Cover: The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music in HARDCOVER

The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music

Edited by Don Michael Randel

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Book Details


$39.95 • £29.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674372993

Publication: November 1996


An incomparable guide to the thousands of characters, from humble artisan to lofty genius, who people the unfolding history of music, this volume brings together all the pertinent biographical information about composers, performers, music theorists, and instrument makers from the days of praise chants to the bop and pop of today. A long-awaited companion to The Harvard Dictionary of Music (now in its fourth edition), and compiled with the same meticulous scholarship and delight in detail, this biographical dictionary emphasizes classical and art music, but also gives ample attention to jazz and blues, rock and pop, and hymns and show tunes across the ages—with unusual care devoted to coverage of the twentieth century.

That the Belgian composer Jean Absil was professor of fugue at the Brussels Conservatory is a little-known fact. And few are aware that Roy Acuff began his country-and-western career in medicine shows. The writings of the seventeenth-century organist Jakob Adlung may be obscure, while Theodor Adorno’s are widely read and studied. But they can all be found in the As, along with 218 more entries, from Herb Alpert and the Andrews Sisters to Carl Friedrich Abel and Emanuel Ax. And this is only the beginning.

Here then is the information you need about 5,500 figures in the world of music—the major, the minor, the famous, the nearly forgotten, from Bach and Beethoven to Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, and Bruce Springsteen—capsule summaries of the lives and careers behind the music enjoyed in every era. The volume is enlivened with illustrations, some revelations in themselves.

A compendium that no music lover should be without, this rich volume, along with the The Harvard Dictionary of Music, constitutes the standard reference work for the musically inclined, the curious, the informed, and the expert.