(b Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, March 24, 1776; d Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu, October 21, 1835). South Indian composer and musician. He was a member of the Karnatak trimūrti (‘trinity’) of singer-saints (see also Tyāgarāja and Śāstri, Śyāma). Unlike the other two composers of the ‘trinity’, Muttusvāmi Dīkṣitar was born into a musical family. While he was still young his parents took him to Manali, an estate outside Madras, where his father, Rāmasvāmi Dīkṣitar, had been asked to perform. It was there that Muttusvāmi received his first training in vīṇā and vocal music from his father. At the age of 15 he accompanied a yogī on a pilgrimage to Varanasi, where he remained for five years. This period in the North is said to account for his long and serious compositions, which may be influenced by dhrupad. He is known as a bhakta of Devi and Subrahmanya, whose ...
(b Kiev, June 1, 1898; d Tel-Aviv, Jan 27, 1964). Israeli cantor and composer of Ukrainian birth. Born into a family of cantors (both of his grandfathers were cantors, as was his father), he made his cantorial début in Kiev at the age of eight. At the age of 14 he became the choir director at his father's synagogue, where he helped to introduce the 19th-century polyphonic repertory. He studied the piano and theory at the Totovsky Conservatory and later counterpoint and composition with Glière. In 1920 he moved to Chişinău, now in Moldova, where he served as cantor and continued his studies with Abraham Berkowitsch (known as Kalechnik), an authority on cantorial recitatives. After emigrating to the USA in 1926 he served as cantor for congregations in New York and Los Angeles. His extensive recordings with Asch and RCA Victor made him famous in Ashkenazi Jewish communities. In ...
[Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī ibn Nāfi‘ ]
(b Iraq; d Córdoba, Spain, Aug 852). Arab musician . A mawlā (‘freedman’) of Caliph al-Mahdī (775–85) at Baghdad, he was a pupil of Ibrāhīm al-Mawṣilī and a rival of Isḥāq al-Mawṣilī at the court of Hārūn al-Rashīd (786–809). He left Baghdad for Syria, served the Aghlabid ruler Ziyādat Allāh (817–38) in Qairawan (Tunisia), and later received a generous welcome from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–52) in Córdoba. His influence there as a court musician and companion (nadīm) must have been exceptional: customs in clothing and eating that he had brought from Baghdad became fashionable, and the tradition of his school of music was maintained by his descendants at least two generations after his death. Like his contemporary al-Kindī he seems to have known the musical theory of late antiquity and to have reconciled it with the teachings of his masters in Baghdad. Details of his vocal training techniques are described by Ibn Ḥayyān (...