmeath. In 1792 Mrs Addison sang in the oratorios at Covent Garden and appeared at Vauxhall Gardens; Addison wrote the words of two of her songs, set by James Hook. Later he composed songs for her, and claimed she was his pupil (in ...

Article

Dezső Legány

[Abranovics, Ritter von August]

(b Pera, Turkey, Nov 1, 1830; d Vienna, Oct 20, 1873). Violinist and composer of Croatian and Italian descent. In his childhood he lived in Constantinople, where his father was in the Austrian diplomatic service; his mother was the Contessa Franchini. From the age of 12 he studied in Vienna, and against his father’s will chose an artistic career as a student of Mayseder (violin, 1850–54) and Hoffmann (composition). After 1855 he had a career as an excellent violinist in various cities including Prague, Leipzig and (in 1858) Paris; he married in Pest in 1859. Nevertheless, he always remained close to the spirit of the orient, as is manifested in his literary works (e.g. Orientalische Musik). Among his 120 works there were operas composed to his own librettos, including the spectacular but short-lived Zrinyi (Pest, 1868, after Körner), Martinuzzi (Buda, 1870), choral works (a mass, ...

Article

David Cummings

[Chapman, Adele ]

(b Boston, 1855; d Dieppe, Feb 1924). American soprano . She studied with Pauline Viardot and Giovanni Sbriglia in Paris. Her début role was Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, at Varese in 1876. She appeared with the Mapleson Company in New York and after returning to Europe sang at the Opéra from ...

Article

Jennifer Spencer

(b Tobol′sk, 31 Dec/Jan 12, 1821; d St Petersburg, 22 May/June 3, 1898). Russian violinist and composer. He received his musical education from his father, the violinist Yakov Ivanovich Afanas′yev, an illegitimate son of the writer and poet Prince Ivan Dolgorukov. In 1836 he made his début as a violinist in Moscow, and two years later was appointed leader of the Bol′shoy Theatre Orchestra. He resigned in 1841 to become conductor of the serf orchestra maintained by the wealthy landowner I.D. Shepelyov at Vïksa, near St Petersburg. In 1846 he decided to pursue a career as a solo violinist and toured the major provincial cities of Russia, settling in St Petersburg in 1851. There he made occasional appearances as a soloist, and also led the orchestra of the Italian Opera, sometimes deputizing for the regular conductor. In 1853 he became a piano teacher at the Smol′nïy Institute and relinquished his orchestral post. He visited western Europe in ...

Article

J.B. Steane

(b St Chinian, Oct 23, 1858; d Cagnes-sur-Mer, Dec 27, 1931). French tenor. For 20 years he was a principal lyric-heroic tenor at the Opéra in Paris. Its director, Pierre Gailhard, had heard him in the provinces and arranged for lessons with Victor Duvernoy. Affré’s house début as Edgardo in 1890 coincided with Melba’s, in Lucia di Lammermoor. He developed a large repertory, appearing in Gluck’s Armide and also in the first performances at the Opéra of Entführung and Pagliacci. In 1891 he sang in the première of Le mage by Massenet, who found his voice ‘vibrant as pure crystal’. At Covent Garden in 1909 his roles were Faust and Saint-Saëns’s Samson. He went to the USA in 1911, appearing at San Francisco and New Orleans where in 1913 he became director of the Opera. He was a prolific recording artist and sang Romeo in one of the earliest complete operatic recordings (...

Article

Kathleen Dale

revised by Axel Helmer

(b Hornborga, Västergötland, May 6, 1785; d Enköping, Sept 25, 1871). Swedish pastor and folksong collector. After studying theology, he took a clerical post in Stockholm from 1809 to 1820, and from 1820 was pastor in Enköping. In 1811 he became a member of the Götiska Förbund and was deeply involved in the collecting of early folk tales, poems and melodies. He was an amateur flautist, but had little training in music; his friends helped him notate the melodies he heard.

Afzelius was the first to notate and publish the folksong Näckens polska, which he heard sung by a peasant girl in Småland in 1810, and to which he later wrote the poem Djupt i havet; the melody and text were printed in the journal Iduna in 1812. He collaborated with Erik Gustaf Geijer in the three-volume collection, Svenska folkvisor (1814–17), and supplied a number of melodies for Olof Åhlström’s anthology, ...