(b Oamaru, New Zealand, April 9, 1961). Australian keyboard player. Having moved with his family to Australia in 1964 he began taking piano lessons at the age of five; his early inspirations included the boogie-woogie pianists and Teddy Wilson. He took Australian citizenship in 1975. During high school he heard Red Garland on a recording by Miles Davis, which led him to contemporary jazz. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he formed The Benders with fellow students Dale Barlow, Lloyd Swanton, and the drummer Andrew Gander; the quartet recorded three albums in the first half of the 1980s. Abrahams was also involved with an improvised music collective, the Keys Music Association, which saw the start of an important association with Mark Simmonds. With the saxophonist Jason Morphett having replaced Barlow, The Benders recorded two more albums (1983, 1985), then toured India, Europe, and Cuba before disbanding. In those same years Abrahams recorded as an unaccompanied soloist, and in ...
(bSydney, March 31, 1922; dSydney, Aug 11, 1987). Australiansaxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader. He began to play saxophone in 1933 and joined George Fuller before working as a freelance musician and in wartime entertainment units. Following the war he performed in nightclubs and pit orchestras, and in coffee lounges in Melbourne (1948), then worked in Sydney with the trombonist George Trevare and as a freelance musician. From 1955 he led bands in Sydney hotels, among them the Criterion (1958–65), the Windsor Castle, and the Bellevue. Later he was a member of bands led by Dick Hughes (1979–85) and Alan Geddes (1984–6) and led his own group at the Canberra Hotel in Paddington, Sydney. He retired in 1986 because of ill-health. Acheson’s playing, which was chiefly in dixieland and swing styles, is heard to advantage on Merv Acheson 60th Birthday Concert...
(b Sydney, Aug 23, 1891; d Sydney, Nov 12, 1944). Australian composer and pianist. He studied the piano in Sydney with Daisy Miller, Sydney Moss and Emanuel de Beaupuis and composition briefly with Alfred Hill at the NSW Conservatorium. From 1920 Agnew's pieces were performed by several eminent pianists, including Moiseiwitsch, Murdoch and Gieseking. Working in London from 1923 to 1928, Agnew studied composition and orchestration with Gerrard Williams. The Fantasie Sonata was given its première there by Murdoch in 1927 and, on his return to Sydney in 1928, the tone poem The Breaking of the Drought was conducted by Hill. From 1928 to 1935 Agnew performed and broadcast both in Australia and Britain, while from 1935 onwards he taught the piano, composition and a class entitled ‘General Interpretation and the Art of Pedalling’ privately in Sydney. For five years from 1938 Agnew presented a weekly radio programme for the ABC in which he introduced a wide spectrum of 20th-century music, including his own. In ...
(b Christchurch, May 31, 1883; d Venice, Sept 18, 1952). New Zealand soprano. After the death of her parents, she was brought up by her maternal grandparents in Australia. Her first engagements were in light opera at Melbourne. She then went to Paris and studied with Marchesi, who suggested that she adopt the name Alda; she also arranged Alda’s debut as Manon at the Opéra-Comique in 1904. After successful appearances at the Monnaie in Brussels (1905), Covent Garden (1906) and La Scala (1908), where she met Toscanini and Gatti-Cassazza, she was engaged by the Metropolitan (début, December 1908), where she sang until her retirement in 1930. In 1908 Gatti-Cassazza left La Scala to become director of the Metropolitan; he married Alda in 1910. Her pure, lyrical voice, technically almost faultless, was ideally suited to such roles as Gilda, Violetta, Desdemona, Manon (Massenet), Louise, Mimi and Cio-Cio-San. She created the leading soprano roles in Damrosch’s ...
(b Melbourne, June 8, 1927). Australian baritone . He began his career with Gertrude Johnson’s National Theatre Movement. He left Australia in 1954 for further study in Paris and worked at Covent Garden from 1956; in 1959 he moved to Germany, where he was based for the next decade, appearing in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, and becoming a principal baritone at Cologne until ...
Roger T. Dean
(b Sydney, May 4, 1969). Australian guitarist. He first played drums, but while a rabbinical student, influenced by a mixture of Jewish mystical components and the music of John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, and others, he changed to guitar. He performed in particular with Rob Avenaim (percussion, electronics, sampling), for example in the rock-noise group Phlegm (formed 1993), and also with the pianist Max Lyandvert in Ear Rational Music. The latter group involved Eddie Bronson (a member of the earlier and influential band Free Kata), whom Ambarchi had met through his rabbinical studies and who had been another early influence. From 1994 Ambarchi coordinated a series of improvising large ensembles, often based on John Zorn’s conceptual “game” piece Cobra. Following a series of small-scale recordings, often involving studio manipulation of their playing, he released a major work with Avenaim, The Alter Rebbe’s Nigun (1998). In the late 1990s he focused intensively on unaccompanied solo performance and made a series of recordings on European labels, mainly recorded in real-time (rather than involving studio manipulation), and with analogue rather than computer processing. He uses an array of effects units linked to create varied timbres....
(b Stratford, NZ, Feb 22, 1935; d Paris, May 27, 1987). British composer of New Zealand birth. He went to England at the age of 17 to study the piano at the RAM (1952–6). He remained in the UK and in 1969 began teaching at Morley College, London, where he became interested in live electronics and the work of Stockhausen. In 1973 he formed the West Square Electronic Music Ensemble (1973–87) from students at Morley, and in 1975 it gave its first professional performance at St John’s, Smith Square. In 1979 he co-founded the Electro-Acoustic Music Association of Great Britain (now Sonic Arts Network) and became its first chairman. His music was influenced by the post-Webern aesthetic, particularly in the three Piano Pieces with live electronics, Colla voce and Arc. As a composer Anderson was largely self-taught; this, along with his early lack of confidence as a New Zealander abroad, made him sometimes appear more at ease helping other composers realize their works than composing his own. He made six elaborate realizations of Stockhausen’s ...
(b Pinnaroo, South Australia, July 30, 1953). Australian soprano . After appearing in Australia she joined Opera Factory Zürich, with whom she made her London début in 1980 as Galatea. With Opera Factory London (1982–92) she has sung Pretty Polly (Punch and Judy), Lucy (The Beggar’s Opera), Denise (The Knot Garden), Juno and Callisto, Gluck’s Iphigenia, Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva and Poppaea, and took part in the première of Osborne’s Hell’s Angels (1986). For ENO she sang Monteverdi’s Eurydice and Hope (1983) and Queen Tye (Akhnaten), which she had already sung at Houston and for New York City Opera (1984), and created Oracle of the Dead/Hecate in The Mask of Orpheus (1986). She sang the Queen of Night for WNO (1986), Musetta for Opera North (1988) and Jo Ann in Tippett’s ...
(b Liverpool, Feb 17, 1950). Australian performer and composer, of English birth. After studying English at the University of New South Wales (1969–77) he worked as a solo and ensemble player on a wide range of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque string, wind and percussion instruments; he also specialized in folk instruments from a variety of countries. This instrumental ability led him to work with cross-cultural groups such as Sirocco, Southern Crossings (a world music quartet founded by Atherton in 1986), and Ariel (a quartet founded in 1995 to explore new music for shakuhachi, didjeridu, percussion and electronics); he has toured and lectured widely with these groups in Australia and abroad. He has also worked as a music therapist, and was curator of instruments at the Australian Museum in Sydney (1993 and 1998). In 1993 he was appointed foundation professor of music at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean. His interests include urban ethnomusicology, organology and Korean music. His work as a composer, arranger and improviser includes film scores, and choral and chamber works....
(b Melbourne, April 26, 1894; d Newcastle, NSW, 15 or May 16, 1968). Australian soprano. Her real name was Wilson, but she was also known by that of her stepfather, Fawaz, before she adopted her familiar professional name. Having studied at Melbourne University Conservatorium and with Sibella in New York, she is said to have been offered a contract with the Metropolitan Opera, but preferred to make her career in England. In 1923 she appeared at Covent Garden with the British National Opera Company as Brünnhilde in the complete Ring cycle, and this role was to remain her most famous; she was also successful as Isolde and Aida. Less forceful and more lyrical than many Wagnerian dramatic sopranos, she maintained a consistent beauty and evenness of tone through these arduous parts, which she also sang in the international Covent Garden seasons of 1924 and later. She married the flautist John Amadio, and toured widely with him in Australia and America. Her many admirable recordings for HMV include the pioneer late-acoustic English-language series of excerpts from the ...
(b Swindon, England, July 9, 1934). American drummer. He began to teach himself to play drums as a small child and studied formally from the age of seven into his late teens. From 1958 he lived in Australia, where he joined the Australian Jazz Quartet and recorded with Bryce Rohde in 1960. He gained his green card to work in the USA for a tour, with Rohde, in the Australian Jazz Quartet (or, by another account, in the Bryce Rohde Quartet), but within about five weeks of his arrival was taken on by Vince Guaraldi. He worked with Guaraldi until 1963, and recorded in San Francisco with the pianist’s trio accompanying Jimmy Witherspoon and Ben Webster (c1962; misdated as 1959, 1960, or 1967 in various discographies); he also collaborated with Guaraldi in recording the music for the Charlie Brown television shows in 1965. After settling in the Los Angeles area Bailey performed and recorded with Clare Fischer (...
Jeff Pressing, John Whiteoak and Roger T. Dean
[Judith Mary ]
(b Auckland, New Zealand, Oct 3, 1935). New Zealand pianist and composer. After arriving in Sydney in 1960 she quickly became a prominent studio musician. She led a succession of trios and larger groups and worked with many important Australian players, including Don Burrows and Errol Buddle; she was also active in education, notably as a staff member of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (from 1990, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and as music director of the Sydney Youth Jazz Ensemble. Her compositional output increased considerably during the 1970s, when she wrote film scores and music for children. Bailey participated in performances of Don Banks’s Nexus for jazz quintet and orchestra, and made several recordings. In the 1980s she undertook several tours of Asia and in the 1990s she remained active, recording again as a leader in 1992.
(b Würzburg-Heidingsfeld, Aug 28, 1866; d Darmstadt, Sept 1, 1925). German conductor. He trained as a violist and played in the opera orchestras of Mainz and Schwerin. After touring Australia and New Zealand (1892–5) he went to England in 1895 as musical director of Frank Benson’s Shakespearean company. The following year he returned to Germany and played in the orchestra at the Bayreuth Festival. Here his conducting talents were discovered by Felix Mottl and Cosima Wagner and he acted as an assistant for the festivals of 1896, 1899, 1901 and 1902. After posts in Hamburg, Lübeck and Breslau, Balling succeeded Mottl in 1903 as musical director in Karlsruhe. He was a regular conductor at Bayreuth (1904–14, 1924–5), conducting the Ring, Parsifal and Tristan, and in 1905 gave the first performance in Barcelona of Die Meistersinger. In 1910 he conducted the first Ring performances in Scotland; and in ...
(Rosalie Edith )
(b Geelong, Victoria, Aug 18, 1951). Australian composer, performer, installation and sound artist, instrument inventor, writer, educator, and researcher. Her early education consisted of high school in both Australia and Canada, followed by a BA (1971, Monash University), Dip Ed (1973, Monash), MA (1974, Monash), and PhD (1983, Monash). An interest in experimental music is apparent from her earliest compositions, many of which involve performance in specific places, improvisation, electronics, graphic notation, and the use of self-built and specially built instruments. These include Improvisations in Acoustic Chambers, 1981, and Soft and Fragile: Music in Glass and Clay, 1982. By 1977 an interest in sound installation and sound sculpture had become well established in her work (Winds and Circuits, Surfaces and Cavities), and is an area in which she has continued to the present day, having presented nearly 50 sound installations worldwide.
Bandt has also been involved in creating electro-acoustic works, often in collaboration with broadcasting organizations; work for or with radio forms a significant portion of her output. Many of these works, while using real-world elements, take a more narrative or illustrative approach to their material compared to the abstractionism of much electro-acoustic work. An electro-acoustic work such as ...
(b Sydney, Dec 25, 1959). Australian saxophonist. He learned classical piano, flute, recorder, and drums as a youth and played electric bass guitar in a rock band at the age of 12. In his teens he took up alto saxophone, and when he was 16 he changed to the tenor instrument. He attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music (1980–82); later he studied at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York (1989–91) and the Australian National University in Canberra (MM 1995–7). When he was 17 he toured Australia with Sonny Stitt, and in 1979 he played at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the Young Northside Big Band. In the 1980s and 1990s he spent much of his time in the USA and Europe, and he performed with Cedar Walton and Guy Barker in London, and with Gil Evans in New York and Europe; during the same period he was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (...
[Robert Graeme ]
(b Melbourne, Australia, Nov 24, 1933). Australian trumpeter, brother of Len Barnard. He gained early experience in brass bands, and first played jazz in 1947 with a group consisting of members of his family. From 1947 to 1955 he was a member of the traditional-jazz ensemble led by his brother Len; he continued to make recordings with this group at intervals until 1968, and also recorded as a leader in 1952, 1957, and 1962. In 1957 he moved to Sydney, where he played with a number of bands, including the Graeme Bell All-Stars (with which he recorded, 1962–4). Barnard formed his own band in 1974, and toured Australia, North America, Europe, India, and South-East Asia; he toured the USA as a soloist in 1985. As a sideman he worked in Australia and overseas with, among others, Bud Freeman, Ralph Sutton, Wild Bill Davison, Milt Hinton, Don Burrows, and Peanuts Hucko. Throughout the 1990s he continued to tour overseas, often joining groups as a guest artist. His recordings involve both prominent Australian and international artists, and his warm fluid playing with its origins in the styles of Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, and Bobby Hackett may be heard in a wide variety of musical settings....
[Leonard Arthur ]
(b Melbourne, Australia, April 23, 1929; d Sydney, November 4, 2005). Australian drummer, brother of Bob Barnard. He first played jazz in his family’s band, then in 1947 formed his own traditional-jazz ensemble, which recorded from 1949 and made one of the first Australian jazz albums. The group continued to record until 1968, often under the name Len Barnard’s Famous Jazz Band; its albums include The Naked Dance (1961, Swaggie S1287 [incl. previously released tracks]). Barnard also played with the orchestra of the Palais de Danse in Melbourne (1956–60) and with the trio led by the pianist Les Patching (1961–70); during the same period he recorded with Roger Bell, Frank Johnson, Ade Monsbourgh, and Dave Dallwitz. After moving to Sydney in 1974 he performed and recorded with Judy Bailey, Errol Buddle, and John Sangster. In 1976 he joined the group Galapagos Duck, led by the saxophonist and flutist Tom Hare, with which he toured abroad in ...
Rainer E. Lotz
(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...
(Marie Wolffe )
(b Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka], June 1, 1940). Sri Lankan singer. She studied piano and cello as a child, and first heard jazz in broadcasts on Voice of America. She won a trip to Australia to sing with Graeme Bell in 1954, presented her own radio program in Ceylon, and toured Japan, Korea, and India with Toshiko Akiyoshi in 1955. The following year she moved to London, where she acted with the BBC Repertory Company and sang at jazz clubs. In 1959 she performed frequently at the Blue Note in Paris. She met Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert in London in 1962 and moved to New York to join their vocal group as a replacement for Annie Ross, who had left because of illness; Bavan performed and recorded with the group until it disbanded in 1964, and may be seen with it in the documentary film Newport Jazz Festival 1962...
Wim van Eyle
(b The Hague, Sept 18, 1925). Dutch pianist and singer. She is self-taught as a musician. She sang with a Hawaiian vocal group, the Samoa Girls (1939–42), sang and played piano with the Dutch group the Miller Sextet (1944–9), and appeared in shows sponsored by the USO. From 1949 she led a trio and worked as a soloist, and between 1952 and 1967 she made several visits to the USA (approximately at yearly intervals) during which she performed in Hollywood and at Birdland in New York; she also took Eddie de Haas and Wallace Bishop for an engagement in the South in 1957, but racist conditions prevented Bishop from working – he returned to the Netherlands and Al Levitt took his place. Beck operated a club in Torremolinos, Spain, from 1965. In the 1980s she returned to the Netherlands, where she has worked mainly with her trio, with Koos Serierse, George van Deyl, or Henk Haverhoek on double bass, and Kees Kranenburg, Huub Janssen, or Roberto Haliffi on drums. She made a number of recordings, of which ...