The splendid Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
was begun in 1900 by Theodore Baker. Nicolas Slonimsky undertook the fifth through eighth editions, infusing them with inimitable, irrepressible Slonimsky style. This edition contains more than 3.5 million words, all of them delightful, all penned by Slonimsky, making it one of the world's known treasures. From Aaltonen, Erkki (Finnish composer, born 1910) to Zylis-Gara, Teresa (Polish soprano, born 1935), the work exudes factual accuracy, critical (and opinionated) insights, fine humor, and a human touch. Though associated with classical music, Slonimsky has always embraced the new, and in this edition, hundreds of popular musicians (jazz, rock, blues, and more) join the traditional ranks.
From Library Journal
Baker's continues to be the most complete and reliable source of biographical information on musical subjects since its first appearance in 1900. The latest, an update of the 1984 edition (Schirmer: Macmillan. 7th ed.), broadens the area of coverage to include many pop stars as well as the most recently notable classical performers, composers, historians, etc. It is not difficult to locate the entries added since Slonimsky took charge; he is free with descriptive adjectives such as "brilliant" (for Seiji Ozawa), and "fantastically popular and audacious" (for Madonna). Just as interesting are the prefaces to this and the sixth edition ( LJ 3/1/79), written in Slonimsky's quirky, gossipy style. An indispensable tool for serious music collections.- Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.