(bBudapest, 20 Jan 1951). Hungarian conductor, brother of Adam Fischer. He studied the cello and composition at the Bela Bartók Conservatory in Budapest and went to Vienna to work with Hans Swarowsky (1971–4). He undertook additional studies in Baroque interpretation with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Salzburg in 1975 and this area of repertory has remained one of his particular interests. First prizes followed in the Florence Conducting Competition in 1974 and the Rupert Foundation Competition in London in 1976; the same year he made débuts at the Royal Festival Hall with the RPO and at the Zürich Opera. In 1979 he became music director of the Northern Sinfonia in England, a post he held until 1982, during which time he also toured with the LSO. In 1983 he founded the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which soon won public and critical acclaim for the liveliness and precision of its performances. Fischer's recordings with the orchestra include a particularly fine disc of the Bartók piano concertos with Zoltán Kocsis. A year after the launch of the Budapest Festival Orchestra Fischer was appointed music director of Kent Opera, with which he worked until the company lost its Arts Council funding and was forced to close down in 1989; productions included Agrippina, Le nozze di Figaro, Le comte Ory, Carmen and many others. He was named principal guest conductor of the Cincinnati SO in 1988 and has appeared with other leading orchestras in the USA and Europe, including the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin PO and the Israel PO.
American firm of music publishers. Joseph Fischer (b Silberhausen, 9 April 1841; d Springfield, OH, 24 Nov 1901) emigrated with his brother Ignaz to the USA in their youth, and established the business of J. Fischer & Brother at Dayton, Ohio, in 1864. When the firm moved to New York (1875), Joseph became sole proprietor, being succeeded at his death by his sons George and Carl T. Fischer. In 1906 the firm was incorporated, with George as president and Carl as treasurer; in 1920 George’s sons joined the business, Joseph as secretary and Eugene as assistant secretary. At first the firm specialized in music for the Roman Catholic church; later it published piano music by Abram Chasins, Hans Barth and Guy Maier, as well as many songs by Cadman, Strickland, Eastwood Lane, J.P. Dunn, Samuel Gaines and Howard McKinney. It had a particularly large output of octavo choral music, including compositions by F.C. Bornschein, Harvey Gaul, William Lester, A. Walter Kramer, J.W. Clokey, Cecil Forsyth and Cyr de Brant; the catalogue also included two operas by Deems Taylor (The King’s Henchman and Peter Ibbetson). In its last years the firm published some organ and orchestral music. It was acquired in 1970 by Belwin-Mills. (Dichter-ShapiroSM; Thompson9)
ERNST C. KROHN
Fischer, Jan F(rank)
(b Louny, northern Bohemia, 15 Sept 1921). Czech composer. He studied with Řídký first at the Prague Conservatory (1940–45) and then in the older composer’s masterclasses (1945–8); at the same time he attended lectures on musicology and comparative literature at the university. He was a committee member of the Přítomnost association for contemporary music (1945–9) and of the Union of Czechoslovak Composers (1956–67). In 1990 he received a doctorate from Prague University.
Fischer is a versatile composer, his work permeated by Stravinskyan neo-classicism and by folksong, notably that of Czech and other Slavonic peoples. There are also elements of jazz. His melodic invention and technical fluency often facilitate the synthesis of highly varied ideas, particularly in the film scores. The music for Hrnečku vař (‘Cook, Pot’) won first prize at the 1953 Venice Biennale, and that for Dědeček automobil (‘Grandfather Automobile’) took second prize at the 1958 Brussels exhibition, where the Pražské jaro (‘Prague Spring’) score gained Fischer the prize of the international jury. He has also worked extensively for the stage and for broadcasting, composing much incidental music (many of the songs from these scores became popular numbers) and becoming associated, in particular, with the successful Czech television series ‘There was Once a House’. In concert works Fischer’s style is characterized by lively rhythm, striking colours and brilliant use of winds, while humour, lightness and wit dominate most of the operas.
Dramatic: Ženichové [The Bridegrooms] (comic op, 3, S.K. Macháček), 1956, Brno, 13 Oct 1957; Romeo, Julie a tma [Romeo, Juliet and Darkness] (op, 2 pts, J. Otčenášek), 1959–61, Brno, 14 Sept 1962; Dekameron (op, 6, Fischer and J. Dudek, after G. Boccaccio), 1977, Brno, 1977; Loutkář [The Puppet Player] (ballet), 1978; Copernicus (op, 2, Fischer and O. Daněk), 1983, Prague, 1983; Most pro Kláru [Bridge for Klara] (TV op, Fischer), 1986; Obřady [Ceremonies] (op, D. Fischerová), 1990; Batalion (ballet), 1996; over 40 film scores; incid music
Orch: Sym. no.1, 1959; Cl Conc., 1965; Pictures for Orch no.1, 1970; Hp Conc., 1971; Commemoration of the Slovak National Uprising Heroes, 1973; Pictures for Orch no.2, 1973; Pictures for Orch no.3, 1977; Conc. for Orch, 1980; Partita for Str, 1982; Conc., 2 hp, orch, 1997
Chbr and solo inst: 4 études, hp, 1971; 7 Letters to Sonators, fl, b cl, perc, pf, 1971; Preludes, gui, 1971; Canto a due boemi, b cl, pf, 1972; Music for Pf, 1977; Talks with Harp, fl, str trio, hp, 1979; Concertant Suite, ob, cl, db, perc, pf, 1982; Prague Preludes, 5 hp, 1983; Duo, 2 hp, 1986; Monologues, hp, 1991; Homage to B.M., fl, hp, 1993; Sextet, hp, wind qnt, 1993; Armonioso, vn, pf, 1998