(b Bad Salzbrunn [now Szczawno-Zdrój], Silesia, Nov 20, 1925). German musicologist, choir director and composer. He studied singing with Hüsch, choir directing with Kurt Thomas, and musicology at the universities of Tübingen and Frankfurt, with sociology, Protestant theology and folklore as subsidiary subjects. In 1961 he received the doctorate at Frankfurt under Helmuth Osthoff with a dissertation proving through style criticism that Ghiselin and Verbonnet were the same person; he has also edited the complete works of that composer. He was Kantor at St Paul's in Stuttgart (1958–70) and in 1960 he founded the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum, which he led until it disbanded in 1990. He was adviser for new music for the South German Radio in Stuttgart (1969–88). In 1972 Pierre Boulez selected him to help in the planning of the Centre Beaubourg in Paris. His musicological estate is held by the Paul Sacher Stiftung....
Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht
(b Vienna, Oct 14, 1871; d Larchmont, NY, March 15, 1942). Austrian composer and conductor. Although closely linked to the Second Viennese School (Schoenberg was his pupil), Zemlinsky was no outright revolutionary. While undisputedly a conductor of the first rank and an interpreter of integrity, he lacked ‘star quality’ and was overshadowed by more domineering personalities. His music is distinguished by an almost overpowering emotional intensity. It took several decades before it became known and began to be appreciated.
His father, born in Vienna of Slovakian Catholic descent, converted to Judaism in 1870; his mother, born in Sarajevo, was the daughter of a mixed Sephardi-Muslim marriage. At the age of four he showed aptitude at the piano, and after completing his regular schooling in 1886 he enrolled at the Vienna Conservatory, studying the piano with Door, harmony and counterpoint with Krenn and Robert Fuchs (1888–90), and composition (...
Allan W. Atlas
(b Noyon, early 16th century; d Rome, 27–31 Dec 1573). French choir director and composer, active in Italy. The earliest known documents concerning his career indicate that he was a chaplain at S Maria Maggiore and the director of its Cappella Liberiana. As such, he may have had the young Palestrina in his charge. On 25 October 1545 Lebel became maestro di cappella at S Luigi dei Francesi, a position that he retained for 16 years until September 1561, when he was succeeded by Annibale Zoilo. His directorship was an extremely successful one; he managed to enlarge the chapel from a group of two adults and two boys in 1548 to one of seven adults and two or three boys in 1552. On leaving S Luigi on 4 September 1561, he joined the papal chapel; so great was his reputation that Pius IV issued a motu proprio waiving the usual entrance examination and in ...
J. Bradford Robinson
(b Steinbach, Thuringia, April 23, 1715; d Leipzig, Feb 8, 1797). German composer, organist and conductor.
His father Johann Andreas Doles, the Kantor of Steinbach, died in 1720, leaving the family in great poverty, and the boy’s musical education was entrusted to his elder brother Johann Heinrich, who succeeded to his father’s position. At the age of 12 Johann Friedrich was sent to school in Schmalkalden. There at 15 he was offered the vacant organist’s post, in which he deputized for a year. At 19 he enrolled in the Schleusingen Gymnasium. After one and a half years he was made prefect of the school’s choir; he also organized a weekly concert series, together with a number of fellow students, and composed some motets, arias, an Actus dramaticus (1737) and occasional pieces. After completing his course in 1739 he immediately enrolled at Leipzig University, and while there pursued his study of music with Bach, who after four years of instruction recommended him to the post of Kantor in Salzwedel. Near the end of his student years Doles apparently directed Leipzig’s new Grosse Concert-Gesellschaft (founded in ...
Allan W. Atlas
revised by Mitchell Brauner
( fl 1538–53). French musician active in Italy . From at least 13 June 1538 until 24 April 1539 he was director of the Cappella Liberiana at S Maria Maggiore in Rome. Among the singers in his charge was the young Palestrina, whom he probably taught. On 25 April 1539 Mallapert is listed as maestro di cappella at S Luigi dei Francesi, a post that he held for only seven months. On 1 December 1539 he assumed the directorship of the Cappella Giulia at S Pietro, a position he retained until 31 January 1545. From 1 October 1548 to late November 1549 he was maestro di cappella at S Giovanni in Laterano, and on 1 January 1550 he once again assumed directorship of the Cappella Giulia. Palestrina succeeded him on 1 September 1551. In August 1553 he was invited to take over the directorship of the choir at S Maria Maggiore. However, since the ...
Raymond A. Barr
(b Lüneburg, March 31, 1747; d Schwedt an der Oder, June 10, 1800). German composer and conductor. His father was a baker who planned a religious career for him, so he attended both of Lüneburg’s Lateinschulen; but his interests lay chiefly with music and he frequently appeared as soloist with various school and church choirs in Lüneburg. He studied the violin, flute, keyboard and theory with the local organist J.C. Schmügel. At the age of 15 he accompanied his mother to Lüchow for a family wedding, then continued alone to Berlin, where he sought out his musical heroes C.P.E. Bach and Joseph Kirnberger to enlist their help in his musical career. He was persuaded to complete his education in Lüneburg but when he was 18 he returned to Berlin and Kirnberger accepted him as a pupil. In one of several later autobiographical sketches he complained that his three years of study with Kirnberger consisted almost entirely of the analysis and composition of chorales....
revised by Paul Griffiths
(b Montbrison, Loire, March 26, 1925; d Baden-Baden, January 5, 2016). French composer and conductor. Resolute imagination, force of will, and ruthless combativeness secured him, as a young man, a position at the head of the Parisian musical avant garde. His predecessors, in his view, had not been radical enough; music awaited a combination of Serialism with the rhythmic irregularity opened up by Igor Stravinsky and Olivier Messiaen. This call for a renewed modernism was widely heard and widely followed during the 1950s, but its appeal gradually weakened thereafter, and in the same measure his creativity waned. He began to be more active as a conductor, at first specializing in 20th-century music, but then, in the 1970s, covering a large and general repertory. Towards the end of that decade he turned his attention to an electro-acoustic music studio built for him in Paris, where he hoped to resume the effort to create a new musical language on a rational basis. After a brief hiatus, though, conducting became again his principal means of expressing his independence and clarity of vision....
revised by Philippe Vendrix
(b Mannheim, Feb 20, 1734; d Bordeaux, Dec 31, 1809). German composer, conductor, violinist and organist, active in France. He received violin lessons from his father Johann Aloys Beck (d 27 May 1742), an oboist and choir school Rektor at the Palatine court whose name is listed in the calendars of 1723 and 1734. He also learnt the double bass, among other instruments, and eventually came under the tutelage of Johann Stamitz, who arrived in Mannheim in 1741. The Palatine court, under Carl Theodor, recognized Beck’s talent and undertook responsibility for his education.
Several sources maintain that Beck left the Palatinate at an early age to study composition with Galuppi in Venice. According to his pupil Blanchard (1845), however, Beck was the object of a jealous intrigue that involved him in a duel during which his opponent was supposedly killed (many years later Beck met his former opponent, who had only feigned death); Beck then presumably fled and travelled in Italy, giving concerts in principal cities. In any event, he spent several years in Venice before eloping to Naples with Anna Oniga, the daughter of his employer....
(b Hanau, nr Frankfurt, Nov 16, 1895; d Frankfurt, Dec 28, 1963). German composer, theorist, teacher, viola player and conductor. The foremost German composer of his generation, he was a figure central to both music composition and musical thought during the inter-war years.
Hindemith descended on his father’s side from shopkeepers and craftsmen who had settled primarily in the small Silesian community of Jauer (now Jawor, Poland), where the family can be traced back to the 17th century, and on his mother’s side from small farmers and shepherds in southern Lower Saxony. While no signs of musical interest can be found among the relatives of his mother, Maria Sophie Warnecke (1868–1949), his father, Robert Rudolf Emil Hindemith (1870–1915), came from a family of music lovers. Robert Rudolf supposedly ran away from home when his parents opposed his wish to become a musician; after arriving in Hesse, however, he became a painter and decorator. As he was never able to provide a secure income for his family, the Hindemiths were forced to move frequently. Paul spent three years of his childhood with his paternal grandfather in Naumburg. He was sincerely devoted to his mother, whom he is said to have resembled closely, even in similarity of gestures, and dedicated the first volume (...
Marta Ottlová, Milan Pospíšil, John Tyrrell and Kelly St Pierre
(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....
(b Brunswick, April 5, 1784; d Kassel, Oct 22, 1859). German composer, violinist and conductor.
Regarded by many contemporaries as worthy of a place beside Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in the pantheon of the greatest composers, he has, together with Gluck and Cherubini, been allotted a considerably lower status by posterity. Mozart's Figaro and Wagner's Tristan were both composed during Spohr's lifetime; his own work looks, Janus-like, towards both the formalism and clarity of the Classical tradition, and the structural and harmonic experimentation associated with 19th-century Romanticism.
Spohr was born into a family which had been active in the vicinity of the Harz mountains, particularly as doctors and pastors, for at least five generations. Both his grandfathers were Lutheran pastors, but his father, Carl Heinrich Spohr (1756–1843), who married a cousin, Juliane Ernestine Luise Henke (1763–1840) on 26 November 1782, had reverted to his family's earlier profession of medicine. Their first child, born a year and a half later, was christened Ludewig, but in accordance with fashionable French taste he was always known as Louis. At that time Carl Heinrich was practising in Brunswick, but in ...
Kathryn Bailey Puffett
(Friedrich Wilhelm von)
(b Vienna, Austria, Dec 3, 1883; d Mittersill, Sept 15, 1945). Austrian composer and conductor. Webern, who was probably Schoenberg's first private pupil, and Alban Berg, who came to him a few weeks later, were the most famous of Schoenberg's students and became, with him, the major exponents of the 12-note technique in the second quarter of the 20th century. Webern applied the new technique more rigorously than either Schoenberg, who took many liberties, or Berg, who never used it exclusively. Webern's strictness, and his innovative organization of rhythm and dynamics, were seized upon eagerly by Boulez and Stockhausen and other integral serialists of the Darmstadt School in the 1950s and were a significant influence on music in the second half of the century.
Webern was born in Vienna, the son of a mining engineer who later rose to be chief of the Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Mining. The family were minor nobility; Webern dropped the ‘von’ from his name in ...
Bryan Gilliam and Charles Youmans
(b Munich, June 11, 1864; d Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Sept 8, 1949). German composer and conductor. He emerged soon after the deaths of Wagner and Brahms as the most important living German composer. During an artistic career which spanned nearly eight decades, he composed in virtually all musical genres, but became best known for his tone poems (composed during the closing years of the 19th century) and his operas (from the early decades of the 20th). Coming of age as a composer at a time when the duality of bourgeois and artist had become increasingly problematic, Strauss negotiated the worlds of art and society with a remarkable combination of candour and irony. Averse to the metaphysics of Wagner and indifferent to Mahler's philosophical intentions in music, Strauss exploited instead the paradoxes, inconsistencies and potential profundities to be found in modern, everyday life. The new possibilities he envisioned for music were exemplified in the eclecticism of the opera ...
(b Kalischt, nr Iglau [now Kaliště, Jihlava], Bohemia, July 7, 1860; d Vienna, May 18, 1911). Austrian composer and conductor. He wrote large-scale symphonic works and songs (many with orchestra) and established a career as a powerful and innovatory conductor; while director of the Vienna Hofoper between 1897 and 1907 he provided a model of post-Wagnerian idealism for the German musical theatre. His compositions were initially regarded by some as eccentric, by others as novel expressions of the ‘New German’ modernism widely associated with Richard Strauss. Only during his last decade did they begin to enjoy the critical support and popular success that helped to ensure the posthumous survival of his reputation as a composer beyond the years of National Socialism in Germany and Austria. Mahler suffered the fate of innumerable banned composers of Jewish origin at a time when his music was still imperfectly known and understood outside the German-speaking countries of Europe. The centenary of his birth in ...