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Michael Ethen

(Guy)

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In 1978 he began what became a long and successful songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance, with whom he created most songs recorded under his name up to 1987, as well as songs recorded by Rod Stewart, Kiss, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, and the Canadian groups Prism, BTO, and Loverboy.

Adams’ albums characteristically alternate between down-tempo piano ballads and straight-ahead rock numbers. His third solo album, Cuts like a Knife (1983) launched him to the status of an international celebrity; its singles included the ballad “Straight from the Heart” and the anthem “Cuts like a Knife,” which both featured for weeks on magazine charts and music television. The next album, ...

Article

(b Hartford, ct , March 1, 1927). American soprano of Armenian descent. She studied at San Francisco, where she sang in the opera chorus (1945–6). At the Metropolitan she made her début (1950) as the Heavenly Voice (Don Carlos). By her 25th anniversary performance there, as Micaela, she had sung 41 roles in 35 operas, with regular appearances as Leonora (...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, Sept 10, 1957). Japanese singer. She learned piano from the age of three, studied singing when she was 17, and in her youth undertook some work as a piano accompanist. After graduating from high school she lived alternately in Kobe, Japan, and Los Angeles. She then went to New York, where she sang from 1986 to 1991 as a member of the gospel choir of the Tabernacle Church in Harlem. In 1991 she returned to Japan and performed with the trio led by the pianist Hiroshi Minami in 1992 and Mikio Masuda’s trio in 1998. Among her recordings is an album (1996) on which she was accompanied by a quartet comprising the guitarist Satoshi Inoue, Junior Mance, Calvin Hill, and Akira Tana. Ayado was employed as a dietician until 1998 and then decided to work exclusively as a professional musician. Since then she has become one of the most successful jazz singers in Japan. She teaches gospel-style choirs in several Japanese cities and also plays piano and organ....

Article

[Aznavourian, Varenagh]

(b Paris, May 22, 1924). French singer and songwriter. His parents were Armenian immigrants, and he began acting as a child. In 1941 he wrote the lyrics to the song J'ai bu, with music by Pierre Roche, and which brought the songwriting team to the attention of Edith Piaf. Aznavour subsequently wrote songs for Piaf (Il pleut, 1949), Gilbert Bécaud (Donne-moi, 1952) and Juliette Greco (Je hais les dimanches, 1950). As a singer, he toured with Piaf, but major success only came with Sur ma vie (1955). Such reflective and romantic songs as The Old-Fashioned Way and She (1974) brought him international acclaim, while numbers such as Hier encore (translated as Yesterday when I was Young) typify his introspective and melancholic style. His operetta, Monsieur Carnaval, was performed in Paris in 1965, and his film appearances include François Truffaut's ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Osaka, Dec 11, 1939). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo, then in Milan and Parma, making her début in 1963 at Reggio Emilia as Suzel (L’amico Fritz). She sang at La Scala and elsewhere in Italy; in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria; in North and South America and with Fujiwara Opera in Tokyo. She took part in the première of Joachim Ludwig’s ...

Article

(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....

Article

Rainer E. Lotz

[William ]

(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 (...

Article

Philip Greene

(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...

Article

(b Vernïy [now Alma-Ata], 20 April/May 2, 1912; d Moscow, June 6, 1957). Kazakh, soprano. She studied at the Vernïy Institute of Education (1924–8), sang with the Kazakh National Dramatic Theatre from 1934 and joined the Kazakh opera in 1937. Her voice was soft and of a distinctive timbre, and she was a good actress. She created many roles in operas in the Kazakh repertory by Brusilovsky, Tulebayev, Zhubanov and Kharmidi, combining in her interpretations a vocal style that was both strongly national and also European. She was the first Kazakh singer to perform Tatyana, Tamara (...

Article

Craig A. Lockard

(b Vienna, Austria, May 2, 1924). American and Israeli actor and singer. Born into a Jewish family, he spent his youth in Austria. Following the Nazi occupation the Bikel family escaped to Palestine, where he made his stage debut in 1943. Moving to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he began his acting career in 1948 in A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1954 he immigrated to the United States and, in 1961, became a naturalized American. He made his concert debut at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, in 1956 with a program of folk songs. In 1959 he was cast as Georg von Trapp in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. During his long career Bikel has appeared in numerous films, plays, and musicals, from the lead in Zorba to over 2000 performances as the penniless milkman Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Marseilles, March 24, 1936). Armenian soprano . She studied in Milan, making her début in 1964 at Brussels as Micaëla. A member of the Hamburg Staatsoper (1965–73), she appeared with the company at the Metropolitan Opera in 1966 as Jenůfa. In 1967 she made her Covent Garden début as Alice Ford and sang Mimì for Scottish Opera, with whom she also sang Desdemona and Donna Elvira. She appeared at Vienna, Montreal, Düsseldorf, Munich and Aix-en Provence, where in ...

Article

Ray Pallett

(b Laurenço Marques [now Maputo], Jan 7, 1899; d London, April 17, 1941). British popular singer. His father was Greek, his mother was Lebanese. Bowlly was brought up in South Africa and joined Edgar Adeler’s leading dance band in 1922, touring South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, East Africa and the Far East. He left Adeler in 1924 and took up a residency at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. In 1927 he went to Germany and made his first recording, Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies. A prestigious engagement lasting one year followed at the Savoy Hotel, London, with the bandleader Fred Elizalde. He had a major break in 1930 when he joined a recording studio band led by Ray Noble, with whom he made the original versions of songs which have become standards. These, all by Noble, included The Very Thought of You, Love is the Sweetest Thing, The Touch of your Lips...

Article

Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, 1943). Peking opera performer of Chinese birth. Born to a family of actors, she began learning Peking Opera at the age of four. She later enrolled in the Shanghai Theater School, joining the new Shanghai Youth Peking Drama Troupe following graduation. When she was 18 years old, she was chosen by Chairman Mao’s wife to perform the female lead role in one of the national “model operas” created by China’s communist government. At the age of 22, she was among the artists deemed talented enough to be selected by the government to perform modern Beijing revolutionary operas during the Cultural Revolution, a period when classic and traditional works were banned. Working in those politically dangerous and unstable circumstances, Qi became well known throughout the country. When the sanctions on artistic production became less stringent in the late 1970s, she again began performing in productions of traditional works. She immigrated to the United States in ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Feb 13, 1936). Japanese alto saxophonist and singer. He had violin lessons when he was ten, then changed to clarinet, and had taken up alto saxophone by the age of 17, at which time he began playing professionally at clubs on US military bases; when he was 20 he began to sing. From 1959 he led a succession of bands: Takashi Furuya and the Freshmen, the Concord, the Neo Sax Band, the Neighborhood Big Band, and Reunion. He also performed with the Blue Echoes, the Arrow Jazz Orchestra, Gil Evans’s Japanese orchestra, Fumio Karashima, and Makoto Ozone, recorded with the sextet led by the double bass player Naosuke Miyamoto (1973), and joined tours of Japan made by Phil Woods’s quartet, Mal Waldron, and Dizzy Gillespie. Furuya teaches at the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Cultural Center and his own vocal school. In concert in Osaka in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Bucharest, c 1952). Israeli soprano of Romanian birth . She studied in Tel-Aviv and in Zürich, where she made her début in 1977 as the Queen of Night; in 1978 she sang the same role at Glyndebourne. Engaged with the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, from 1980, she has also sung in Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Cologne and at La Scala. In ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Kanagawa, July 19, 1948). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo and Milan, making her début in 1972 at La Scala as Butterfly. In 1973 she sang Ninetta (La gazza ladra) in Rome and the title role of Maria Stuarda in Chicago; the following year she took the title role of ...

Article

Walter Ojakäär

[Oganesyan [Khovanesyan], Tatevik]

(b Yerevan, Armenian SSR [now Armenia], June 3, 1955). Armenian singer and educator. She grew up in a musical family and began singing jazz as a child; when she was 13 she made her first recording, a version of Harold Arlen’s It’s only a paper moon, for Armenian radio. Having studied choral conducting at the Melikyan Music School in Yerevan (graduating in 1974) she sang with the Armenian State Variety Orchestra under the bandleader Konstantin Orbelyan (1974–7); later she worked with groups led by Igor Bril, Vladimir Chekasin, Aleksey Kuznetsov, Lembit Saarsalu, and Tiit Paulus. Her international career began at festivals in Belgrade (1978) and Debrecen, Hungary (1985); later she performed throughout Europe, as well as in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the USA, where she settled in 1989. Before leaving the USSR she recorded Dnevnïe mechtï (1986, Mel. C60 23665000), and she was the soloist in a concerto for voice and orchestra by Konstantin Petrosyan, recorded that same year. In the USA she sang with Frank Wess, Larry Willis, Ben Riley, Paquito D’Rivera, and others, and recorded the albums ...

Article

Wendy F. Hsu

(b Taipei, Taiwan, Dec 15, 1973). Rock musician and songwriter of Taiwanese birth. Hsu moved to Houston, Texas, with his family in 1989. His brother, Kevin Hsu, was a pop star in Taiwan who signed to Golden Point/BMG. Self-taught in guitar, keyboards, voice, and drums, Hsu formed in 2001 the alternative rock band Johnny Hi-Fi, which has toured extensively in the United States and Asia. As a songwriter Hsu writes songs in both English and Mandarin Chinese. He has collaborated with Taiwanese recording artists and producers and has had success overseas. His song titled “Don’t Go,” performed by Richie Ren, reached the top 10 pop music chart in Taiwan. Hsu also has toured with Taiwanese rock musician Chang Chen-Yue on his US tour in 2004.

In 2004 Hsu began organizing the Asian Rock Fest in recognition of Asian American Heritage Month in May. An annual festival series, Asian Rock Fest has brought together Asian American artists and showcased rock music talent including Eyes Like Knives, Kite Operations, Carol Bui, Burning Tree Project, Festizio, Vudoo Soul, Jack Tung, and Johnny Hi-Fi. The first Asian Rock Fest took place at The Pianos in New York. The festival continued to feature Asian American musicians after Hsu’s relocation to the west coast in ...

Article

Megan E. Hill

(b Shanghai, China, Feb 21, 1941). Kunqu opera singer of Chinese birth. She was a member of the first class of Kunqu opera students at the Shanghai Opera School, which she entered in 1954. She graduated as the school’s top student in 1961, by which time she was already well known in China, Hong Kong, and Macao. She became a specialist in guimen dan, the refined female role-type. As a young actress she had earned the nickname “Little Mei Lan Fang” after the legendary male performer who had been the exemplar of the dan role. Today Hua has come to be regarded internationally as the premier model for Kunqu guimen dan.

She performed with the Shanghai Youth Beijing and Kunqu Troupe from 1961 until 1971. Due to the Chinese government’s censuring of traditional Chinese opera because of its links to China’s “feudalistic” history, during the Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Alexander M. Cannon

(b Savannakhet, Laos, 1947). Laotian composer and singer. He began his musical training by studying Lao folk songs with Buddhist monks. Before age 20, he already had garnered a reputation as a creative maulam, or narrative singer of lam (or lum)—a genre of traditional vocal music from southern Laos of solo or male–female repartee singing accompanied by khene and oftentimes a small ensemble. He later studied composition and performance and was employed in 1965 by the Department of Lao National Fine Arts. In 1968, he entered the army and worked as a singer for the National Radio Broadcast. After the Pathet Lao came to power in 1975, he worked at the military radio station singing propaganda songs. In 1979, he escaped to Thailand, and in 1980, immigrated to the United States, first living with his cousin, Bountong Insixiengmay, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He soon relocated to Minneapolis—a city with a large population of Lao émigrés—and in ...