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Article

Terence J. O’Grady

revised by Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962. A&M’s first issue was also Alpert’s first recording as a trumpeter and bandleader, The Lonely Bull (A&M, 1962). The title track included sounds from the bullring in Tijuana, Mexico, so Alpert dubbed his band the Tijuana Brass. His music exploited a distinctive combination of Mexican mariachi-style brass with jazz rhythms, which was dubbed Ameriachi. A string of hits including “Mexican Shuffle” (A&M, 1964) and “Tijuana Taxi” (A&M, 1965) followed. In 1966 Alpert had five recordings simultaneously listed on the Billboard Top 20. His cover of “This guy’s in love with you” reached no.1 in ...

Article

Ellen Highstein and Nathan Platte

Brass quintet, formed by trombonists Arnold Fromme and Gilbert Cohen in 1960; its present members are Kevin Cobb and Raymond Mase, trumpets; David Wakefield, horn; Michael Powell, tenor trombone; and John D. Rojak, bass trombone. The group gave its first public performance at the 92nd Street Y and made its official New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1962. At that time the brass quintet was little heard in the concert hall, and the ensemble played a major part in introducing audiences to brass instruments in the chamber context. Its commitment to the expansion of the brass chamber literature and its renowned virtuosity, precision, and stylistic accuracy have resulted in the composition of more than 100 new works by such composers as Bolcom, Carter, Thomson, Druckman, Ewazen, Plog, Sampson, Schuller, Schuman, Starer, and Tower. The group's concerts usually include premieres and the performance of “rediscovered” older pieces. The quintet has also explored performance practice on older instruments, and its many recordings include two of 19th-century American brass music played on period instruments. Since becoming the ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival in 1970 and at Juilliard in 1987, the group has played a key role in training members of other prominent brass ensembles, including the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Manhattan Brass Quintet, and Urban Brass Quintet....

Article

Vasil S. Tole

(b Përmet, Albania, May 2, 1929; d Përmet, Jan 26, 2014). Albanian folk music performer. A clarinettist and vocalist, nicknamed ‘Përmeti’s nightingale’, founder of the instrumental iso-polyphonic group (saze ensemble) in the Southern town of Përmet (1944–2004). At a young age, he showed a special ability to design and make instruments. He was taught to play the lute and the clarinet by the saze masters in the city of Korçë. Then his family returned to Përmet, where he joined the saze of Vangjel Leskoviku (1944). At Përmet, he organized his own saze and participated in the Folk Music Festival in Tirane (1952), where he was awarded the First Prize for the best folk clarinettist. His saze was composed of a clarinet, two lutes, two accordions, a frame drum, and a violin. The saze played instruments and sang at the same time. He is a composer of songs, clarinet ...

Article

Eliot Gattegno

(b New York, NY, Oct 14, 1967). American composer and clarinetist. A native of New York City, Bermel as a youth studied clarinet with Ben Armato. He studied composition with Michael Tenzer at Yale University (BA 1989) and with William Bolcom and william hugh Albright at the University of Michigan (DMA 1998). Later he worked with Louis Andriessen as a Fulbright Fellow in Amsterdam and Henri Dutilleux at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has also studied ethnomusicology and orchestration with André Hajdu in Jerusalem; Lobi xylophone (gyil) in Ghana; Thracian folk style with Nikola Iliev in Bulgaria; and caxixi in Brazil with Julio Góes.

In 1998 Bermel premiered his own clarinet concerto, Voices, in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra under Tan Dun. He has since performed it with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as in London and Beijing. He was the founding clarinetist of Music from Copland House, the resident ensemble at Copland’s New York home, which has been restored as a creative center for American music. He also performs with Brooklyn-based band Peace by Piece, for which he serves as bandleader, singer, and songwriter. The group has released two albums, Peace by Piece (...

Article

David Wild and Barry Kernfeld

(Iweanya)

Member of Marsalis family

(b Breaux Bridge, LA, Aug 26, 1960). Tenor and soprano saxophonist, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played alto saxophone for seven years before changing to the tenor instrument. While attending Southern University, Louisiana, for a year, he took lessons from Alvin Batiste; he then studied for several years at the Berklee College of Music. After his graduation he replaced Bobby Watson in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (including his brother Wynton Marsalis), with which he remained for five months, working primarily as an alto saxophonist, and he toured with Clark Terry’s orchestra. He spent three years as a member of Wynton’s quintet (1982–5), during which time he also worked with John Hicks’s quintet (1982–4), toured with the quintet V.S.O.P. II (1983), recorded with Ray Drummond, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bobby Hutcherson (all 1984), and played in Miles Davis's group (...

Article

Jeffrey Holmes

[Randal Edward ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Nov 27, 1945). American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer, arranger, and bandleader, brother of Michael Brecker. After graduating from Indiana University in 1966, he moved to New York, where he played with Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. A versatile musician, he worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, performing on their debut album, played hard bop and soul jazz with the Horace Silver Quintet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and helped form the fusion group Dreams, which included his brother Michael, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie. During the 1970s he worked with Silver, Larry Coryell, Stevie Wonder, the Plastic Ono Super Band, and Cobham. He and Michael also performed and recorded (six albums) as the Brecker Brothers, garnering much critical acclaim. He continued to lead his own group into the 1980s and also recorded and toured with virtuoso performers Jaco Pastorious and Stanley Clarke. A reunion of the Brecker Brothers in ...

Article

Michelle Vigneau

(b Gladewater, TX, Dec 3, 1938; d Elyria, OH, Feb 8, 2006). American oboist, baroque oboist, viola da gambist, and educator. He earned a diploma in 1961 from the Curtis Institute where he studied with john de Lancie . Caldwell served as principal oboist of the National SO (NSO) from 1965–66 and 1968–1971, and was principal oboist of the short-lived Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia from 1966–68. He played with the Puerto Rico Symphony and the Casals Festival Orchestra, and was a frequent performer at the Marlboro Music Festival. In 1971, Caldwell joined the faculty of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he trained many of the profession’s leading oboists, including Alex Klein, former principal oboist of the Chicago SO. Caldwell’s pedagogy was unusual, as he rarely mentioned the oboe. His students learned to play as a result of the musical demands of the phrase.

As a chamber musician, he was a member of the Soni Ventorum Quintet, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, and the Oberlin Woodwind Quintet. While playing in the NSO in the late 1960s, he also became interested in the viola da gamba and studied with noted teacher August Wenzinger. He became an accomplished viol player as well as a celebrated baroque oboist, earning a reputation as a leading scholar in historical performance. With his wife, cellist and viola da gambist Catharina Meints, he co-founded the Baroque Performance Institute, the first American summer school for historical performance, in ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(William)

Member of Coltrane family

(b Hamlet, NC, Sept 23, 1926; d New York, July 17, 1967). Tenor and soprano saxophonist, bandleader, and composer, father of Oran and Ravi Coltrane. He was, after Charlie Parker, the most revolutionary and widely imitated saxophonist in jazz.

Coltrane grew up in High Point, North Carolina, where he learned to play E♭ alto horn, clarinet, and (at about the age of 15) alto saxophone. After moving to Philadelphia he enrolled at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios; service in a navy band in Hawaii (1945–6) interrupted these studies. He played alto saxophone in the bands led by Joe Webb and King Kolax, then changed to the tenor to work with Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (1947 – mid-1948). He performed on either instrument as circumstances demanded while in groups led by Jimmy Heath, Dizzy Gillespie (with whom he recorded in ...

Article

Joel A. Treybig

(b Cortland, NY, Oct 19, 1920). American He began the trumpet at ten, played in his father’s town band, and studied with Ernest S(amuel) Williams. After serving as a teaching assistant at the University of Michigan (1940), he left in 1941 to join the Goldman Band as soloist and also was contracted as first trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He served in the military from 1942 to 1946, playing with the army band at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and working in a special service unit at Fort Slocum, New York that performed concerts and recorded music for films and radio broadcasts for military personnel. In 1946, he became associate first trumpet/third trumpet under Arturo Toscanini for the NBC Symphony. He also worked as a studio musician in every available medium. He served as soloist for the Band of America, the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), and the premiere of Husa’s ...

Article

Richard H. Perry

[Charles ]

(b Rhinelander, WI, July 12, 1945). American tuba player. He began playing the tuba under his father’s guidance. After grade school, he studied with Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago SO. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM 1966, MM, PhD 1971). He taught at the University of Toronto, where he met Stuart Laughton, William Phillips, Graeme Page, and Eugene Watts. In 1970 they formed the ensemble that became known the following year as the Canadian Brass, the, a renowned professional quintet famous for its entertaining performances of a wide range of music written and arranged specifically for them. With this group he has made more than 80 CDs and DVDs and has performed in nearly every major venue in the world. In 1988 Hartwick College awarded him an honorary doctorate of music and in 2000 McMaster University gave him an honorary doctorate of letters. He is also the president of Opening Day Entertainment Group and Canadian Brass Publishing, Inc., the group’s recording label and music publisher. In ...

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Dallas, TX, Jan 26, 1922; d Suffern, NY, Nov 4, 1999). American recorder player, editor, teacher, and conductor. His early musical experience included playing the trumpet in small jazz bands and in Broadway pit bands and arranging music for shows in New York. While studying with erich Katz at the New York College of Music he developed an interest in early music. He learned to play the recorder, crumhorn, sackbut, and viola da gamba and arranged and directed medieval and Renaissance music. He edited music for the American Recorder Society, which published several of his compositions, and later was general editor of the series Music for Recorders (Associated Music Publishers). He took part in the debut of the New York Pro Musica Antiqua under Noah Greenberg in 1953 and rejoined them from 1960 until 1970; during this time he became director of the instrumental consort and assistant director of the Renaissance band. He toured internationally with them and played on many recordings. In ...

Article

Kay Edwards

[Blue Butterfly ]

(b Madison, WI, June 4, 1959). American composer and flutist of Mohican descent (enrolled member of Stockbridge Band of Mohican Nation). He earned degrees in music composition from Northern Illinois University (BM 1981) and Arizona State University (MM 1990) and a separate degree in American Indian Religious Studies from Arizona State University (MA 1992). Davids merges his classical training in Western music with Native American elements that have been nurtured by many visits to Stockbridge Munsee Reservation, where his father was raised; in many of his pieces, native percussion can be heard alongside European instruments to create a colorful musical tapestry. Davids is also a concert flutist, famous for performing on his signature handmade quartz crystal flutes, as well as standard flute and native wooden flutes. He has written commissioned works for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Chanticleer, Zeitgeist, the Kronos Quartet, the Miró String Quartet, and the Joffrey Ballet. He has received awards from In-Vision, Meet the Composer, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others. In ...

Article

(b US, 1949). American bassoonist and composer. He earned degrees at the University of Kansas (BM, MM) and the Eastman School of Music (DMA 1980), where he worked with Austin Ledwith and David Van Hoesen, respectively. He also studied composition with John Pozdro, Samuel Adler, and warren Benson ...

Article

Cathy Ragland

(b Sarita, TX, Oct 31, 1931; d Corpus Christi, TX, June 2, 2004). American accordionist, songwriter, and composer. He is one of the first Texas Mexican accordionists to achieve success as a full-time musician. At age six he learned harmonica from his mother, and after hearing early recordings by Narciso Martínez he turned to the accordion. By age 18 he had formed his own Conjunto, Tony de la Rosa y su Conjunto, and begun recording with San Antonio’s Rio Records. In 1950 he took over from Martínez as the house accordionist at Ideal Records in Alice, Texas. He accompanied many of the label’s top artists, was one of the first to travel the migrant circuit extensively across Texas and the Southwest, and made more than 100 recordings. He is best known for such polkas as “Atotonilco” and “Frijoles bailan” and for some important innovations to the conjunto style. Having also played in local honky tonk and Texas swing bands, he added drums and electric bass, which were the driving force behind the polka-inspired dance rhythms they played. These instruments provided a solid two-step rhythm for dancing and slowed down the pace enough for the accordion and ...

Article

Gary Galván

(b Richmond, VA, May 7, 1957). American conductor, educator, and flutist. Karen Deal studied flute at Oral Roberts University (BMus 1980) and orchestral conducting at Virginia Commonwealth University (MM 1982). She made her European conducting debut in 1984 with the Pro Arte Orchestra in Vienna, Austria, while pursuing postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darnstellende Kunst. During coursework toward a DMA in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Deal studied with Praul Vermel on an Aspen Music Festival Fellowship (1988) and won the National Repertory Orchestra Biennial Conducting Competition. She was the founding director for the Sinfonia Concertante in Maryland in 1988 and the Chesapeake Youth Symphony in 1990 while serving as Associate Conductor for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and teaching music history and flute at Loyola College.

After study with gustav Meier , Leonard Slatkin, and Leon Fleisher at the Tanglewood Music Festival in ...

Article

Michael Ellzey

(b Macon City, IA, April 29, 1938). American trumpeter and educator. Active in early music, he was a founding member of Calliope: A Renaissance Band. He was a member of the New York Brass Quintet for 18 years and also freelanced as a performer and studio musician for over 20 years in New York City. In 1982 he joined the faculty of Indiana University and in 1989 he became an adjunct professor at Yale University, where he currently teaches trumpet, coaches brass chamber music, and directs the Yale Cornet and Sacbut Ensemble. He has also taught at the Manhattan School of Music, the Hartt School, and the Eastman School.

Dean currently performs and teaches each summer at the Mendez Brass Institute in addition to the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Norfolk, Connecticut. He frequently appears as a soloist with Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band. He has appeared internationally at the Spoleto and Casals Festivals, the Banff Centre (Canada), the Oxford Arts Centre (Canada), Musiki Blekinge (Sweden), the Curitiba Music Festival (Brazil), and the Morella Festival (Spain). His performances on both the modern trumpet and early brass instruments can be heard on over 80 recordings released by, among others, RCA, Columbia, Nonesuch, and Summit labels....

Article

Gerald W. Wood

(b Venice, CA, Nov 23, 1921). American horn player. After studying with james Stagliano , principal horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and first-call studio musician, Decker served as first horn with the National Symphony (1941–2), second horn to Alfred Brain with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a musician with Fox Studios (1943–8), and first horn with the Kansas City Philharmonic (1948). Contracted by Columbia and Paramount Studios with first horn obligations, Decker recorded thousands of film scores from 1948 to 1993. In addition to his film duties in Los Angeles, his other performance activities included ten years as first horn in Neville Mariner’s Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and twenty years as first horn with the California Chamber Orchestra. Decker can be heard on a multitude of recordings, including those conducted by Stravinsky beginning in 1960. Decker also played in over thirty recordings by Frank Sinatra and as solo horn on recordings of ...

Article

Gerald E. Wood

(b Kansas City, MO, Oct 5, 1920). American horn player, recording artist, and educator. A child of musicians John DeRosa (clarinet) and Clelia DeRubertis DeRosa (vocalist), he started studying the horn at an early age with Peter Dilecce of the Chicago Civic Opera Orchestra. After moving to Los Angeles, he studied briefly with his uncle, Vincent DeRubertis, a staff horn player for Paramount Studios, and Alfred Brain, principal horn at 20th Century Fox. At age 17 he began his career as a member of the horn section at 20th Century Fox (1937) before enlisting in the US Army in 1942. After his discharge in 1945 he launched a freelance recording career in Los Angeles, attracting the attention of numerous film composers. He can be heard on film, television, and popular music recordings, and stands as one of the most widely recorded West Coast brass musicians. His session performances helped refine what became known as the “Los Angeles Horn Sound,” which remained prominent throughout the second half of the 20th century. In addition to his performing career, he served for 30 years as a horn professor at the University of Southern California (...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

(b Boston, MA, Mar 16, 1930). American button accordion player. Derrane’s father played accordion and his mother played fiddle; both were immigrants from Ireland. At age ten Derrane took up the one-row diatonic button accordion (melodeon), and soon thereafter switched to the two-row C#/D accordion (which deploys a tuning that has since become a rarity in Irish American music). By the age of 17 he was playing regularly in Boston’s Irish dancehalls. In 1947 and 1948 he recorded 16 sides of Irish dance tunes for the Copley label. Derrane continued to perform professionally, but as the popularity of the Irish dancehall scene receded, and he found himself playing piano accordion, and later electronic keyboards, in all manner of ensembles. He retired in 1990, not having played traditional Irish music in years.

In 1993 the Irish American record label Rego Records reissued Derrane’s early recordings on CD. His playing style was vigorous and more highly ornamented than most Irish American playing, perhaps reflecting a French Canadian influence in New England music. His unusual playing intrigued many listeners, including journalist Earle Hitchener, who contacted Derrane and convinced him to revive his performance career. In ...

Article

Michael Ellzey

(b Schuyler Falls, NY, Jan 27, 1875; d Staten Island, NY, Apr 8, 1942). American cornetist. A self-taught musician, Dolan ran away from home at the age of 14 and played the cornet in a circus band. He served in the US Army during the Spanish-American War, reenlisted after the war ended, and played in the band on Governor’s Island. After leaving the army in 1902 and freelancing in New York City, he joined Conway’s band in 1907 as principal cornet and cornet soloist. In 1919 Dolan became Sousa’s principal cornet/soloist and served as assistant conductor for much of his tenure. With the exception of Herbert L. Clarke, his time with Sousa remains the longest of any cornetist. After a disagreement with Sousa, he left the band permanently in 1928 and played with Barrerre’s Little Symphony and several New York City theater ensembles. He also taught in Ithaca, New York. His recordings include three cornet solos with Conway’s band on the Victor and Okeh labels, solos on the Clico and Nassua labels, and ...