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Article

Brian Locke

(b Tábor, Bohemia, March 12, 1912; d Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Aug 7, 2011). Czech-Canadian composer, lyricist, pianist, arranger, and translator. He was one of the leading Czech swing musicians of the 1940s. As a youth, he acquired knowledge of jazz from BBC broadcasts, which he emulated in his local amateur band. Emanuel Uggé, a Czech proponent of ‘hot’ jazz, invited Traxler to Prague in 1935 as composer and pianist for the Gramoklub Orchestra. Early performances and recordings attracted the attention of r.a. dvorský and jaroslav ježek; in 1938, the latter approached Traxler as a possible assistant at the Liberated Theatre (plans truncated by Ježek’s sudden prewar emigration).

In 1939 Traxler signed a five-year contract with R.A. Dvorský, whose company included recording, sheet-music publishing, and multiple touring orchestras. His arrangements for the swing band of karel vlach reveal a keen ear for the latest American trends, despite his seclusion in Nazi-occupied Bohemia. Three of his songs, including ...

Article

Brian Locke

[Antonín, Rudolf]

(b March 24, 1899, Königinhof an der Elbe [now Dvůr Králové nad Labem], Bohemia; d Aug 2, 1966, Prague). Czech bandleader, singer, composer, actor, and publisher. He was the central figure of the Czech popular music industry from 1919 to 1948. He began composing as a youth and was soon corresponding with music-hall performers in Prague, leading to his first publications (1917–18) and a formal invitation to join the Červená sedma cabaret (1919). Arriving in Prague, he adopted the pseudonym Dvorský, the adjectival form of his hometown, Dvůr [Králové].

Most of Dvorský’s compositions date from his early years in Prague, where he was a chief proponent of the Tin Pan Alley style. This body of work formed the repertoire of his performance ensembles: the five-piece Melody Makers (formed in 1925) and the ever-increasing Melody Boys (1929–44), which peaked at around 50 instrumentalists. Dvorský’s many film appearances after ...

Article

Greece  

Katy Romanou, Thomas J. Mathiesen, Alexander Lingas, Nikos Maliaras, Achilleus Chaldaiakis, John Plemmenos, Pyrros Bamichas, Kostas Kardamis, Sofia Kontossi, Myrto Economides, Dafni Tragaki, Ioannis Tsagkarakis, Kostas Chardas, Manolis Seiragakis, Sotirios Chianis and Rudolph M. Brandl

Katy Romanou

Greeks have a history of over three millennia, during which they inhabited large and varied areas mainly in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The greatest expansion of ancient Greek civilization was achieved with Alexander the Great’s conquests and the establishment of states by his successors during the Hellenistic period. Greek language and civilization, globalized at that crucial moment of change for world history, were vehicles of the new religion that would expand to western Europe. In that same period, and in the Greek language, sciences were perfected in the new centres, such as Alexandria; mechanics, acoustics, and philology contributed to the invention and improvement of musical instruments, the scientific justification of Greek musical concepts, and the preservation in critical editions of the corpus of ancient Greek literature in all fields.

In 200–146 bce the Romans completed the conquest of Greek centres, and in 30 bce, with the conquest of Alexandria, the Roman Empire dominated all the Hellenistic states. In 330 ...

Article

(fl 1521–47). South Netherlandish composer, born in Bruges, probably around 1495. He was the son of the Bruges tegheldecker (roofer/tiler) Jacob de Hondt, who originated from a family of Bruges city roofers, living in the parish of St Jacob. We have no information on Gheerkin’s musical education, in Bruges or elsewhere. The first trace of Gheerkin de Hondt as zangmeester is found in the archives of the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where he became coraelmeester on 3 June 1521. He left the church in 1523, and returned for the period from 1 August 1530 to March 1532. On 13 July 1532 he is mentioned as zangmeester of his home church St Jacob in Bruges, where he served until the end of 1539. On 31 December 1539 he received his first payment as zangmeester of the Illustre Lieve Vrouwe Broederschap (‘Confraternity of Our Illustrious Lady’) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, a joint position with the chapter of the church of St Jan, for which he had probably already applied in ...

Article

Warren M. Sherk

(b Pittsburgh, 29 June 1870; d Los Angeles, 23 Jan 1926). American composer, conductor, arranger, and singer. Largely self-taught, his fondness for the theater as a teenager led him to compose an operetta and to a career composing dramatic music. Educated at Pittsburgh Catholic College, he spent two years in Leipzig studying music theory with Reinecke and vocal music with Ewald. Returning to Pittsburgh in 1891, he began teaching voice, singing at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and writing vocal music. He founded the East End Musical Club, a vocal ensemble he also conducted. By 1900 he was settled in New York writing sacred music and art songs, and from 1903 to 1909 employed as an editor and arranger at major music publishers. He gained nationwide exposure as a composer in 1909 with his incidental music for a play, The Climax, which included the expressive “Song of the Soul.” Concert performances of his vocal music ensued....

Article

Daniel Goldmark

(b Minneapolis, MN, 28 March, 1941). Composer for television, conductor, arranger, and orchestrator. Clausen grew up in Jamestown, ND, where he took up French horn and piano, as well as singing in school choirs. He attended North Dakota State University studying mechanical engineering before a summer in New York City, before being exposed to first-run Broadway musicals and other professional musical settings convinced him he should pursue music instead. He took up string bass and baritone sax and graduated with a degree in music in 1963, followed by a masters degree at Berklee College of Music.

After moving to southern California, his first high-profile professional gig was as an arranger for the second season of The Donny and Marie Show, and eventually conductor and music director for the show’s third season. He moved away from variety and into scripted drama with his work on Moonlighting; during this time he also scored the comedy series ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Prague, 27 April 1916; d Prague, 20 Jan 1964). Czech composer, musician, and writer on music. Born into a middle-class industrial family – his father was a municipal building consultant – he attended a realschule, with an emphasis on the sciences, and then, from 1933, the Prague School of Commerce. From the mid-thirties, he was active in popular music, particularly jazz and swing. He sang and played the piano and drums, as well as orchestrating, arranging, and composing, with groups such as Orchestr Gramoklubu and Blue Music. After the closure of the universities by the Nazi regime in 1939, he spent a year as a full-time drummer with the newly established Karel Vlach Orchestra, and then began studying composition with Jaroslav Řídký at the Prague Conservatory (1940–45), with whom he also completed the conservatory’s Master School (1945–6).

His compositions were at first dance numbers and popular tunes; chamber pieces for the clarinet and piano, with opus numbers, date from ...

Article

Geoffrey Chew

(b Prague, 23 June 1914; d Prague, 8 Feb 1945). Czech musicologist, violinist, and music critic. After studying law and arts at Prague University, and the violin at the Prague Conservatoire (1933–7), he became a member of the Czech Philharmonic and of the Pro Arte Antiqua ensemble, and was very active as journalist and critic, editing and writing for Hudební věstník and Smetana, besides contributing articles on musical subjects during the German occupation to České slovo, the party organ of the patriotic, moderate-socialist Česká strana národně sociální. As a musicologist he was wide-ranging, writing on 18th-century music, preparing a catalogue of Dvořák’s works and editing 20th-century Czech operas, besides the items listed below. A provocative review in České slovo of a Smetana concert in 1945 led to his being arrested, tortured, and executed by the German occupying authorities.

(selective list)

ed. and trans.: Vlastní životopis V. I. Tomáška...

Article

Karel Steinmetz

(b Chrudim, Czechoslovakia, 24 June 1947). Czech pop singer. The daughter of musical parents, she was taught the piano and singing as a child. As a student she was successful in talent competitions in Prague, voted fourth – and two years later, first – in a poll of Czech singers. After completing high school (Gymnasium) at Chrudim (1965) she became a member of the Rokoko Theatre in Prague, and began making recordings for radio and appearing on television. In 1966, together with Marta Kubišová, a colleague at the Rokoko Theatre, she took part in the prestigious Czechoslovak Bratislavská lýra festival, and won the second prize. In 1968, together with Marta Kubišová and Václav Neckář, she set up the Golden Kids, a very successful trio, which was dissolved three years later owing to the politically motivated prohibition of further performances by Marta Kubišová. At that period she became the most successful Czech female singer abroad; she recorded albums for companies in Japan and in the German Federal Republic, and appeared regularly at international festivals and venues in Canada, Brazil, Cuba, and Turkey, achieving her highest success in winning the Grand Prix in ...

Article

G. Yvonne Kendall

[‘Il Trombone’]

(b Milan, Italy, c. 1536; d Milan, Italy 1602). Italian dance master, choreographer, and author of the dance manual Le gratie d’amore (1602). According to Negri himself, he was Milanese by birth and the father of Margherita. He described his wife Isabella de Negri (née di Nave) as a ‘townswoman . . . an excellent ballerina’. Diocesan records also identify four children – Livia (b 1573), Ottavia (b 1575), Jacobo Filippo (b 1583), and the aforementioned Margherita (b 1585). Negri’s mother, Magdalena di Marchi, apparently resided with the family. Little mention is made of his father, Jacobo Antonio, aside from a citation in a Bibliotheca scriptorum mediolanensium (1745) by Philippi Argelati Bononiensis: ‘Hujusmodi est Caesar de Nigris Jacobo Antonio patre in hac Urbe genitus, & cognomento dictus il Trombone’ (‘An example of this is Cesare Negri, born in this city to his father Jacobo Antonio, and nicknamed the Trombone’)....

Article

Kaleb J. Koslowski and Caryl Clark

(b Bad Iburg near Osnabrück, 30 Oct 1668; d Hanover, 1 Feb 1705). Princess of Hanover, Electress of Brandenburg, and Queen in Prussia. Musical culture in and around Berlin flourished at the turn of the 18th century as a direct result of her activities as a musical patron, performer, composer, and collector.

Sophie Charlotte was the only daughter of Ernst August of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Sophie of the Palatinate. She was thrust into a lifestyle of courtly competition from an early age. The court at Osnabrück was relatively obscure, overshadowed by the wealthier and more politically prominent seat at Hanover ruled by her father’s brother, Johann Friedrich. Her mother determined to overcome this by immersing Sophie Charlotte in the arts. As a child she received instruction in singing, courtly dance, and religion, and in French, Italian, English, and Latin. During the 1670s and into the 1680s, the family visited Versailles, Venice, Brussels, and The Hague. These visits included recurring attendance at opera and ballet performances, and provided the foundation for Sophie Charlotte’s cultivation of music as a courtly and sociopolitical tool later at Hanover and Berlin....

Article

Claire Levy

(b Yambol, 30 March 1933; d Plovdiv, 12 April 2014). Bulgarian composer and music educator, famous for his work in different genres but mostly for his distinctive contribution to the field of film music. He graduated from the Bulgarian State Conservatory in 1961 under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Assen Dimitrov (conducting). Author of the music for over 120 cartoons and more than 40 feature films, Karadimchev also wrote songs for rock bands, marked usually by laconic yet highly attractive melodic lines. His lyrical Byala tishina (‘White Silence’), performed by Georgi Minchev and The Shturtzite, made a particular breakthrough for Bulgarian rock music on the national level by winning the first prize at The Golden Orpheus Pop Music Festival in 1967. And his close collaboration with The Tangra in the early 1980s developed ‘the melodic style of rock’ in songs such as Bogatstvo (‘Fortune’) and Nashiat grad (‘Our Town’). Some of his title songs written for movies such as the ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Sofia, 8 Dec 1934; d Sofia, 12 July 2008). Bulgarian conductor, composer, pianist, and arranger, of Armenian origins, remembered for his prominent role as a musician and public figure in the development of popular music in Bulgaria. He graduated from the Technical University in Sofia (1957) and studied in the Faculty of Theory at the Bulgarian State Conservatory. In 1953 he joined the band Jazz of the Young. By the end of the 1950s he played the piano also at the Satiric Theatre Orchestra and founded Studio 5, a band famous for its supportive role in promoting young singers. Following a similar purpose, later on he initiated Trombata na Vili (‘The Horn of Vili’), a radio contest for discovering new talented pop singers. Since 1960 Kazassian’s music activities have been closely associated with the newly created Big Band of the Bulgarian National Radio where he took successively the positions of pianist (...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Haskovo, 29 June 1896; d Sofia, 31 July 1978). Bulgarian singer, internationally famous as a schlager performer, nicknamed the ‘Knight of the Upper F’. As a child he was a solo singer in the church choir in the town of Stara Zagora. Later on he went to the military school in Sofia and in 1920 took professional vocal lessons. In 1923 Leshnikoff went to Berlin, where he received a scholarship at the Sternischen Konservatorium. In 1927 he was appointed at the Grosses Schauspielhaus – a review theatre – and in 1928 joined Comedian Harmonists, a newly formed male vocal sextet, to perform the first tenor part. Becoming one of the most popular groups in Europe before World War II, Comedian Harmonists developed a style, based on aspects of German schlager, bel canto opera singing, pleasing tunes influenced by traditional lyrical songs, and Afro-American-derived patterns associated with the blues, gospel, and close harmony vocal techniques. Their records were released by labels including Odeon, Electrola, Columbia, and His Master’s Voice. In ...

Article

Claire Levy

(b Plovdiv, 19 Dec 1937). Bulgarian composer, pianist, conductor, arranger, and bandleader. He was internationally acknowledged for his innovative ideas, cross-cultural experiments, and contribution to the concept of fusion and free improvisation. Classically trained at the Bulgarian State Conservatory (1955–60) under Pancho Vladigerov (composition) and Andrey Stoyanov (piano), he is the author of numerous compositions in styles and genres including jazz, pop, symphony, chamber, film, and theatrical music. He conducted the Radio and Television Big Band in Sofia (1962–6) and led his own avant-garde quartet, Jazz Focus’65 (1965–8), which won the Critic’s Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. In 1970 he left Bulgaria for political reasons and moved to the USA where he joined the Don Ellis Orchestra (1971–8), and later collaborated with the classical/jazz quartet Free Flight. He also played with outstanding jazz musicians including Art Pepper, Billy Cobham, and Dave Holland, among many others....

Article

Claire Levy

(b Ruse, 7 Nov 1911; d Sofia, 24 Oct 1971). Bulgarian composer, acknowledged as the father of Bulgarian schlager/pop song and a contributor to the acculturation of Western urban mentality in music during the decade before World War II. In 1939 he graduated from the Law Faculty of Sofia University and, in parallel, took lessons in music theory and composition with Pavel Stefanov and Vesselin Stoyanov. Along with his prolific work as a composer in the 1930s and 40s when he wrote numerous vocal and instrumental pieces, including tangos, foxtrots, rumbas, and waltzes, as well as operettas for the Odeon Theatre in Sofia, he was among the founders of the Bulgarian Radio in 1936 and managed the gramophone label London Records (1937–40). Among the most popular of his songs created in the 1950s were Kervanut (‘Caravan’) and Spi, moya malka sinyorita (‘Sleep, My Little Señorita’). However, after World War II the genre of ...

Article

Caramba  

Andrés Amado and John M. Schechter

[quijongozambumbiaarpachémarimbaché]

Musical bow of Central America, notably Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Probably of African provenance, it consists of a wooden bow about 170 cm long, a gourd resonator, and a string. The string is struck with a stick and resonated by the gourd and the player’s mouth. Possibly obsolete nowadays, it was significant during the colonial period and throughout the 19th century, when it accompanied dance dramas that are now nearly extinct. It is called ...

Article

Andrés Amado

Vessel rattle of Guatemala and Mexico, usually used in pairs. They exist in many sizes and varieties, made of gourd, metal, or pottery, filled with pebbles or seeds, and often decorated with flowers and other carved or painted patterns. The Maya use chinchines, also called zoot or sut in some Mayan dialects, predominantly in dance dramas and ceremonial contexts. Among the Ladino population (non-Mayan, ‘mestizo’), they are often played at Christmas processions called ...

Article

Andrés Amado

(b ?1846; d 16 Apr 1912). Musician and instrument builder from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala He is credited with the invention in 1894 of the Guatemalan chromatic marimba, also known as marimba de doble teclado (double keyboard marimba), marimba doble (double marimba), or marimba cuache (twin marimba). Before the invention of the marimba doble, musicians added chromatic tones to the diatonic (sencilla) marimba by applying wax to the bars, thus lowering them a semitone. Most sources agree that the Guatemalan composer and band director Julián Paniagua Martínez (1856–1946) envisioned adding a second, chromatic row and exhorted Sebastián Hurtado to implement the idea. In Hurtado’s design, the chromatic and diatonic rows align with each other, that is, the D♭/C♯ bar is not between C and D, but aligned with the D.

Other marimba builders also attempted chromatic designs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Manuel López and José Chaequín from Jocotenango, Guatemala, built chromatic marimbas in Guatemala City as early as ...

Article

Kokyū  

David W. Hughes and Henry Johnson

Spike fiddle of Japan (from ko: ‘foreign’, ‘barbarian’; and kyū: ‘bow’). It is about 69 cm long, with a soundbox measuring 14 × 12 × 7.5 cm; the bow is about 95 to 120 cm long. This is Japan’s only indigenously evolved fiddle (although several others were used in minshingaku music). It is smaller than the shamisen, but otherwise nearly identical in shape and construction, differing mainly in its long spike, the shape and position of the bridge, and the lack of any device to generate the buzzing sound (sawari). The kokyū is held vertically, its spike inserted between the knees of the kneeling performer or (especially for women) resting on the floor in front of the knees. As with the Javanese rebab the instrument itself, not the bow, is rotated to select the appropriate string; the bow always follows the same path. There are usually three strings, but certain schools double the highest string (a practice introduced in the mid-18th century)....