Italian Soprano Daniela Dessi Dies at 59

Italian soprano Daniela Dessì, known for her performances at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, died on Saturday evening in Brescia, Italy, after a short battle with colon cancer. She was 59. Daniela Dessì (14 May 1957 – 20 August 2016) Dessì completed her studies at the Conservatory of Parma and the Accademia Chigiana of Siena, Italy. After winning the first prize at the International Competition organized by Italy's RAI TV in 1980, she debuted with the comic opera La serva padrona by Pergolesi. Her international career took her to a variety of opera theatres, singing under the direction of orchestra conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado and the Metropolitan Opera's James Levine. Dessì's 2008–2009 season began with Tosca in Florence, where she performed an encore of "Vissi d'arte", the first encore at Teatro Comunale di Firenze since Renata Tebaldi's "Amami Alfredo" in 1956. She later performed at the Verdi Theatre in Trieste, and also performed Adriana Lecouvreur in Palermo, Puccini's La fanciulla del West in Seville, Manon Lescaut in Warsaw, Madama Butterfly in Hanover and Aida in Verona and Cagliari. She closed the season in Barcelona with Turandot. In January 2009, she opened the season of recital at La Scala. On 20 August 2016 Dessì died of cancer at the age of 59. -- Wikipedia

Toots Thielemans: Belgian harmonica player dies at 94

 Toots Thielemans (born Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, 29 April 1922 – 22 August 2016) was a Belgian jazz musician. He was known for his guitar and harmonica playing, as well as his whistling skills. Because of health issues that led to show cancellations, Thielemans announced his retirement on 12 March 2014, cancelling all scheduled concerts. His manager stated that Thielemans "wants to enjoy the rest he deserves." However, he did make one more stage appearance, unannounced, in August 2014, at the Jazz Middelheim Festival in Antwerp. A popular instrumental and jazz standard composed and recorded by Toots Thielemans is "Bluesette," where he used whistling and guitar in unison. First recorded by him in 1962, with lyrics added by Norman Gimbel, the song became a major worldwide hit. He worked both as a bandleader and as a sideman, including many projects with composer/arranger Quincy Jones. Thielemans died in his sleep on 22 August 2016, at the age of 94.


Neil Cathcart Black OBE (born 28 May 1932 died 19th August 2016) was an English oboist. He has held the post of principal oboe in four London orchestras, and has taught at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Black was born in Birmingham. He starting playing the oboe at the age of 11, and played in the National Youth Orchestra between 1948 and 1951. He attended Oxford University between 1952 and 1956, and took a degree in history. In 1956–57 Black studied the oboe with Terence MacDonagh. From 1958 to 1960 he was principal oboist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Later in his career, he was the principal oboist of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. He is described by The Oxford Dictionary of Music as a "frequent soloist with chamber orchestras" and a "specialist in Baroque and pre‐classical repertoire". From 1960 to 1970 Black was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London. He later taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Black was appointed OBE in 1989. At 2013 he was musical director of the Kirckman Concert Society, which was formed in 1963 to promote young artists of exceptional talent.[Wikipedia]



Alasdair Graham, has died aged 82, concert pianist

Alasdair Graham was a concert pianist who attracted favourable reviews in the 1950s and 1960s for his insightful interpretations of the classical repertoire; he played at the Proms, worked with conductors such as Malcolm Sargent and Charles Groves, and made a name for himself as a helpful and sympathetic accompanist to many debutante singers. The Scottish concert pianist's career was stalled by a nervous breakdown, he recovered to become a record producer and a much respected teacher at the Royal College of Music in London.

 - See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2016/08/an-elegant-british-pianist-has-died/#sthash.ymCqADPO.dpuf


Paul Robertson, Medici Quartet violinist – obituary

TELEGRAPH OBIT  Paul Robertson, the violinist, who has died aged 63, was for almost 40 years the leader of the Medici Quartet, one of the pre-eminent postwar British string quartets. The Medici String Quartet is widely regarded as one of Britain's leading international ensembles, having appeared to critical acclaim in over thirty countries across five continents. Alongside frequent radio performances, the group has an eclectic discography including recordings of the Beethoven Cycle of Quartets, the seldom heard Saint-Saëns Quartets and Wajahat Khan's Sarod Quintet Raag Desh. The Medici Quartet has been ensemble in residence at the University of Surrey since 1996, as well as having a strong link to the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

 VIDEO: Kirklees Creative Summit 2012 - Keynote: Professor Paul Robertson 

Patrice Beverly Munsel (May 14, 1925 – August 4, 2016) was an American coloratura soprano.

Munsel first sang at the Metropolitan at age 17, in March 1943. She made her official Metropolitan debut on December 4, 1943, at the age of 18, singing Philine in Mignon. Her first opera contract was for three years at $40,000 per year; with other appearances she was making around $100,000 annually. Perhaps best known for the role of Adele in Die Fledermaus, she performed 225 times at the Metropolitan. Sir Rudolf Bing called her a "superb soubrette" and implied that she was the world's best. Her opera roles included Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Despina in Cosi fan Tutte.


 VIDEO: ''The Patrice Munsel Show'' - 31 January 1958 Patrice Munsel

Robert Page / Renowned choral conductor, musician and educator dies, age 89

For all of conductor Robert Page’s accolades, there may be no better example of his prowess in choral music than this: He improved a Robert Shaw choir. That would be the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. The illustrious Shaw had left a few years before Mr. Page took over in 1971, and he had to work to do to return it to its former glory. Four years later, he won a Grammy with the choir for a recording of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” A titan of the choral scene in 20th-century America, after 18 years in Cleveland he was asked to rehabilitate a choir down the road: the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. From 1979-2005, he transformed that chorus into one of the finest in the country. Mr. Page, 89, of Oakland, died from a bone infection on Sunday, 8 AUG 2016. POST-GAZETTE

 VIDEO: Carnegie Mellon University School of Music

Pete Fountain, Jazz Pop Clarinetist 1930 - 2016

Pete Fountain, New Orleans jazz clarinetist who appeared on “The Lawrence Welk Show” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” has died. He was 86. Fountain died of heart failure on Saturday, 8 August 2016, in New Orleans, his son-in-law and manager Benny Harrell confirmed to the AP. 

Pierre Dewey LaFontaine, Jr. (July 3, 1930 – August 6, 2016), known professionally as Pete Fountain, was an American clarinetist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. He played easy listening, jazz, Dixieland, pop jazz, honky-tonk jazz, pop, and Creole music. WIKIPEDIA

VIDEO: Pete Fountain - Crazy

Andre Hajdu 1932 - 2016, Hungarian born composer

Andre Hajdu was born on 5 March 1932 in Hungary. He studied at Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest with Endre Szervánszky and Ferenc Szabó (composition), Erno Szégedi (piano), and Zoltán Kodály (ethnomusicology). As a Kodály disciple, he was involved for two years in research about Gypsy musical culture and published several articles on this subject. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Hajdu escaped to Paris and continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Darius Milhaud (composition) and Olivier Messiaen (philosophy of music) obtaining the 1st prize in the discipline. Among his class mates were Gilbert Amy, William Bolcom, Philip Corner and Paul Mefano, to name just a few. In Paris he met a variety of stimulating people from the playwright Samuel Beckett to Prof. Israel Adler of the Hebrew University, who brought him on his first visit to Israel. WIKIPEDIA Andre Hajdu (Hungarian: Hajdú András; Hebrew: אנדרה היידו‎‎; 5 March 1932, Valea lui Mihai, Bihor – 1 August 2016, Tel Aviv, Israel) was a Hungarian-born Israeli composer and ethnomusicologist. VIDEO Ron Merhavi (double bass) and Andre Hajdu (piano) performing Andre Hajdu's Kaddish arranged by the composer for a solo double bass and piano "Make it Double" CD Launch IASA, Jerusalem 17 Feb 2011 השקת הדיסק "כלים שלובים" בתיכון הישראלי לאמנויות ירושלים, 17 בפברואר 2011


Hiroko Nakamura, Japanese pianist (July 25, 1944 – July 26, 2016)

Born Hiroko Fukuda in Yamanashi, she grew up in Tokyo. She began to study piano at the age of 3 at Toho Gakuen School of Music under Aiko Iguchi. In 1959, whilst a student at Chutobu Junior High School, she won first prize at the National Music Competition of Japan at age 15. In 1963, she began piano studied at the Juilliard School of Music, and studied under Rosina Lhévinne. In 1965, at the 7th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition, she won 4th prize, the youngest prizewinner that year, and was the second Japanese prizewinner in the history of the Chopin Competition. WIKIPEDIA

Hiroko Nakamura, Japanese pianist (July 25, 1944 – July 26, 2016)

VIDEO: Hiroko Nakamura, Piano Evgeny Svetlanov, Conductor The State Symphony Orchestra of The U.S.S.R. Recorded at Moscow Conservatoire Hall Jan.25.1985

Einojuhani Rautavaara 9 October 1928 – 27 July 2016...was a Finnish composer

Einojuhani Rautavaara (About this sound pronunciation (help·info); 9 October 1928 – 27 July 2016) was a Finnish composer of classical music. He was one of the most notable Finnish composers after Jean Sibelius. Rautavaara wrote a great number of works spanning various styles. Having written early works using 12-tone serial techniques, his later music may be described as neo-romantic and mystical. Major works include Cantus Arcticus and Symphony No. 7 "Angel of Light". WIKIPEDIA

 VIDEO...Rautavaara is a prolific composer with a career spanning seven decades. So far he has created ten operas, of which Thomas (1982-1985), Vincent (1986-1987) and Aleksis Kivi (1995-1996) are the best known. He has also produced eight symphonies and many concertos including the popular Cantus Arcticus; concerto for birds & orchestra (1972) and the double bass concerto Angel of Dusk (1980). Rautavaara has also written reams of choral, chamber and vocal music and a small amount of electronic music. Through working directly from his emotions and not hewing to party line serialism, Einojuhani Rautavaara has emerged, in the autumn of his life, as one the major figures in contemporary music worldwide.Symphony No.8 was composed in 1999. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mikko Franck.

Marni Nixon, the Voice Behind the Screen, Dies at 86

Ms. Nixon was the ghost singer for actresses in many of Hollywood’s most famous musicals, from “The King and I” to “West Side Story” to “My Fair Lady.” Marni Nixon (born February 22, 1930, died July 24, 2016) was an American soprano and playback singer for featured actresses in movie musicals. She was most famous for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films, including The King and I, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. Nixon's varied career included, besides her voice work in films, some film roles of her own, television, opera, concerts with major symphony orchestras around the world, musicals on stage throughout the United States and recordings. WIKIPEDIA NYTimes obit VIDEO