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Classical Composers (J-K)

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



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Julie Kabat (b.1947) composer and concert artist, has performed her music throughout the U.S., Canada and Japan. She has composed vocal, choral and chamber music as well as music for the theater, including a Samuel Beckett play presented by NOHO Theater Company in Japan and music for the Circle Repertory Theatre Company in New York.

In finding her own voice, Kabat has developed an individual style of singing, often in a language without words that brings us close to the world of dreams. She often accompanies her voice with an unusual array of homemade and ethnic musical instruments such as glass harmonium, musical saw and percussion. Her many one-woman performance art pieces combine music, theater, poetry and puppetry. For instance, Child and the Moon-Tree is a one-act opera for voice and computerized synthesizers with costumes and stylized choreography inspired by her studies of Noh Theater in Japan.

Kabat has composed many site-specific works, including a series of pieces that celebrate the earth and a sense of place, such as Navajo Mountain Song created with children on the Navajo Reservation and the Wild Sound Symphony for the Adirondack Park. Since the late 1970's, Ms. Kabat has worked as a teaching artist at the cutting edge of arts in education. As a composer in the classroom, she focuses on the intersection of music and language, helping students read and write poems and stories that they set to music, so that everyone gets the chance to improvise and perform.

Ms. Kabat is Executive and Artistic Director of Concerted Effort, a nonprofit organization devoted to arts in education. With dancer Susan Griss, she co-directs the Arts and Curriculum Institute at Skidmore College (ACI), which offers professional development for elementary school teachers on how to use music, poetry and dance to teach children to read and write. She began studying music composition at age eleven with a professor at Brown University and went on to study with Hall Overton and Jacob Druckman, among others. Ms. Kabat earned a B.A. in philosophy (phi beta kappa) at Brandeis University. On Edge (voice, African drums, congas and piano);  A Mi Hija (voice and saw); and Kalimba Alight (voice and kalimba) are on Leonarda cassette #LE319cs.

Five Poems by H.D. consists of The Moon in Your Hands (spoken voice, violin, glass harmonium, audio sample mp3); Evadne (spoken voice, saw, audio sample mp3);. Oread (spoken voice, violin, glass harmonium, audio sample mp3); Fragment 113 (spoken voice, saw, audio sample mp3); and The Helmsman (voice glass harmonium and violin, audio sample mp3). Invocation in Centrifugal Form (pitched and spoken voice, glass harmonium, audio sample mp3. Both works are on Leonarda CD #LE350.

Hansjoachim Kaps (1942-2004) studied at the Municipal Conservatorium and taught at the College of Education and the University of Arts in Berlin. He was artistic director of the Berlin Guitar Ensemble, giving concerts and making recordings with them as conductor and guitarist. He also taught guitar privately. In addition to composing, he edited many compositions and guitar studies and is widely published. Impressionen (clarinet, guitar), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE356.

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (ca.1580-1651) was called "Giovanni Girolamo tedesco della tiorba" (the German of the theorbo) and also nobile alemanne (German nobleman). Kapsperger was born in Germany but came to pursue his career as a composer, theorist and lutenist in Italy: first in Venice and then, from 1610 on, in Rome, where he was in the service of Antonio Barbarini. In addition to achieving fame as a virtuoso of the theorbo, chitarrone and lute, he published four books of villanelle, two books of arie passeggiate and several books with solo music for lute and chitarrone, of which the toccatas are most remarkable. Figlio dormi comes from Libro secondo di Villanella a 1, 2 et 3 voci con l'Alfabeto per la Chitarra Spagnola, published in Rome in 1619. The alphabet referred to is a shorthand system for chords on the guitar. Due to the energetic nature of the strummed baroque guitar, we have accompanied this simple strophic lullaby with the lute instead. Figlio dormi (soprano, lute, viola da gamba), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE350.

Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) When Siegfried Theodor Karg, the youngest of 12 children, was born in Oberndorf am Neckar (Germany) in 1877, his father was already in poor health and having difficulty supporting the family. When his father died in 1889, the family was destitute, and Siegfried's sister Anna, who was ten years older, took over the family's financial responsibilities. An old square piano was given to Karg's family by a wealthy patron, and Professor Bruno Röthig, cantor of the Johanniskirche, gave Siegfried piano lessons. Siegfried began to compose his first works without any theoretical training. He wrote sacred works for choir, motets, and a Christmas cantata, and so impressed Professor Röthig that the professor programmed a part of Siegfried's choral work.

Although Siegfried visited the Leipzig Conservatory, the church director decided to send him to Grimma to study to be a school teacher. The boy, only fourteen at the time, was distraught and restless. He threw himself into practicing and composing, and learned to play flute, oboe, and clarinet, but because of his poor work at school, he was not allowed to study piano (1893). Leaving Grimma, he abruptly broke contact with his benefactors and set out on his own at the age of sixteen. After two days' walk he found some meager employment in Markranstädt, where he resided for three years. He began to read a wider variety of books, including philosophy, natural science, and music theory.

Becoming disenchanted with his surroundings, he headed on foot to Magdeburg. He soon found work playing oboe, clarinet, and horn, but that did not last long, since he was arrested in Magdeburg and sent back to Markranstädt for trying to change his name to Siegfried von Markranstädt. He was then told to return to Leipzig. In Leipzig, Siegfried earned a living as an orchestral musician and bar pianist. He dressed up with a fake beard and wig in order to remain incognito, since he was studying at the Leipzig Conservatory, and performing dance music was not approved. He studied organ with Homeyer, the Gewandhaus organist; piano with Wendling; and music theory with Salomon Jadassohn and Carl Reinecke.

In 1900, Siegfried's piano concerto was premiered under the auspices of the Leipzig Conservatory. For the next year and a half, Siegfried took part in the composition classes of Robert Teichmüller. In 1902, at the recommendation of the Leipzig Conservatory, he took the position of piano masterclass instructor at the conservatory at Magdeburg, contingent on the director's stipulation that Karg alter his last name to "Karg-Elert" (adding his mother's maiden name). At the age of 25, Karg-Elert became engaged to Maria Oelze, a fine keyboard player. Her father persuaded her to break off the engagement, however, leaving them both miserable. An illegitimate son was born in 1904. Out of spiritual confusion and personal disappointment, Karg-Elert experienced an emotional collapse and lived as a recluse, composing constantly. He also began an intensive study of the Kunstharmonium. During this period he decided to return to Leipzig, leaving his post in Magdeburg.

Karg-Elert made the acquaintance of Edvard Grieg, who encouraged him as a composer, awakened his affinity for classicism, and suggested publishers and performance opportunities. Karg-Elert's compositions took on contrapuntal forms and showed a mastery of polyphonic phrase construction. At Grieg's recommendation, Karg-Elert again changed his name, this time to "Sigfrid." In 1910, Karg-Elert married Minna Louise Kretschmar, but the marriage was not a happy one. In 1912 a son was stillborn, and in 1914 they had a daughter. Karg-Elert was known as a composer in England, America, and Australia prior to the outbreak of the first world war. At war's onset, Karg-Elert enlisted in the 107th infantry regiment. He was placed in the regimental band, playing oboe, horn, saxophone, and even the lyre. In the many concerts presented by the regiment, he was a favorite accompanist and pianist as well. During this time, he wrote many important works for winds, including most of his solo flute repertoire.

At this point, his works were stylistically akin to the music of Webern and Schoenberg, but influenced by Brahms, Franck, Scriabin, and Debussy as well. After what Karg-Elert described as an artistic crisis, his writing took a new direction. He distanced himself more and more from the radical left camp of musical composition in favor of the Impressionists, late Romanticists, and Neo-Classicists, and began putting a "b" after his later opus numbers to distinguish them from his earlier period. Describing his new style, he wrote, "I began again in C major and prayed to the muse of melody." All this time, his life's wish was to become organist at the church at Vorstadt or Heiland, but his some five attempts to secure these positions came to nothing. His association with the Avant-Garde, his improvisatory virtuosity, and his repugnance to authority may have been contributing factors.

In 1930, Karg-Elert took part in a Karg-Elert Festival in London, and a year later he was asked to perform in the USA, where he presented more than twenty organ concerts. He was offered the position of organ teacher at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, but due to his failing health, he declined. Diabetes and neuralgia plagued him more and more. He died on September 4, 1933, and was buried in the Leipzig Südfriedhof. Impressions exotiques, Op. 134 (flute, with double on piccolo, and piano), audio samples mp3 and mp3Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 121 (flute and piano), audio sample mp3Jugend, Op. 139a (flute, clarinet, horn, piano),. audio sample mp3; Suite pointillistique, Op. 135 (flute and piano), audio sample mp3. Leonarda CD #LE335

Lady Killigrew's (17th C.) (England) lovely setting of this John Donne poem appears in English manuscript from the early years of the 17th century. Though her first name is not indicated and thus her exact identity difficult to ascertain, she may be related to Anne Killigrew, a poet and painter who lived just before the Restoration. The unclear identity of Lady Killigrew is a good example of the dilemmas music historians face when researching this material. Sweetest love I do not goe (soprano, lute, bass viola da gamba), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE340.

Betty Jackson King (1928-1994) began music training in Chicago with her mother, Gertrude Jackson Taylor, and sang in the Jacksonian Trio with her mother and sister. She completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University and also studied at the Peabody Conservatory and Westminster Choir College. King taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, Dillard University (New Orleans) and in the public schools in Wildwood, New Jersey. She was active as a choir director in Chicago and at Riverside Church in New York City. From 1979 to 1984, King was President of the National Association of Negro Musicians. Her oratorio, Saul of Tarsus, was widely performed after its premiere in 1952 by Chicago's Imperial Opera Company. She wrote many choral works, art songs, and arrangements of spirituals. King's style is marked by an extended harmonic language, thick massive chord clusters, and simultaneous layers of sound. King's style is marked by an extended harmonic language, thick massive chord clusters, and simultaneous layers of sound. Her more delicate  Spring Intermezzo is from " Four Seasonal Sketches." Spring Intermezzo (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.  

Moravian-born Gideon Klein (1919-1945) went to Prague at the age of eleven to take liberal arts courses at the Jirásek Gymnasium along with intensive private studies in piano. In the fall of 1938, he registered at the Charles University to study philosophy and musicology and simultaneously entered the Master School of the Prague Conservatory, graduating in Piano after only one year. His university studies came to an abrupt end on Nov. 17, when the Nazis closed all institutions of higher learning in the occupied Czech territories. During the following year, Klein pursued the study of composition as a private student of Alois Hába and, at the same time, concertized as much as the circumstances permitted, establishing himself as a pianist of distinction and appearing under the pseudonym Karel Vránek after the imposition of the race laws in Czechoslovakia in 1939. Since Jews were not allowed to perform in public, they held clandestine concerts among themselves, entering buildings not as couples, but one by one so not to arouse suspicion, often staying overnight, since curfews were in place. Klein often performed at these concerts.

Sent to Terezín in December, 1941, Klein quickly became involved in musical life there. At first, he arranged Czech, Slovak, Hebrew, and even Russian folk songs for Schächter's ever expanding choral group. After the original all-male ensemble, Schächter formed a women's chorus, then a mixed choir. In the beginning, the only available "musical instrument" was a pitch pipe. The situation improved when Schächter obtained a broken-down reed organ and a half-broken accordion.

In the beginning, Klein turned his attention to composition. Later on, however, as one, even two broken-down pianos became available, he and most of the other pianists became involved in chamber music, recital accompaniments, operas, oratorios, or other genres. There were no fewer than half a dozen concert pianists who performed frequently in solo recitals and numerous other presentations. Klein was in constant demand as a pianist, arranger and rehearsal accompanist. His exceptional talents, intellect, and charismatic personality affected many of those who knew him.

A number of his pre-war compositions was found some 50 years after the war, and several of his Terezín works were saved by his older sister, Elisa Kleinová, who was a professor of musicology in Prague. Klein died in the camp at Fürstengrube around January 27, 1945. Wiegenlied is one of Klein's numerous arrangements of well-known songs, probably made in response to requests from individual singers. His accompaniment juxtaposes considerable melodic movement itself, underscoring the more gentle motion of the warm and expressive melody. Wiegenlied (voice and piano), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE 342.

Barbara Kolb (b.1939) (USA) Homage to Keith Jarrett and Gary Burton (flute and vibraphone) audio sample mp3. This piece is on Leonarda cassette #LPI 221cs as well as double CD #LE353, the latter which can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found.

Ernst Krähmer (Dresden, 1795; Vienna, 1857) learned to play several instruments as a child with little tutoring. When he was eleven he entered the Military Institute of Annaburg, where he studied music intensively. Two years later he was soloist in a flute concerto and clarinet concerto for a public exam, and the following year he was soloist on bassoon and oboe. After he returned to his parent's home at fifteen, two outstanding chamber musicians for the King of Saxony took notice of him and gave him oboe lessons for three years. In 1814 Krähmer went to war, but was discharged after contracting a lung condition brought on by forced marches. He was invited to be oboist at the court theater in Vienna in 1815, and in 1822 was named chamber musician at the royal chapel. He married the celebrated clarinetist Caroline Schleicher about the same time. They toured in Russia, Hungary, Bohemia and diverse parts of Germany together, where they were widely acclaimed. Ernst Krähmer was not only a first class oboist; he was also a distinguished csakan player, and wrote a number of works for that instrument. Rondeau Hongrois, originally for csakan and guitar, was first published by Diabelli in 1830. Rondeau Hongrois, Op. 28 (Hungarian Rondo) (A clarinet and guitar), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE356.

Jonathan Kramer (1942-2004) is Professor of Music at Columbia University. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Kramer received his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard and his M. A. and Ph. D. from the University of California at Berkeley. His composition teachers included Karlheinz Stockhausen, Roger Sessions, Leon Kirchner, Seymour Shifrin, Andrew Imbrie, Richard Felciano, Jean-Claude Eloy, Billy Jim Layton, and Arnold Franchetti. Before joining Columbia, Kramer was Assistant Professor at Oberlin, Director of Undergraduate Composition at Yale, and then Director of Electronic Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he also served as Composer-in-Residence with the Cincinnati Symphony. Jonathan Kramer's music has been performed in 23 countries. Orchestral performances have included the Cincinnati, Seattle, and Sacramento Symphonies, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and the National Orchestra of El Salvadore. Two works on this disc were played at ISCM's World Music Days: Renascence (1980, Israel) and Music for Piano, Number 5 (1985, Netherlands). The latter work also represented the United States at the International Rostrum of Composers, where it was selected for worldwide broadcasts. Musica Pro Musica (orchestra), audio sample mp3; Atlanta Licks (flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano), audio sample mp3; Music for Piano, No. 5, audio sample mp3; Renascence (clarinet and tape), audio sample mp3; Music for Piano, No. 3. Leonarda CD #LE332:

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) Rondo (Kreisler wrote this in the style of Mozart). Ttranscribed.for flute and piano by Harold Jones. Leonarda CD #LE355.



 

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