Death of American Song composer Sunny Skylar

Sunny Skylar (October 11, 1913 – February 2, 2009) was an American composer, singer, lyricist, and music publisher. He was born Selig Shaftel in Brooklyn, New York. As a singer, he appeared with a number of big bands, including those led by Ben Bernie, Paul Whiteman, Abe Lyman, and Vincent Lopez. After the end of the big band era, he continued to sing in nightclubs and theaters until 1952. Among the songs he wrote (either music or lyrics) are:
And So to Sleep Again
Bésame Mucho Traduction of the original Mexican song
Gotta Be This or That
Hair of Gold, Eyes of Blue
Love Me with All Your Heart
Where There's Smoke, There's Fire
You're Breaking My Heart

Swedish composer Erland von Koch dead, 98 years old

Erland von Koch received his diploma as an organist and cantor from the Music Conservatory in Stockholm in 1935. He spent the following years studying composition, conducting, and piano in Germany and France. After a couple of years at the Swedish Radio, he worked as a teacher of music theory at the conservatory in Stockholm from 1953-1975. He became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1957, and was named a Professor in 1968. Among his awards were the Royal Swedish Academy of Music's medal for contributions to music in 2000. He was a versatile composer and wrote five symphonies, 12 Scandinavian dances, the Impusli and Oxberg trilogies, 12 concerti for solo instruments, numerous solo works, string quartets, the children's opera Pelle Svanslos, five ballets, songs, psalms, and film music.(among other things, he wrote the music for one of Ingmar Bergman's early films). "I strive for a simple, clear melodic style, preferably associated with folk music, and with a clear-cut rhythmic profile. I want my harmony to be uncomplicated," he said about his own composing. Erland von Koch passed away at the end of January, three months before his 99th birthday.

WEB - IMAGES - SHOP Erland von Koch

Jazz drumming legend Louie Bellson died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 84.

Born Luigi Balassoni, Bellson established himself as a premier big band drummer in the 1940s, drumming with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. He played with Duke Ellington in the early 1950s and in small groups with Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. Peterson, who was an exacting judge of musicianship, said that Bellson represented "the epitome of musical talent." The video above, from 1957, documents Bellson's renowned soloing ability. Bellson was married for 40 years to singer Pearl Bailey, who said of her husband: "to listen and see Louie is to know Man's love of music." (Bailey died in 1990.) In November last year, Bellson was hospitalized after breaking his hip during a fall. In January, he was transferred to a rehabilitation facility, where he was undergoing a regimen of physical therapy. His passing on the weekend was unexpected. He was active musically until recently. His drumming and composing were featured on a big band CD recorded in 2007 and released last year -- Louie & Clark Expedition 2 -- a project with him and fellow octuagenarian Clark Terry.

WEB - IMAGES - SHOP Louie Bellson

Conductor John McGlinn passed away

American conductor and musical theatre archivist John McGlinn passed away Saturday February 14th, 2009. He was one of the principal proponents of making authentic studio cast recordings of classic musical theatre works. McGlinn was the music director for the off-Broadway productions of Jerome Kern's SITTING PRETTY (1989) and THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE (1990). McGlinn was active in the recording studio in the 1980's and his complete recordings of Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein's SHOW BOAT and Cole Porter's ANYTHING GOES are considered to be the definitive representations of those productions. McGlinn made his operatic debut in 1993 conducting for the Juilliard Opera Theatre. He made his New York City Opera debut in 1996. For many years he was active in the restoration and recording of American stage works, recording with such artists as Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Ruth Ann Swenson, Teresa Stratas, Jerry Hadley and Roberta Peters, and recorded Fieber with Ian Bostridge and the orchestra of NDR Hannover. He has performed and recorded with the London Sinfonietta, the London Symphony, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Bologna Opera, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic and the BBC Concert Orchestra, among many others.

WEB - SHOP John McGlinn

Molly Bee dies at 69; country singer

Molly Bee, a country singer popular in the 1950s and 1960s who was a teenage star on television's "Hometown Jamboree" and "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show," has died. She was 69. Bee, who lived in Carlsbad, Calif., died Saturday of complications related to a stroke.


Songwriter, singer Blossom Dearie dies at 82

Blossom Dearie, the singer and songwriter whose sweet soprano voice, harmonically innovative piano stylings and sophisticated performance made her a popular attraction in jazz and cabaret for nearly half a century, has died. She was 82. A singer, songwriter pianist who performed for nearly 50 years, retiring about three years ago. Among her best-known albums was “My Gentleman Friend,” recorded for Verve. She resisted being called a jazz or cult singer. “I think of myself as a songwriter's singer. All the great Broadway and Hollywood teams are in my repertoire, along with contemporary people like Dave Frishberg. ... Writers bring their songs to me because they rely on me to define their work with respect. That's very flattering." Songs she was known for performing for Frishberg included "Peel Me a Grape," ''I'm Hip" and "My Attorney Bernie." In the 1970s, she sang some of the songs on "Schoolhouse Rock!" including "Mother Necessity," ''Figure Eight" and "Unpack Your Adjectives."
MORE - IMAGES - SHOP Blossom Dearie

Bogdan Trochanowski, 62

Polish cellist and composer Bogdan Trochanowski, who has been living in Caracas, Venezuela for 30 years, died Tuesday morning at the age of 62, said Venezuelan journalist Justyna Zun Dalloul, Wednesday. Trochanowski was born in Warsaw and he studied in Warsaw and Krakow, southern Poland. He was a soloist of the National Philharmonic Concert Hall. In 1977, he went to the Venezuela, where he stayed there until his final days. He performed under his stage-name Dan Savicha. In 1978, he started playing in the Symphonic Orchestra in Maracaibo and in the Symphonic Orchestra in Caracas. In 1990, Trochanowski became a professor at the Jose Lorenzo Llamozas Academy of Music in Caracas. Since 1994, he has been acting artistic and music consultant for the Contemporary Music Centre in Caracas. Three years later he was also named artistic director of Atma Music International. Throughout his life and career, he performed in numerous countries, donating large portions of the income from his concerts to various charity organizations.

His concerts have been recorded by both Polish Radio and Television, as well as many broadcast stations in Germany, France and Venezuela.

Trochanowski received numerous prestigious international prizes, including a medal and metal plaque in Cumana in 1981

Composer Lucas Foss

Lukas Foss was born as Lukas Fuchs assumed on August 15, 1922 in Berlin, Germany, and died February 1, 2009 in New York City. He was an American composer, conductor, pianist, and professor. He studied with Julius Goldstein. He moved to Paris in 1933 where he studied piano with Lazare Lévy, composition with Noël Gallon, orchestration with Felix Wolfes, and flute with Louis Moyse. In 1937 he moved to America and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, with Sergei Koussevitzky during the summers from 1939 to 1943 at the Berkshire Music Center, and, as a special student, composition with Paul Hindemith at Yale University from 1939 to 1940
BIO - WEB - Images - SHOP Lucas Foss