Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (ML 100-109)


Biographical Dictionaries (ML 105-107, 385)

Ashbee, Andrew, David Lasocki, Peter Holman, and Fiona Kisby, comps. A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians, 1485-1714, 2 vols.

Baker, Theodore. The Concise Edition of Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed.

Berry, Lemuel. Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators.

Blume Friedrich, ed. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik, 2d ed.

Bomberger, E. Douglas, ed. Brainard’s Biographies of American Musicians.

Chilton, John. Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street.

Claghorn, Charles E. Biographical Dictionary of Jazz.

Claghorn, Gene. Women Composers and Hymnists: A Concise Biographical Dictionary.

Claghorn, Gene. Women Composers and Songwriters: A Concise Biographical Dictionary.

Clifford, Mike. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Black Music.

Cohen, Aaron I. International Encyclopedia of Women Composers.

DuPree, Mary. Musical Americans: A Bibliographical Dictionary, 1918-1926.

Gerber, Ernst Ludwig, Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1790-1792) und Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1812-1814), 4 vols.

Grattan, Virginia L. American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary.

Hardy, Phil, and Dave Laing. The Da Capo Companion to 20th Century Popular Music.

Harrison, Nigel. Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary with Discographies.

Hennessee, Don A., and Don L. Hixon. Women in Music: A Biobibliography.

Hennessee, Don A., and Don L. Hixon. Women in Music: An Encyclopedic Biobibliography, 2d ed., 2 vols.

Hettinger, Sharon L. American Organ Music of the Twentieth Century: An Annotated Bibliography of Composers.

Ho, Allan, and Dmitry Feofanov, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Russian/Soviet Composers.

Morton, Brian, and Pamela Collins, eds.  Contemporary Composers.

Parish, James Robert, and Michael R. Pitts. Hollywood Songsters: A Biographical Dictionary.

Randel, Don Michael, ed. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music.

Sadie, Julia Anne, and Rhian Samuel, ed. The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers.

Southern, Eileen. Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians.

Vodarsky-Shiraeff, Alexandria, comp. Russian Composers and Musicians: A Biographical Dictionary.

World Biographical Index of Music: Composers, Conductors, Instrumentalists and Singers,


Ashbee, Andrew, David Lasocki, Peter Holman, and Fiona Kisby, comps. A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians, 1485-1714, 2 vols. Aldershot, Brookfield, Singapore, and Sydney: Ashgate, 1998. Mus Ref ML 106 .G7 B56 1998

Use: Purpose to provide biographies of all the musicians and instrument makers employed by the English Court from the beginning of the reign of Henry VII in 1485 to the end of the reign of Queen Anne in 1714.

Coverage: Includes not only the best-known musicians of the period, but also minor figures with little or no prior biographical recognition. Limited to the period 1485-1714 because information prior to this time is sketchy, and music ceased to play an important role in Court life after the death of Queen Anne in 1714.

Organization: Begins with an introduction, a list of abbreviations used, a list of bibliographic codes, and a list of names for finding variant spellings. Entries are organized alphabetically by name. The heading of each entry includes the musician’s name, years of birth and death when known, and Court appointment. Other information presented chronologically in paragraph form includes probate records; names of parents, wives, children, and spouses of children; heraldry; locations of where to find signatures and other autographs; book subscriptions; references to lists of music; and code references to works listed in the main bibliography. Following the biographical entries is a section entitled “The Succession of Places of Court Musicians.” This section lists names of musicians for each court appointment in chronological order. The catalog also includes family tree diagrams showing the connections between court musicians, and an index of subjects and places.

Pros: Useful as a comprehensive guide to court musicians of the period. Relatively more attention is given to minor figures and those new to a dictionary entry.

Cons: Entries for major figures who already have extended biographies relate only the main facts.

LS


Baker, Theodore. The Concise Edition of Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 8th ed. Edited by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994. Mus Ref ML 105 .B16 1994

Uses: Useful for providing concise accurate biographical information on musicians.

Level of detail appropriate for recital program information.

Coverage: Provides concise biographical information and selected information on musicians’ works, discographies, and publications.

Organization: Main body is organized by composer last name. Provides birth and death dates, biographical information, lists of awards and achievements. Major works are also mentioned with completion dates.

Pros: Information is accurate and dates are complete.

Cons: No illustrations included. Bibliographical information included in 7th edition omitted on all entries in present edition.

LP


Berry, Lemuel. Biographical Dictionary of Black Musicians and Music Educators. Guthrie, Okla.: Midwest Publishing Company, 1978. Mus Ref ML 385 .B43 vol 1

Use: Biographical listings on black musicians and music educators, past and present, in America from the late 1800’s to present.

Coverage: Contains biographical sketches of composers, musicians, conductors, educators, singers, instrumentalists, publishers, scholars, directors, music critics, and musicologists who the author felt contributed to the movement of Black music in the United States.

Organization: Entries are listed alphabetically by last name. Entries include name, place of birth/death, dates of first performances, major compositions, arrangements, honors, awards, publications, memorable dates, recordings, educational training, and educational experiences. There are also 16 Appendices with entries organized alphabetically: College Choirs, Conductors, Professional Choirs, Community Choirs, Directors, Gospel Organizations, Minstrel Companies, Music Organizations, Music Publishers, Music Schools, Operas, Orchestras, Vaudeville and Musical Shows, Clubs, and Steamship Liners.

Pros: Appendices cover several different topics and contain information difficult to obtain elsewhere.

Cons: Biographies are extremely brief. Typography contains many abbreviated forms of words that are unclear.

MH


Blume Friedrich, ed. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik, 2d ed. Personenteil, Bände 10-13, ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel; New York: Bärenreiter, 1994-1997. Mus Ref ML 100 .M92 1994 Bd.10-13

Use: Good source for short biographical sketches of musicians, their written works, and references to articles and books about them

Coverage: This encyclopedia is divided into two parts: part one, volumes 1-9, which covers subjects (Sachteil), and part two, volume 10 on, which covers biographies (Personenteil) of all influential musicians worldwide, from the beginning of written music history until 1994. Volume 10 catalogs musicians whose last names start with letters Aa - Bae. Volume 11 catalogs Bag – Bi. Volume 12 catalogs Bj – Cal. Volume 13 catalogs Cam – Cou. Only in German.

Organization: This part of the encyclopedia is organized in sections alphabetically by musicians’ last name. Each section covers a letter in the alphabet (in this volume there are only two sections, A and B). In the front is a list of authors, abbreviations, and abbreviations of libraries throughout the world that are used in the book. Each heading includes a short biography, list of works, and list of works about the musician and/or his works.

Pros: concise biographical sketches, listing of musicians comprehensive

Cons: Typography is small, but readable. Work in progress – not all volumes available, thus not all composers are represented yet.

N. B. This review only covers the Personenteil (biographies). For a review of the Sachteil (subjects) see Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—General Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Finscher, Ludwig, ed. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopädie derMusik, 2d ed., Sachteil.

AU/MP


Bomberger, E. Douglas, ed. Brainard’s Biographies of American Musicians. Music Reference Collection, no. 79. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. Mus Ref ML 106.U3 B72 1999

Use: This book would be useful for anyone researching philosophy of music in 19th-century America, and especially the growing rift between classical and popular music. Also an important resource on the lives of prominent as well as obscure musicians from the era between the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War I.

Coverage: This book is based on a series of biographical articles found in the journal Brainard’s Musical World during the years 1877-1889. They were likely written by Karl Merz, a German-American musician and teacher who edited the journal from 1873-1890. With a strong emphasis on American music, biographies can be found on anyone who lived in America and contributed to American musical life. However, composers or performers who lived in America during this time period may be included even if they are not considered American or did not contribute anything at any other time to American musical life. All the biographies are of people living during the time the articles were written, from all areas of musical life. They include composers, conductors, singers, instrumentalists, writers, critics, and educators. Many females are included, immigrants are included (the author was an immigrant and very supportive of other immigrants and their contributions), and classical artists as well as writers of popular songs are included. Excluded, however, are any Native-American or African-American musicians.

Organization: All the entries are ordered alphabetically by the name of the person, but with the series number and date of publication preceeding the name. Included are the subject’s place and date of birth and death, when available, and corrected if erroneous in the original article. The editor of the book has included references to additional sources, particularly for works and people not known today, and footnotes with explanations of phrases which may have been obvious in the 19th century but which are obscure today.

Pros: The editor has made a great effort to keep the charm of the way the original articles were written. Since the original journal was the most widely circulated by far of any other journal of its kind in its day, it gives a good picture of some of the biases prevalent in musical taste of the day. This may prove helpful for some researchers, particularly if one is looking for classical or “genteel parlor song” popular music or musicians. This is great for learning about personal lives of the artists, but may not include some factual information for a more in-depth study of these people. A final bonus is that since this book includes articles on many obscure people, it has articles on many, particularly singers, for whom no other information can be found, making it, though biased, a very important resource for research on musicians of that era.

Cons: If one is looking for music or musicians from the time who have any type of jazz or Native-American influence this is not the book to use. There is also a bias in the writing of the articles to suit the readers of the time period; so, because Merz thought his readers would like a lighter view of the people he writes about, the bulk of his articles are about anecdotes about their personal and professional lives.

RL


Chilton, John. Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street. With a foreword by Johnny Simmen. London: The Bloomsbury Book Shop, 1970. Mus Ref ML 106 .U3C5

Use: Brief biographies of over 1,000 early jazz musicians. Useful in finding more about jazz musician life in the 1920s and 30s.

Coverage: All of the entries are of musicians born before 1920, which can cover up to 1970.

Organization: Alphabetical. Entries include a brief description of life, surroundings, careers, accomplishments, and primary instruments, when they purchased their1st instrument, when they played their first gig etc., some pictures, and mention biographies available. Longer entries on more prevalent artists. Cross references in each entry are in FULL CAPS.

Pros: Classic photos included.

Cons: Outdated. Not in depth.

DA/MHe


Claghorn, Charles E. Biographical Dictionary of Jazz. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1982. Mus Ref ML 390 .C59 1982

Use: Biographical dictionary of jazz performers and jazz ensembles featuring the careers of musicians and histories of prominent jazz ensembles. Provides brief insight to many jazz performer’s lives and musical carrers.

Coverage: Focuses on jazz musician and ensembles from 1920 to 1980. Strictly biographical.

Organization: Standard dictionary format. Brief objective biographical information followed by a list of ensembles or other recording artists with which the musician played. Each selection includes some quotes about the musicians by colleagues.

Pros: Extensive coverage. All prominent jazz ensembles covered.

Cons: Only covers up to 1980.

DA


Claghorn, Gene. Women Composers and Hymnists: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J. and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1984. Mus Ref ML 385 .C58 1984

Use: A concise biographical dictionary of women hymnists and composers of church and sacred music. Students, pastors, priests, church organists and choir directors will be interested in this book, as well as all people seeking musical biographies. Most importantly, the author indicates that this book contains “hard-to-find reference material for libraries.”

Coverage: First and only comprehensive biographical dictionary of women hymnists and composers of church and sacred music covering all leading Protestant denominations, many Roman Catholics and a few Jewish hymnists. Biographies of 155 women composers and 600 hymnists from the 12th century to the 20th century, until 1983. Most of the women included were born in the British Isles, Canada, Ireland, Germany and the United States. A few were born in France, Italy, the Scandinavian countries and other nations.

Organization: Composers and hymnists are listed alphabetically. Biographies are brief and include birth and death dates, works composed and other information drawn from newspaper obituaries, church and cemetery records, and personal letters from the composers and hymnists, or their children. A short bibliography contains related works.

Pros: This is the first and only book of its kind.

AN


Claghorn, Gene. Women Composers and Songwriters: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Lanham, Md. and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1996. Mus Ref ML 105 .C593 1996

Use: Concise biographies of women composers and authors. Oriented to any musically inclined reader.

Coverage: Includes women composers of symphonies, instrumental and choral works, chamber music, blues, jazz, heavy metal, rock ‘n’ roll, hard rock, soul, country/western songs, hymnists and composers of church music. Covers authors and composers dedicated also to education, the arts, journalism, and social work. Information covers 19th and 20th centuries up to 1996. A larger and more comprehensive work than its predecessor, Women Composers and Hymnists.

Organization: Composer and author entries are organized alphabetically by last name. Relatively general information included; not detailed.

Pros: A variety of genres included.

Cons: Not an extensive list of literature by the composers and authors. Authors are not separated from composers.

AN


Clifford, Mike. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Black Music. New York: Harmony Books, 1982. Mus Ref ML 106 .U3 G54

Use: Biographies and pictures of Afro-American popular music artists in America in the 20th century.

Coverage: Contains photos and biographies of the most influential black popular music artists from the 1940’s to the 1980’s.

Organization: Entries are divided into sections by decade: 40’s & 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Sections contain a brief overview of the history of that decade followed by entries listed alphabetically by last name of artist. Entries contain name of artist, biography, photos, and discography.

Pros: Pictures are entertaining to look at. History overview at the beginning of each section is useful for cultural research.

Cons: No annotations for published works.

MH


Cohen, Aaron I. International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. N.Y.: R.R. Bowker Company, 1981. Mus Ref ML 105 .C7 1987 vol. 1

Use: An international biographical encyclopedia of women composers from ancient times to the present. A small section describes notable facts in a few short sentences; valuable to anyone who is looking for quick, brief information about women composers.

Coverage: Major women composers within the 20th century. Composers included are known to have composed at least one work of serious instrumental music. Popular songwriters excluded. International coverage elicited directly from the specific country, with the exception of U.S.S.R. Two-thirds of the composers included were living when the book was published and one-third are from the United States. Spans from ca. 2450 B.C. to 1981.

Organization: Contains 5,000 women composers from nearly 70 countries, with complete biographies of 3,700 composers. Arranged alphabetically by composer, with cross-references from variant names--such as pseudonyms and maiden names--to the main entry. Each entry includes biographical information, compositions, publications, and bibliography. Photographs of composers appear alphabetically by name following the biographies section. Appendix 1, Composers by Country and Century, lists composers alphabetically by country and, within each country, chronologically by century. Appendix 2, Information Wanted, lists women composers about whom little or nothing is known. Also included are reference, complete bibliography, and further reading sections.

Pros: Whenever possible, composers themselves were contacted for correct and current information.

Cons: Not helpful for information on women composers of the last two decades of the 20th century. Very small print.

AN


DuPree, Mary. Musical Americans: A Bibliographical Dictionary, 1918-1926. Berkeley, Ca: Fallen Leaf Press, 1997. Mus Ref ML 106 .U3 D86 1997

Uses: Presents significant dates, major works of most American musicians. Most useful for historiographical value. Useful for comparing musicians within a specific year. Also provides information useful for locating dates of music establishments.

Coverage: These 414 biographies were originally published as weekly articles in the “Cont- emporary American Musicians” series in the music magazine Musical America from Feb. 1918 to Jan. 1926. They represent a wide range of performers, teachers, composers, and scholars born between 1850 and 1906 whom the magazine editor, John Freund, considered to be of national stature during eight years. Subjects are mainly American-born, with the exception of a few Canadians and some foreign-born residents living permanently in the U.S., and primarily working in the eastern United States.

Organization: Alphabetical listing of musicians with short biographical information. General index can be searched by keyword, composer, occupation, or musical works. Contains cross-referencing within. Useful date of article and biography indexes provided for locating year first, then composer. Musician birthdate directory also included.

Pros: The biographies show how these musicians felt about their work, as they are based on a questionnaire filled out by the biographees themselves. A picture of the more “cultivated” and high-minded musical life is depicted, as only those who were truly thought to be important by the magazine editor at the time are profiled. Additionally, many women in music are included, thus providing information on how they viewed their work and their place in music.

Cons: These subjects were chosen by the editor for a focused magazine, so his tastes and biases and the scope of the magazine (all laid out in the introduction) need to be taken into account when evaluating the accuracy of the picture of American musical life this volume represents.
In particular, Jazz musicians, although retrospectively significant, are almost completely left out of these biographies.

LP/CK


Gerber, Ernst Ludwig, Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1790-1792) und Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1812-1814), 4 vols. Edited by Othmar Wessely. Graz: Akademische Druck-Verlagsanstalt, 1966-77. Mus Ref ML 105 .G38

Uses: Identify biographical information on German musicians and composers from 1790 and 1812. Use as a contemporary/period commentary on listed individuals.

Coverage: In German. Composers and musicians (considered important in Germany at time of publication) up to 1812.

Organization: Facsimile reproduction of 2 versions of a German biographical dictionary. Lengthy forward by Gerber, with annotative markings in the main body of the work. Index of individuals reference. Composer index.

Cons: Facsimile reproduction of old fonts makes reading difficult. No pictures or plates.

JI


Grattan, Virginia L. American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, Conn. and London: Greenwood Press, 1993. Mus Ref ML 106 .U3 G73 1993

Use: Basic biographical information on key American women who have written popular songs.

Coverage: Limited to native-born American women. Specific types of music covered are pop rock, motion pictures, musicals, blues, jazz, folk, country, early music, hymns and gospel. Current to 1992. Includes well-known singers, vaudeville and musical performers and early classical blues singers as long as they also wrote songs.

Organization: Divided into ten chapters with the following titles: Pop Rock, Motion Pictures, Musicals, Blues, Jazz, Folk, Country, Early Women Songwriters, Hymns, and Gospel. Chapter introductions are added to provide a brief historical background for each type of music. Songwriters within are listed alphabetically. Biographies are concise, discussing key points of the songwriters life and career. Sources are included at the end of each entry. A name in bold type indicates that there is a biographical sketch of that person elsewhere in the book, which can be located by referring to the General Index. Women who worked in more than one field are profiled in the area where they did the majority of their work. A Bibliography, General Index, and Song Index are included at the back.

Pros: All types of music are included.

Cons: Not extensive listings of songwriters in the areas of Motion Picture, Jazz, Folk, and Gospel.

AN


Hardy, Phil, and Dave Laing. The Da Capo Companion to 20th Century Popular Music. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995. Mus Ref ML 105 .H37 1995

Use: Useful for finding information on popular recording artists such as singers, songwriters, bandleaders, instrumentalists, vocal groups, and significant behind-the-scenes figures of the twentieth-century.

Coverage: Contains profiles of nearly 2,000 recording artists in many different genres including Broadway musicals, jazz, country, rock ’n’ roll, and the blues.

Organization: Alphabetically organized by the group, composer, singer, etc. Each profile provides information on single recordings, album titles, films, and shows. Each million-seller song is indicated by an asterisks. This source also includes a glossary of styles and genres, an index of entries and cross-references and an index of names, songs and album titles for more efficient searching.

Pros: This is a revised and updated edition (1995).

Cons: Only Anglo-American pop music. Limited artist information from Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Only a fraction of all recorded music listed.

RH


Harrison, Nigel. Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary with Discographies. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company, 1998. Mus Ref ML 102.06 M35 1998

Use: Intended for popular music lovers and songwriters seeking information and songs of successful songwriters.

Coverage: Over 1000 composers and lyricists of popular songs of the 19th and 20th centuries. The musical genres featured range from early rock and pop to present. This book provides biographical information and a catalogue of each writer’s albums and CDs, as well as all compositions that attained a ranking on British or American charts. Most of the entries are of British, American, or Canadian songwriters, with a few other Nationalities. To be included, the songwriters must have been either commercially or critically successful.

Organization: Arranged alphabetically by last name, except where the songwriter is best known by a single name or a nick name. Each entry beings with the name of the song writer, followed by the birth name if different, principal musical genre, the main musical instruments played, a short biography, and a list of British and American chart compositions. Following this is a listing of each album or CD with recording and publisher information. Last is an extensive index.

Pros: Extensive list of songwriters and good information about each one.

CA


Hennessee, Don A., and Don L. Hixon. Women in Music: A Biobibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1975. ML 105 .H6 (STACKS not in REFERENCE)

Use: An index to the biographies of women musicians of classical music of all periods and countries. A brief-identification type of biographical dictionary.

Coverage: Only classical musicians have been included. Popular performers, jazz musicians, cabaret performers, and others whose chief interest and expertise lie exclusively within the realm of popular music, have been omitted. Only major musicians found in a representative selection of significant music dictionaries and encyclopedias are included.

Organization: Organized alphabetically. Each entry consists of the musician’s name, place and date of birth and death, field(s) of musical activity or specialization, coded list of sources in which biographies may be found, an asterisk preceding the source code if an illustration is included. Following the biobibliography is a Classified List of Women Musicians with the corresponding page numbers where each subject can be found. A varied list includes accompanists, actresses, editors, piano teachers, harmonica players, lutenists, manages, music historians and writers on music. This is not an index, but merely a list the women involved in these fields.

Pros: Brief-identification biographical dictionary.

Cons: Limited to classical music.

AN


Hennessee, Don A., and Don L. Hixon. Women in Music: An Encyclopedic Biobibliography, 2d ed., 2 vols. Metuchen, N.J. and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993. Mus Ref ML 105 .H6 1993 vols. 1-2

Use: An index to the biographies of women musicians of all periods and countries. Can stand by itself as a brief-identification biographical dictionary.

Coverage: Each individual is female, a musician, and must be included in at least one of the various reference sources indexed in the dictionary. The designation musician is considered broadly, including music therapists, folklorists, librettists, etc. Dancers and actresses are included if they are known also by activities in fields more closely allied with music (if they are also composers, instrumentalists, music educators, etc.) Most effort directed toward “classical” music; however, jazz, cabaret musicians, and performers in musical comedies have been included.

Organization: Two volumes. The first volume begins an alphabetically-arranged index to the biographies of women musicians appearing in the biographical sources identified in the Sources Indexed section. The second volume continues the alphabetical listing (beginning with T) and also provides a genre-oriented, classified list of musicians from each volume. These are grouped under headings such as Sopranos, Ethnomusicologists, and the like. Each entry consists of the musician’s name, place and date of birth and death, field(s) of musical specialization or activity, coded list of sources, and an asterisk if there is an illustration of the musician. An Addendum at the end of volume two updates death dates of many composers.

Pros: This is much more comprehensive than the first edition of this title published in 1975. Entries are concise and brief.

AN


Hettinger, Sharon L. American Organ Music of the Twentieth Century: An Annotated Bibliography of Composers. Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography, ed. by J. Bunker and Marilyn S. Clark, no. 77. Warren, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 1997. Mus Ref ML 106 .U3 H47

Use: Preliminary research of twentieth century American organists. Intended to fill the gap in Corliss Arnold’s Organ literature: A Comprehensive Survey (list of works by title only), and Music Index (not annotated) listing of works; intended to be used with the Corliss Arnold book.

Coverage: Focus on American Organ Composers of the twentieth century. Mainly biographical, no listings of works.

Organization: Chronological by birth (1900-1993). Entries include brief biography, list of sources that discuss general compositional trends, and an annotated bibliography on relevant articles. Contains a comprehensive index.

Pros: Both biographical and bibliographical. When no articles are available on specific works, articles discussing the overall compositional style/approach of the composer are included.

CW


Ho, Allan, and Dmitry Feofanov, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Russian/Soviet Composers. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989. Mus Ref ML 106 .S68 B56 1989

Use: A comprehensive single-volume reference on Russian and Soviet composers

Coverage: Includes composers born in Russia or the USSR and its various republics. Several Russian émigres whose names are more often and more closely associated with other nations are included, as are several foreign-born composers who settled in Russia and exerted a significant influence on Russian music. Also includes many figures better known for their achievements in areas other than composition.

Organization: Entries listed alphabetically by composer surname. Entries contain a biographical sketch, bibliography, and selective work-list with discography. There are two appendices at the back of the book: Appendix I: A Supplementary List of Composers. Includes the names and dates of about 1,300 other composers active in Russian/Soviet music, as well as brief discographies and bibliographies. Appendix II: Discography. Provides label names and numbers for recordings assigned a D# in the main body and in Appendix I. Does not list performers.

Pros: Very comprehensive: more than half of the composers included in this source do not appear in other English-language references. “Entries on better known figures attempt to summarize current scholarship, offer new insights, and complement corresponding articles in other standard sources.” Student-teacher relationships are carefully documented.

RC


Morton, Brian, and Pamela Collins, eds.  Contemporary Composers.  With a preface by Brian Ferneyhough.  Chicago: St. James Press, 1992.  Mus Ref ML 105 .C75x 1992        

Use:  “Directory” to aid in learning of and/or contacting a broad spectrum of contemporary composers.

Coverage:  600 working composers. Covers a broad range of living contemporary composers from all over the world. Age ranges from composers 90 years of age to ones 20 years of age. Criteria based on 1) expert advisory panel and 2) composers for whom detailed biographical information is available.

Organization:  Entries consist of three main sections: 1) a brief biography containing details of birth, education, awards, contact address, music publisher, etc., 2) a list of works, usually, but not always comprehensive, and 3) a short assessive article which attempts to locate each composer within contemporary styles and movements.  Fairly extensive articles about each composer.  Entries also include selective bibliographies and discographies.

Pros: Appendix includes a list of the main international publishers with directory information for national music information centers, composers’ organizations, and other groups.

Cons: Contains only 500 out of approx. 20,000 worldwide composers.

BE/JN


Parish, James Robert, and Michael R. Pitts. Hollywood Songsters: A Biographical Dictionary. In Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 1164. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1991. Mus Ref ML 400 .P295 1991

Use: Provides brief bibliographical sketches of performers that had success as singers and as movie stars.

Coverage: As indicated in the author's note, this source covers over 100 performers that have been famous since the introduction of cinematic sound in 1920 and who had an impact in the media. Attempts to cover a variety of personalities.

Organization: Dictionary proceeded by author's note, key to abbreviations, acknowledgments, and a table of contents. Dictionary organized alphabetically by singer. Entries are lengthy prose biographies that include information on singers' childhoods, entries into careers, marriages, career ups and downs and often include a picture. Each entry concludes with a filmography, Broadway plays, TV series, Albums and radio series.

EP


Randel, Don Michael, ed. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, Mass. and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996. Mus Ref ML 105 .H38 1996

Uses: Obtain general information for major composers and music performers. Identify bibliographical sources for said composers and performers.

Coverage: Recently published. Includes entries on many living active individuals. Includes entries for traditional western music figures, as well as important jazz and popular musicians. Sporadic illustrations and photographs.

Organization: Synopsis biography, contribution to music, listing of works, bibliographical information.

Pros: Relatively current. Lengthy articles about each musician featured, including living musicians. Concise (one volume).

Cons: Only cursory articles for all but most important figures. Less scholarly.

JI/BE


Sadie, Julia Anne, and Rhian Samuel, ed. The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. N.Y. and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995. Mus Ref ML 105 .N67x 1995

Use: A dictionary of women composers related to the 20-volume New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Coverage: Composers from 17th to early 20th century from any country. Cut-off date in general is 1955. There is no rigid policy of entering a woman under her maiden name in preference to her married name; the traditional New Grove policy is followed by placing an entry where most people are likely to seek it first.

Organization: A Chronology lists important happenings in the realm of women composers from 7th century BC to 1994. This is followed by Abbreviations information, Library Sigla, and Editorial Conventions in the Dictionary. Composers are arranged alphabetically in the Dictionary. Each entry includes birth and death dates and places, biographical information, works, bibliography, and occasional illustrations and photographs. The last sections of the book are Illustration Acknowledgments, List of Contributors, and Index.

Pros: Entries and information within are organized for easy identification.

AN


Southern, Eileen. Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982. Mus Ref ML 105 .S67 1982

Use: Provides biographies of 1500 musicians of African descent, living and dead.

Coverage: Contains biographies of Black Musicians that the author felt played a significant role in the history of black music and western music in general. Includes artists, patrons, concert promoters, and critics.

Organization: Organized by last name of artist/patron. Entries contain name, musical occupation, dates and place of birth/death, details of career, selected bibliography, and discography.

Pros: Contains references of people all the way back to 1642 (Sebastian Rodriquez) as well as non-musician people who influenced black music.

Cons: Entries are brief and biographies are not detailed.

MH


Vodarsky-Shiraeff, Alexandria, comp. Russian Composers and Musicians: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1940. Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. Mus Ref ML 106 .R8 V6 1969b

Use: Provides essential biographical data of major and minor Russian composers. Useful especially for finding information on lesser-known composers. Intended for performers, scholars and teachers dealing with music of Russian composers.

Coverage: Russian composers of classical genres from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Organization: Arranged alphabetically by composer. Entries include brief biographies (an equal amount of information given for lesser-known and well-known composers), and bibliographies to find works lists of more major composers. Some works are listed in the entries. A full bibliography is included at the end of the book.

Pros: Phonetic pronunciation for Russian names is given. Includes cross references and spelling variations.

Cons: Out of date for current usage. Full works lists not given.

LK


World Biographical Index of Music: Composers, Conductors, Instrumentalists and Singers, 2 vols. With an introduction by Kurt Dorfmüller. München: K G Saur, 1995.  Mus Ref ML 105 .I57 1995

Uses: Alphabetical listing of composers, conductors, instrumentalists and singers. Useful for biographical as well as historical research.

Coverage: 1500-1910. Includes approximately 60,000 entries compiled from the following Biographical Archives: American Biographical Archive, Archives Biographiques Françaises, Archivio Biografico Italiano, Archivo Biografico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica, British Biographical Archive, Deutsches Biographisches Archiv.

Organization: The main body is an alphabetical listing of composers, conductors, instrumentalists and singers, providing birth and death dates, respective professions in music, as well as Biographical Archive code and microfiche numbers. In addition, there is a “Notes on Use” section, a list of sources, as well as a name index according to archives.

Pros: Directs users to a substantial amount of biographical information accessible through microfilm. Includes English introduction as well as “Notes on Use.” Includes many but not all well known reference works.

Cons: Only current through 1910.

Notes: A CD-ROM version is forthcoming.

EB