(b Warsaw, 6 Feb 1937). Polish tenor. After studying in Warsaw he made his début in 1959 as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) in Bytom, where he was engaged until 1963, then sang at Kraków, Warsaw and Berlin. In 1967 he was engaged at the Hamburg Staatsoper and the following year made his British début at Glyndebourne as Lensky, returning as Don Ottavio and Tamino. In 1972 he sang Alfredo (La traviata) at Chicago and Cavaradossi at San Francisco, in 1973 Idomeneus at Salzburg and in 1974 Henri in Les vêpres siciliennes at the Paris Opéra. Henri was also the role of his Metropolitan début in 1975, when he also sang Alfred in the centenary performance of Die Fledermaus at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna. His plangent tone was particularly suited to Slavonic music, and his repertory included Grigory/Dmitry (Boris Godunov), Andrey Khovansky and Vasily Golitsïn (Khovanshchina), Lensky, Hermann (The Queen of Spades), the Prince (Rusalka) and both Laca and Števa in Jenůfa. He sang the Shepherd in the first performance of Szymanowski's King Roger on the American continent (1981, Buenos Aires), and also recorded the opera. Gradually abandoning the Mozart and lighter Italian roles he once sang so stylishly, Ochman acquired a new, heavier repertory with such roles as Erik, Florestan, Herod and Fritz in Schreker's Der ferne Klang. His other recordings include Hermann, the Prince, Narraboth (Salome), Laca, Idomeneus, Jontek (Halka) and Stefan (The Haunted Manor).
Ochs, Phil(ip David)
(b El Paso, TX, 19 Dec 1940; d Far Rockaway, NY, 9 April 1976). American singer-songwriter. Born to an American father and a Scottish mother, he showed early musical promise as a clarinettist and was introduced to pop music by his brother, inaugurating a passion for Presley. Ochs studied journalism at Ohio State University where he learnt radical politics and began playing the guitar in a folksinging duo, the Sundowners. His first song, The Ballad of the Cuban Invasion, was written in the wake of the Bay of Pigs affair. By the early 1960s he had joined the burgeoning folk music scene in Greenwich Village and was involved in Broadside magazine with Bob Dylan. Journalism informed his songwriting and, like Woody Guthrie, Ochs's work both celebrated and criticized America, the latter bringing him into conflict with the Nixon administration.
Inevitably compared to Dylan – his album All the News that's Fit to Sing (Elektra, 1964) was reviewed favourably alongside Freewheelin’ – Ochs was left behind as Dylan's popularity rose and musical fashions changed in the late 1960s. Perhaps his best-known song is There but for Fortune, a hit for Joan Baez in 1965. He never ceased to champion causes, organizing a benefit for Chile in 1974 and a concert to mark the end of the Vietnam War the following year. However, he increasingly misused alcohol and drugs and, in a fit of depression, hanged himself.
J.L.Rodnitzky: Minstrels of the Dawn: the Folk-Protest Singer as a Cultural Hero (Chicago, 1976)
M.Elliot: Phil Ochs: Death of a Rebel (London, 1990)
(b Frankfurt, 19 April 1858; d Berlin, 5 Feb 1929). German chorus master and composer. While studying chemistry in Heidelberg he learnt the piano and was a part-time répétiteur at the theatre. In 1877 he moved to Berlin for further study at the Hochschule für Musik, where his teachers included Friedrich Kiel (theory), Joachim (ensemble playing) and Adolf Schulze (choral singing). Following his dismissal he studied privately with Kiel and Heinrich Urban. In 1882 he founded a choral society with 11 members, which became known as the Philharmonischer Chor during the 1887–8 season; its membership eventually grew to over 400. Bülow was an admirer of Ochs's work, and conducted the choir in several concerts between 1889 and 1892. In 1920 it dissolved because of financial difficulties but was largely absorbed by the choir of the Hochschule, where Ochs had become director of the oratorio department. His compositions include a three-act comic opera, Im Namen des Gesetzes, produced at Hamburg in 1888 (vs, Berlin, 1888), choral works and many songs; only his humorous piano variations on 's kommt ein Vogerl geflogen have survived.
In his concerts Ochs concentrated on the works of Schütz, Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms; he gave the first Berlin performances of Bruckner's Te Deum and works by Wolf, and was particularly celebrated for his performances of the St Matthew Passion. Noted for his extreme care in rehearsing, fine musicianship and natural sense of style (especially in early music), in 1928 he conducted the first Schütz work ever recorded (Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich?); his other recordings include works by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Mendelssohn. He had a special interest in Bach, as can be seen in his editions of the St Matthew Passion and the cantatas Christ lag in Todesbanden bwv4 and Du Hirte Israel, höre bwv104. The arioso Dank sei Dir, Herr, allegedly from an unspecified cantata by Handel and published in 1905, seems to be a composition by Ochs and not just an arrangement by him (as Ochs claimed). His writings include a four-volume treatise on choral singing and an autobiography.