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James R. Hines, Barbara Turchin and Nicholas Michael Butler

(b Hesse-Kassel, Germany, c1786; d New York, NY, July 30, 1829). American theater manager, pianist, organist, composer, and music publisher of German birth. He moved to the United States at the end of the 18th century and was probably related to the musician George Gilfert who was in New York as early at 1789. In his first New York advertisement in 1800, he was described as a musician “lately from Europe.” The New York directory of 1805 lists him as a music teacher in that city, but in 1806 he migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, with a number of other theater musicians. He presented his first concert there on 3 March 1807 and quickly became a favorite member of the local music scene. In December 1809 he became the organist of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and in December 1810 he opened a music store in partnership with a fellow German musician, Philip Muck, under the name C. Gilfert and Company. This institution chiefly sold imported instruments, accessories, and music, but in early ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b United States). American new Age pianist and producer. He played jazz trumpet and guitar during the 1960s in New York, and has credited John Coltrane as an early influence. He became interested in sonic healing and Eastern religions, both of which became fundamental to the transformation of his musical style. After undergoing a spiritual awakening in 1969 in the Santa Cruz mountains, Halpern developed what he called “anti-frantic alternative” music, releasing his first album, Spectrum Suite, in 1975. It became one of the foundational, and most influential, albums of New Age music. To create what was labeled music for “meditation and inner peace,” Halpern performed slowly unfolding, almost arrhythmic melodies on keyboards and synthesizers. Often using choral backdrops for his minimalist, meandering, and warm sonic environments, he weaves together spiritual growth and musical freedom with the goal of bringing self-actualization and wellness to the listener. He has released over 70 recordings featuring instrumental music as well as guided meditation. These include recordings targeted for specific purposes, such as ...

Article

Marisol Negrónh

[Kahn, Lawrence Ira ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, March 20, 1939). American salsa pianist, bandleader, and producer. He developed an interest in both jazz and Latin music as a teenager, while he attended the New York High School of Music and Art in Harlem. A multi-instrumentalist most widely recognized for his talent as a pianist, he has been known for combining traditional Cuban sounds with innovative arrangements. He debuted as bandleader in 1965 with Heavy Smoking, the second album released by the newly formed Fania Records. Affectionately nicknamed “El judío maravilloso” (the marvelous Jew) by fellow musicians, he became a member and producer of the original Fania All-Stars, an ensemble band that achieved international acclaim for its live concerts. In 1973 Harlow brought Latin music to Carnegie Hall with the opera Hommy (inspired by the Who’s rock opera Tommy), and in 1974 he released Salsa, considered one of his best recordings. In addition, ...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

(John )

(b Oakland, CA, Sept 19, 1952). American guitarist, synthesizer player, and producer. He studied economics at Harvard University (BA 1976) and began performing in improvisational contexts in 1974. In 1979 he became involved in experimental rock and has since performed extensively in the United States and abroad. He has worked with, among others, Derek Bailey, David Lindley, Fred Frith, Herbie Hancock, Jerry Garcia, Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Michael Stipe, Diamanda Galás, John Zorn, Richard Thompson, and John Oswald; he has also played with the Rova Saxophone Quartet and many free-music groups in the San Francisco Bay area, where he has been based. In both solo and ensemble performance he characteristically aims for some type of fusion of rock, jazz, non-Western, and avant-garde classical styles and focuses on “language elements of attack, articulation, pitch bend trajectory, and velocity.” His use of elastic rhythms, non-tempered scales, and widely varied timbres shows the influence of Southeast Asian and Indian musics and the blues. His extended solo improvisations (such as “The Shadow Line” on the album ...

Article

Renee Lapp Norris

(b 1823, in Lancaster or Philadelphia, PA; d Chillicothe, MO, Sept 10, 1868). American composer, manager, arranger, singer, and pianist. Of German ancestry, Kneass began his career as a child, appearing in 1828 in Philadelphia. By the early 1840s, he was performing vocal concerts in New York with a group that included Mrs. Eliza Sharpe (whom he may have married), George Holman, and Joseph H. Kavanagh. In the autumn of 1844, Kneass, Holman, and Kavanagh sang in the chorus for the American premiere of Michael William Balfe’s opera The Bohemian Girl. In the spring of 1845, Kneass directed and performed as a blackface minstrel with the Ethiopian Troupe of Burlesquers, which also included Sharpe, Holman, and Kavanagh. They performed opera parody skits at Palmo’s Opera House in New York City, including The Virginian Girl, a parody of The Bohemian Girl. During the next several years, Kneass performed with the New Orleans Serenaders, a troupe known for its opera parodies, and managed the Sable Harmonists, which toured the American South and the British Isles. In ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Quiñonez, Enrique Arsenio Lucca ]

(b Ponce, PR, April 10, 1946). Puerto Rican salsa pianist, instrumentalist, producer, and arranger. The son of a prominent Puerto Rican bandleader, he studied at Ponce’s Free School of Music. He also took lessons from pianist Ramon Fernandez and had begun his performing career by the age of 11. He subsequently worked with his father’s group, La Sonora Ponçena, and eventually inherited the band as his own. During the 1950s he played alongside such musical luminaries as Machito and Obdulio Morales Ríos and appeared regularly on television, especially on Ruth Fernández’s variety show. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Lucca gained greater prominence through his affiliation with La Sonora Ponçena and his work with other artists. In 1976 he served as performer and producer of La Sonora Ponçena’s Conquista Musical (Fania). He also became the pianist for the Fania All-Stars. One of his notable achievements came with the album ...

Article

Patrick J. Smith

(Du Pré )

(b Laurens, SC, Sept 21, 1914; d Spartanburg, SC, Oct 1, 2012). American administrator and pianist. After graduating from Duke University (1935) he did graduate work at the University of Michigan and the Philadelphia Conservatory. He later studied piano under harold Morris and Olga Samaroff and appeared in recitals and as a soloist, winning the MacDowell Music Club Young Artists Competition in 1939. During and after the war he held various government positions and then became director of the school of music and professor of music (piano) at the University of Oklahoma, Norman (1950–55). He was director of press and public relations (1955–9), associate managing director (1959–61), managing director (1961–70), and president of the New York Philharmonic (1970–78); this was the first time a major American symphony orchestra had appointed a professional, salaried president. After his retirement Moseley continued his performing career as well as administrative duties. In ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Friedrich ]

(d London, England, 1774). German keyboard instrument maker and seller. In 1754 the Hamburger Anzeigen advertised that he made unfretted clavichords, harpsichords, and a five-octave upright pyramid-shaped harpsichord (clavicimbel de amour) with pantalon (hammer action) stop. Neubauer arrived in London about 1756, and advertised from 1761 to 1768 that he made and repaired harpsichords, pianos, clavichords, ‘clavir d’amours’, and lyrichords (including the earliest known advertisement for the sale of a piano in London in the 1763 Mortimer’s Directory). He possibly took on some of the remaining stock in trade of Roger Plenius, who became bankrupt in 1756. In 1763 Neubauer lived in Compton Street, but his five addresses in ten years, plus his frequent advertisements of rooms to let and for an apprentice seem to indicate financial difficulties. A 1763 notice in the Universal Director describes him as ‘Maker of double-basset and treble key’d Harpsichords, with six stops, and of Pianofortes, Lyrichords, Classichords, etc.’. ‘The ‘double basset’ harpsichord likely had a 16′ register, while the ‘treble key’d’ harpsichord might have had an extended treble range or a third manual. On ...

Article

Jonas Westover

[Bridges, Claude Russell ]

(b Lawton, OK, April 2, 1942). American singer, songwriter, keyboard player, and producer. He is well respected for his solo work—a mix of rock, folk, and country music—but his work as a session musician has also brought significant recognition. He began playing piano at the age of four and was playing in clubs in Tulsa as a high school student. His band, the Starlighters, managed to score a spot as the opening act for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1959. Russell moved to Los Angeles the same year and quickly established himself as a session musician, notably with Wrecking Crew, the, the group of musicians Phil Spector used to accompany his artists. With the Wrecking Crew, he accompanied artists such as the Byrds, Herb Alpert, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. The keyboard player on hundreds of recordings, he opened his own recording studio in 1967. He has since been active in almost all fields of popular music, from musician to singer to songwriter to label owner (he founded Shelter Records in ...

Article

Craig Jennex

(b Thunder Bay, ON, Nov 28, 1949). Canadian pianist, composer, musical director, actor, producer, and bandleader. He has been musical director for David Letterman’s late-night shows since 1982. Prior to working with Letterman, Shaffer was a featured performer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has served as musical director and producer for the Blues Brothers and cowrote the 1980s dance hit “It’s raining men.” He has served as musical director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in ...

Article

Samuel Cottell

(Tommy )

(b Budapest, April 11, 1928; d Sydney, April 4, 2013). Australian pianist, music arranger, composer, music director, and conductor of Hungarian Jewish origin. At a young age Tycho appeared as soloist performing concertos on live radio broadcasts with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. He subsequently enrolled at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying the piano with Egon Petri and harmony with Leon Werner, but formal studies were interrupted due to internment in a forced labor camp. After the war he became the Shah of Iran’s personal pianist.

Tycho emigrated to Australia in 1951, where he began work at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation playing the piano in a series of radio broadcasts entitled A Handful of Keys, and formed his own light music ensemble, The Thomas Tycho Players. In 1956 Tycho commenced television work at ATN7 as a pianist and arranger, and by 1958 was appointed the television station’s music director, a post he held until ...

Article

Ryan D.W. Bruce

[Randolph Edward ]

(b Brooklyn, NY, April 6, 1926). American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and club owner. Weston did not identify with his classical music lessons as a youth, choosing instead to explore a percussive piano style under the influence of Duke Ellington. Other early influences include Count Basie, Nat “King” Cole, Art Tatum, and Coleman Hawkins. Weston’s playing was transformed after attending a concert by Hawkins and Thelonious Monk in 1945: Monk became Weston’s mentor from 1947–9, and inspired his heavy attack and improvisatory rhythmic displacements. He was hired by Marshall Stearns in 1949 to provide demonstrations of different jazz styles for university lectures given throughout the United States; their work lasted eight summers and fostered Weston’s interest in African music.

Beginning with his debut in 1954, his early recordings acquired critical recognition and included band members such as Art Blakey, Cecil Payne, Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and Coleman Hawkins. Some of his compositions of the time, especially “Little Niles” and “Hi-Fly,” gained popularity and have been recorded by many others. Weston also worked with arranger ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Michigan, 1949). American composer, pianist, producer, and guitarist. He is best known for his evocative and introspective solo piano works. He often draws on nature for his picturesque titles, perhaps responding to his time in the Midwest and areas such as eastern Montana. He did not receive any formal training, but instead learned to play the organ by ear in 1967 by listening to records. In 1971, he turned to the piano, influenced by 1920s jazz and the stride piano style of Thomas “Fats” Waller and Teddy Wilson, among others. He studied music at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. The style he developed has been described by Winston as “rural folk piano,” and he was asked to record by John Fahey for Takoma Records in 1972. His first album, Ballads and Blues, did not receive much popular or critical acclaim, but it brought Winston to the attention of New Age guru William Ackerman in ...