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(b Frankfurt, Sept 11, 1903; d Brig, Switzerland, Aug 6, 1969). German writer on music and philosopher. The son of a businessman of Jewish extraction, Oscar Alexander Wiesengrund, and a professional singer of Catholic Corsican origin, Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana, he adopted his mother's name in the 1920s, initially as Weisengrund-Adorno, dispensing with the hyphen in 1938. In 1937–8 he also wrote briefly under the pseudonym Hektor ‘Rottweiler’.

Strongly influenced by Ernst Bloch's Vom Geist der Utopie and Georg Lukács's Theorie des Romans while still at school, and having had a musical upbringing, with piano, violin and composition lessons from an early age, in 1921 he went on to study philosophy (with Hans Cornelius) at the University of Frankfurt with musicology, sociology and psychology as subsidiary subjects, continuing composition studies with Bernhard Sekles and piano with Eduard Jung. During his student years he became friendly with the philosopher Max Horkheimer and the literary critic Walter Benjamin, who both had considerable influence on his development. Three years after starting university he took the doctorate with a dissertation on Husserl (...

Article

(b Paris, Nov 30, 1813; d Paris, March 29, 1888). French pianist and composer. His real name was Morhange. He was one of the leading piano virtuosos of the 19th century and one of its most unusual composers, remarkable in both technique and imagination, yet largely ignored by his own and succeeding generations.

Of Jewish parentage, Alkan was the eldest of five brothers, all of whom, with an elder sister as well, became musicians under the assumed name Alkan; Napoléon Alkan, the third brother (1826–1910), taught solfège at the Paris Conservatoire for over 50 years. Valentin Alkan’s career at the Conservatoire started brilliantly with a premier prix for solfège at the age of seven. When Alkan was nine Cherubini observed that he was ‘astonishing for his age’ and described his ability on the piano as ‘extraordinary’. He won a premier prix for piano in 1824, for harmony in ...

Article

John Beckwith

(b Budapest, April 12, 1919; d Kingston, ON, February 24, 2012). Canadian composer, conductor and pianist of Hungarian birth. He studied with Kodály at the Budapest Academy (1937–41). As a young man he spent a period with other Jewish youths in a forced-labour contingent of the Hungarian Army; his later war experiences – escape, then concealment by friends during the winter of 1944–5 – are described in the memoirs of the novelist Theresa de Kerpely (Teresa Kay). After a season as assistant conductor at the Budapest Opera (1945–6), he went to Paris for further studies in piano (Soulima Stravinsky), conducting (Fourestier) and composition (Boulanger), remaining there for three years. He moved to Canada in 1949 (taking Canadian nationality in 1955), and for three years held a Lady Davis Fellowship and an appointment as assistant professor at McGill University. There he founded the electronic music studio and served for six years as chair of the department of theoretical music. He held grants for electronic music research from the Canada Council (...

Article

Helen Metzelaar

(Marie Clémence)

(b Maastricht, Dec 1, 1905; d Brunssum, March 1, 1982). Dutch composer and pianist. After gaining a teaching certificate in 1927, she studied the piano with Maria Gielen and composition with Henri Hermans. She made her début with the Maastricht city orchestra (conducted by Hermans) in 1928, both as a soloist in Mozart's Piano Concertok488 and as a composer with her Drie schetsen for chamber orchestra. From 1929 to 1942 and from 1944 to 1947 she regularly performed with this orchestra. During World War II she refused to sign a ‘non-Jewish declaration’, and consequently resigned from the Maastricht city orchestra. In 1932 she was appointed teacher of theory and piano at the music school in Heerlen, where she worked until 1972. She travelled to Paris each summer from 1930 to 1937 to study with Milhaud.

Some of Bonhomme's compositions are late Romantic in style, showing the influence of Franck, others are French Impressionistic in harmony and instrumentation, reminding one more of Ravel and Roussel than of Milhaud. Her earliest works, such as the ...

Article

Marija Đurić Speare

(b ?Venice, ?Nov 1680; d London,Jan 14, 1783). Italian cellist and composer. He was of Sephardi Jewish origin. Nothing is known about his life in Italy, though Burney referred to him as a Venetian. He arrived in England probably in early 1738, when he became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians: he was an important member of a group of London-based Italians who brought the solo cello into favour in England. Although his playing was technically brilliant, his tone, according to Burney, was ‘raw, crude and uninteresting’. The first reliable record of his playing is of a concerto at Drury Lane (22 November 1742); he continued to play there regularly until about 1774/5. According to his son James's obituary, Cervetto ‘led the band’ there. He played in numerous subscription concerts at Hickford's Room, the Great Room, the King's Theatre and the New Theatre in the Haymarket. He also played in the orchestra at Vauxhall and took part in private concerts, for example in the Burney household. At some point in the early 1760s Cervetto seems to have relinquished his solo career in order to make way for his son, also a cellist. Marsh recorded Cervetto's presence at a concert at the Salisbury Festival in ...

Article

(b Paris, July 4, 1694; d Paris, June 15, 1772). French organist, harpsichordist and composer. Descended from a family of intellectuals of Jewish origin, the son of Claude Daquin and Anne Treisant, Louis-Claude was an infant prodigy. After taking some harpsichord lessons from his godmother Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, and composition lessons from Nicolas Bernier, he was capable of playing before Louis XIV at the age of six and of conducting his own Beatus vir in the Sainte-Chapelle at the age of eight. In 1706 he was appointed organist at the convent of Petit St Antoine and was able to play on the organ of the Sainte-Chapelle. On 12 July 1722 he married Denise-Thérèse Quirot; they had only one child, Pierre-Louis D'Aquin de Châteaulion (c1722–97), whose Lettres trace the brilliant career of a father greatly admired by Parisian society. Louis-Claude's marriage contract tells us that at the time he was ...

Article

Gerald Abraham

(b Goldingen, Courland [now Kuldīga, Latvia], 3/March 15, 1838; d Moscow, 14/Feb 26, 1889). Russian cellist, composer and administrator. The son of a Jewish doctor and amateur violinist (Davidhoff), he studied mathematics at Moscow University, graduating in June 1858. He then went to Leipzig to study composition with Moritz Hauptmann. Moscheles and Ferdinand David happened to hear him play, and he was invited to perform his own B minor Concerto with the Gewandhaus Orchestra on 15 December. In the following year he succeeded Friedrich Grützmacher as principal cellist of the orchestra and cello professor at the conservatory; against his will, he was obliged to recognize his vocation as a cellist rather than as a composer. Despite his notorious distaste for intensive practising he was soon acclaimed as one of the greatest players of his day, superb as a soloist, perhaps even finer in chamber music....

Article

Jonathan Powell

(Yevgen′yevich)

(b Odessa, 14/May 26, 1890; d Moscow, Oct 22, 1962). Russian pianist and composer. His parents were of Jewish origin, and in 1894 they moved from Odessa to Moscow. There Feinberg entered the conservatory, where he studied the piano with Gol′denveyzer, graduating in 1911. He also took private composition lessons with Zhilyayev. Over the next few years he started performing as a pianist and continued to compose. Around this time he played to Skryabin, who declared Feinberg’s performance of his Fourth Sonata the most convincing he had yet heard. In August 1914 he was sent to the Polish front, but he fell seriously ill and was sent to a military hospital, where he contracted typhus. He returned to Moscow and convalesced there for the rest of World War I. In 1922 he was appointed professor of piano at the Moscow conservatory. He also became a member of the circle which met at Pavel Lamm’s flat; musicians he encountered there included Myaskovsky and Anatoly Aleksandrov, both of whom wrote works for him. During the second half of the 1920s he achieved significant success abroad, giving concerts in Italy, Austria and Germany, and taking part in the ...

Article

Wesley Berg

(Joel)

(b Boston, June 30, 1942). Canadian composer and pianist of American birth. He studied at Boston University (BMus) and Michigan State University (MMus; PhD), and has taught at the University of Western Ontario, Acadia University, the University of Alberta (chair, 1986–9) and Queen's University, where he was director 1990–97. His compositional style has been described as post-Schoenbergian, employing a chromaticism controlled both by a limited number of pitch class sets and a sense of tonal hierarchy (Lewis, 1993). Many of his works are confessional. His fascination with the Canadian North has resulted in compositions such as Cry Wolf (1977), after a Cree Indian legend. In 1980 he began to explore themes from Jewish culture and history in works such as Morning: Peniel (1980), Zakhor: Remember (1983) and Small Worlds (1984). Several of these interests come together in Six Fantasy Pieces...

Article

Efrim Fruchtman

revised by Valerie Walden

(b Neuberg, Feb 15, 1768; d Berlin, c1857). German cellist, baryton player and composer. A member of a musical family, he received his general musical education from Hofmusikus Simon. His first position was as a court musician in Mannheim, where he studied the cello with Peter Ritter. Friedl was equally respected as a baryton player, and following a performance at Schwetzingen was given by Prince Carl Theodore of Mannheim an inlaid and bejewelled instrument made by Joachim Tielke. In 1793, on returning from a concert tour in the Netherlands, he performed at Frankfurt for an audience which included Friedrich Wilhelm II, who then engaged him for the Royal Chapel in Berlin. He subsequently studied the cello with Jean-Louis Duport, to whom he dedicated his three cello sonatas op.1 (Offenbach, 1798). Friedl was pensioned in 1826; his name appeared in the Berlin Address Calendar until 1857.

Very little is known of Friedl's compositions. Eitner's ...

Article

Birgitta Maria Schmid

(b Hamburg, Dec 30, 1888; d Detmold, Jan 22, 1986). German pianist and composer. She studied in Berlin, first at the Hochschule für Musik (1902–5), then at the Sternsches Konservatorium (1905–8) with James Kwast (piano) and Pfitzner (composition); from 1911 she studied at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne with Carl Friedberg (piano) and Fritz Steinbach (composition). As a pianist she promoted contemporary music from an early age and at 18 played Reger’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Bach, one of the first to do so. As a soloist with orchestra she performed with Nikisch, Abendroth, Furtwängler and Schoenberg. From 1933, during the Third Reich, she had to curtail her concert-giving because her husband was Jewish according to Nazi laws. From 1946 to 1959 she taught the piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, and was professor there from 1957. In 1961...

Article

Richard Wang

[Benjamin] (David)

(b Chicago, May 30, 1909; d New York, June 13, 1986). American clarinettist, composer and bandleader.

Goodman received rudimentary musical training from 1919 at Chicago’s Kehelah Jacob Synagogue and, more importantly, two years of instruction from the classically trained clarinettist Franz Schoepp. He made his professional début in 1921. During his formative years he absorbed the music of the New Orleans musicians; he was particularly influenced by Leon Roppolo, the clarinettist with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. In summer 1923 he met Bix Beiderbecke whose influence may be heard in Goodman’s on-the-beat attacks, careful choice of notes and across-the-bar phrasing on A Jazz Holiday (1928, Voc.) and Blue (1928, Bruns.) – especially on the latter, where Goodman played solos on both alto and baritone saxophone. In August 1925 Goodman left for Los Angeles to join Ben Pollack. Pollack’s band returned to Chicago in January 1926 and early in ...

Article

Irving Lowens

revised by S. Frederick Starr

(b New Orleans, May 8, 1829; d Tijuca, Brazil, Dec 18, 1869). American composer and pianist. His considerable reputation as a composer of virtuoso piano pieces did not long survive his death, but a renewed interest in his life and works began in the 1930s and he is now generally acknowledged as one of the most significant 19th-century American musicians, and his music as a direct precursor of ragtime.

Moreau (as he was called in the family) was the first of eight children born to Edward and Marie-Aimée (Bruslé) Gottschalk. His London-born, German-Jewish father went to New Orleans in the early 1820s and established himself there as a merchant; his mother was the daughter of a prosperous Catholic baker of French ancestry who had fled from St Domingue in Haiti to Louisiana following the slave rebellion in the 1790s. The child showed an aptitude for music before his fourth birthday, and when he was five his parents engaged François Letellier, organist and choirmaster of St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, to give him private lessons. By ...

Article

Thomas L. Gayda

[Will; Williams, Hugh; Milos, André]

(b Vienna, Aug 11, 1894; d New York, Dec 10, 1939). Austrian composer, pianist and conductor. Born into a Jewish family of jewellers, he studied with the operetta composer Richard Heuberger, Robert Fuchs, the musicologist Guido Adler and Franz Schreker. After he left the Vienna Music Academy in 1919, his Zwei phantastische Stücke was given its first performance by the Vienna PO. The following year he received a doctorate in music from Vienna University. While he remained initially faithful to the late-Romantic, Impressionist line, he became the first Austrian composer to introduce jazz idioms into his music. His grotesque ballet-pantomime Baby in der Bar (1928) marked him as one of the prime exponents of the Zeitgeist of the Weimar era.

In 1927 Grosz moved to Berlin and became the artistic director of the new Ultraphon record company, quickly building up its catalogue as a conductor, arranger and pianist. He formed a well-known piano duo with Wilhelm Kauffman and toured Europe as a highly-sought accompanist and conductor. When the National Socialists seized power in ...

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

(b Budapest, March 5, 1932). Israeli composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist. As a young boy, he survived the Nazi invasion and miraculously escaped deportation. In 1949 he entered the composition department of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he studied the piano with György Kósa and Erno Szégedi, composition with Endre Szervánszky and Ferenc Szabó, and ethnomusicology with Zoltán Kodály. As a Kodály disciple, he spent two years among the Hungarian gypsies, collecting songs and stories. This resulted in his Gypsy Cantata on poems of Miklos Randoti, which won first prize at the Warsaw International Youth Festival (1955).

Following the failure of the Hungarian uprising, Hajdu escaped to France, where he studied with Milhaud and Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. At the same time he wrote music for films and conducted youth choirs. From 1959 to 1961 he taught the piano and composition at the Tunis Conservatory and was active in ethnomusicological research there. This period is represented in his ...

Article

Rita Kaizinger

(b Budapest, Sept 8, 1915; d Budapest, Oct 23, 1987). Hungarian composer and pianist. She was born into a well-established Jewish family in Budapest; they owned the city’s ‘English Park’, a famous entertainment park, and her father was a well-known journalist. Hajdú graduated as a piano teacher from the Budapest Academy of Music, where she studied with Zoltán Kodály (folk music) and György Ránki (composition and instrumentation). For more than 40 years she was one of the most successful composers of light music in Budapest. Her song melodies perpetuated in an original manner the typical, operetta-like nostalgic atmosphere of the city. As a pianist she worked with leading Hungarian actors and singers, who generally congregated in the capital. Among her most famous partners were Lili Neményi, Mária Mezei, Hanna Honthy, the Latabár brothers and the opera singers Sándor (Alexander) Svéd and Mihály Székely. Hajdú’s chansons and cabaret songs achieved remarkable popularity. She was one of the founders of Hungarian Television (...

Article

Ronald Earl Booth

revised by Matthias Thiemel

[István]

(b Pest, May 15, 1813; d Paris, Jan 14, 1888). French pianist and composer of Hungarian birth. His parents were of Jewish descent and came from the vicinity of Eger (Cheb, Bohemia). He was first taught music by a regimental bandsman stationed near the Hungarian capital, and then by Ferenc Bräuer, a well-known piano teacher in Pest. He took composition lessons from an organist called Cibulka and then went to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny, but his father soon found that he could not afford the celebrated teacher’s high fees. Stephen became a pupil of Anton Halm, the teacher of Adolf Henselt and other 19th-century virtuosos. Through Halm, Heller met Schubert and Beethoven. In 1828 he made his début, and his success encouraged his father to arrange a concert tour through Hungary, Transylvania, Poland and Germany. It lasted almost two years and ended in Augsburg, where he collapsed from nervous exhaustion; intending to stay only a few weeks to recover, he remained for eight years. During this time he lived in the home of Frau Caroline Hoeslin von Eichthal, a highly intelligent and artistic woman whose son became one of his first pupils. He also came under the patronage and guidance of the cultivated Count Friedrich Fugger-Kircheim-Hoheneck, a gifted musician who encouraged him to study composition under Hippolyte Chelard, the Kapellmeister in Augsburg....

Article

Eliyahu Schleifer

[Heinrich]

(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad, Russia], March 2, 1909; d Tel-Aviv, Dec 13, 1990). Israeli composer, conductor and string player . He studied the viola and composition with Hindemith at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1927–30). From 1930 to 1933 he played in the Grosses Orchester des Südwestdeutschen Rundfunks. With the rise of the Nazis, he left Germany and, after a year's sojourn in Istanbul, emigrated to Palestine. In 1934 he settled in Jerusalem where he joined the Palestine Music Conservatory (1934–47) and the Jerusalem String Quartet (1934–9), both of which were founded two years earlier by the violinist Emil Hauser of the Budapest String Quartet. He was appointed to the Jerusalem New Conservatory and Academy of Music in 1947 (assistant director, 1949–54; director, 1954–8). He later moved to Tel-Aviv, where he played the viola in the Israel PO until 1974. During 1974–5...

Article

Jean Mary Allan

revised by Rosemary Williamson

(b Edinburgh, July 26, 1823; d London, May 28, 1891). Scottish pianist and composer. He had his first lessons from his father, Samuel, and made his first concert appearance in the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms at the age of six. In 1834 he entered the RAM in London to study the piano under Cipriani Potter, and harmony and composition under John Goss; he became King’s Scholar in 1837. In 1838 he played at the RAM a piano concerto of his own. He was soon appointed teacher of piano in the RAM, and later a director. During the 1850s he was also professor of music at St Mary’s Hall, Brighton. In his earlier life Jewson was considered one of London’s finest pianists, and was famous as a teacher (Mackenzie was one of his pupils). Although his compositions are little heard today, they are of fine calibre and craftmanship; the Etudes de concert...

Article

Beatrix Borchard

(b Kitsee, nr Pressburg [now Bratislava], June 28, 1831; d Berlin, Aug 15, 1907). Austro-Hungarian violinist, composer, conductor and teacher . He was born on the Esterházy estates into a Jewish family which moved in 1833 to Pest. His talent was recognized at an early age and systematically nurtured. His first teacher was the leader of the Pest Opera Orchestra, Serwaczyński, with whom Joachim made his public début at the Adelskasino in Pest, on 17 March 1839. He went to Vienna to play first for Hauser and then for Georg Hellmesberger the elder, and took lessons from Joseph Böhm, a former pupil of Rode, himself taught by Viotti, both of whom adhered to the classical French school.

By the age of 12 his technique was fully developed, and in early 1843 he began studying with Mendelssohn in Leipzig. The meeting with Mendelssohn was so decisive for the young Joachim that his life can be understood in terms of a mission to promote Mendelssohn's work. The composer arranged for Joachim to receive composition tuition from Hauptmann, and also a good general education. After a successful début playing Bériot's Adagio and Rondo at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in ...