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Article

Davide Ceriani

[Pancrazio]

(b Campli, Teramo, 9 Aug 1875; d Giulianova, Teramo, 27 March 1941). Italian composer. He spent his early years in a seminary, which he later abandoned in order to devote himself fully to composition. From 1896 until 1903 he studied with Mascagni at the Liceo Musicale of Pesaro, even though it is unclear whether he formally enrolled in this institution. Mascagni later introduced him to Casa Sonzogno; for this publisher he wrote Madonnetta on a libretto by Luigi Illica (1910) and Maria sul monte on a libretto by Carlo Zangarini (1911, but premiered five years later). After World War I the impresario Augusto Laganà commissioned a new opera on a libretto by Giovacchino Forzano; the result of this collaborative project, I Compagnacci, won the 1922 national opera competition launched by the Italian government. I Compagnacci became Riccitelli’s most successful work; after its world première at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome in ...

Article

Travis D. Stimeling

(b 6 Nov 1941, Monahans, TX; d 17 May 2016). American singer-songwriter.Celebrated for his cinematic storytelling and poetic economy, Guy Clark was a leading country and Americana songwriter who flourished during the mid- to late 1980s. Born in the small west Texas town of Monahans, Clark spent his formative years along the Gulf Coast in Rockport, Texas. When he was a young teen, Clark’s mother introduced him to contemporary American poetry, and a family friend taught him about flamenco and classical guitar; both were significant influences throughout his life. After desultory university studies and an aborted plan to join the Peace Corps, Clark joined the flourishing Houston folk music scene, where he met Houston Folklore Society president John Lomax, Jr, blues musicians Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb, and songwriter and lifelong friend Townes Van Zandt. In 1967, Clark completed his first song, Step Inside This House, and, by ...

Article

Amra Bosnić

(b Kuršumlija, Serbia, 1966). Bosnian and Herzegovinian composer. She graduated with a degree in composition from the Academy of Music in Sarajevo (1991), in the class of josip magdić, after which she gained the Master of Composition (2004) under the mentorship of composer dejan despić. Her first position was at the Srednja muzička škola (‘music high school’) in Valjevo, Serbia (1992–2000). She returned to Eastern Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to work as an Associate Professor of Harmony and Harmonic Analysis.

Dutina’s compositions reflect her interest in Balkan folklore, mostly of a rural-vocal type, and in the formal and harmonic devices associated with neoclassicism. She has composed solo songs, chamber music, symphonic works, vocal-instrumental music, choral music, music for children, and film music.

Dutina also cherishes folkloric vocal traditions through her engagement as founder and artistic director of the female vocal ensembles Rusalke (...

Article

Nicola Scaldaferri

(b Shkodër, Albania, 14 June 1920; d Tirana, 12 March 2008). Albanian ethnomusicologist, musician, composer, and writer. He began his musical studies as a boy in Shkodër. In the years between 1940 and 1944 he studied the flute and composition at the Conservatory of Florence, Italy. Back in Albania in the early years of the Hoxha regime, Sokoli was imprisoned, as were other scholars who had studied abroad, and he spent five years in incarceration.

In 1952 he moved to Tirana, where he taught the flute and folklore in the high school. Although he was not qualified to teach at the higher academic level, he played a key role in musical research in Albania. He collaborated on ethnomusicological expeditions carried out in 1957 with East German scholars and in 1958 with Romanian scholars.

He was the author of numerous pioneering books and articles on Albanian musical folklore, employing both descriptive and analytical approaches, as well as surveying important figures of the musical, and wider cultural, Albanian tradition. His writings and ideas shaped the discipline and educated two generations of Albanians ethnomusicologists, including scholars in Kosovo. His many publications include the books ...

Article

William Berz

(b Cincinnati, OH, 26 Nov 1889; d Cincinnati, OH, 28 Jan 1967). American conductor and cornet virtuoso. Simon began cornet studies at age 11, and continued, in 1905, with herman Bellstedt, the famous cornetist. By 1909 Simon was cornet soloist with several professional bands and a member of the Cincinnati SO under Leopold Stokowski. In 1914, he was invited to join the Sousa Band without an audition, becoming solo cornetist and assistant conductor in 1917 when Herbert L. Clarke retired. In 1920–21 Simon formed the ARMCO Band; it evolved from an amateur group to an elite professional ensemble that presented weekly national broadcasts on NBC radio. In 1930, Simon began serving as band director and cornet instructor at the Cincinnati Conservatory. He retired in 1954 and moved to Arizona for health reasons and began teaching part-time at the University of Arizona. He returned to Cincinnati in 1965 and again taught at the Conservatory....

Article

William McClellan and Karen M. Bryan

(b Haskell County, TX, 2 Sept 1919; d New York, NY, 19 May 2000). American music educator and composer. He attended Baylor University (BM 1940) and the Eastman School of Music (MM 1941, PhD 1952). Waldrop taught at Baylor University (1946–51), where he conducted the Waco-Baylor University Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Juilliard School in 1960, serving first as assistant to the president and then as dean. He was president of the Manhattan School of Music from 1986 to 1989.

In the 1950s Waldrop served as editor of the Review of Recorded Music (1952–3) and the Musical Courier (1953–8). He also served as consultant for the humanities division of the Ford Foundation (1958–61). He consulted on music education with the governments of Germany, Portugal, and Israel and with the Albeniz Foundation in Madrid.

Waldrop composed a symphony (...

Article

Neil Lerner

(b Brooklyn, NY, 14 Nov 1900; d North Tarrytown, NY, 2 Dec 1990). American composer for screen, stage, and concert hall. Before Aaron Copland became interested in writing music for film in the late 1930s, he was already recognized as one of his generation’s leading composers. Notable early works like his Piano Concerto (1926) or his Piano Variations (1930) were regarded as modernist for their use of jazz elements and extended dissonances, but by the mid-1930s Copland’s output was becoming more accessible to wider audiences, with pieces like El Salón México (1936) and Billy the Kid (1938). His interest in film music occurred, then, as part of his broader efforts to cultivate and reach a larger audience, a shift to a more accessible musical style that has been connected with Copland’s own phrase, ‘imposed simplicity’. At the time Copland pondered the writing of film music—he travelled to Hollywood in June of ...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Prague, 18 May 1920; d Lund, Sweden, 3 June 2007). Czech organist and composer. He was born into a cultivated professional family (his father was an amateur pianist and his mother a translator from Swedish, Finnish, Polish, and Russian). After completing his study at Gymnasium in Prague, he studied the organ (with Bedřich Wiedermann) and conducting at the Prague Conservatory until its closure in 1944. After the liberation, he taught the organ and harmony at the Městská hudební škola (‘Town Music School’) in Prague (1945–6), and continued his studies in the organ masterclass of the State Conservatory in Prague, graduating in 1946. After the Communist putsch of 1948 he emigrated permanently to Sweden, where he became a church organist in various towns and developed an extensive concert career, performing in churches and concert halls in the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere. He made two tours of the USA (...

Article

Záviš  

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

[Záviš ze Zap, Zawissius]

(b c. 1350; d Olomouc c. 1422). Composer of liturgical and secular poetry. He studied at the universities in Prague (master of liberal arts), Rome, and Padua (doctor of theology and law) and acted after 1387 as an examiner at Prague University. He was the author of several liturgical chants (...

Article

Marta Ottlová, Milan Pospíšil, John Tyrrell and Kelly St Pierre

[Friedrich]

(b Leitomischl, Bohemia [now Litomyšl, Czech Republic], 2 March 1824; d Prague, 12 May 1884). Czech composer, conductor, teacher, and music critic often described as the ‘father’ or ‘inventor’ of Czech national music. While his first language was German and his first nationalist compositions were based on Swedish narratives, Smetana asserted himself as composer of specifically Czech music from the 1860s, and his music posthumously became synonymous with a Czech national musical style. Today, Smetana’s eight operas, including Prodaná nevěsta (‘The Bartered Bride’), as well as his cycle of symphonic poems Má vlast (‘My Fatherland’) form the foundation of the Czech classical musical canon. His opera Libuše is also frequently cited as an ‘apotheosis’ of Czech music, especially in conjunction with the first movement of Má vlast, entitled ‘Vyšehrad’.

After his death, Smetana was transformed in the minds of his audiences and advocates from a composer of nationalistic music to a national symbol himself; he and his works became enduring points of reference for Czechs’ ever-shifting borders, politics, administrations, ethnicities, and imagined futures through the 20th century. For this reason, the actual Smetana in many ways has become inseparable from the myth of ‘Smetana’, as later critics and historians molded his life and work to match their needs. The composer’s supposed greatness, genius, Czechness, tragic deafness, and heroism all give voice to the shifting needs, anxieties, and interests of his audiences as much as to the composer himself....

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Zvolen, 10 Jan 1985). Slovak composer living in Spain. He studied at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno with František Emmert and Martin Smolka, as well as at the Lithuanian Academy of Performing Arts with osvaldas balakauskas and the National University of Music in Bucharest with doina rotaru.

His music sits comfortably on the edges of several aesthetics, most notably that of American experimentalists like Tenney and Lucier, in contrast with European sacred minimalism (Pärt, Górecki) and spectralism – his doctoral dissertation dealt with spectral music, focusing particularly on the work of Gérard Grisey.

The influence of Feldman is keenly felt, but there is also a specifically European sensibility, sometimes present as nostalgia or lament. In addition to the use of folk instruments (the Slovak fujara and dulcimer) and alternate tunings, this tendency to laments that use historical materials connects him to György Ligeti. However, Demoč tends to isolate a few parameters and work with them exclusively, leading to a non-rhetorical quietude and contemplation entirely unlike Ligeti (...

Article

Edmond T. Johnson

(b Memphis, TN, 17 June 1957). American artist, composer, performer, and instrument inventor best known for inventing the Long String Instrument. Originally interested in visual and performance art, Fullman attended the Kansas City Art Institute where she began to incorporate sound into her works, at first through the manipulation of magnetic tape. Her first major work was the Metal Skirt Sound Sculpture (1980), an assemblage consisting of amplified guitar strings stretched between the artist’s shoes and a pleated metal skirt. Indirectly influenced by Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire (1977), Fullman began experimenting with extended lengths of wire in 1980 and gave the first public performance on a prototype of the Long String Instrument at the Walker Art Gallery in Minneapolis in November 1981.The design of the Long String Instrument has varied significantly over time and in different installations. It generally consists of several dozen stainless steel, phosphor bronze, or brass wires that are arranged in groups stretched horizontally at about waist height. Depending on the specific installation, the wires span from about 15 to 90 metres. At one end the strings are affixed perpendicularly to the soundboards of securely anchored wooden box resonators (designed in cooperation with the instrument maker Stephen Wise). The strings extend to blocks where they are fastened to tuning pins and tensioned just below their breaking point in order to maximize resonance. A brass capo of unique design (originally a C-clamp) on each string determines its vibrating length. Because the sound arises from longitudinal rather than transverse vibrations, string material (density) and length alone determine pitch, not tension (about 18 kg per string) or thickness. Consequently, the strings sound at a much higher pitch than might be expected from their length. Once tensioned, the strings are tuned by means of the capos in a flexible system of just intonation and typically encompass a range of three octaves down from ...

Article

Tristian Evans

(b Baltimore, MD, 31 Jan 1937). American composer. Philip Glass is considered one of the founding figures of minimalist music. After studying at the University of Chicago (1952–6) and the Juilliard School (1957–62) he received a Fulbright scholarship that supported him to develop his craft with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1964–6). During this period, he served as Ravi Shankar’s music assistant for the film Chappaqua, which depicts the life of its director and protagonist, Conrad Rooks, and his struggles with drug addiction. On returning to the United States, Glass collaborated with the Chicago-based Kartemquin Film company on Inquiring Nuns and Marco (see Eaton, 2013). This period of soundtrack production was short-lived, however, as he later concentrated on concert music and opera, producing such key works as Music in Twelve Parts (1971–4) and Einstein on the Beach (1975–6)....

Article

(fl late 14th century). Theorist and composer, likely from Aversa in the Campania region of Italy. He is best known from the frequent references made in the Ars cantus mensurabilis mensurata per modos iuris by Coussemaker’s Anonymous 5. This author describes Nicolaus as a Celestine monk, naming him ‘Frater’; the Celestines were a branch of the Benedictine order. He is largely associated with certain notational intricacies of the ‘ars subtilior’ style: complicated rhythms conveyed with void, coloured, or complex new note shapes. According to Anonymous 5, Nicolaus critiqued one ‘Cecchus de Florentia’ (the ‘blind one of Florence’, thus Francesco Landini), for his incorrect use of red semibreves in minor prolation, while Nicolaus himself used the dotted semibreve. The treatise does not name specific works that use any of these notational features, a regrettable omission since none of Nicolaus’s compositions are known today. Anonymous 5 does cite a setting of the Credo by Nicolaus for its use of ...

Article

Hana Vlhová-Wörner

(b Prague, 1348; d Rome, 17 June 1400). Bohemian archbishop (1378–96) and composer of liturgical poetry. The list of his liturgical chants (alleluias, sequences, hymns, and two full sets of office chants for Marian feasts) and spiritual prayers (cantilenae and orationes) includes about 40 items, which makes him one of the most prolific late-medieval authors. The most important part of his compositions was intended for the feast of the Visitation of the BVM that was introduced on his initiative to the Roman calendar in 1389. While his texts were influenced by Classical poetry and therefore criticized for their unorthodox vocabulary, his melodies, composed mostly in the late-medieval chant style, enjoyed great popularity.

CSHSG.M. Dreves: Die Hymnen Johann von Jensteins (Prague, 1886)G.M. Dreves and C. Blume: AH, vol.48 (1905), 421–51V. Plocek: ‘Eine neu aufgefundene Sequenz von der heiligen Dorothea und ihre Beziehung zu Jenštejns “Decet huius”’, ...

Article

William Brooks and Christopher E. Mehrens

(b Buckland, MA, 14 March 1826; d Dorchester, MA, 14 April 1888). American composer and music educator. He learned music in singing-schools and assemblies conducted by Lowell Mason, George James Webb, and others. He taught briefly in Massachusetts before moving to Hudson, New York, to teach in public schools and at the Claverack Seminary. By 1855 he was in Albany, where he taught at the Female Academy and was music director at the Pearl Street Baptist Church. In 1865 he moved to New York and worked for Firth, Son & Co. and for Biglow & Main, both publishers of music. Around 1880 he became associated with the Cincinnati publishing firm John Church & Co. In 1884 he was appointed director of choral music at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Sherwin was deeply involved in the Sunday school movement and published several collections of music for children. He was also very active in ...

Article

(b Hamburg, 14 Nov 1805; d Berlin, 14 May 1847). German composer, pianist, and salon hostess. Fanny Hensel was one of the most prolific female composers of the 19th century, among the first women to write a string quartet, and a life-long proponent of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and her brother, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Hensel was a pianist of rare talent and prodigious memory who dazzled private audiences at her concert series in her Berlin home. She struggled her entire life with the conflicting impulses of authorship versus the social expectations for her high-class status, finally deciding to publish her music only one year before her early death at the age of 41; her hesitation was variously a result of her dutiful attitude towards her father, her intense relationship with her brother, and her awareness of contemporary social thought on women in the public sphere. Hensel’s music reflects her deep reverence for Bach especially, as well as for Beethoven, but also exhibits the fine craftsmanship and lyricism typical of the post-Classical Mendelssohnian style, and her own experimental and inventive approach to form and content. During her lifetime, Hensel’s career, conducted mostly in the private sphere, was overshadowed by the more public exploits of her brother. The true extent of her compositions (over 450 completed compositions and drafts) and her contributions to the Mendelssohnian style have been rediscovered and appreciated in the late 20th and early 21st centuries....

Article

Pavla Jonssonová

(b 22 July 1958, Bruntál in Czechoslovakia). Czech vocalist, violinist, composer, and actress..Bittová grew up in a musical family and with sisters Ida and Regina often accompanied her father, the composer and multi-instrumentalist Koloman Bitto. She gave up playing violin at the age of fourteen and so her mother, a choir singer and teacher, enrolled her to study acting at Brno Conservatory. In 1978, Bittová became a member of the avant garde theatre Husa na provázku (Goose on a String), starring as Eržika in the popular musical Balada pro banditu (Ballad for a Bandit). She also began her film acting career at this time. She quit her theatre career in 1982 to fulfill her father’s wishes and restarted her study of the violin under Rudolf Šťastný of the Moravian String Quartet. Enabled by her theatrical professionalism, improvisational skills, command of pitch, and purity of tone, Bittová developed a unique performance style consisting of combining the voice and the violin. This avant garde interplay of violin and extended vocalization techniques (ranging from primordial and nature-inspired clicking, screeching and ululating to folkloristic tunes) shocked her audiences. In ...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Ostrava, 7 June 1953). Czech folk singer, poet, and composer. After completing his studies at Gymnasium (1971) and at a school of librarianship, he entered the field of popular music as a writer of lyrics (he has written song texts principally for singers from Ostrava). As a guitarist, violinist, flautist, and accordionist he is entirely self-taught. In the 1980s he began to appear at Czech festivals of folk music, singing songs of his own with their distinctive texts. Gradually he has become one of the most popular of Czech singers. He mainly sings his own songs, but also translations of songs by the Russian composers Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzha, and settings of the poems of Aleksandr Blok. He has set, and sung, poems by the Czech poets Petr Bezruč and Jiří Šotola. His songs owe their popularity largely to the fact that he sings of ordinary people living ordinary lives; they are lyrical and epic, and often ironical and extremely funny. Nohavica is fond of using the dialect of the Ostrava and Těšín region. He has also produced successful translations of opera libretti for works performed at the Ostrava Opera (for example, Mozart’s ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Frýdek-Místek, 30 March 1980). Czech composer and guitarist. He studied singing and composition at the Ostrava Conservatory and composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno with Martin Smolka, with whom he completed the PhD in 2014. He also studied at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague (with Louis Andriessen and Clarence Barlow), the Matej Bel University in Bánská Bystrica, CalArts (with David Rosenboom), and the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna.

His work’s penchant for drama and rhythmic drive betrays influences of both rock music and American minimalism. His harmonies are mostly dissonant, which, together with the use of fractured, grating, or fragile sounds, creates an unusual aesthetic. His work with more indeterminate types of notation, however, has led to a looser, more environmental conception of rhythm (The Book of Sand, The Book of Earth).

He has led the Dunami Ensemble since its foundation in ...