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Composer

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NEWS
July 9, 2011
Billy Blanco, a veteran Bossa Nova composer, died Friday in a Rio de Janeiro hospital from complications of a stroke he suffered in October. Mr. Blanco was at the heart of the Bossa Nova movement when it bloomed in the early 1960s. He wrote more than 300 songs and collaborated with the genre's biggest names, such as Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and Baden Powell. Blanco was known as the "Diamond of Bossa Nova. " He was born in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, but migrated south to Sao Paulo as a young man to study architecture.
NEWS
June 9, 2011
Andrew Gold, 59, a singer, musician, and composer whose songs included the 1977 hit "Lonely Boy," died in his sleep Friday at his home in Encino, Calif., said his sister, Melani Gold Friedman. She said he had cancer but had been responding to treatment. Mr. Gold was a multi-instrumental player whose popular singles included "Thank You for Being a Friend" and the British hit "Never Let Her Slip Away. " He was in Linda Ronstadt's band, arranged songs for and performed on several Ronstadt albums, including Heart Like a Wheel , and did session work for artists such as James Taylor and Carly Simon.
NEWS
July 3, 2012
Abram Wilson, 38, an acclaimed jazz trumpeter and composer from New Orleans who helped lead a new generation of jazz artists in Britain, performing as a kind of cultural attache from the jazz homeland, died June 9 in London. He died several days after suspending a concert tour and checking into a hospital with stomach pains, his wife, Jennie Cashman, said. The cause was cancer, she said. Mr. Wilson, who was raised in New Orleans and steeped in its hybrid musical traditions, was known for combining musical forms.
NEWS
June 27, 2011
Television and film music composer Fred Steiner, 88, creator of the bold and gritty theme for the Perry Mason TV series and one of the composers of the Oscar-nominated score for The Color Purple , died of natural causes Thursday at his home in the town of Ajijic in the Mexican state of Jalisco, according to his daughter Wendy Waldman, a singer-songwriter. One of the busiest composers working in Hollywood in the 1950s and '60s, Mr. Steiner also crafted music for Gunsmoke ; The Twilight Zone ; Star Trek ; Have Gun, Will Travel ; Rawhide ; Hogan's Heroes ; and other TV series.
NEWS
April 12, 2011
Mexican composer Daniel Catan, 62, who adapted the Italian film Il Postino to opera, died Friday while working on a new opera in Austin, Texas, a University of Texas spokeswoman said Monday. The cause of death Friday was not immediately released. Mr. Catan was best known in the United States for his operatic adaptation of Il Postino, which is sung in Spanish. The Los Angeles Opera premiered Il Postino last year with Placido Domingo playing the poet Pablo Neruda and tenor Charles Castronovo as the wide-eyed postman Mario Ruoppolo.
NEWS
November 23, 2012
Richard Robbins, 71, the composer who created memorable scores for such films as A Room With a View , Howards End , and The Remains of the Day during a quarter-century collaboration with director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, died Nov. 7 in Rhinebeck, N.Y., of Parkinson's disease, said Michael Schell, his longtime partner. Mr. Robbins created the score for nearly every Merchant-Ivory film from The Europeans in 1979 to The White Countess in 2005. He earned back-to-back Academy Award nominations in 1992 and 1993 for his original music for Merchant-Ivory productions.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2012 | By Mary SYDNOR and For the Daily News
AUGUST RODIN is generally considered the father of modern sculpture, though his works reference the classical sculpture of ancient Greece and Rome. That balance of old and new is reflected in the just-reopened Rodin Museum on the Parkway. As part of its summer concert series, the museum commissioned contemporary French composer Philippe Hurel to create three pieces, called "Spectral Impressions," that will be performed Saturday in the museum's sculpture garden by the Argento Chamber Ensemble.
NEWS
February 15, 2012
Dory Previn Shannon, 86, who helped write the score for the film Valley of the Dolls " and the theme for Last Tango in Paris , has died. According to her husband, Joby Baker, she died Tuesday of natural causes at her farm in Southfield, Mass. She earned Oscar nominations in the 1960s for writing lyrics alongside Andre Previn's music for the films Pepe and Two for the Seesaw . She and Previn were married from 1959 to 1970. She won an Emmy in 1984 for cowriting the theme song for the TV show Two of a Kind . She sang at Carnegie Hall, wrote a libretto for Mozart's opera The Impresario and recorded many albums.
NEWS
May 24, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Henri Dutilleux, 97, a composer whose modest output belied his huge impact on listeners and musicians alike, died Wednesday in Paris, European news services reported. Mr. Dutilleux, born in Angers and trained at the Paris Conservatory, maintained a compositional link with Debussy and Ravel while taking their economy and elegance to greater levels of complexity and dissonance. Conductor Charles Dutoit, a Dutilleux champion who led several notable premieres, said that his death, though expected, was a major loss.
NEWS
November 8, 2012 | By Deepti Hajela, Associated Press
NEW YORK - The composer Elliott Carter, 103, whose challenging and rhythmically complex works earned him widespread admiration and two Pulitzer Prizes, died Monday. In a 1992 interview, Mr. Carter described his works as "music that asks to be listened to in a concentrated way and listened to with a great deal of attention. It's not music that makes an overt theatrical effect, but it assumes the listener is listening to sounds and making some sense out of them. " The complex way that the different instruments interact in his compositions created drama for listeners who made the effort to understand them, but it made them difficult for orchestras to learn.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 14, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
Last year, he was a rock star. This year, David Bowie is officially a dead composer. But is he a Dead Great Composer, like Beethoven? Well, he was treated like a DGC this summer at the BBC Proms, one of the most prestigious summer classical festivals in the world, held at London's Royal Albert Hall. Artists from senior-citizen rocker John Cale to 38-year-old French opera singer Philippe Jaroussky gathered to form what was called the Stargaze ensemble to discover what one of the hosts called "another side of David Bowie.
NEWS
July 17, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
Is artistic freedom worth the price of artistic isolation? The answer for Philadelphia composer Michael Hersch looks better when considered over the long term. After early successes in the 1990s with expressionistic orchestral works performed under the likes of Mariss Jansons, Hersch has long gone against neo-tonal trends and in ways that have only intensified over the last five years. For some, he's one of the few out there able and compelled to speak in unvarnished truth.
NEWS
May 22, 2016
Grand memorial. One of the more ambitious projects in the final seasons of the Philadelphia Singers under David Hayes was the 1958 Randall Thompson Requiem, a recording of which, made a year before the 2015 disbanding, is just out now on the Naxos label. This unaccompanied work for double choir has a freewheeling range of texts, traditional and otherwise, with music that certainly defies Thompson's image as a feet-on-the-ground Aaron Copland-era composer. At times, you wonder what Thompson was thinking by writing some of the more animated (and hard to tune)
NEWS
May 22, 2016
The Noise of Time By Julian Barnes Knopf. 224 pp. $25.95 Reviewed By Jim Higgins In Julian Barnes' new novel, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich considers the two types of composers in the Soviet Union: dead ones and frightened ones. Call Shostakovich one of the latter. His music is played around the world, but he also stands by the elevator in his fifth-floor apartment many nights, a valise packed with his favorite cigarettes, in case he is arrested by the NKVD.
NEWS
May 8, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
The Philadelphia Orchestra's two-week John Williams festival ideally balanced the two lives of this hugely well-known, oft-awarded composer - and left you feeling that you knew the personality behind the music. Principal guest conductor Stéphane Denève integrated two Williams concertos into regular subscription concerts - showing how much they do belong there, especially with the deluxe treatment that came with the likes of James Ehnes, who played the Williams Violin Concerto at Thursday at the Kimmel Center with the insights and commitment he brings to better-known repertoire.
NEWS
May 4, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia assembled a whale of a mostly British music program on Sunday. It would have been great - had the performances consistently honored the music on levels that it required. As it was, the best news that came out of this season-ending concert at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion is that two of Philadelphia's world-class composers wrote new pieces. Both were in top form, showing hugely different approaches toward the same text. They program continued Mendelssohn's mini-commissioning series of pieces written to the word Alleluia in honor of retired artistic director Alan Harler.
NEWS
May 1, 2016
And now, the guys ... The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia has commissioned a series of Alleluias for retired longtime artistic director Alan Harler. The first two, from two female Philadelphia composers, debuted earlier. Now come two more, from James Primosch and Robert Maggio, to premiere at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion. The rest of the program is interestingly British. Although it flopped when new, Benjamin Britten's excellent Gloriana is represented by its "Choral Dances.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 30, 2016 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Legendary bassist and sartorial maven Jamaaladeen Tacuma has forever hung at the busy intersection of magic-making avant-garde jazz and experimental fusion-funk. The Southwest Philadelphia native, by age 19, was playing in Ornette Coleman's Prime Time (recording free classics such as 1977's Dancing in Your Head and 1978's Body Meta ), and angular guitarist James Blood Ulmer's torrid Tales of Captain Black in 1978. If Tacuma had stopped there, he would have cemented his avant-jazz cred, but this is also a gentleman who once held down the groove for Philadelphia organist Charles Earland and earlier this month was part of the Jazz Foundation of America's 25th anniversary Loft Party in Manhattan, keeping hard, funky time with trombonist Craig Harris and playing David Bowie songs.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 27, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
If John Williams is an alien presence on traditional symphonic programs, his concertos and overtures are like the friendly UFOs visiting Earth in Close Encounters of the Third Kind : They may not entirely fit in, but that's what makes their presence interesting. The composer has been the consistent musical voice of filmmaker Steven Spielberg for more than 40 years, an association that accounts for many of his 50 Oscar nominations and 22 Grammy Awards. For just as long, though, Williams has been writing classical concert works with an increasing assurance that's likely to be apparent in the Philadelphia Orchestra's John Williams mini-festival, which takes place over the next two weeks at the Kimmel Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Many alleluias - at turns complex, simple, strange, sad and always intriguing - were heard from Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia in celebratory commissions, both titled "Alleluia," from two of the city's best-known composers, Jennifer Higdon and Andrea Clearfield. Titled "Eastern Voices," the program smartly contextualized them amid unlikely but revelatory bedfellows: Eastern European composers whose names you can't hope to pronounce. The common denominator devised by artistic director Paul Rardin on Saturday at the Temple University Performing Arts Center was religious works that weren't afraid to unhinge themselves from the formality of hymns, often abruptly and in ways you could never predict.
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