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Archive for March, 2011

Mark Ryan, British musician (Adam and the Ants) died he was , 51.

Mark Ryan was a British guitarist who played in different punk bands during the late 1970s died he was , 51.

(2 March 1959 – 31 January 2011)

He was born in Tottenham, London,[1][4] to an Irish Catholic family, his father was a university lecturer and his mother was trained as a nurse and midwife. Ryan left school at sixteen, working in factories and dedicating to music.[3]

In 1977, after being in a number of experimental punk bands, he joined Adam and the Ants, replacing Lester Square (who was later to form The Monochrome Set), to complete the line-up who debuted live at the ICA restaurant in May, recording Plastic Surgery and a number of demos[5] with the band. After appearing with the band in the Derek Jarman movie Jubilee (1977 film) (released July 5, 1977) Ryan was fired in October of the same year.[6] Subsequently, he joined The Photons, and was involved with The Moors Murderers. The vocalist in both bands was Steve Strange, who later became the singer for Visage. He also was in King, alongside The Damned‘s Captain Sensible.[7][8]
From 1985-1989 Ryan attended the experimental Dartington College of Arts, earning a Bachelors degree in music in 1989. He turned his interest in performance to the theatre and began a successful career as a writer for the stage based in Cardiff, Wales. He is the author of The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde As Told To Carl Jung By An Inmate Of Broadmoor Asylum, first produced in 1998.
Since the 1990s to his last days, he lived in Heath, Cardiff, Wales.[4]

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Eunice Sanborn, American supercentenarian, world’s oldest living person at time of her death was , 114.

Eunice Sanborn was an American supercentenarian who was the oldest verified living person in the world at the time of her death at age 114 years, 195 days. She became the recognized titleholder upon the death of Eugénie Blanchard on November 4, 2010.[2][3] She became one of the 50 verified longest lived people in the United States on March 2, 2010, and one of the 40 undisputed oldest people on January 27, 2011.
Sanborn’s family claimed that the Census Bureau erroneously recorded her birth year, and that she was born on July 20, 1895, which would have made her 115 years, 195 days at the time of her death.[4]

(July 20, 1896 – January 31, 2011)[1]

Biography

Sanborn was born Eunice Allen Lyons in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Augustus and Varina Lyons. Her parents were of German and Irish heritage. Eunice Lyons first married in November 1913. Her first husband, Joe Orchin and the father of her daughter, was killed in an accident. In 1937, along with her second husband, Wesley Garrett, she moved to Texas. While in Texas, she was part-founder of Love’s Lookout.[5] The two were the first to build a concrete bottom pool in Cherokee County at that time.[5] Her daughter Dorothy, who died in 2005 aged 90, along with her second husband, managed to keep the business going for a long period of time. After he died, Eunice married Grant Sanborn. He died in 1979. Sanborn lived in Jacksonville, Texas,[5] until her death on January 31, 2011.[1]
Although she never worked outside the home, Sanborn kept busy with community activities her entire life. She was an active member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and sang in the choir there for many years.[1]
Longtime friend David French — who knew Sanborn since the age of five — and his wife Rena provided 24-hour care so Sanborn could remain in her home.[1]

Longevity records

  • On April 6, 2010, Neva Morris died, and Sanborn (aged 113 years, 260 days) became the oldest verified living person in the United States.
  • On November 4, 2010, Eugénie Blanchard died, and Sanborn (aged 114 years, 107 days) became the oldest verified living person in the world.
  • On November 6, 2010, Sanborn (aged 114 years, 109 days) surpassed Bettie Chatmon to become the oldest verified person from the state of Louisiana.
  • On January 16, 2011, Eunice Sanborn (aged 114 years, 180 days) became one of the 50 verified oldest people.
  • On January 31, 2011, Eunice Sanborn (aged 114 years, 195 days) died as the oldest verified living person at the time and 43rd oldest person in history.

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Charles Sellier, American film and television producer (The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams).died he was , 67

Charles Edward Sellier, Jr.  was an American television producer, screenwriter, novelist and director, best known for creating the American book and television series, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams .died he was , 67.[1] He also wrote and produced more than thirty films and 230 television shows during his career, which spanned four decades.[2]

(November 19, 1943 – January 31, 2011)

Charles Sellier was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on November 9, 1943.[3][4] He was the only son of born to his parents, Charles and Gladys Carson Sellier.[3] His father worked as a shipping clerk.[3] Sellier was born as a Cajun Catholic, later converting to Mormonism and then to evangelical Christianity.[3]
The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, which aired on NBC during the 1978-1979 television season, depicted a character, portrayed by actor Dan Haggerty, who escapes a bounty hunter and rescues a bear cub who becomes his constant companion in the series.[1] Sellier had first introduced the character in his 1972 novel, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, loosely based on the real-life 19th century mountain man, James “Grizzly” Adams.[2] The series was produced by Sunn Classic Pictures, a production company based in Park City, Utah, which Sellier had founded.[2] Sellier also wrote many of the episodes in the series.[2] The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams ran for one season, but was concluded in the 1982 television movie, The Capture of Grizzly Adams, in which Dan Haggerty reprised his role.[2]
Additionally, Sellier wrote and produced more than 230 television shows and thirty feature films during his career.[2] Eleven of Sellier’s feature films are included in the top 100 highest-grossing independent films in history, with six of those films ranking in the top twenty-five.[2]
Sellier produced numerous films and television shows, often with Christian themes aimed at family-friendly audiences.[1] His production credits included Mark Twain’s America, The Lincoln Conspiracy, In Search of Noah’s Ark and Breaking the Da Vinci Code.[1][5] In 1980, Sellier was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the made-for-television movie, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which starred Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane.[2][6] Sellier was a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Writers Guild of America and National Religious Broadcasters Association.[2]
Sellier was the CEO of Grizzly Adams Prods. at the time of death in 2011.[2] The company markets family-friendly and faith based documentaries, films and television shows.[2] Selliers had recently reached an agreement with Passmorelab of San Diego to convert approximately 500 films and televisions show to 3D for Blu-ray 3D DVDs and 3D television broadcasting.[2]
Sellier died unexpectedly at his home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on January 31, 2011, at the age of 67.[1][3] He was survived by his wife, Julie Magnuson, whom he had been married for twenty-five years, and a son, William.[3]

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Michael Tolan, American actor (The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), died from heart disease and renal failure he was , 85

Michael Tolan was an American actor died from heart disease and renal failure he was , 85.

(November 27, 1925 – January 31, 2011)

Life and career

Tolan was born Seymour Tuchow in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit and studied under Stella Adler and at Stanford University.[1] He appeared primarily in stage roles in his early career, with only minor parts in films of the early 1950s. His stage roles include Romanoff and Juliet and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, his Broadway debut. His first film role was in The Enforcer; he also had roles in Fort Worth, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Presumed Innocent.[1]
He acted mostly on television from the mid-1950s on, including an appearance on the 1960 CBS summer series, Diagnosis: Unknown, a role in The Doctors and the Nurses, and a continuing role as Jordan Boyle on “The Senator” segments of the anthology umbrella TV series The Bold Ones (1970–71). He had a recurring role on three episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and made guest appearances on such television series as Kojak, McMillan and Wife, and Law and Order. His last known television appearance was on an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1994.
Tolan appeared in the Bob Fosse film All That Jazz (1979) as lead character Joe Gideon’s cardiologist, Dr. Ballinger.
Tolan also helped found the American Place Theatre, of which he wrote:

Personal life

Tolan had two marriages, both of which ended in divorce; at the time of his death, he was partnered with Donna Peck, with whom he lived in Ancram, New York.[1] He had previously married actress Rosemary Forsyth on June 28, 1966. The couple had one child and divorced in 1975

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Doc Williams, American country music performer died he was , 96.

Doc Williams  was an influential American country music band leader and vocalist died he was , 96..[1]

(June 26, 1914 – January 31, 2011)

Born as Andrew John Smik, Jr. in Cleveland, Ohio,[1] and raised in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, he got his professional start playing with the Kansas Clodhoppers during the early 1930s. Doc eventually formed his own band, Doc Williams and the Border Riders. The group went on the air on WWVA Wheeling in 1937; soon, with the addition of comedian Froggie Cortez and cowboy crooner, Big Slim the Lone Cowboy, and became one of the station’s most popular attractions.[citation needed]
In 1939, Williams married Jessie Wanda Crupe, a singer who soon adopted the stage name Chickie Williams (February 13, 1919 – November 18, 2007). The Williams’ were popular performers. Although the couple and their band the Border Riders recorded, performed live and appeared on the radio for over five decades, they never had a national hit. Doc Williams founded Wheeling Records in 1947 and through it released all of his and his wife’s albums; occasionally, they sang together, and sometimes with their three daughters. Among his best-known songs are “Willie Roy the Crippled Boy” and “My Old Brown Coat And Me”.[1]
Williams died on January 31, 2011 in Wheeling, West Virginia, aged 96.[2]

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John Barry, British film score composer (From Russia with Love, Chaplin, Out of Africa), five-time Academy Winner died he was , 77

John Barry Prendergast, OBE was an English film score composer died he was , 77. He was best known for composing 11 James Bond soundtracks and was hugely influential on the musical style of the 007 series, along with the general feeling of the films.
In a career spanning almost 50 years, Barry received numerous awards for his work, including five Academy Awards; two for Born Free, and one each for The Lion in Winter (for which he also won a BAFTA Award), Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves (for which he also won a Grammy Award) and the theme of Somewhere in Time (1980) (Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score – Motion Picture).[1]

(3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011)

Career

Barry was born John Barry Prendergast, in York, England and was the son of a musically talented mother and a charismatic Irish father.[2][3] He was raised in and around cinemas in Northern England.[4]
His father, Jack Xavier Prendergast, from Cork, was a projectionist during the silent movie era who ended up owning a chain of movie theaters across northern England.[4] Often, while watching a film, Barry would note with pen and paper, what worked or what did not.[3]
His childhood background in movies influenced Barry’s music interests.[2]


Although originally a classical pianist, Barry also learned the trumpet and grew interested in composing and arranging music. During his National Service in Cyprus, he began performing as a musician. After taking a correspondence course (with jazz composer Bill Russo) and working as an arranger for the Jack Parnell and Ted Heath’s Orchestra[5] he formed his own band in 1957, The John Barry Seven,[6] with whom he had some hit records, including “Hit and Miss”, the theme tune he composed for the BBC’s Juke Box Jury programme, a cover of the Ventures‘ “Walk Don’t Run“, and a cover of the theme for the United Artists Western The Magnificent Seven. The career breakthrough for Barry was the BBC television series Drumbeat, when he appeared with The John Barry Seven and arranged for many of the singers, including Adam Faith; he also composed songs (along with Les Vandyke) and scores for films in which Faith was featured. When Faith made his first film, Beat Girl, in 1960, Barry composed, arranged and conducted the score, his first. His music was later released as the first soundtrack album on LP in the UK.[7] Barry also composed the music for another Faith film, Never Let Go, orchestrated the score for Mix Me a Person, and composed, arranged and conducted the score for The Amorous Prawn.

Barry was employed by the EMI record company from 1959 until 1962 arranging orchestral accompaniment for the company’s recording artists. From 1962, Barry transferred to Ember Records where he produced albums as well as arranging them.[8]
These achievements caught the attention of the producers of a new film called Dr. No who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. Barry was hired and the result was one of the most famous signature tunes in film history, the “James Bond Theme“. (Credit goes to Monty Norman, see below.) When the producers of the Bond series engaged Lionel Bart to score the next James Bond film From Russia with Love, they discovered that Bart could neither read nor write music. Though Bart wrote a title song for the film, the producers remembered Barry’s arrangement of the James Bond Theme and his composing and arranging for several films with Adam Faith. Lionel Bart also recommended Barry to producer Stanley Baker for his film Zulu.[9] Bart and Barry worked together in the film Man in the Middle.
This was the turning point for Barry, and he went on to become one of the most celebrated film composers, winning five Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards, with scores for, among others, The Lion in Winter, Midnight Cowboy, Born Free, and Somewhere in Time.[1]
Barry was often cited as having had a distinct style which concentrated on lush strings and extensive use of brass. However he was also an innovator, being one of the first to employ synthesizers in a film score (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), and to make wide use of pop artists and songs in Midnight Cowboy. Because Barry provided not just the main title theme but the complete soundtrack score, his music often enhanced the critical reception of a film, notably in Midnight Cowboy, King Kong, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves.
One of Barry’s best known compositions is the theme for the 1971 TV series The Persuaders!, also known as “The Unlucky Heroes”, in which Tony Curtis and Roger Moore were paired as rich playboys solving crimes. The score for the series was composed by Ken Thorne. The theme went on to be a hit single in some European countries and has been re-released on collections of 1970s disco hits. The instrumental recording features Moog synthesizers. Barry also wrote the scores to a number of musicals, including Passion Flower Hotel (lyrics by Trevor Peacock), the successful West End show Billy (lyrics by Don Black) and two major Broadway flops, The Little Prince and the Aviator and Lolita, My Love, the latter with Alan Jay Lerner as lyricist.
Barry’s work began to be sampled in the 1990s by artists such as Dr. Dre and Wu-Tang Clan, with his “James Bond Theme” being sampled by performers as diverse as Bonobo, Gang Starr and Junior Reid. Fatboy Slim used the opening guitars from “Beat Girl (Main Title)” for “Rockafeller Skank” from his 1998 album, You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby. The Sneaker Pimps also sampled “Golden Girl” on their 1996 single “6 Underground“. Additionally, “You Only Live Twice” was heavily sampled on “Millennium” from Robbie Williams‘ second album, I’ve Been Expecting You.[10]
In 2002, Barry was named an Honorary Freeman of the City of York.[11]
During 2006, Barry was the executive producer on an album entitled Here’s to the Heroes by the Australian ensemble The Ten Tenors. The album features a number of songs Barry wrote in collaboration with his lyricist friend, Don Black. Barry and Black also composed one of the songs on Shirley Bassey‘s 2009 album, The Performance. The song entitled, “Our Time is Now”, is the first written by the duo for Bassey since “Diamonds Are Forever“.[12]

James Bond series

After the success of Dr. No, Barry scored eleven of the next 14 James Bond films (but with Monty Norman continually credited as the composer of the “James Bond Theme“).[13]

In his tenure with the film series, Barry’s music, variously brassy and moody, appealed to film aficionados. For From Russia With Love he composed “007″, an alternative James Bond signature theme, which is featured in four other Bond films (Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker). The theme “Stalking”, for the teaser sequence of From Russia With Love, was covered by colleague Marvin Hamlisch for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). (The music and lyrics for From Russia With Love’s title song were written by Lionel Bart, whose musical theatre credits included Oliver!). Barry also (indirectly) contributed to the soundtrack of the 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale: his Born Free theme appears briefly in the opening sequence.
In Goldfinger, he perfected the “Bond sound”, a heady mixture of brass, jazz and sensuous melodies. There is even an element of Barry’s jazz roots in the big-band track “Into Miami”, which follows the title credits and accompanies the film’s iconic image of the camera lens zooming toward the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
As Barry matured, the Bond scores concentrated more on lush melodies, as in Moonraker and Octopussy. Barry’s score for A View to a Kill was traditional, but his collaboration with Duran Duran for the title song was contemporary and one of the most successful Bond themes to date, reaching number one in the United States and number two in the UK Singles Chart. Both A View to a Kill and the Living Daylights theme by a-ha blended the pop music style of the artists with Barry’s orchestration. In 2006, a-ha’s Pal Waaktaar complimented Barry’s contributions “I loved the stuff he added to the track, I mean it gave it this really cool string arrangement. That’s when for me it started to sound like a Bond thing”.[14]
Barry’s last score for the Bond series was 1987′s The Living Daylights, Dalton’s first film in the series with Barry making a cameo appearance as a composer in the film. Barry was intended to score Licence to Kill but was recovering from throat surgery at the time and it was considered unsafe to fly him to London to complete the score. The score was completed by Michael Kamen.[15]
David Arnold, a British composer, saw the result of two years’ work in 1997 with the release of Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project, an album of new versions of the themes from various James Bond films. Arnold thanks Barry in the sleeve notes, referring to him as “the Guvnor”. Almost all of the tracks were John Barry compositions, and the revision of his work met with his approval – he contacted Barbara Broccoli, producer of the upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, to recommend Arnold as the film’s composer.[16] Arnold also went on to score the subsequent Bond films: The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
Sole compositional credit for the “James Bond Theme” is attributed to Monty Norman, who was contracted as composer for Dr. No. Some 30 years later, in 2001, the disputed authorship of the theme was examined legally in the High Court in London after Norman sued The Sunday Times for publishing an article in 1997 in which Barry was named as the true composer; Barry testified for the defense.[17][18]
In court, Barry declared he had been handed a musical manuscript of a work by Norman (meant to become the theme) and that he was to arrange it musically, and that he composed additional music and arranged the “James Bond Theme”. The court was also told that Norman received sole credit because of his prior contract with the producers. Barry said that a deal was struck whereby he would receive a flat fee of £250 and Norman would receive the songwriting credit.[19] Barry said that he had accepted the deal with United Artists Head of Music Noel Rogers because it would help his career. Despite these claims the jury ruled unanimously in favour of Norman.[19]
On 7 September 2006, John Barry publicly defended his authorship of the theme on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio 2.[20]

Personal life

Barry was educated at St Peter’s School, York, and also received composition lessons from Francis Jackson, Organist of York Minster.[2]
Barry moved to California in 1970 as a tax exile, with a British judge accusing him of emigrating to avoid paying £134,000 due the Inland Revenue.[5] The matter was resolved in the late 1980s and Barry was able to return to the UK.[5] He subsequently lived for many years in the United States, mainly in Oyster Bay, New York, on Long Island, from 1980.[2]
Barry suffered a rupture of the oesophagus in 1988, following a toxic reaction to a health tonic he had consumed. The incident rendered him unable to work for two years and left him vulnerable to pneumonia.[21]
Barry was married four times. His first three marriages, to Barbara Pickard (1959–1963); Jane Birkin (1965–1968); and Jane Sidey (1969–1971), all ended in divorce.[5] He was married to Laurie from 1976[5] until his death. The couple had a son, Jonpatrick. Barry had three daughters from previous liaisons: Susie, Sian and Kate.[2]
Barry died of a heart attack on 30 January 2011 at his Oyster Bay home aged 77 years.[22][23] He is survived by Laurie, his wife of 33 years, and by his four children and five grandchildren. There was a private funeral service, and a memorial service is expected to be held later in 2011 in the United Kingdom.[22][24]

Awards and nominations

Five Academy Awards

Academy Award nominations

Grammy Award

  • 1969 Best Instrumental Theme for Midnight Cowboy[26]
  • 1985 Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band for The Cotton Club[26]
  • 1986 Best Instrumental Composition for Out of Africa[26]
  • 1991 Best Instrumental Composition Written For A Motion Picture Or For Television for Dances with Wolves[26]

BAFTA Award

  • 1968 Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for The Lion in Winter[27]

BAFTA Fellowship Award

BAFTA nominations

  • 1986 Best Score for Out of Africa[29]
  • 1991 Best Original Score for Dances with Wolves[30]

Emmy Award nominations

  • 1964 Outstanding Achievement in Composing Original Music for Television for Elizabeth Taylor in London (a 1963 television special)[31]
  • 1977 Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special (Dramatic Underscore) for Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years[31]

Max Steiner Lifetime Achievement Award (presented by the City of Vienna)

Lifetime Achievement Award from World Soundtrack Academy (presented at the Ghent Film Festival)

  • 2010

Barry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1998.[13]
The American Film Institute ranked Barry’s score for Out of Africa #15 on their list of the greatest film scores. His scores for the following films were also nominated:

Discography

Film scores

Bond films

Barry worked on the soundtracks for the following Bond films:

Musicals

Television themes

Other works

Hit singles

(Excludes co-composed hits, e.g. Duran Duran‘s A View to a Kill)

  • “Hit And Miss” as The John Barry Seven plus Four, UK#10 (first charted 1960)
  • “Beat For Beatniks” as The John Barry Orchestra, UK#40 (1960)
  • “Never Let Go” as The John Barry Orchestra, UK#49 (1960)
  • “Blueberry Hill” as The John Barry Orchestra, UK#34 (1960)
  • “Walk Don’t Run” as The John Barry Seven, UK#11 (1960)
  • “Black Stockings” as The John Barry Seven, UK#27 (1960)
  • The Magnificent Seven” as The John Barry Seven, UK#45 (1961)
  • “Cutty Sark” as The John Barry Seven, UK#35 (1962)
  • “The James Bond Theme” as The John Barry Orchestra, UK#13 (1962)
  • “From Russia With Love” as The John Barry Orchestra, UK#39 (1963)
  • “Theme From ‘The Persuaders’” as John Barry, UK#13 (1971)

The 4 highest-charting hits all spent more than 10 weeks in the UK top 50.


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Ajahn Maha Bua, Thai Buddhist monk died he was , 97.

MahaBuaSitting.jpgPhra Thamma Wisutthi Mongkhon (Bua Yannasampanno) or Pra Dharma Visuthi Mongkol (Bua Ñanasampanno)), commonly known as Ajahn Maha Bua or in Thai Luang Ta Maha Buawas a Thai Buddhist monk died he was , 97. Bua is one of the best known Thai Buddhist monks of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He was widely regarded as an Arahant — a living Buddhist saint. He was a disciple of the esteemed forest master Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, and was himself considered a master in the Thai Forest Tradition.[1] He was a harsh critic of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as well as of events taking place in Watpa Salawan after the death of its abbot Luangpho Phut.[2]

 

(August 12, 1913 — January 30, 2011)

  Biography

Early years

Bua was born in Baan Taad village in the northeastern province of Udon Thani. He was one of 16 children of a rich family of rice farmers.[3] When he was 21, his parents asked him to enter the monkhood for a season, a Thai tradition to show gratitude towards one’s parents. He entered Yothanimit monastery and was ordained on May 12, 1934 with Venerable Chao Khun Dhammachedi as his preceptor. His preceptor gave him the Pali name ‘Nanasampanno’, meaning ‘one endowed with wisdom’. At the time, Bua had no intention of remaining a monk for the rest of his life.
As Pra Nanasampanno, he studied the incarnations of the Buddha and his Arahant Disciples. He has said he was so impressed that he decided to seek the same enlightenment as had the Buddha’s original disciples. He tried to understand the ways of practicing the Dhamma (Dharma) which would eventually lead to Nibbana (Nirvana).
He studied Pali, the language of Theravada Buddhism, as well as the Vinaya (the monastic rules of correct conduct). After seven years, he passed the third level of Pali studies, and achieved the highest level in Dhamma and Vinaya studies. He then concentrated entirely on the practice of Dhamma in hopes of studying with Venerable Ajahn Mun, one of the most renowned meditation masters of his time.[4]

Venerable Ajahn Mun

Nanasampanno then went in search of Venerable Ajahn Mun. When he finally met him, he was pleased with his efforts, since it seemed as if Mun already knew his desires, intentions, and doubts. Mun clarified the questions in his mind and showed him the paths leading to Nibbana still exist.He learned the meditation methods followed by Mun, based on the principles of Buddhism and the code of Buddhist discipline. He continued to follow these methods in his own teaching of monks and novices. Due to his deep respect and admiration for Mun, whom he likens to a father and mother to his students, he was inspired to write a biography of Mun to disseminate his methods of practice and document his character for coming generations. He has also written many books on the practice of Buddhist meditation and recorded teachings on Dhamma so Buddhists may have a guide in practicing meditation.[5] One of his fellow student monks was Ajahn Thate.

Seclusion and establishing a monastery

In 1950, after the death of Mun, Bua sought a secluded place. He went to Huey Sai village in Mukdahan province. He was very strict and serious in teaching the monks and novices, both in the austere dhutanga practices and in meditation. He continued his teaching until these same principles became established amongst his followers.
Learning that his mother was ill, he returned home to look after her. Villagers and relatives requested that he settle permanently in the forest south of the village and no longer wander in the manner of a forest monk. As his mother was very old and that it was appropriate for him to look after her, he accepted the offer. With a donation of 64 acres (26 ha) of land, he began to build his monastery in November 1955. It was given the name Wat Pa Baan Taad.[5]

Wat Pa Baan Taad

The wilderness surrounding the monastery has vanished, as it has now been cleared for cultivation. The forest inside the monastery is all that remains. Wat Pa Baan Taad preserves this remnant in its original condition, so that monks, novices, and lay people can use its tranquility for the practice of the Dhamma as taught by the Lord Buddha.[5]
Some basic teachings on the ‘Citta’Bua sees the essential enduring truth of the sentient being as constituted of the indestructible reality of the citta (heart/mind), which is characterized by the attribute of Awareness or Knowingness. This citta, which is intrinsically bright, clear, and Aware, gets superficially tangled up in samsara but ultimately cannot be destroyed by any samsaric phenomenon. Although Bua is often at pains to emphasise the need for meditation upon the non-Self (anatta), he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (anicca, dukkha, anatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence. The citta is bright, radiant, and deathless, and is its own independent reality:
‘Being intrinsically bright and clear, the citta is always ready to make contact with everything of every nature. Although all conditioned phenomena without exception are governed by the three universal laws of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, the citta’s true nature is not subject to these laws. The citta is conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã only because things that are subject to these laws come spinning in to become involved with the citta and so cause it to spin along with them. However, though it spins in unison with conditioned phenomena, the citta never disintegrates or falls apart. It spins following the influence of those forces which have the power to make it spin, but the true power of the citta’s own nature is that it knows and does not die. This deathlessness is a quality that lies beyond disintegration. Being beyond disintegration, it also lies beyond the range of anicca, dukkha, and anattã and the universal laws of nature. ….’[6]
The fundamental problem that besets human beings, according to Bua, is that they have taken fake and false things as their true self and lack the necessary power to be their ‘own true self’; they allow the wiles and deceits of the mental defilements to generate fear and anxiety in their minds. Fear and anxiety are not inherent within the citta; in fact, the citta is ultimately beyond all such things and indeed is beyond time and space. But it needs to be cleansed of its inner defilements (the kilesas) before that truth can be realised. Bua states:
‘Our real problem, our one fundamental problem—which is also the citta’s fundamental problem—is that we lack the power needed to be our own true self. Instead, we have always taken counterfeit things to be the essence of who we really are, so that the citta’s behavior is never in harmony with its true nature. Rather, it expresses itself through the kilesas’ cunning deceits, which cause it to feel anxious and frightened of virtually everything … As a result, the citta is forever full of worries and fears. And although fear and worry are not intrinsic to the citta, they still manage to produce apprehension there. When the citta has been cleansed so that it is absolutely pure and free of all involvement, only then will we see a citta devoid of all fear. Then, neither fear nor courage appear, only the citta’s true nature, existing naturally alone on its own, forever independent of time and space. Only that appears—nothing else. This is the genuine citta’.[7]
Bua goes on to attempt to describe the inner stages and experience of the cleansed citta. When its purgation of defilements is complete, it itself does not disappear – only the impermanent, suffering, and the non-Self disappear. The citta remains, experientially abiding in its own firm foundation, yet ultimately indescribable:
‘Once the Citta has become so well-cleansed that it is always bright and clear, then … even though the citta has not ‘converged’ in samãdhi, the focal point of its awareness is so exceedingly delicate and refined as to be indescribable. This subtle awareness manifests as a radiance that extends forth in all directions around us. We are unconscious of sights, sounds, odors, tastes, and tactile sensations, despite the fact that the citta has not entered samãdhi. Instead, it is actually experiencing its own firm foundation, the very basis of the citta that has been well-cleansed to the point where a mesmerizing, majestic quality of knowing is its most prominent feature.
‘Seeming to exist independent of the physical body, this kind of extremely refined awareness stands out exclusively within the citta. Due to the subtle and pronounced nature of the citta at this stage, its knowing nature completely predominates. No images or visions appear there at all. It is an awareness that stands out exclusively on its own. This is one aspect of the citta.
‘Another aspect is seen when this well-cleansed citta enters meditative calm, not thinking or imagining anything. Ceasing all activity, all movement, it simply rests for awhile. All thought and imagination within the citta come to a complete halt. This is called “the citta entering a state of total calm.” Then, the citta’s essential knowing nature is all that remains. Except for this very refined awareness—an awareness that seems to blanket the entire cosmos—absolutely nothing else appears… Distance is not a factor. To be precise, the citta is beyond the conditions of time and space, which allows it to blanket everything. Far is like near, for concepts of space do not apply. All that appears is a very refined awareness suffusing everything throughout the entire universe. The whole world seems to be filled by this subtle quality of knowing, as though nothing else exists, though things still exist in the world as they always have. The all-encompassing flow of the citta that has been cleansed of the things that cloud and obscure it, this is the citta’s true power.
‘The citta that is absolutely pure is even more difficult to describe. Since it is something that defies definition, I don’t know how I could characterize it. It cannot be expressed in the same way that conventional things in general can be, simply because it is not a conventional phenomenon. It is the sole province of those who have transcended all aspects of conventional reality, and thus realize within themselves that non-conventional nature. For this reason, words cannot describe it.
‘Why do we speak of a “Conventional” Citta and an “absolutely pure” citta? Are they actually two different cittas? Not at all. It remains the same citta. When it is controlled by conventional realities, such as kilesas and ãsavas, that is one condition of the citta. But when the faculty of wisdom has scrubbed it clean until this condition has totally disintegrated, the true citta, the true Dhamma, the one that can stand the test, will not disintegrate and disappear along with it. Only the conditions of anicca, dukkha, and anattã, which infiltrate the citta, actually disappear.
‘No matter how subtle the kilesas may be, they are still conditioned by anicca, dukkha, and anattã, and therefore, must be conventional phenomena. Once these things have completely disintegrated, the true citta, the one that has transcended conventional reality, becomes fully apparent. This is called the citta’s Absolute Freedom, or the citta’s Absolute Purity. All connections continuing from the citta’s previous condition have been severed forever. Now utterly pure, the citta’s essential knowing nature remains alone on its own….
‘Since this refined awareness does not have a point or a center, it is impossible to specifically locate its position. There is only that essential knowing, with absolutely nothing infiltrating it. Although it still exists amid the same khandhas with which it used to intermix, it no longer shares any common characteristics with them. It is a world apart. Only then do we know clearly that the body, the khandhas, and the citta are all distinct and separate realities…’[8]
Some of the notions found here are reminiscent of the Tathagatagarbha tradition – although the latter posits an original, primordial purity to the mind, whereas Bua sees that purity as needing to be established through mental and moral cultivation.[9]

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Hisaye Yamamoto, American author died she was , 89.

Hisaye Yamamoto was a Japanese American author died she was , 89. She is best known for the short story collection Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories, first published in 1988. Her work confronts issues of the Japanese immigrant experience in America, the disconnect between first and second generation immigrants, as well as the difficult role of women in society.

 

(August 23, 1921 — January 30, 2011)

Historical Context

Immigration

The late nineteenth century in Japan saw momentous political, social, and cultural upheaval, now known as the Meiji Restoration. In an effort to transform the long-established feudal society into a contemporary capitalist economy, Emperor Meiji rapidly imposed western industrial advancements on the traditional eastern values of Japan, creating a great deal of uncertainty and unrest amongst its people, many of whom began to desire a fresh start in a new land. Shortly thereafter, in 1885, the Japanese government approved the emigration of Japanese nationals, bringing the first wave of idealistic immigrants to the west coast of the United States. This generation, known as the Issei, initially was almost entirely unmarried young men. Most led agrarian lifestyles, either farming sugar cane and pineapple in Hawaii or fruit and other produce in California. The goal was to achieve a certain level of establishment before the arrival of family.

Limitations

As a result of anti-Japanese sentiments in California, tensions between the two countries began to rise. The Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907, was devised in an effort to ease this mounting stress. The Agreement was an informal one, one in which the Japanese government agreed to cease the issue of passports to men alongside the refusal of the American government to accept them as immigrants. Women, children, and parents were excluded from this arrangement, as was necessary to maintain civility between the two nations. As more and more Japanese families began to reunite on American soil, Americans continued to feel threatened by the growing success of their independent farming ventures, an attitude that led to the passage of the California Alien Land Law in 1913. Prohibiting those not eligible for citizenship from owning or leasing land for more than three years at a time, the hard-earned comfort of establishment dissolved rapidly, leading Japanese Americans into a transient lifestyle of constant relocation. Soon thereafter, in 1924, the Asian Exclusion Act was passed, a federal legislation banning the immigration of all Asian peoples, both nullifying the Gentlemen’s Agreement and, in effect, formally extending it to include women, children, and elders.

Background and Career

Early life

Yamamoto was born to Issei parents in Redondo Beach, California. Her generation, the Nisei, were often in perpetual motion, born into the nomadic existences imposed upon their parents by the California Alien Land Law and the Asian Exclusion Act. As a mainstay, Yamamoto found comfort in reading and writing from a young age, producing almost as much work as she consumed. As a teen, her enthusiasm mounted as Japanese American newspapers began publishing her letters and short stories.[1] Many Issei immigrants were concerned with preserving their native language, while the interests of the Nisei tended more towards expressions of loyalty to the United States, most easily achieved through knowledge and application of the English language. As a result, the communication lines between Japanese parents and their children faced rapid degradation, hampering the preservation of traditional Japanese culture in America. Initially writing solely in English, Yamamoto’s recognition of this language barrier and generational gap would soon become one of her primary influences.

World War II and the Relocation of Japanese Americans

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese navy, an act of war that was both undeclared by the Japanese and unexpected by the United States. Within four months of the bombing, Japanese Americans numbering close to 120,000 were forced into internment, two-thirds of which were born on American soil. Abandoning homes, farms, and businesses, this forceful relocation movement contributed to a certain physical, social, and psychological uprooting that Yamamoto would repeatedly address in her work. Japanese women leading ephemeral lives in the United States often had no female confidants outside of the family. In spite of the perpetual hardships that they faced, literature and poetry continued to flourish in the new land. In a sense, as a response to the various forms of imprisonment and relocation faced by both Issei and Nisei women, be it jail, internment, poverty, gender, or even marriage, art became the only source of freedom in their lives.
Yamamoto was twenty years old when her family was placed in the internment camp in Poston, Arizona. She had two brothers, one of whom was killed in combat fighting for the United States army during her family’s internment.[2] In an effort to stay active, Yamamoto began reporting for the Poston Chronicle, the camp newspaper. She started by publishing her first work of fiction, Death Rides the Rails to Poston, a mystery that was later added to Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories, followed shortly thereafter by a much shorter piece entitled, Surely I Must be Dreaming. She briefly left the camp to work in Springfield, Massachusetts, but returned when her brother died while fighting with the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy.[3] The three years that Yamamoto spent at Poston profoundly impacted all of her writing that followed.

Life after the War

World War II came to an end in 1945 closing the internment camps and releasing their detainees. Yamamoto and her family returned to California, this time in Los Angeles, where she began working for the Los Angeles Tribune. This weekly newspaper, intended for African American audiences, employed Yamamoto primarily as a columnist, but also as an editor and field reporter.[1] Spending three years sheltered by internment, these next three spent working for the Tribune allowed Yamamoto to explore some of the intricacies of racial interaction in the United States separate from those experienced first-hand in the internment camp. Much of what she learned and implemented in her writing broadened the reception of her work to extend outside of solely Asian American audiences.
After enjoying much critical acclaim in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Yamamoto married Anthony DeSoto and settled in Los Angeles, California.[1] The mother of five, Yamamoto has discussed the difficulties she has in finding time to write, stating: “Most of the time I am cleaning house, or cooking or doing yard work. Very little time is spent writing. But if somebody told me I couldn’t write, it would probably grieve me very much.” [2]
DeSoto passed away in 2003. Yamamoto, who had been in poor health since a stroke in 2010, died in her sleep at her home in northeast Los Angeles at the age of 89.[3]

Writing Style and Influence

Yamamoto’s stories are often compared to the poetic form, haiku, described as “layered in metaphor, imagery, and irony, but never wordy or given to digression.” [4] She has also been praised “for her subtle realizations of gender and sexual relationships.”[5] Her writing is sensitive, painstaking, heartfelt, and delicate, yet blunt and economical, a style that pays homage to her Japanese heritage while establishing contemporary appeal.

Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories

This collection was first published in 1988, and includes stories written across a time span of forty years, since the end of World War II. The collection includes some of Yamamoto’s most-anthologized works, such as “Yoneko’s Earthquake,” “The Legend of Miss Sasagawara,” “The Brown House,” and “Seven Syllables,” considered by many to be Yamamoto’s definitive work.[6]
The stories, arranged chronologically by the time of their composition, deal with the experiences of first generation Japanese immigrants (Issei) and their Nisei children. The title is drawn from one of the stories within the collection and refers to the structural requirements of Japanese haiku poetry. Many of the stories have admittedly autobiographical content,[7] making references to the World War II Japanese internment camps, to life in Southern California during the 1940s and ‘50s, and to the experience of being a writer.

Editions of the Text

The original 1988 version of the text was published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. In 1998, Rutgers University Press released a new edition that included the 1987 short story “Reading and Writing.” In 2001, a revised and expanded edition of the book added four more stories written as early as 1942: “Death Rides the Rails to Poston,” “Eucalyptus,” “A Fire in Fontana,” and “Florentine Gardens.”

List of Stories

The High-Heeled Shoes: A Memoir (1948)—This story deals primarily with how women are treated in society. The first-person narrator describes instances of sexual harassment she and other women have experienced, from phone solicitations to threats of rape.
Seventeen Syllables (1949)—This story tracks the parallel stories of a young Nisei girl and her Issei mother: the daughter’s inability to understand her mother’s interest in haiku, the daughter’s budding romance with a young Mexican boy, the mother’s winning of a haiku contest and the father’s resentment of her mother’s artistic success. The story explores the generational gap between Issei and Nisei, as well as themes of interethnic interaction, patriarchal repression, and class-based resentment.
The Legend of Miss Sasagawara (1950)—This is the only story that takes place in a Japanese relocation camp. Narrated by a young Japanese-American girl, the story provides a broad portrait of one of the inmates at the camp, the daughter of a Buddhist priest, a woman named Miss Sasagawara, who develops a reputation for acting insane. At the end of the story, a poem written by Miss Sasagawara reveals her lucidity and her sense of being repressed by her Buddhist father. In this way, the story confronts the intersection of ethnic and patriarchal oppression.
Wilshire Bus (1950)—Shortly after World War II, a young Japanese-American narrator observes an American on a bus attacking a Chinese couple, whom he has taken to be Japanese and believes to be enemies of the United States. The narrator contemplates anti-Japanese sentiment as well as the complicated interactions between different ethnic groups.
The Brown House (1951)—A wife becomes an unwilling enabler of her husband’s gambling habit, which brings financial trouble on the entire family. This story explores themes of beleaguered wifehood as well as ethnic interactions.
Yoneko’s Earthquake (1951)—One of the most complex stories in the collection, “Yoneko’s Earthquake” relates two parallel plot lines as observed by the main character Yoneko, a young Nisei girl living on her family’s small farm. The story describes the consequences of the arrival of a Filipino farm hand—for both Yoneko, who develops a crush on the man, and for her mother, who commences an affair with him. The story reiterates the theme of mother-daughter, Issei-Nisei, and wife-husband relationships as explored in “Seventeen Syllables.”
Morning Rain (1952)—This story relates a moment in time taking place over breakfast between a Nisei daughter and her Issei father. Over the course of the story, we learn that the daughter has married an American man and feels disconnected from her father. The story ends with a sudden revelation that is symbolic of the communication gap between generations: the woman discovers that her father has difficulty hearing.
Epithalamium (1960)—A Japanese-American bride reminisces about her turbulent relationship with her new husband, an Italian American alcoholic whom she met at a Christian community. The story explores the hopes and disappointments of romance, in particular interethnic romance. The title refers to an ancient Greek poetic form written in honor of a bride.
Las Vegas Charley (1961)—A decades-spanning account of the life of an Issei man, the so-nicknamed “Las Vegas Charley.” The story charts Charley’s immigration to the United States, his marriage and early family life, his confinement in a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans, and his subsequent migration to Las Vegas to become a dishwasher. The story describes his earnest attempts and inevitable failures to reform himself and improve his circumstances.
Life Among the Oil Fields, A Memoir (1979)—In this non-fiction account, Yamamoto describes her life on a farm among the oil fields of Southern California. The story ends with her brother Jim’s injury in a hit-and-run accident. The Caucasian couple in the car are later tracked down, but they refuse to take responsibility and do not even inquire about Jim’s condition.
The Eskimo Connection (1983)—A Japanese American writer forges a bond with an Eskimo prison inmate through written correspondence. The story paints a humorous and affectionate portrait of interethnic friendship.
My Father Can Beat Muhammad Ali (1986)—An Issei father tries to impress on his American sport-loving sons an interest in Japanese sports. The story reflects the generational gap between traditional-minded Japanese parents and their Americanized children.
Underground Lady (1986)—Describes the encounter between a Japanese American woman and a white woman, who inadvertently reveals her own racial prejudices. The story reveals a negative side to interethnic interaction, as a counterpoint to “The Eskimo Connection,” among others.
A Day in Little Tokyo (1986)—In this story, a young Nisei girl grudgingly accompanies her father and brother to a sumo match, but is left in Little Tokyo, where she observes the comings and goings of the inhabitants. The story explores the generational gap between Issei parents and Nisei children.

Overarching Themes

Disconnection between first- and second-generation immigrants: Many of the stories—notably “Seventeen Syllables,” “Yoneko’s Earthquake,” “Morning Rain,” and “Las Vegas Charley”—comment on the generational gap between the Issei and Nisei, a gap exacerbated by the cultural differences between Japan and the United States. Nowhere perhaps is this gap more clearly stated than in “Las Vegas Charley,” in which the eponymous protagonist mournfully observes, “The young Japanese, the ‘‘Nisei’’, were so Americanized now. While most of them still liked to eat their boiled rice, raw fish, and pickled vegetables, they usually spent New Year’s Eve in some nightclub.”[8] “Las Vegas Charley” observes the generational gap from the perspective of an Issei man and is especially sympathetic to the loss of language and cultural traditions. Other stories, like “Seventeen Syllables,” are told from the perspective of the Nisei, and focus on the confusion of American-born children as they struggle to understand their parents’ remote native culture. In “Seventeen Syllables,” the narrator’s apathy towards haiku is linked to her more serious inability to empathize with her Japanese mother.
Repression of women in Japanese and American societies: The very first story in the anthology, “The High Heeled Shoes,” foregrounds the issue of male tyranny over women’s bodies and minds, in the dual forms of sexual harassment and social expectations on women to be passive. For example, the story makes a feminist critique of Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to be pacifistic in the face of violence. “The High Heeled Shoes” deals with sexual harassment across ethnic lines. Other stories in the collection deal with gender roles and female repression in the context of Japanese culture. Several stories deal with the disappointments of marriage. The long-suffering wife is a recurring character, figuring as martyrs in stories like “Seventeen Syllables,” “Yoneko’s Earthquake,” and “The Brown House.” As a counterpoint, men are most often portrayed as cruel husbands or deadbeat fathers.
Ambiguous interactions between ethnic communities in America: Yamamoto depicts America as a complex network of different ethnicities, made even more complicated by the prejudices and hierarchies created by each ethnic group. Her stories present various interactions between Japanese and Anglo-American, Japanese and Mexican, Japanese and Chinese, Japanese and Filipino, Japanese and African-American, even between Japanese and Eskimo. Several of these interactions emphasize cultural misunderstanding and hostility, for example American hostility towards the Japanese after World War II. Other stories portray ethnic interaction as positive, productive, and meaningful to the parties involved. “The Eskimo Connection” tracks the unusual friendship between a Japanese author and an aspiring Eskimo writer corresponding from prison. Sometimes Yamamoto creates surprising twists based on unexpected moments of empathy or misunderstanding between two groups. In “The Brown House,” a black man’s interaction with a Japanese family is an occasion for cooperation and gratitude, but also for prejudice (“a kurombo!”).

[edit] Adaptations

The 1991 American Playhouse special Hot Summer Winds, was directed by Emiko Omori and was based upon two of Yamamoto’s stories, “Seventeen Syllables” and “Yoneko’s Earthquake.”[9]

Legacy

Hisaye Yamamoto received acclaim for her work almost from the very beginning of her career. She was, as King-Kok Cheung noted, “one of the first Japanese American writers to gain national recognition after the war, when anti-Japanese sentiment was still rampant.”[10] Although she herself resisted being rigidly characterized as a voice for Japanese or Asian groups (“I don’t think you can write aiming at a specifically Asian-American audience if you want to write freely”[11]), she was considered one of the premier Asian-American authors.
Awards and Fellowships

Secondary sources

  • Cheung, King-Kok. “Hisaye Yamamoto b. 1921.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol. E, 5th Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin company, 2006: 2162-3.
  • —. “Introduction,” in Hisaye Yamamoto, Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001): ix-xxiii.
  • —. “Hisaye Yamomoto and Wakako Yamauchi.” IN: Words Matter: Conversations with Asian American Writers. Honolulu, HI: U of Hawaii P, with UCLA Asian American Studies Center; 2000:343-82.
  • —. “Reading between the Syllables: Hisaye Yamamoto’s Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories.” IN: Maitino, and Peck, Teaching American Ethnic Literatures: Nineteen Essays. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P; 1996: 313-25.
  • —. “The Dream in Flames: Hisaye Yamamoto, Multiculturalism, and the Los Angeles Uprising.” IN: Bucknell Review: A Scholarly Journal of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 1995; 39 (1): 118-30.
  • —. Articulate Silences: Hisaye Yamamoto, Maxine Hong Kingston, Joy Kogawa. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993.
  • —. “Thrice Muted Tale: Interplay of Art and Politics in Hisaye Yamamoto’s ‘The Legend of Miss Sasagawara’.” MELUS, 1991-1992 Fall; 17 (3): 109-25.
  • —. “Double-Telling: Intertextual Silence in Hisaye Yamamoto’s Fiction.” American Literary History, 1991 Summer; 3 (2): 277-93.
  • Crow, Charles L. “A MELUS Interview: Hisaye Yamamoto.” MELUS 14.1 (Spring 1987): 73-84.
  • —. “The Issei Father in the Fiction of Hisaye Yamamoto.” IN: Truchlar, Für eine offene Literaturwissenschaft: Erkundungen und Eroprobungen am Beispiel US-amerikanischer Texte/Opening Up Literary Criticism: Essays on American Prose and Poetry. Salzburg: Neugebauer; 1986: 34-40.
  • —. “Home and Transcendence in Los Angeles Fiction.” IN: Fine, Los Angeles in Fiction: A Collection of Original Essays. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P; 1984:189-205.
  • Yogi, Stan. “Rebels and Heroines: Subversive Narratives in the Stories of Wakako Yamauchi and Hisaye Yamamoto.” IN: Lim, and Ling, Reading the Literatures of Asian America. Philadelphia: Temple UP; 1992: 131-50.
  • —. “Legacies Revealed: Uncovering Buried Plots in the Stories of Hisaye Yamamoto.” Studies in American Fiction, 1989 Autumn; 17 (2): 169-181.

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Milton Babbitt, American composer died he was , 94.

Milton Byron Babbitt  was an American composer died he was , 94.. He was particularly noted for his serial and electronic music.

 

(May 10, 1916 – January 29, 2011)

Biography

Babbitt was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Barkin & Brody 2001), to Albert E. Babbitt and Sarah Potamkin. He was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, and began studying the violin when he was 4 but soon switched to clarinet and saxophone. Early in his life he was attracted to jazz and theater music. He was making his own arrangements of popular songs at 7, and when he was 13, he won a local songwriting contest.

Babbitt’s father was a mathematician, and it was mathematics that Babbitt intended to study when he entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1931. However, he soon left and went to New York University instead, where he studied music with Philip James and Marion Bauer. There he became interested in the music of the composers of the Second Viennese School, and went on to write a number of articles on twelve tone music including the first description of combinatoriality and a serial “time-point” technique. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree from New York University College of Arts and Science in 1935 with Phi Beta Kappa honors, he studied under Roger Sessions, first privately and then later at Princeton University. At the University he joined the music faculty in 1938 and received one of Princeton’s first Master of Fine Arts degrees in 1942 (Barkin & Brody 2001). During the Second World War Babbitt divided his time between mathematical research in Washington, DC, and Princeton, where he became a member of the mathematics faculty from 1943 to 1945 (Barkin & Brody 2001).
In 1948, Babbitt joined Princeton University’s music faculty and in 1973, became a member of the faculty at the Juilliard School in New York. Among his more notable former students are music theorists David Lewin and John Rahn, composers Donald Martino, Laura Karpman, Tobias Picker, Paul Lansky, and John Melby, the theatre composer Stephen Sondheim, and the jazz guitarist and composer Stanley Jordan.
In 1958, Babbitt achieved unsought notoriety through an article in the popular magazine High Fidelity (Babbitt 1958). His title for the article, “The Composer as Specialist”, was changed, without his knowledge or consent, to “Who Cares if You Listen?” More than 30 years later, he commented that, because of that “offensively vulgar title”, he was “still … far more likely to be known as the author of ‘Who Cares if You Listen?’ than as the composer of music to which you may or may not care to listen” (Babbitt 1991, 17).
Babbitt later became interested in electronic music. He was hired by RCA as consultant composer to work with their RCA Mark II Synthesizer at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (known since 1996 as the Columbia University Computer Music Center), and in 1961 produced his Composition for Synthesizer. Babbitt was less interested in producing new timbres than in the rhythmic precision he could achieve using the Mark II synthesizer, a degree of precision previously unobtainable in live performances (Barkin & Brody 2001).
Babbitt continued to write both electronic music and music for conventional musical instruments, often combining the two. Philomel (1964), for example, was written for soprano and a synthesized accompaniment (including the recorded and manipulated voice of Bethany Beardslee, for whom the piece was composed) stored on magnetic tape.
Milton Babbitt died in Princeton, New Jersey on January 29, 2011 at the age of 94 (Kozinn 2011).

Honors and awards

  • He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1965.
  • In 1982, the Pulitzer Prize board awarded a “special citation to Milton Babbitt for his life’s work as a distinguished and seminal American composer” (Columbia University 1991, 70).
  • From 1985 until his death he served as the Chairman of the BMI Student Composer Awards, the international competition for young classical composers.
  • In 1986, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.
  • In 1988, he received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for music composition.
  • In 2000, he was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international, professional music fraternity (Klafeta and Beckner 2009; Anon. 2000).

Articles

  • (1955). “Some Aspects of Twelve-Tone Composition”. The Score and I.M.A. Magazine 12:53–61.
  • (1958). “Who Cares if You Listen?“. High Fidelity (February). [Babbitt called this article “The Composer as Specialist.” The original title was changed without his knowledge or permission by an editor at High Fidelity.]
  • (1960). “Twelve-Tone Invariants as Compositional Determinants,” Musical Quarterly 46/2.
  • (1961). “Set Structure as Compositional Determinant,” Journal of Music Theory 5/1.
  • (1965). “The Structure and Function of Musical Theory,” College Music Symposium 5.
  • (1972). “Contemporary Music Composition and Music Theory as Contemporary Intellectual History”, Perspectives in Musicology: The Inaugural Lectures of the Ph. D. Program in Music at the City University of New York.
  • (1987) Words About Music: The Madison Lectures, edited by Stephen Dembski and Joseph Straus. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • (1992) [written 1946] “The Function of Set Structure in the 12-tone system.” PhD Dissertation, Princeton University.
  • (2003). The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt, edited by Stephen Peles, Stephen Dembski, Andrew Mead, Joseph Straus. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

List of compositions

  • 1935 Generatrix for orchestra (unfinished)
  • 1939–41 String Trio
  • 1940 Composition for String Orchestra (unfinished)
  • 1941 Symphony (unfinished)
  • 1941 Music for the Mass I for mixed chorus
  • 1942 Music for the Mass II for mixed chorus
  • 1946 Fabulous Voyage (musical, libretto by Richard Koch)
  • 1946 Three Theatrical Songs for voice and piano (taken from Fabulous Voyage)
  • 1947 Three Compositions for Piano
  • 1948 Composition for Four Instruments
  • 1948 String Quartet No. 1 (withdrawn)
  • 1948 Composition for Twelve Instruments
  • 1949 Into the Good Ground film music (withdrawn)
  • 1950 Composition for Viola and Piano
  • 1951 The Widow’s Lament in Springtime for soprano and piano
  • 1951 Du for soprano and piano, August Stramm
  • 1953 Woodwind Quartet [[1]]
  • 1954 String Quartet No. 2
  • 1954 Vision and Prayer for soprano and piano
  • 1955 Two Sonnets for baritone, clarinet, viola, and cello, two poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • 1956 Duet for piano
  • 1956 Semi-Simple Variations for piano
  • 1957 All Set for alto sax, tenor sax, trp, trb, cb, pno, vib, percussion
  • 1957 Partitions for piano
  • 1960 Sounds and Words for soprano and piano
  • 1960 Composition for Tenor and Six Instruments
  • 1961 Composition for Synthesizer
  • 1961 Vision and Prayer for soprano and synthesized tape, setting of a poem by Dylan Thomas
Second Period
  • 1964 Philomel for soprano, recorded soprano, synthesized tape, setting of a poem by John Hollander
  • 1964 Ensembles for Synthesizer
  • 1965 Relata I for orchestra
  • 1966 Post-Partitions for piano
  • 1966 Sextets for violin and piano
  • 1967 Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape
  • 1968 Relata II for orchestra
  • 1968–69 Four Canons for SA
  • 1969 Phonemena for soprano and piano
  • 1970 String Quartet No. 3
  • 1970 String Quartet No. 4
  • 1971 Occasional Variations for synthesized tape
  • 1972 Tableaux for piano
  • 1974 Arie da capo for five instrumentalists
  • 1975 Reflections for piano and synthesized tape
  • 1975 Phonemena for soprano and synthesized tape
  • 1976 Concerti for violin, small orchestra, synthesized tape
  • 1977 A Solo Requiem for soprano and two pianos
  • 1977 Minute Waltz (or 3/4 ± 1/8) for piano
  • 1977 Playing for Time for piano
  • 1978 My Ends Are My Beginnings for solo clarinet
  • 1978 My Complements to Roger for piano
  • 1978 More Phonemena for twelve-part chorus
  • 1979 An Elizabethan Sextette for six-part women’s chorus
  • 1979 Images for saxophonist and synthesized tape
  • 1979 Paraphrases for ten instrumentalists
  • 1980 Dual for cello and piano
Third Period
  • 1981 Ars Combinatoria for small orchestra
  • 1981 Don for four-hand piano
  • 1982 The Head of the Bed for soprano and four instruments
  • 1982 String Quartet No.5
  • 1982 Melismata for solo violin
  • 1982 About Time for piano
  • 1983 Canonical Form for piano
  • 1983 Groupwise for flautist and four instruments
  • 1984 Four Play for four players
  • 1984 It Takes Twelve to Tango for piano
  • 1984 Sheer Pluck (composition for guitar)
  • 1985 Concerto for piano and orchestra
  • 1985 Lagniappe for piano
  • 1986 Transfigured Notes for string orchestra
  • 1986 The Joy of More Sextets for piano and violin
  • 1987 Three Cultivated Choruses for four-part chorus
  • 1987 Fanfare for double brass sextet
  • 1987 Overtime for piano
  • 1987 Souper for speaker and ensemble
  • 1987 Homily for snare drum
  • 1987 Whirled Series for saxophone and piano
  • 1988 In His Own Words for speaker and piano
  • 1988 The Virginal Book for contralto and piano, setting of a poem by John Hollander
  • 1988 Beaten Paths for solo marimba
  • 1988 Glosses for Boys’ Choir
  • 1988 The Crowded Air for eleven instruments
  • 1989 Consortini for five players
  • 1989 Play It Again, Sam for solo viola
  • 1989 Emblems (Ars Emblematica), for piano
  • 1989 Soli e duettini for two guitars
  • 1989 Soli e duettini for flute and guitar
  • 1990 Soli e duettini for violin and viola
  • 1990 Envoi for four hands, piano
  • 1991 Preludes, Interludes, and Postlude for piano
  • 1991 Four Cavalier Settings for tenor and guitar
  • 1991 Mehr “Du” for soprano, viola and piano
  • 1991 None but the Lonely Flute for solo flute
  • 1992 Septet, But Equal
  • 1992 Counterparts for brass quintet
  • 1993 Around the Horn for solo horn
  • 1993 Quatrains for soprano and two clarinets
  • 1993 Fanfare for All for brass quintet
  • 1993 String Quartet No. 6
  • 1994 Triad for viola, clarinet, and piano
  • 1994 No Longer Very Clear for soprano and four instruments, setting of a poem by John Ashbery
  • 1994 Tutte le corde for piano
  • 1994 Arrivals and Departures for two violins
  • 1994 Accompanied Recitative for soprano sax and piano
  • 1995 Manifold Music for organ
  • 1995 Bicenguinguagenary Fanfare for brass quintet
  • 1995 Quartet for piano and string trio
  • 1996 Quintet for clarinet and string quartet
  • 1996 Danci for solo guitar
  • 1996 When Shall We Three Meet Again? for flute, clarinet and vibraphone
  • 1998 Piano Concerto No. 2
  • 1998 The Old Order Changeth for piano
  • 1999 Composition for One Instrument for celesta
  • 1999 Allegro Penseroso for piano
  • 1999 Concerto Piccolino for vibraphone
  • 2000 Little Goes a Long Way for violin and piano
  • 2000 Pantuns for soprano and piano
  • 2002 From the Psalter soprano and string orchestra
  • 2002 Now Evening after Evening for soprano and piano, setting of a poem by Derek Walcott
  • 2003 Swan Song No. 1 for flute, oboe, violin, cello, and two guitars
  • 2003 A Waltzer in the House for soprano and vibraphone, setting of a poem by Stanley Kunitz
  • 2004 Concerti for Orchestra, for James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • 2004 Autobiography of the Eye for soprano and cello, setting of a poem by Paul Auster
  • 2005–6 More Melismata for solo cello
  • 2006 An Encore for violin & piano

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Did you know what pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis mean?

Did you know that the longest word in any of the major English language dictionaries is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?
Did you know that  pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a 45-letter word which refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles specifically from a volcano?
Did you know that research has discovered that this word was originally a hoax, it has since been used in a close approximation of its originally intended meaning, lending at least some degree of validity to its claim?[4]
Did you know that the Oxford English Dictionary contains pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (30 letters)?
Did you know that pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism is an inherited disorder, named for its similarity to pseudohypoparathyroidism in presentatio
Did you know that the longest non-technical word in major dictionaries is flocci­nauci­nihili­pili­fication at 29 letters?
Did you know that flocci­nauci­nihili­pili­fication consisting of a series of Latin words meaning “nothing” and defined as “the act of estimating something as worthless”, its usage has been recorded as far back as 1741?

Now if you didn’t know, now you know…

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