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(b Palestine, TX, Jan 21, 1902; d Fort Worth, May 2, 1984). American singer and bandleader. He led his own band in Dallas (c1925) and toured Texas, then briefly led the Wolverines. In 1928 he worked as a banjoist in New York, but from 1929 he specialized as a singer. He made a large number of recordings as a leader (1929–31, 1934), as well as with such musicians as the Dorsey Brothers (1928–9), Irving Mills, the Goofus Five, and Ben Pollack (all 1929), the California Ramblers, Joe Venuti, and Frankie Trumbauer (all 1929–30), the violinist Ben Selvin (1929–31), Duke Ellington (1930, notably Nine Little Miles from Ten-Ten-Tennessee, Vic. 22586), and Red Nichols and Benny Goodman (both 1931). During the early 1930s his band held many residencies in New York, and Ballew also led an all-star group which included Bunny Berigan and Glenn Miller. Later he appeared in many films....

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Guillermo I. Olliver and Rainer E. Lotz

[Mike; Muhiddin, Ahmed]

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], Sept 24, 1905). Argentine bandleader, banjoist, guitarist, and singer of Turkish birth. While attending the University of Michigan he played banjo under the name Ahmed Muhiddin in student bands (1924–31) and in an orchestra led by Jean Goldkette (1927). He worked as a newspaper correspondent in Uruguay and at the same time played in and around Montevideo in a trio led by the pianist Luis Rolero, with which he later moved to Buenos Aires; after this group disbanded in 1934 he joined the Dixie Pals, led by the violinist Paul Wyer, with which he recorded several tracks for Victor, including a version of his own composition Africa (1934, 37642). From 1936 to the early 1940s he played with the pianist Rene Cospito and his Orquesta Argentina de Jazz, with the drummer Mario D’Alo’s Rhythm Kings, and in a group modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France that included Hernán Oliva (violin), Dave Washington (second guitar), and Louis Vola (double bass). In the late 1930s, by which time he had taken the name Ahmed Ratip, he studied harmony with the bandleader Russ Goudy. Early in ...

Article

Michal Ben-Zur

[Kar’el]

(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player of German birth. He studied the organ with Philipp Wofrum and composition with Richard Strauss. From 1920 to 1926 he held the position of conductor at the Hamburg Neues Stadt-Theater, and from 1931 to 1932 was baritone and stage director at the Deutsche Musikbühne. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933, where he was appointed programme director of the newly founded Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS, later Kol Israel [‘The Voice of Israel’]), a position he held until his retirement in 1962; he founded the PBS Orchestra (later the Kol Israel Orchestra) in 1938.

Many of Salomon’s early works were destroyed. His music from 1933 is tonal with modal inflections, combining European traditions with folk influences to create a light, accessible style. The Sepharadic Suite (1961) incorporates Spanish melodies; popular material is also used in the Second Symphony ‘Leilot be’Cna’an (‘Nights of Canaan’, ...

Article

Armineh Grigorian

revised by Robert Atayan and Aram Kerovpyan

[Gomidas Vartabed; Soghomonian, Soghomon]

(b Kütahya, Turkey, Oct 8, 1869; d Paris, Oct 22, 1935). Armenian composer, ethnomusicologist, choral conductor, singer and teacher. One of the first Armenians to have a classical Western musical education, as well as instruction in the music of his own people, he laid the foundations for a distinctive national style in his many songs and choruses, all of which are deeply influenced by the folk and church traditions of Armenia. His work on Armenian folksong is also of musicological importance.

Robert Atayan, revised by Aram Kerovpyan

Both of his parents (his father Gevorg Soghomonian was a cobbler) had gifts for music and poetry; in 1881, however, the boy was orphaned and sent to Armenia to study at the Gevork’ian Theological Seminary in Vagharshapat (now Edjmiadzine), and was ordained as a celibate priest in 1894, being given the name Komitas (a 7th-century Catholicos who was also a hymn composer). There his beautiful voice and his musical talents attracted notice, and under Sahak Amatuni’s guidance he mastered the theory and practice of Armenian liturgical singing. He also made decisive contact with folksong, to the collection and study of which he gave himself wholeheartedly. When he had only just learnt Armenian modern notation he set about recording the songs of the Ararat valley peasants and immigrant Armenians of other regions. Although he had no knowledge of European music theory, he harmonized these songs for performance with a student choir at the academy. His earliest surviving collection of folk melodies dates from ...