Robert Brookmeyer (December 19, 1929 – December 16, 2011) was an American jazz valve trombonist, pianist, arranger, and composer.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Brookmeyer first gained widespread public attention as a member of Gerry Mulligan's quartet from 1954 to 1957. He later worked with Jimmy Giuffre before rejoining Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band. In the late 1950s he moved to New York City to work as a freelance arranger. In the 1960s he also worked as a studio musician, co-led a quintet with Clark Terry and worked in and wrote for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. In 1980 this band recorded an album of his compositions/arrangements on which two tracks featured Clark Terry. After a period in Europe, he returned to the United States, where he continued to write and record. Bob Brookmeyer also taught jazz composition at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Soprano Montserrat Figueras has died in Spain, age 69

Montserrat Figueras, the glamorous, powerfully emotive Catalan soprano who along with her husband, Jordi Savall, created ensembles that revitalized the performance of early music, died on Wednesday, 23 NOVEMBER 2011, at her home in Bellaterra, Spain. She was 69.

Montserrat Figueras García (Barcelona, 15 March 1942 – 23 November 2011) was a Catalan soprano who specialized in early music. Figueras was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, and began studying early singing techniques together with her sister Pilar Figueras in 1966 and developed an approach and technique for singing early music which combined historical fidelity with vitality.
In 1974 she and Jordi Savall, her husband since 1968, Lorenzo Alpert and Hopkinson Smith formed Hespèrion XX, an early music ensemble. Figueras and her husband were members of a newer version of that ensemble, Hespèrion XXI. They also founded the groups La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations. Figueras also performed and recorded regularly as a solo artist. She and her husband performed with their children: daughter Arianna and son Ferran.
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Ladi Geisler (27 November, 1927 – 19 November, 2011)

Ladislav "Ladi" Geisler (27 November, 1927 – 19 November, 2011) was a Czech musician who established a high profile in the post-war German music scene. Best known for his work with German pop musicians Bert Kaempfert, James Last and Freddy Quinn, Geisler developed the distinctive “Knack-Bass” percussive bass sound that helped popularize the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra. He later released numerous records under his own name. 

Sena Jurinac, soprano died near Augsburg, Germany. She was 90.

Sena Jurinac, whose creamy soprano and elegant, sincere musical style made her a favorite of opera fans and critics alike during a career spanning four decades, died on Tuesday, 22 November 2011, at her home near Augsburg, Germany. She was 90. Sena (Srebrenka) Jurinac ([juˈrinats] (24 October 1921 – 22 November 2011 was a Bosnian Croat/Austrian operatic soprano. Born in Travnik, Bosnia-Herzegovina, she studied at the Zagreb Academy of Music, and also with Milka Kostrenčić (whose other well-known pupil was Zinka Milanov).

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Composer Russ Garcia dies

Composer Russ Garcia dies

Musical legend Russ Garcia – whose 70-year career in jazz and film saw him work with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Walt Disney and Clint Eastwood – has died at his home in Kerikeri, New Zealand aged 95.
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Russell Garcia, QSM (12 April 1916 – 20 November 2011) was a composer and arranger who wrote a wide variety of music for screen, stage and broadcast.
Garcia was born in Oakland, California, but was a long time resident of New Zealand. Self-taught, his break came when he substituted for an ill colleague on a radio show. Subsequently, he went on to become composer/arranger at NBC Studios for such televison shows as Rawhide 1962and Laredo, 1965-67, MGM and Universal Studios and films like the George Pal, MGM films, The Time Machine (1960) and Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961), as well as his orchestrated themes for Father Goose (1964) and The Benny Goodman Story (1956). He collaborated with many musical and Hollywood stars - Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, Mel Torme, Julie London, Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Walt Disney, Orson Welles, Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, Henry Mancini, and Charlie Chaplin making arrangements and conducting orchestras as needed. Russ loved to ski so he would write on-site scores to ski-content films.

André Hodeir - January 22, 1921 – November 1, 2011

André Hodeir (January 22, 1921 – November 1, 2011) was a French violinist, composer, arranger and musicologist. André Hodeir was born in Paris. His initial training was as a classical violinist and composer. He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he took Olivier Messiaen's analysis class, and won first prizes in fugue, harmony, and music history. While pursuing these studies, he discovered jazz, and embarked on an exploration of all music forms, jazz as well as classical.

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Band leader Edmundo Ros, has died at the age of 100.

Band leader Edmundo Ros, the man credited with popularising Latin American music in the UK, has died at the age of 100. His death was confirmed by showbusiness charity the Grand Order of Water Rats. Secretary John Adrian said: "He died last night peacefully at his home in Spain, two months short of his 101st birthday". Ros received an OBE for services to entertainment in the New Year Honours of 2000. Edmundo William Ros OBE (7 December 1910 – 21 October 2011) was a Trinidadian musician, vocalist, arranger and bandleader who made his career in Britain.

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Ingvar Wixell Swedish baritone opera singer dies at age 80

Ingvar Wixell was born in Luleå in 1931. He made his debut in 1955 as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm where he was member of the company until 1967. He made his British debut during the Royal Swedish Opera's visit to Covent Garden in 1960, and sang Guglielmo at Glyndebourne and at the Proms in 1962. For the Royal Opera, London he sang Boccanegra in 1972. In America he appeared at San Francisco Opera (Belcore, 1972) and the Metropolitan Opera (Rigoletto, 1973). He was engaged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin 1967 where he was a member for more than 30 years. At Bayreuth he sang the Herald in Lohengrin (1971).
Among other roles, Wixell sang Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Amonasro in Verdi's Aida, Baron Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca, and the title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto, Simon Boccanegra, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's Falstaff and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Wixell performed all the songs in the competition to select Sweden's Eurovision Song Contest 1965 entry. The winning song was "Annorstädes Vals" (Elsewhere Waltz), which Wixell went on to perform at the international final in Naples. In a break from the then prevailing tradition, the song was sung in English (as "Absent Friend"). This led to the introduction from 1966 onwards of a rule stipulating that each country's entry must be sung in one of the languages of that country. (This rule was cancelled for the years 1973 to 1977, reinstated in 1978, and cancelled again in 1999.)
Wixell ended his career in 2003 by singing the Music teacher in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Malmö Opera. Wixell died on October 8, 2011, aged 80.

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Pete Rugolo dies at age 95

Pete Rugolo, the chief arranger for the Stan Kenton Orchestra in its late-1940s heyday and a prolific composer and arranger for television and film, including the series “Richard Diamond, Private Detective,” “The Fugitive” and “Run for Your Life,” died on Sunday, 16 OCT 2011, in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 95. He was born in San Piero Patti, Sicily, Italy. His family emigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Santa Rosa, California. He began his career in music playing the baritone horn, like his father, but he quickly branched out into other instruments, notably the French horn and the piano. He received a bachelor's degree from San Francisco State College, and then went on to study composition with Darius Milhaud at Mills College in Oakland, California and earn his master's degree.
After he graduated, he was hired as an arranger and composer by guitarist and bandleader Johnny Richards. He spent World War II playing with altoist Paul Desmond in an army band.
After WWII, Rugolo worked for Stan Kenton, who headed one of the most musically 'progressive' big bands of the era. Rugolo provided arrangements and original compositions that drew on his knowledge of 20th century music, sometimes blurring the boundaries between jazz and classical music.
While Rugolo continued to work occasionally with Kenton in the 1950s, he spent more time creating arrangements for pop and jazz vocalists, including June Christy, Peggy Lee, the Four Freshmen, and Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, and Miles Davis. During this period he also worked for a while on film musicals at MGM, and served as an A&R director for Mercury Records in the late 1950s. Among his many albums were Adventures in Rhythm, Introducing Pete Rugolo, Rugolomania, Reeds in Hi-Fi and Music for Hi-Fi Bugs.

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Roger Williams, pianist 87

Roger Williams, the pianist whose lush versions of familiar tunes like “Autumn Leaves” and “Born Free” became hit recordings in the 1950s and ’60s and who continued to perform in concerts into his 80s, died on Saturday,8 October, 2011 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.

Roger Williams (born Louis Weertz, October 1, 1924 – October 8, 2011) was an American popular music pianist. As of 2004, he had released 116 albums.

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Conductor Kurt Sanderling dies, 98

Kurt Sanderling, an often acclaimed German-born conductor who spent most of his career in the Communist world after finding refuge from the Nazis there during World War II, died on Saturday, September 17, 2011 in Berlin. He was 98. Sanderling was born in Arys (Orzysz), East Prussia, to Jewish parents. After early work at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he left for Russia in 1936, where he worked with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1942 to 1960 he was joint principal conductor with Yevgeny Mravinsky of the Leningrad Philharmonic. As a German refugee with a broad cultural outlook, he grew very close to Dmitri Shostakovich. Sanderling had conducted several major symphony orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who had asked Sanderling to be the permanent conductor of the orchestra, however, Sanderling's commitments made him refuse the offer.


Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra dies in Sicily

Salvatore Licitra, a tenor known in his Italian homeland as the "new Pavarotti" for his potent voice and considerable stamina, died Monday, 5 September 2011, at age 43 after spending nine days in a coma following a motorscooter accident in Sicily. On August 27, 2011, Licitra suffered severe head and chest injuries when his scooter crashed into a wall in Sicily. He remained in a coma for nine days in the Garibaldi Hospital in Catania and was pronounced clinically dead on September 5, 2011.

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Salvatore Licitra - The DebutForbidden LoveDuetto

Ross Barbour of The Four Freshmen has died

Mr. Barbour died at 82 on Saturday, August 20, 2011, at his home in Simi Valley, CA. He was the last of the founding members of the Four Freshmen. The Four Freshmen had a fresh approach to close harmony, influencing the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, the Lettermen, the Manhattan Transfer and other groups. Their sound was characterized by long, lush chords — Mr. Barbour called them “purple chords” — and an improvisational style that made four voices seem like five or six. Each of the singers also played at least one instrument.

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The Four Freshmen - Capitol Collectors SeriesComplete 1950-1954Four Freshmen - Greatest HitsThe Four Freshmen - Live From Las VegasLive From Las Vegas (Audio CD)Great Gentlemen Of Song / Spotlight On The Four FreshmenIn SessionNow You Know: The Story of the Four Freshmen

Starlight Symphony conductor Cyril Ornadel, died on June 22 aged 86, wrote the score for the musical Pickwick

Cyril Ornadel, for many years conducted the orchestra for Sunday Night at the London Palladium, the most popular television variety show of the 1950s. Ornadel had enjoyed an earlier hit song with Portrait of My Love. Recorded under duress by the balladeer Matt Monro, who disliked it intensely on first hearing, it went to No 3 in 1960, and has become a modern songbook standard. Cyril Ornadel was born in London on December 2 1924, the son of a dress manufacturer who assumed he would join the family business. When Cyril went his own way, his father effectively had him thrown out of the Royal College of Music by telling it that his son was in breach of the rules by playing piano in a nightclub and dating a fellow student. Ornadel recorded several MGM albums of standards with the studio orchestra known as The Starlight Symphony.

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