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Article

Deane L. Root

(Leon )

(b Botoşani, Romania, April 29, 1896; d Bradenton, FL, June 22, 1973). American composer and pianist. He went to the USA with his family in 1898. He studied composition with Goetschius and piano with Friskin at the Institute of Musical Art, and then after World War I taught music in New York public schools, was a concert pianist and accompanist, and served as president of the Composers and Authors Guild. He moved to Miami in 1947, where he became chairman of Grass Roots Opera and a noted photographer.

Wolfe is best known for his songs and arrangements in the style of negro spirituals, such as Shortnin’ Bread, Gwine to Hebb’n, and De Glory Road (to words by Clement Wood), which achieved international familiarity. He also wrote descriptive chamber music, including Maine Holiday for piano and Prayer in the Swamp for violin and piano, a serenade for string quartet and three operas, of which ...

Article

Herman Trotter

(Philip)

(b Washington DC, Dec 6, 1946). American composer, performer, writer and publisher. He studied at SUNY, Buffalo (MA 1972, PhD 1976), where his teachers included Lejaren Hiller and Morton Feldman. He has been a member of Lukas Foss's Center of the Creative and Performing Arts and has held faculty positions at Empire State College, Buffalo (1974–86), and SUNY, Buffalo (1979–86). He has served as a critic and writer for Musical America/Opus Magazine, the Buffalo News and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is the author of Handbook of Instrumentation (Berkeley, California, 1985). Kallisti Music Press, of which he is the founder, has published the complete works of Anthony Philip Heinrich and 40 previously unpublished compositions by Hiller, as well as Stiller’s own works.

Stiller's music is eclectic and original, but makes no attempt to establish new sonic frontiers. His works are often scored for unusual combinations of instruments and many of his titles reveal a propensity towards the fanciful and whimsical. The chamber opera ...

Article

J. Michele Edwards

(b Freeport, NY, Feb 8, 1941; d Bangor, ME, August 24, 2002). American composer and performer. In addition to formal study at the University of Michigan (1958–61) and SUNY at Stony Brook (MM 1974), she studied with Samuel Baron (flute) and Antonia Brico (conducting, 1977, 1978) as well as Balinese flute and gamelan in Bali during 1988. A pioneer of women’s music who declared her lesbianism in 1971, she had been an active composer-performer of women’s music since 1973, appearing regularly at National Women’s Music Festival and Michigan Women’s Music Festival; in 1978–9 she co-founded and conducted the New England Women’s SO. Her exploration of healing music gained recognition through her presentations to medical schools and health workers, as well as her work to develop the use of music as a substitute for surgical anaesthesia. Combining eastern and western philosophy, physics, medicine and empirical evidence, her book ...

Article

J. Michele Edwards

(b New York, March 22, 1947). American composer. She began composing at the age of two, and developed an interest in folk music and rock and roll before beginning formal music studies. She graduated from Brown University (BA 1968) and from Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford (MM 1970, DMA 1976), where her principal composition teacher was Arnold Franchetti. After teaching at Oberlin (1976–80), she worked part-time at Hartford Conservatory and Hartt School of Music but left teaching in 1982 to pursue composition full-time. On moving to a dairy farm in Vermont she began to take a grass roots approach to composition, writing for local performers of varying skills, from community and school groups to professional orchestras and concert soloists, as well as for national organizations such as the Women’s Philharmonic. In her concern for accessibility she has brought familiar aspects of life to the concert platform (in ...

Article

Carol J. Oja

revised by D. Martin Jenni

(Alden)

(b Newton, MA, Aug 8, 1939; d San Francisco, April 5, 1989). American composer. He studied at the New England Conservatory (BM 1961, MM 1963) and the University of Iowa (PhD 1967); his composition teachers included Donald Martino and Richard Hervig. In 1966 he became a member of the composition and theory faculty at the University of Iowa and music director of the university's Center for New Music, which he helped to found; from 1969 to 1976 he also served as director of the Center for New Performing Arts. Hibbard's compositions wed a rigorous exploration of the possibilities of serialism to an increasing fascination with unusual sonorities and complex cross-rhythms. Once having determined a medium, he generated a prodigious quantity of episodes during which the larger aspects of the work took shape. In 1975, while at work on the P/M Variations for two double basses, he created a row based on a trichord comprising a perfect 4th and a major 2nd, which occupied his creative imagination throughout the rest of his productive life. In his notes for a ...

Article

Michael Meckna

(b St James, MN, Jan 4, 1894; d Escondido, CA, July 29, 1978). American composer. He was brought up in Spokane, Washington, and graduated in 1917 from the Northwestern University School of Music. After serving with the US Army in France during World War I, he attended the Chicago Musical College (DMus 1925), where he was eventually appointed dean. From 1933 to 1940 he taught at De Paul University, Chicago, and also served as director of De Paul University Press, established for the publication of American music. During this period he was president of the Chicago section of the ISCM and was active in organizing the first Yaddo Festival. Subsequently he settled in southern California and taught both privately and at the Los Angeles Conservatory; he also lectured on philosophy, religion and the arts. La Violette is the author of Music and its Makers (Chicago, 1938) and wrote several books on religious mysticism, one of which, ...

Article

James P. Cassaro

(Morris)

(b Forrest, IL, Dec 11, 1937). American composer. He studied with Kenneth Gaburo and Robert Kelly (University of Illinois, BM 1959, DMA 1971), Donald Martino (Yale University, 1960), Aaron Copland and Roberto Gerhard (Tanglewood, 1961) and Thea Musgrave (Aldeburgh and London, 1974). The recipient of many honours, including a Koussevitzky Award (1961), he taught at the University of Tampa (Florida) (1965–6) before joining the music department at Northern Illinois University.

Bach's accessible style combines traditional and contemporary musical elements. A predominant aspect of his work is his charming and inexhaustible sense of humour. Four Two-Bit Contraptions (1964), for example, is a study in musical caricature cast in the form of rags, waltzes and other dances. Later works, such as Rounds and Dances (1980), are more eclectic in nature, employing playful and teasing thematic materials, but making more strenuous demands on the performer. His operatic works, the most frequently performed being ...

Article

Karen Ahlquist

(b New Bloomfield, PA, Feb 8, 1904; d Newport, PA, June 3, 1976). American composer, pianist and teacher. She studied at Vassar College (AB 1925), Columbia University (AM in musicology, 1931) and the Eastman School of Music (MM in composition, 1932). Her teachers included Ernest Hutcheson (piano, 1925–6), Rubin Goldmark (composition, 1926–7) and, at Eastman, Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. She taught at Vassar from 1929 to 1931 and between 1938 and 1942. In 1942 she joined the faculty of Connecticut College for Women, teaching composition, theory, history and the piano. She became a full professor in 1956 and department chair in 1963.

Alter began to compose while at college and continued until she retired from teaching in 1969. While at Eastman she composed large works with orchestra which Hanson conducted; these included a staged ballet Anthony Comstock at the Festival of American Music in ...

Article

Eric Lewis

(b Louisville, Jan 12, 1937; d Danbury, CT, Sept 6, 1989). American composer. His early piano lessons were provided by an aunt, who also exposed him to opera through the Metropolitan Opera's radio broadcasts. His first public recognition came in 1953 when he won the Louisville Philharmonic Society's Young Artist Competition and performed as a soloist with the Louisville SO. He went on to study the piano and singing at the University of Louisville (BME 1954). After serving in the US military, he resumed his musical studies in Boston. Upon the recommendation of Leon Kirchner, he entered Brandeis University (PhD 1964), where his composition teachers included Irving Fine. From 1965 to 1989 he lived in Danbury, Connecticut, where he taught at Western Connecticut State University. Among his many other activities, he founded the 20th-Century Arts Festival, which drew composers such as Copland, Cage, Luening and Lukas Foss to the campus during the late 1960s and 70s. He also participated in the early foundation of the Charles Ives Center for the Performing Arts....

Article

Catherine Parsons Smith

( b Vienna, 1886; d New York, 1970). American composer of Austrian birth . She studied at the Vienna Academy of Music with Joseph Marx (harmony and counterpoint) and Ludwig Czaczkes (piano). She became a US citizen in 1944. Her music, which dates from the 1940s, is tonal, somewhat dissonant and well-constructed. She wrote one opera, Night at Sea and Day in Court (1954), and several other large-scale works, including the cantatas The Reign of Violence is Over (H. W. Longfellow) for chorus, string orchestra and piano (1943) and The Secret of Liberty (R. Davenport) for four solo voices, chorus and orchestra (1945). In addition to orchestral music she composed many chamber pieces (mostly for wind instruments), solo works for piano and organ, and songs. Her manuscripts are at Washington State University and the American Music Center.

CohenE Anderson2 A.F. Block and C. Neuls-Bates...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(Delano)

(b Chicago, June 4, 1945). American alto saxophonist, contrabass clarinettist and composer. In his teens he pursued the study of jazz and European art music, eventually reading philosophy and composition at Roosevelt University (1966–8). After army service (1963–6) he returned to Chicago, where he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and in 1967, with Leroy Jenkins and Leo Smith, he formed a trio which performed and recorded in New York as the Creative Construction Company. Along with other AACM members, the trio travelled to Paris in 1969 in an attempt to find steady work, but Braxton himself was not well received. He left Paris for New York in 1970 and joined the Italian improvisation ensemble Musica Elettronica Viva, then played with Chick Corea in the cooperative free-jazz quartet Circle (1970–71). From 1972, following the delayed success of For Alto, the first album for unaccompanied saxophone ever recorded, he was invited to present numerous solo concerts. He also appeared frequently from ...

Article

Benjamin Folkman

(b Elmhurst, IL, Sept 12, 1939). American composer, pianist and writer on music. He studied with Alexander Tcherepnin both at the Académie Internationale de Musique, Nice (artist’s certificate 1959), and at DePaul University (BMus 1962). He went on to study at Columbia University (MMus 1965), where his teachers included Beeson, and later worked privately with Copland. From 1977 to 1993 he served as annotator and programme editor for the New York PO; other writings include more than 500 disc notes for recordings and a biography of the American composer Irving Fine.

Ramey’s early works, such as the Piano Sonata no.1 (1961) and the Concert Suite for piano and orchestra (1962, rev. 1983–4) feature the pithy forms and linear textures of Tcherepnin’s style, characteristics that, together with post-Bartókian harmonies and wide keyboard spacing, inform his later music. Experiments with atonality and serialism reached fruition in the virtuoso Piano Fantasy (...

Article

J. Michele Edwards

(b Swampscott, MA, Nov 27, 1877; d Cambridge, MA, March 10, 1971). American composer. She studied at Radcliffe College (BA 1900) and sang in the Glee Club, for which she wrote several operettas. She studied orchestration with Chadwick at the New England Conservatory and in 1902 became the first woman in Thuille’s score-reading class at the Munich Conservatory. From 1911 to 1913 she directed the Radcliffe Glee Club and the Bradford Academy music programme and was head of music at Simmons College, Boston (1913–18). Thereafter, with support from family money, she devoted herself to composition. After conducting her choral work The Desolate City at the MacDowell Colony, she returned there as a fellow for 24 summers, beginning in 1914.

Daniels’s musical language encompasses non-functional triadic harmony with occasional diatonic dissonance; the melodic lines are sometimes angular, due partly to modal shifts and unpredictable triads. Her compositions show the influence of vernacular music and music of the popular theatre as well as sharing elements with the work of Debussy and Lili Boulanger. ...

Article

Kathryn Gleasman Pisaro

(b Baltimore, Nov 26, 1932). American composer. He studied concurrently at Johns Hopkins University (BS 1954) and the Peabody Conservatory. After a year at the University of Copenhagen, he completed his formal musical training at the University of Washington, Seattle (MA 1959). His teachers included Cowell, Riegger, Holmboe and Verrall. In 1962 he joined the music department at Northwestern University. His diverse musical interests are reflected in the various societies to which he belongs. He is a founding member of the International Gong Society and the International Double Reed Society, a patron of the Schoenberg Institute, and a member of the board of directors of the International Percy Grainger Society. In addition, he has completed numerous performance editions and realizations of unfinished works of composers such as Ives, Webern and Grainger. He is also an advocate of Scandinavian music.

A prolific composer, Stout has written over 100 works. His style exhibits a blend of American experimentalism and more traditional writing. Often based on a relaxed application of the 12-note system, his music makes use of tone clusters, transcriptions of natural phenomena, and rhythmic notations that allow performers a certain degree of rhythmic flexibility. A consistent concern for timbre is also characteristic of his music. Many of his works revise and re-use material from earlier compositions. The Music for Oboe and Piano (...

Article

Jim Farrington

(Rudolf von )

(b New York, NY, March 27, 1892; d Santa Monica, CA, April 3, 1972). American composer, arranger, conductor, and pianist. Born into a musical family, his grandfather and uncle were principals in the Los Angeles SO, his mother a professional cellist, and his father a singer. As a child he studied with Otto Leonhardt in Germany (1900–2). By 1907 he was performing professionally as a pianist and violinist at dances, and as an alto horn player in brass bands. Before moving east with Paul Whiteman in 1920, he played in the Los Angeles SO, the San Francisco SO, on film sets, and in cabarets, vaudeville houses, and theaters throughout the American west and southwest. His earliest compositions date from around 1908.

Grofé’s first acquaintance with jazz commenced when he played with and started arranging for Art Guerin, who led one of the first true jazz bands in San Francisco. He was hired by Whiteman in ...

Article

James P. Cassaro

(b Brooklyn, NY, June 29, 1924). American composer. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York, where he was the soloist in the first performance of his Piano Concerto (1939), given by the school orchestra. During World War II, while serving in the US Army, he composed the Leipzig Symphony, which was given its première in Wiesbaden in 1945. After the war he began composition study with Stefan Wolpe (1946–9) and entered Brooklyn College, CUNY (BA 1949), where he studied with Miriam Gideon. He continued his studies at Columbia University (MA 1952), where his teachers included Otto Luening and Douglas S. Moore. During the periods 1960–61 and 1965–6 he taught at Sarah Lawrence College. Other appointments included positions as composer-in-residence at SUNY, Binghamton (1971–82), visiting composer at Yale University (1988) and dean of the Yale School of Music (...

Article

Judith Tick, Margaret Ericson and Ellen Koskoff

Historical surveys of women in music have traditionally focussed on accounts of exceptional women as performers and composers. They are associated with the sizable literature on music as a traditional component of women's socialization and education. As a contemporary category of enquiry, the study of women in music is directly related to women's history, itself one of several scholarly research areas associated with the systematic study of gender. In this context, gender is treated as a socially constructed concept based on perceived differences between the sexes and a primary way of signifying relationships of power.

This article focusses on the collective experience of women within Western and non-Western musical traditions. For details of the lives and works of women musicians, see the articles on individual women.

See also Feminism; Gay and lesbian music; Gender and Music; Musicology §II 11. ; and Sex, sexuality .

Judith Tick

Western classical music is an art that has unfolded within the hierarchies of gender that mark our civilization as a whole. On the social structure of patriarchy rests the premise of the woman musician as a category in itself. The category has served as a way of both denigrating women, and valuing them and highlighting their accomplishments. The benefit of focussing on gender as the primary historical variable is to produce a history where little existed before. The danger is that women's achievements are compared primarily with those of other women and unduly segregated from mainstream narratives....