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Article

Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ‘ūd (lute) at the Cairo Institute for Arab Music. His professional work began as an ‘ūd player and singer at the national radio station and in Badī ‘a Maṣabnī's variety show saloon.

In 1941, through his sister Asmahān , he entered the cinema industry, and for the rest of his life was involved in films as a composer, singer actor, and producer. His singing of Syrian mawwāl (popular songs), tangos and rumbas achieved great popularity, and his work laid the foundations for Arab variety show films, cinematic operetta, orchestral musical overtures and comic and sad songs. His 31 films are mostly autobiographical and provide valuable insight into the role of the musician in society....

Article

Owen Wright

[Avenpace]

(b Zaragoza, north Spain; d Fez, Morocco, c1139). Philosopher, administrator and composer. He spent much of his life, first in Zaragoza and then in Játiva, south Spain, as vizier to various Almoravid governors, and later moved to Fez.

His Kitāb fī al-nafs (‘Book on the soul’) deals with acoustics. He is also reported to have written a substantial treatise on music that could stand comparison with that of al- Fārābī, but this, unfortunately, has not survived. However, his reputation as a composer stayed alive for some considerable time, and his songs are still mentioned by Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406). He was also a dexterous ‘ūd player. The fullest, if still succinct, account of his achievements is provided by al-Tīfāshī (d 1253), according to whom he studied for several years with female professional musicians (qiyān) and subsequently introduced two important innovations. One resulted in improvements to two of the important song forms, while the other, more general, is intriguingly characterized as a fusion of ‘Christian’ and ‘Eastern’ song. The resulting synthesis was to establish itself as the dominant style in Muslim Spain, effacing that of the earlier school of Ziryāb....

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(b Naples, 1873; d Bogotà, Aug 28, 1935). Italian impresario and cellist . He joined the orchestra of an Italian opera company touring the Balkans in 1890, and also performed in Egypt, but decided to try his hand as an impresario in 1895, giving performances in Alexandria (Alhambra Theatre) during August and September and in Cairo (Ezbekieh Gardens) for the next two months. The company was joined in Cairo by the young and not yet famous Enrico Caruso, who sang in five operas. Bracale was again impresario in Cairo, but at the much more important Khedivial theatre from 1908 to 1912; here he continued his practice of hiring outstanding young singers (Amelita Galli-Curci, Hipolito Lazaro) before they became famous. Salomea Krusceniski, Eugenia Burzio, Carmen Melis, Antonio Magini-Coletti and Eugenio Giraldoni also sang for him during these years. In 1912 he put on Aida at the Pyramids.

Bracale’s Latin-American activities began in ...

Article

Steven Huebner

revised by Basil Considine

(b Port Louis, Mauritius, 1825; d Paris, Dec 29, 1897). French theatre impresario and stage director. A prodigy and musical entrepreneur at an early age, he founded a conservatory in Mauritius before moving to Paris to study singing at the Conservatoire. After 1848 he assumed small baritone roles at the Opéra-Comique; there he met the soprano Marie Miolan, whom he married in 1853. She was hired by the Théâtre Lyrique in 1855, and a year later Carvalho assumed the directorship of that house – with the financial advantage that his leading singer was also his wife. Carvalho’s two terms as director (1856–60, 1862–8) brought the Théâtre Lyrique from a rather tenuous existence to a position of prominence on the Parisian operatic scene: the most memorable works of the Second Empire, including Gounod’s Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, and Berlioz’s Les Troyens, were first performed there (the last in a greatly abbreviated version). Over-extending himself, he also took responsibility for a fledgling operatic enterprise called the Théâtre de la Renaissance in ...

Article

Thomas Kaufman

( fl 1898–1918). Italian impresario . By 1899 he had spent four years in Egypt and the Balkans, and, starting in Odessa, had headed the first extended tour of the Russian provinces by an Italian company. Early that year, he reached Samarkand, later visiting Baku, Astrakhan and Saratov. He frequently visited Vilnius, Minsk and Riga during the early years of the century. He returned to the Balkans and Egypt in 1903–4. During 1905 he toured North Africa and then went through France into the Low Countries. On 26 April 1909 he opened a season at the Coronet Theatre in London, following it by several extended tours of the British Isles which lasted until around 1915. His was the first tour of Great Britain and Ireland presenting opera in Italian since Augustus Harris in the late summer and autumn of 1894. During lengthy portions of this period he split his company into two, one group singing in the British Isles while the other would perform in Warsaw, Odessa, the Baltic countries and the Balkans. Some of the better-known singers he engaged included Mattia Battistini, Maria Galvany, Antonio Magini-Coletti and Aida Gonzaga. He also introduced London audiences to Leoncavallo’s ...

Article

Gregory F. Barz

[Isaiah Kehinde]

(b Offa, 1930; d Efon-Alaiye, Feb 7, 1996). Nigerian musician and religious leader. ‘Father’ of modern Jùjú, Dairo practised numerous professions while playing in jùjú bands in the 1940s before forming his own early jùjú bands in the mid-50s, the Morning Star Orchestra, which later reformed as the Blue Spots. Perhaps the first internationally recognized African recording musician, Dairo's successful jùjú performances and recordings helped to displace highlife as the principal popular genre in Nigeria in the early 1970s. His jùjú music drew on traditional Yoruba drumming and praise-singing, while introducing Cuban rhythms, the button accordion and elements of Christian hymnody. Dairo released hundreds of recordings, influencing the younger generation of jùjú artists, including ‘King’ Sunny Adé, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and Sir Shina Peters. Dairo was awarded the MBE in 1963 by Queen Elizabeth for his musical contributions to the Commonwealth, the only African musician ever to be so honoured. The founder of the Aladura Christian movement in Lagos, Dairo also served as the president of the Performing Rights Society, Nigerian Chapter, and founded the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria....

Article

James May

(b Palermo, March 5, 1915). South African baritone and producer of Italian birth. He studied in Genoa and with Stracciari in Rome and made his début as Germont in Genoa in 1937. A pilot in the Italian air force during the war, he was interned in Durban, where he settled. In 1949 he began teaching at the University of Cape Town, and he became the first director of the opera school there (1952–80). He produced and often sang in numerous operas for the University of Cape Town Opera Company, and in its London season in 1956–7 he sang the title role in the first British staged performance of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Fiasconaro produced for all the arts councils in South Africa, specializing in the works of Verdi and Puccini. As a singer his portrayal of Scarpia was perhaps his most memorable role.

D. Talbot: For the Love of Singing: 50 Years of Opera at UCT...

Article

Robin P. Allen

revised by Michael Mauskapf

(b Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Dec 7, 1924; d Los Angeles, CA, June 13, 2010). Music administrator of German birth. He assumed South African nationality as a boy in 1934 and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (chartered accountant 1946) and the University of Cape Town (BMus 1954). At age 17 he began work as a music critic and also made his professional conducting debut in Cape Town. In 1952 he was appointed music organizer of the Van Riebeeck Festival, Cape Town, and in 1956 he became director of music and drama for the Johannesburg Festival. In 1959 Fleischmann took British nationality, and from that year until 1967 he was general manager of the London SO, leading it to international prominence. After two years serving as European director of classical music for Columbia Records, he became executive director of the Los Angeles PO and general manager of the Hollywood Bowl. His title changed to executive vice president and managing director in ...

Article

James May

(Mario Giulio)

(b Milan, July 5, 1943). Italian bass-baritone and director resident in South Africa. He studied the piano and singing privately while reading science at the University of Cape Town. His singing teachers were Albina Bini, Adelheid Armhold and Frederick Dalberg in Cape Town and, in 1965–6, Carlo Tagliabue and Anna Pistolesi in Milan. He made his début as Kecal (The Bartered Bride) in Cape Town in 1965. Gobbato is best known for buffo roles such as Dr Bartolo (Il barbiere), Don Pasquale and Figaro (Il barbiere and Figaro); he was awarded the first Nederburg Prize for opera in 1971 for his portrayal of Papageno. He was resident producer at the Nico Malan Opera House in Cape Town, 1976–81, and head of the opera school of the University of Cape Town, 1982–8. In 1989 he was appointed director of opera for the Cape Performing Arts Board. He has directed – mainly from the Italian repertory – for all the arts councils in South Africa....

Article

Thomas Kaufman

(fl c1900–35). Italian impresario. Towards the end of the 19th century, his company was primarily active in touring the Balkans, Asia Minor and Egypt, with Smyrna (now Izmir), Athens, Cairo and Alexandria his favourite stops. During an extended tour of these cities, Giuseppe Anselmi was his leading singer. By 1903–4, he was beginning to head further north, going into Romania and Russia. From 1905 until late 1914 he toured Russia almost exclusively, frequently reaching the Trans-Caucasian region and even Central Asia and Siberia. In 1906 he crossed Siberia all the way to Vladivostok. By now his company had become something of a family affair, and included several brothers, two of whom conducted, and his daughter Ernestina, a soprano. During such a tour, they again reached Vladivostok in late 1914. Blocked by World War I from returning to Italy by the same route, they decided to go down the Chinese coast, stopping in several Chinese cities, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore before arriving in Batavia in ...

Article

Vera H. Flaig

(b Balandugu, Guinea, West Africa, 1950). Drummer, director, and teacher of Guinean birth. Mamady Keïta began his official apprenticeship with the village djembéfola at the age of eight. By his late teens, he was lead drummer of Ballet D’Joliba. By 22 he became the company’s first drummer to act as artistic director. Upon his retirement from the ballet in 1986, Keïta played briefly for the national ballet in Côte D’Ivoire before settling in Belgium where he founded an international djembé school called Tam Tam Mandingue.

Keïta came to live in the United States in 2004. At his first official workshop as an American resident, Keïta announced: “I spent fifteen years cleaning up the djembé drumming in Europe. Now it is time to do the same in America.” Despite the growing popularity of the djembé, Keïta was surprised by the lack of understanding about its history and music within American drum circles. Keïta, together with six other ...

Article

Ronnie Graham

(b Waa, nr Mombasa, 1924). Kenyan popular musician. Konde has travelled widely in eastern Africa for over 50 years. Born in colonial Kenya, he absorbed the local nomba dance rhythms from an early age. He attended St George's Catholic School where he learned clarinet, flute and trumpet, and Western notation. In 1940 he joined the colonial Department of Health but continued to play acoustic guitar, occasionally entertaining at weddings and parties. Konde's early groups featured guitars, accordions and drums, and played original compositions in Swahili that combined traditional Sengenya rhythms with African American blues and Cuban Son, styles that were accessible at the time and were now influential in the bustling port of Mombasa.

At 19 years old he enrolled in the King's African Rifles (Entertainment Unit), and began entertaining in Burma with musicians from Tanganyika and Uganda; he made his first recordings at that time in a Calcutta studio. After World War II, Konde's unit returned to Kenya under the guidance of the film producer and director of East African Records, Peter Coleman. He was encouraged to play an electric Gibson (the first in East Africa) and from then on became the featured guitarist in Peter Coleman's African Band. From there his career flourished, as he became one of the three most sought after entertainers in the region....

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

David Scott

(b Johannesburg, March 2, 1928). English music educationist, composer and administrator. After studying at the University of Strasbourg, at Jesus College, Cambridge, and with Lennox Berkeley at the RAM, he worked in South Africa as conductor, composer and broadcaster (1954–6) and then joined the BBC in London as a producer. In 1961 he became head of music for the Midlands and East Anglia, returning to London in 1964 to coordinate the planning of the new BBC Music Programme. He remained chief planner until 1968, when he left the BBC to become the first director of music at the University of Lancaster and subsequently (1971) the first principal of the RNCM, remaining in the post until 1996. In 1994 he became the first chairman of the European Opera Centre. For 25 years he served as programme director of the Cheltenham Festival (1969–94). Other appointments have included the presidencies of the European Association of Conservatoires (...

Article

Gregory F. Barz

[Michael Babatunde ]

(b Ajido-Badacry, Nigeria, c1920; d Sabinas, CA, April 6, 2003). Nigerian drummer, composer and music organizer and promoter . Educated at the Baptist Academy in Lagos, he moved to the USA in 1950 where he took the BA at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1954. He settled in New York in 1954, enrolling in a graduate programme at New York University, and later established the Center of African Culture in Harlem in the 1960s, a cultural performing arts school. He collaborated with artists such as John Coltrane, Max Roach, Yusef Lateef, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart. His recordings and touring ensemble introduced countless audiences throughout North America and the world to West African performance traditions. In addition, he wrote about African music and composed several film scores. His association with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart led to several recording projects and further performing opportunities....

Article

Harvey Sachs

(b Susah, Tunisia, March 8, 1933). Italian director . He spent his early years in Tunisia, Italy and Switzerland, and graduated in 1953 from the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica in Rome. For ten years he acted in plays by de Musset, Shaw, Wesker and several contemporary Italian authors, under such noted directors as Giorgio Strehler, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luigi Squarzina, Giorgio De Lullo and Virginio Puecher. He directed for the first time in 1963 (Goldoni’s La buona moglie at the Teatro Valle in Rome) but his first major success was a 1966 production of Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling at the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino. Since then he has directed an international repertory, classical and modern, in many Italian cities and in Paris, Vienna, Zürich and Belgrade. He was the founding director of a theatre laboratory at the Teatro Metastasio, Prato, in 1977 and has been director of the Teatro Stabile, Turin, since ...