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Classical Composers (N-Q)

Classical music (and some jazz and folk) from Leonarda
Includes many American composers and works by women


Negro Spirituals: Amazing Grace, audio sample mp3 and Let Us Break Bread Together (arr. for flute and piano), audio sample mp3 are both from Leonarda CD #LE333. Were you There (arr. for flute and piano by W.F. McDaniel), audio sample mp3 and Lil Lite O' Mine/Sparklin (arr. for flute and piano by C.-T. Perkinson), audio sample mp3 are on Leonarda CD #LE355.

Vaclav Nelhybel (1919-1996) studied musicology at Prague University and the University of Fribourg and composition and conducting at the Conservatory of Music in Prague. He began his career as a conductor at Radio Prague and the City Theater of Prague from 1939 to 1942. After World War II, he was named conductor and composer-in-residence at Swiss Radio and lecturer at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Nelhybel was the musical director of Radio Free Europe in Munich from 1950 to 1957. His guest conducting appearances included the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Nelhybel became a U.S. citizen in 1962 and worked as a composer, conductor and lecturer. His more than 400 published works include operas and works for orchestra, band, chorus, and smaller ensembles, especially wind instruments. His works have been performed by the Vienna Symphony, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Prague Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony and many other groups. Concert Etudes for Four Bassoons is an exploration of many musical elements: various bassoon sonorities, contrasting contrapuntal ideas, snatches of chorales, and lively rhythmic patterns. Audio samples Allegretto mp3 and Canon mp3 are from Leonarda CD #LE348

Daniel Paget's (b.1943) theatre scores include music for mime director Moni Yakim's New York Pantomime Theatre, presented on national tour; music for Lewis Gardner's Soup for One; scores for the APA-Phoenix and other companies; and two full-length musical scores that were produced at Columbia University. Paget has also composed chamber, electronic, vocal, television, and film scores. As a pianist he toured the Far East under State Department auspices, playing ragtime. Paget is Choral Director at the Manhattan School of Music and John Jay College (CUNY) in New York City. Wisteria: A Rag (flute and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE333.

Rudolph Palmer's (b.1952) compositional output comprises numerous works for large symphonic and choral forces as well as chamber pieces. His recently recorded works include Laudate Dominum, a festival anthem for brass ensemble and choir; and O Magnum Mysterium for mezzo-soprano, chorus and harp. Palmer's extensive discography as conductor includes premiere recordings of Handel operas and oratorios on original instruments: Deidamia, Alexander Balus, Siroe, Berenice, Faramondo, Muzio, Imeneo (nominated for Ovation magazine's "Mumm's Opera Recording of the Year") and Joshua (critics' "Best Recording" lists in both Gramophone and Fanfare magazines). Other recordings include Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona (best recording in the early music magazine Alte Musik Aktuell), Alessandro Scarlatti's Ishmael, Haydn's La Canterina and Telemann's Pimpinone. Palmer received his doctorate from the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied composition with David Diamond. He is on the conducting and composition faculty at the Mannes College of Music and is director of the Palmer Singers. Contrasts for Four Bassoons, audio samples mp3a and mp3b are from Leonarda CD #LE348

Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824): Paradis' father was the Imperial Court Secretary in Vienna, the cultural and political center of the Hapsburg empire. Maria Theresia was named after the Empress, who subsequently paid for her education. She went blind as a child, but because of her talent, had the best music teachers in Vienna, including Salieri for composition and singing. A keyboard virtuoso who was idolized by the public, both Salieri and Mozart wrote concertos for her. In the 1790s, Paradis stopped giving concerts, preferring to devote her time to composing and teaching. She spent the remainder of her life in Vienna where, in 1808, she founded an institution for music education for the handicapped. Since most of her music was not published, very little of it remains. This song was published in a collection of twelve songs from her European tour of 1784-86. Das Gärtner liedchen aus dem Siegwart (voice and harpsichord) is on Leonarda CD #LE338. Sicilienne (cello and piano), audio sample  mp3 is on double CD #LE353, which can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found.

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (b.1932-2004) earned his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music. His ballet scores include works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, and the Eleo Pomare Dance Company. He has composed and conducted scores for numerous award-winning theatrical, television, and documentary films such as Montgomery to Memphis (Martin Luther King), Bearden on Bearden (Romare Bearden), A Woman Called Moses (Cicely Tyson), and A Warm December (Sidney Poitier) and has arranged for jazz and popular artists including Harry Belefonte and Marvin Gaye. He conducted orchestras all over the world and served as music director or composer-in-residence for the Negro Ensemble Company, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem and various theatre groups. He was co-founder of the Symphony of the New World. Three Miniatures (flute and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE333. Lil' Lite O' Mine/Sparklin (arranged for flute and piano) is on CD #LE355.

Julia Perry (1924-1979) grew up in Akron, Ohio and studied piano, violin, and voice. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Westminster Choir College and also studied at The Juilliard School and the Berkshire Music Center in Massachusetts. Perry received two Guggenheim Fellowships and spent the 1950s in Europe, studying at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy; with Luigi Dallapicolla in Florence; and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. While in Europe, she organized and conducted a series of concerts for the United States Information Service. After her return to the U.S.A. in 1959, she taught briefly at Florida A & M College and Atlanta University. In 1971 she suffered a paralytic stroke and was hospitalized for several years, but taught herself to write with her left hand and returned to composing before her death in 1979. She composed 12 symphonies, a violin concerto, two piano concertos, four operas, cantatas, choral pieces, songs, and numerous instrumental chamber and solo works. Prelude for Piano is the only one of her solo piano works to be located to date. Perry had plans to arrange it for string orchestra.  Prelude for Piano, audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Maria Xaveria Peruchona (ca.1652 -after 1709) belonged to a religious organization called Collegio di Sant'Orsola (later called Ursulines), which attracted large numbers of women in the 17th and 18th centuries. Her name is spelled here as it was in her only publication, but her parents' names were found as Carlo and Margarita Parruchono in the visitation records in the diocese of Novara. Lazaro Agostino Cotta, in his Museo Novares (1872), says that she was sixteen when she joined the Collegio di Sant'Orsola in Galliate, and that she studied with Francesco Beria and Antonio Grosso.

According to Cotta, Peruchona was a fine singer, and well taught in playing (organ?) and singing. Although visitation reports of 1678, 1690, and 1709 mention her presence, they do not speak of her music further. In 1678 she was reported to be in poor health. In the visitation report of that same year, six members of the Collegio were noted as being familiar with polyphonic music (including Maria Xaveria Peruchona).3

In 1675, Francesco Vigone in Milan published Peruchona's only volume of music, Sacri concerti de motetti a una, due, tre, e quattro voci, parte con violini, e parte senza. It was dedicated to Donna Anna Cattarina della Cerdi, wife of the governor of Novara, of whom she remarked in the Preface that as rulers of Novara, the dedicatee and her husband had provided "the blessed Government, by which your Grand Consort and Your Excellency make certain that my happy country enjoys an age of gold in this century of iron." Anna Cattarina had apparently also been a generous patroness of Sant'Orsola.

The following works ar on Leonarda CD LE346. Motet Ad gaudia, ad jubila (soprano, 2 violins, organ continuo), audio samples mp3a and mp3b; Motet Solvite, Solvite (soprano, 2 violins, organ continuo), audio samples  mp3c and  mp3d; Anthem Regina Caeli (soprano, alto, tenor, organ continuo), audio sample mp3e.

Alessandro Piccinini (1566-ca.1638) wrote two books of music in tabulature for the archlute and the chitarrone. He had instruments constructed from his own designs. The Toccata XI and Corrente XI come from Itavolatura di Liuto et di Chitarrone, Libro Primo, published in Bologna in 1623. The book is dedicated Alla Serenissima Prencipessa [sic], l'infante di Spaga DONNA ISABELLA, Archiduchessa d'Austria. Piccinini's "lute" is an instrument with thirteen courses known from other sources as arciliuto. Toccata XI and Corrente XI (solo archlute) are on Leonarda CD #LE350.

Poldowski (Irene Wieniawska Paul) (1880-1932) was born in Brussels of an Irish mother. Her father, who died before she was born, was the famous Polish violinist/composer Henryk Wieniawski. Because of her gender and the fame of her father, she opted for a pseudonym. Irene studied in Brussels, England, and in Paris with d'Indy. She was always restless and dissatisfied under any scholastic influence, however, and her most important study was undertaken alone when she returned to England, forming her own style by studying works she liked. Her oeuvre includes 29 or more songs, an operetta, a work for piano and orchestra, two works for orchestra, a woodwind suite, eleven pieces for piano, and two violin/piano pieces. A number of other pieces remain in manuscript.
Berceuse d'Amorique (voice and piano) is on Leonarda CD #LE338.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) Le goût du malheur from Les Soirées de Nazelles (solo piano), audio sample mp3 (:30) from Leonarda CD #LE344.

Florence Smith Price (1887-1953) began her studies in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, and was performing in public by the age of four. By age 11 had published one of her own compositions. She entered Boston's New England Conservatory of Music in 1903, and in 1906 completed her degree in organ performance and piano pedagogy, returning to Little Rock to teach at the Cotton Plant Arkadelphia Academy. After further teaching at Shorter College and Clark University, she settled in Little Rock, where she taught and composed. In 1926 the Prices moved to Chicago due to increasing racial violence in Little Rock. Price's Symphony in E Minor won the Rodman Wanamaker Contest in 1932, attracting the attention of Frederick Stock, conductor of the Chicago Symphony, who conducted it at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933. Her orchestral works were subsequently performed in Manchester, England (a commission from conductor Sir John Barbirolli); Detroit; Pittsburgh; and Brooklyn. 

Price ranks as one of the pioneer black symphonists, along with William Grant Still and William Dawson. Her works reflect the influence of Dvorák, the Bohemian nationalist composer who urged American composers to make use of their own native music, particularly Negro folk songs and spirituals. Price's works reflect the influence of Dvorák, the Bohemian nationalist composer who urged American composers to make use of their own native music, particularly Negro folk songs and spirituals. Fantasie Negré is dedicated "To my talented little friend, Margaret A. Bonds." Composed in 1929, it is her first ambitious work for piano, and combines Negro melodic and rhythmic idioms with classical European forms and techniques, presenting ternary and variation forms in florid fantasia-style. The theme is the spiritual, Sinner, Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass. Fantasie Negré (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Sergei Prokofiev(1891-1953) was born in the Ukraine. His mother, a well-educated woman, was the most important influence on his early musical development. He often lay awake in bed at night listening to her play works by Beethoven, Anton Rubinstein, Chopin, Liszt and others. By age five, he had written his first piece. His mother let him discover music on his own, and did not give him formal piano lessons until he was 7. After hearing two operas on a family trip in 1901, he wrote the libretto and music for an opera of his own, "staging" a production of the work with family members and friends. Recognizing his exceptional talent, and leaving Sergei's father behind, mother and son moved to St. Petersburg when Sergei was 13 so he could pursue further studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1904-1914). His music was in many ways much more advanced than that of his teachers, and he gained the nickname "enfant terrible" at the conservatory, a name he actually enjoyed.

Prokofiev traveled widely, spending many years in London and Paris, and toured the United States five times. His music was both reviled and triumphed in the musical press of the time, and he received many scathing reviews, often even as audiences embraced his music. He returned to his homeland permanently in 1936. Like other great composers, he mastered a wide range of musical genres, including symphonies, concerti, film music, operas, ballets, and program pieces. In his time, his works were considered both ultra-modern and innovative. Referred to as Humerous Scherzo for Four Bassoons or just Scherzo for Four Bassoons, Op. 12 bis, this piece is based on the ninth work from Ten Pieces for Piano, Op 12, written between 1906 and 1913. Prokofiev wrote this arrangement in 1915. (These Prokofiev notes were condensed and edited from extensive biographical materials at www.prokofiev.org. Used by permission.) Sergei Prokofieff, Prokofiev. Humorous Scherzo for Four Bassoons,Op. 12 bis. Audio sample
mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE348.


Links to alphabetical list of composers
Bios and links to their recordings at this site

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