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(b Pisky, near Khar′kiv, 8/Sept 20, 1876; d Paris, Jan 8, 1945). Ukrainian composer and pianist. Aged ten he was sent, along with his brother Yakiv (later known as the composer Stepovy), to sing in the choir of the Imperial Chapel in St Petersburg. It was during his time there (1886–95) that he began to compose under the influence of his teachers Balakirev and Lyapunov. He finished studies with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1901, the year in which the latter conducted the first performance of the Lyric Poem, op.20. Akimenko then became the director of a music school in Tbilisi (1901–03). He performed widely as a pianist, particularly in France and Switzerland, and lived for a while in Paris (1903–06) before returning to Khar′kiv. In 1914 he was invited to teach composition and theory at the St Petersburg Conservatory, a post he held until ...

Article

Sophie Fuller

[Amanda Christina Elizabeth; Ring, Montague]

(b London, March 16, 1866; d London, March 5, 1956). English composer, singer and teacher. An important member of London’s black community, Amanda Ira Aldridge was the daughter of the famous tragic actor Ira Aldridge. In 1883 she won a scholarship to the RCM. A pupil of Jenny Lind, her successful career as a contralto was ended by damage to her throat caused by laryngitis. She then established a distinguished career as a teacher, with pupils that included Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson.

Aldridge started publishing her compositions in her thirties, using the pseudonym Montague Ring. Her surviving works are in a popular style with strong rhythmic appeal. She published over 25 songs, often with words by African-American poets, such as ‘Where the Paw-Paw Grows’ (words by H.E. Downing, 1907) and ‘Summah is de Lovin’ Time’ (P.L. Dunbar, 1925). Her best-known work, Three African Dances, for piano, uses themes with West African origins....

Article

Juan Orrego-Salas

revised by Luis Merino

(b Santiago, Sept 2, 1911; d Santiago, Aug 2, 1954). Chilean composer and pianist. He studied with Allende for composition and Renard for the piano at the Santiago National Conservatory (1923–35), where he then held appointments as coach at the opera department (1935), assistant professor of the piano (1937), professor of analysis (1940), and director (1945). At the same time he taught at the Liceo Manuel de Salas in Santiago. He was secretary-general to the Instituto de Extensión Musical (from 1941), a founder-director of the Escuela Moderna de Música, Santiago (1940), and a member of various arts societies. In 1943 he went to the USA as a guest of the Institute of International Education and in 1953 he was in Europe for the performance of his Wind Sextet at the ISCM Festival. His early compositions show the influences of French music and Chilean folklore; from the late 1940s his work became more Expressionist and abstract....

Article

Laurie J. Sampsel

(b Milton, MA, Feb 18, 1760; d French Mills, NY, Nov 23, 1813). American composer, singing master, singer, and tunebook compiler. Babcock lived most of his life in Watertown, MA, where he worked as a hatter. As a teenager he fought in the Revolutionary War, and he died while enlisted in the Army during the War of 1812. He was active primarily as a psalmodist during the period from 1790 to 1810. Babcock was the choir leader at the Watertown Congregational church, sang at and composed music for town events, and taught singing schools there in 1798 and 1804. He may also have been an itinerant singing master in the Boston area. Babcock composed 75 extant pieces, including anthems, set pieces, fuging tunes, psalm, and hymn tunes. Most of his music was first published in his own tunebook, Middlesex Harmony, which was published in two editions (1795...

Article

William E. Boswell

(b Wenham, MA, July 10, 1811; d Boston, MA, March 11, 1889). American teacher, singer, and composer. He sang, directed choirs, and taught music in Salem, Massachusetts, and in 1833 toured the country with a concert company. He then settled in Bangor, Maine, as a businessman, but moved to Boston in 1837 to study music with John Paddon. He was director of music at W.E. Channing’s church for eight years, and succeeded Lowell Mason as superintendent of musical instruction in the Boston public schools in 1841. Also in that year he began holding “musical conventions,” which led to many appearances as soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society, of which he later became vice-president. He founded the Boston Music School and served as principal and head of the singing department until 1868, when he retired and the school closed. He was editor of the Boston Musical Journal for several years. Baker collaborated in compiling over 25 collections of songs, hymns, anthems, and glees, including ...

Article

Mary Cyr

[not Jean-Baptiste]

(b Lunel, 1710; d Paris, Dec 1, 1772). French haute-contre singer, music teacher, cellist and composer. His début in 1733 at the Paris Opéra, according to La Borde, was in the monologue of Pélée, ‘Ciel! en voyant ce temple redoutable’ from Act 3 of Collasse's Thétis et Pélée (1689). He soon joined the Italian troupe, performing in divertissements between the acts of operas. After three years he returned to the Opéra and took several minor roles between 1737 and 1745 in Rameau's works: Un Athlète in Castor et Pollux (1737), Un Songe in Dardanus (1739), Lycurgue in Fêtes d'Hébé (1739), and Tacmas (replacing the well-known haute-contre Tribou) in the third entrée of Les Indes galantes (1743 revival). In 1743 he sang the title role in the première of Boismortier's ballet-comique, Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, with the famous soprano Marie Fel as Altisidore. Two years later he retired from the opera to devote himself to teaching and playing the cello. He became first cellist of the orchestra at the Comédie-Italienne in ...

Article

A. Lindsey Kirwan

revised by Stephan Hörner

(b Dolsenhaim, nr Altenburg, Saxony, 1584; d Ulm, Jan 10, 1656). German composer, singer and teacher. His father having left him little in the way of worldly goods, he went as a young man to Schwandorf, Nördlingen, and then to Augsburg, where his first publication appeared in 1606. The title ‘Kaiserlicher Notar’, which he held from 1624, indicates a legal training. At the end of 1606 he was appointed a tenor in the Stuttgart court chapel and in 1608 acted also as composer to the duke, Johann Friedrich; however, his application for the post of Kapellmeister was unsuccessful. Despite a contemporary report that he was ‘a good musician and a fine composer’, he was dismissed in 1612 when the number of singers in the chapel was reduced. After this he appears to have employed his talents in various directions. Until 1624 he worked as Präzeptor and music director at Bopfingen, near Nördlingen; then for ten years he was Kapellmeister and probably also official scribe to Count Ludwig Eberhard of Öttingen before returning to Augsburg in ...

Article

Robert Fajon

(b Lyons, c1683; d Paris, March 2, 1760). French composer, teacher and opera singer. The main source of information about him is the Parfaict brothers’ Dictionnaire des théâtres, which states that Bouvard entered the Opéra at a very young age to sing soprano parts, with a ‘voice of such a range that its like had never been heard’. After his voice broke, when he was about 16, he spent a couple of years in Rome. He was back in Paris by February 1701, where his first (Italian) air appeared in a collection published by Ballard. In 1702, thanks to the patronage of M. de Francine, the Académie Royale de Musique performed his first opera, Médus, with great success, but in 1706 Cassandre, composed in collaboration with Bertin de La Doué, was a failure. Throughout the years 1701–11 Bouvard regularly published airs in Ballard’s collections, initially airs sérieux...

Article

(b Erie, PA, Dec 2, 1866; d Stamford, CT, Sept 12, 1949). American singer, composer, arranger, and music editor. His early music study included piano, voice, guitar, and bass viol. In January 1892 he won a scholarship at the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Among Conservatory faculty who influenced his career were Victor Herbert and Antonín Dvořák, director of the conservatory from September 1892 to April 1895. Burleigh became Dvořák’s copyist and librarian of the Conservatory orchestra, in which he played timpani and bass viol. He sang plantation songs and spirituals for Dvořák that he had learned from his grandfather, a former slave. Dvořák’s Symphony no.9 in E minor, “From the New World,” was written and premiered while Burleigh was at the Conservatory.

In New York Burleigh took his place among prominent African American singers such as soprano Sissieretta Jones (known as the Black Patti). In the years ...

Article

Mikhail Grigor′yevich Byalik

(b Khosrekh, Daghestan, Russia, Nov 16, 1936). Russian composer and singer. Chalayev is a Lak, one of the many tribes inhabiting Daghestan, a mountainous republic on the Caspian Sea. As a boy, he was occupied with traditional peasant labours, but nonetheless mastered the method of throat singing peculiar to Daghestan; because of his penetrating and vibrant voice, he became a favourite participant in festivities in the mountain village of Khosrekh. He later studied foreign languages at the University of Daghestan, and at the age of 18 started taking piano lessons and studying music theory with G.A. Gasanov, who is credited with the foundation of professional Western music in the republic. From 1959 to 1968 he studied at the composition faculty of the Moscow Conservatory under V.G. Fere. He lives in Moscow, spending long periods in Daghestan. He is a People’s Artist of Daghestan (1971) and a People’s Artist of Russia (...

Article

Dale Cockrell

(b Meredith, NH, April 18, 1818; d Franklin, MA, May 10, 1890).

American singer, singing-school teacher, and composer. He was the son of Moses Cheney (1776–1853), a well-known local musician. As a young man he was a member, with his three brothers, Nathaniel, Moses Ela, and Joseph Young, and his sister Elizabeth Ela, of the Cheney Singers, a family group that toured throughout New England performing glees, ballads, and hymns (1845–7). He taught singing-schools in Vermont for much of his life, and compiled The American Singing Book (1879/R), a volume containing biographies of earlier American composers and examples of their work, as well as 33 original hymn tunes and three anthems. At the time of his death he was preparing a catalogue of birdsong, Wood Notes Wild: Notations of Bird Music (published posthumously in 1892); he was also one of the first to transcribe field recordings made of Native American music. His brother Moses Ela Cheney (...

Article

Argia Bertini

revised by Giulia Anna Romana Veneziano

(b Florence, July 8, 1638; d Florence, Jan 16, 1703). Italian composer, teacher, music editor, theorist, organist and singer. He spent his entire life as a priest in Florence. On 1 August 1663 he was appointed chaplain at the cathedral, S Maria del Fiore, where he was also active as an organist and singer. He was particularly admired as a teacher, and it was this above all that determined the nature of his publications; the numerous reprints particularly of Il cantore addottrinato and Scolare addottrinato bear witness to the popularity of his methods. In these two manuals he sought to establish rules for the effective composition and performance of church music, contributing, according to his contemporaries, to the codification of the ‘true rule of ecclesiastical singing’. However, he is better remembered for his Corona di sacre canzoni and Colletta di laude spirituali, which have great importance for the final phase in the history of the ...

Article

Peter Dennison

revised by Bruce Wood

(b ?Lichfield, c1615; d Hampton Court, July 13, 1672). English singer, choir trainer and composer. Immediately after the Restoration, he introduced italianate techniques of composition and singing to the choristers of the Chapel Royal. Although the merit of his own compositions is slight, their influence was considerable; he was, moreover, an indefatigable and gifted teacher with a ready eye for spotting young talent, and his first set of choristers included Humfrey, Blow, Wise, Turner, Robert Smith (i) and Tudway, all of whom were to emerge among the leaders of the flourishing generation of English musicians that followed him.

Cooke may well have been the son of John Cooke, a bass from Lichfield who was ‘sworne [e]pisteler’ of the Chapel Royal on 16 December 1623 and died on 12 September 1625. All that is known of Henry's early years is that, in Anthony Wood's words, he was ‘bred up in the Chapel’ of Charles I and that he scratched his signature and the date ...

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Folke Bohlin

(b Stockholm, Dec 15, 1812; d Stockholm, Oct 17, 1897). Swedish singer, teacher and composer. He studied at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm (1826–9) under J.E. Nordblom (singing), T. Byström (piano) and E. Drake (harmony). His father wanted him to pursue a commercial career, and Dannström worked as a clerk between 1829 and 1836; however, by giving guitar and flute lessons he earned enough money to resume his musical studies. In 1835 he returned to Drake for lessons in harmony and counterpoint, and he studied singing with Isak Berg. From 1836 he devoted himself wholly to music. In 1837, shortly after the publication of his first song, he began a journey through Europe which lasted four and a half years. He studied music theory with Siegfried Dehn in Berlin and singing with Forini in Bergamo; in Paris the Italian opera was his main interest and for a short time G.B. Rubini became his teacher. Later he gave concerts in Warsaw and Kraków and also visited Vienna before he returned to Sweden. He was engaged as a baritone at the Swedish Royal Opera in Stockholm in ...

Article

Jane L. Berdes

(fl Venice, c1800). Italian singer, teacher and composer. She was a foundling admitted in infancy to the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. From early childhood she received a thorough musical education in the coro (music school) and became a soprano soloist, singing teacher and administrator in the school. She is identified as a soloist in manuscripts of motets commissioned from Giovanni Porta and Andrea Bernasconi, and is singled out for praise in the anonymous verse tribute to musicians of the cori at the Pietà dating from about 1740 ( I-Vmc Codice Cicogna, 1178, carte 206–122, stanzas 18–20). Only two motet settings by her survive. The first, Novo aprili, in F major, is inscribed to ‘Louisa Della Sga Agnatta’ ( Vc correr esposti, 94 no.545, 18); the second is of Psalm cxxxiv for compline, Ecce nunc, also in F ( Vc correr esposti, 64 no. 187, 42), for which only an instrumental bass part remains). She also produced a pedagogical text, ...

Article

Sven Hansell

revised by Kay Lipton

(b Venice, c1730; d Venice, after 1794). Italian singer, teacher, and composer. DeMezzo specialized in serious operatic roles and sang sacred music. Although described as both a baritone and a tenor in contemporary writings, he was often classified as a tenor, singing roles that exploited his ability to execute coloratura passages. Some of his roles were also notated in tenor clef instead of bass clef. In Pampani’s Astianatte (Venice, 1755) he is labelled a baritone, but by the late 1750s and early 60s he is referred to as a tenor (in Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia in 1759, in Piccinni’s Tigrane and Christian Bach’s Artaserse in 1761, and in Guglielmi’s L’Olimpiade in 1763). Heartz described him as ‘a fine singer whose baritone had a tenor extension’. This vocal profile was not unusual. During the 1740s and 50s a new type of tenor emerged, one whose vocal and dramatic profile was expanded; very often high baritones became tenors, and with this came an ability to sing coloratura passages and sustain a higher tessitura. There were a number of male opera singers who sang both tenor and high baritone roles, as commonly required in comic operas during the second half of the 18th century. Other well known ...

Article

Eldonna L. May

(b Detroit, MI, Jan 1, 1929; d Detroit, MI, July 2010). American singer, educator, choral director, and composer. He worked tirelessly to promote and preserve the works of African American musicians through coalition building and artistic entrepreneurship by founding the Brazeal Dennard Chorale and cofounding the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s “Classical Roots” concert series in 1976. Dennard attended Highland Park Junior College (1954–56) and he received his undergraduate (1959) and master’s (1962) degrees in music education from Wayne State University. He first gained exposure to music through attending church choir rehearsals with his mother. He studied piano and voice with Dean Robert L. Nolan and later sang with the Robert Nolan Choir. His professional career began at age 17 as conductor of the Angelic Choir at Peoples Baptist Church in Detroit. From 1951 to 1953 he was responsible for the music for all chapel services while serving as a corporal in the US Army in Virginia. Beginning in ...

Article

Rachel Samet

(b Philadelphia, PA, Oct 30, 1886; d New York, NY, Jan 25, 1962).

American pianist, composer, singer, and teacher. His early musical studies were with his father, Samuel James Diton, a professional musician. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1909 and became the first African American pianist to make a cross-country tour of the United States. A protégé of E(mma) Azalia Hackley, he received a scholarship to study in Munich, Germany from 1910–11. After returning to the United States, he taught at Paine College, Georgia (1911–14), Wiley University, Texas (1914–15) and Talladega College, Alabama (1915–18). Seeking a more active musical community, he returned to the Northeast, where he continued to perform as a pianist. He accompanied singers such as Marian Anderson and Jules Bledsoe, and taught privately in Philadelphia and New York City. Also an active composer, he gained acclaim for his solo and choral transcriptions of Negro spirituals and won many prizes for his compositions, including a Harmon award for composition in ...

Article

Jerome Roche

[Johannes]

(b Veringenstadt, nr Sigmaringen, 1585; d Rottenburg am Neckar, 1654). German music editor, singer, teacher and composer. He studied at the University of Dillingen, one of the main cultural centres of south-west Germany, and in 1610 took a post as singer at St Martin, Rottenburg. This carried with it duties as a schoolteacher: in this capacity he became Rektor of the school in 1622 and in his musical capacity Kapellmeister of the church in 1627.

Donfrid is chiefly interesting as an editor who saw it as his task to propagate in Catholic southern Germany the best and most popular church music by Italian composers of his day. To this end he published five large anthologies at Strasbourg in the 1620s: the tripartite Promptuarii musici, consisting of motets arranged in a liturgical cycle, as had been done by other editors, such as Schadaeus, before him; the Viridarium, devoted to Marian pieces; and the ...

Article

Argia Bertini

revised by J. Victor Crowther

(b Otricoli, nr Terni, 1623; d Modena, Aug 5, 1706). Italian writer on music, composer, teacher and singer. He studied music at the Collegio Germanico, Rome. By 1638 he was a soprano in the chapel at the court of Duke Francesco I d'Este at Modena and served as a castrato soprano until the chapel was disbanded by the regent Duchess Laura in July 1662. After petitioning the duchess he was reinstated at court as ‘musico ecclesiastico di SAS’ on a much-reduced stipend. During the regency period (1662–74) he wrote the text of an oratorio, Il battesimo di San Valeriano martire, for the Feast of S Cecilia (?1665) and in 1672 applied unsuccessfully for the beneficed post of choral chaplain at Modena Cathedral. When Duke Francesco II came to power in 1674, Erculeo fell from favour at court. For the rest of his life he taught singing to the seminarists at the schools of the Congregazione della Beata Vergine and S Carlo, where Pacchioni had been one of his pupils. His three books of the 1680s derive primarily from his work as a singing teacher, and the last two are specially interesting for the light they throw on the performance of Gregorian chant at the period. His discussion in ...