Polish-born conductor Jerzy Semkow passed away at the age of 86.

Jerzy Semkow (12 October 1928 – 23 December 2014)
was a Polish conductor.A longtime French citizen who resided in Paris, Semkow served as principal conductor of the National Opera in Warsaw (1959-1962), the Royal Danish Opera and Orchestra in Copenhagen (1966 to 1976), and as Music Director of the Orchestra of Radio-Televisione Italiana (RAI) in Rome. Between 1975 and 1979 he was Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He was an assistant conductor with Evgeny Mravinsky with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. Semkow enjoyed long associations as a regular guest conductor with American orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic. His mentors included Erich Kleiber, Bruno Walter and Tullio Serafin.  Born in Radomsko Poland. WIKIPEDIA BIO

Claude Frank, Pianist Admired for Performances of Beethoven, Is Dead at 89

The American pianist Claude Frank, widely admired for his insightful, sensitive performances of the solo and chamber works of the Germanic masters, and an influential teacher to generations of pianists, died on Saturday, 27 December 2014,  at his home in Manhattan, three days after turning 89.

 Claude Frank (December 24, 1925 – December 27, 2014) was a German-born, American Jewish pianist whose career included appearances at major festivals, and in recital halls around the world.

Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer and activist.

A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of the Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture and environmental causes.


Janis Martin, Opera Star Who Stretched Her Range, Dies at 75

Ms. Martin, a mezzo-soprano who became a soprano, gained international recognition for her performances in Wagner and Strauss operas.
 Janis Martin (August 16, 1939 – December 13, 2014) was an American opera singer who sang leading roles first as a mezzo-soprano and later as a soprano in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. She was particularly known for her performances in the operas of Richard Wagner and sang at the Bayreuth Festival from 1968 to 1997.

Big Band Legend Buddy DeFranco has died

Boniface Ferdinand Leonard "Buddy" DeFranco (February 17, 1923 – December 24, 2014) was an American jazz clarinet player. DeFranco began his professional career just as swing music and big bands — many of which were led by clarinetists like Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman — were in decline. While most jazz clarinet players did not adapt to this change, DeFranco successfully continued to play clarinet exclusively, and was one of the few bebop clarinetists. In 1950, DeFranco spent a year with Count Basie's Septet. He led small combo in the early 1950s which included pianist Sonny Clark and guitarist Tal Farlow. In this period, DeFranco recorded for MGM Records, Norgran and Verve, the latter two labels were owned by Norman Granz. He was bandleader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1966 to 1974, under the name, "The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Directed By Buddy DeFranco". He also performed with Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and many others, and released dozens of albums as a leader. WIKIPEDIA BIO

Laszlo Varga, Cellist for the New York Philharmonic, Is Dead at 89

Laszlo Varga was a New York Philharmonic virtuoso.

 Laszlo Varga (December 13, 1924 - December 11, 2014) was a Hungarian-American cellist who had a worldwide status as a soloist, recording artist, and authoritative cello teacher. For 11 years Varga held the position as principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic under the baton of the orchestra's music directors Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein, and many guest conductors including Fritz Reiner and Guido Cantelli. He performed as soloist with orchestras in countries such as Australia, Japan, USA, the former Soviet Union, and throughout Europe. In music festivals such as Aspen, Chautauqua, and Shreveport, he has been spotlighted during the last 40 years for his duties as a soloist, chamber musician and teaching mentor. During this time recorded a multitude of disks for numerous labels including Columbia, CRI, Decca, EMI, Musicelli, Period, Philips, RCA, Serenus, and Vox. Many composers throughout the world have requested that Mr. Varga give the first performance of their works.

Irene Dalis, Opera Singer and Company Founder, Dies at 89

Irene Dalis, a versatile and fiery mezzo-soprano who starred at the Metropolitan Opera for two decades before building a second career as the director of Opera San José, an innovative company she founded in her California hometown, died on Sunday in nearby Saratoga, Calif. She was 89

NYTimes Obit...|...WIKIPEDIA

Lydia Mordkovitch, 1944 - 2014

Lydia Mordkovitch (née Shtimerman; 30 April 1944 – 9 December 2014) was a Russian-born British violinist.
Lydia Shtimerman was born in Saratov, Russia, on 30 April 1944. She returned with her parents to Kishinev after the war but then lin 1960 moved to Odessa in the Ukraine where she studied for two years at the Stolyarsky School of Music until 1962. She then moved to Moscow where she studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory under David Oistrakh, later serving as his assistant in 1968 to 1970. During this period she won the National Young Musicians Competition in Kiev in 1967 and the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris in 1969. Mordkovitch emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1980. In 1995 she joined the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music. Her extensive discography on the Chandos label includes music of English composers (violin concertos of Arnold Bax, William Alwyn and George Dyson) and Max Bruch’s seldom heard Second and Third Violin Concertos.

Pianist, Cliburn winner and TCU piano prof Jose Feghali has died

José Feghali (March 28, 1961 – c. December 9, 2014) was a Brazilian pianist, who, until his death, was an Artist-in-Residence at Texas Christian University's school of music in piano. He was the Gold Medalist winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1985. The Van Cliburn Foundation and the Texas Christian University announced Feghali's death on December 9, 2014, by apparent suicide. José Feghali made his recital debut at the age of five and concerto debut three years later with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Feghali studied in London with Maria Curcio, then continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton.


Jazz singer and clarinettist Acker Bilk has died at the age of 85

The musician, known for performing in a garish waistcoat and bowler hat, was the first UK act to top the US charts in the 1960s. wikipedia bio English clarinettist and vocalist, billed as Mr. Acker Bilk on many of his recordings. He is known for his trademark goatee, bowler hat, striped waistcoat and his breathy, vibrato-rich, lower-register clarinet style. Bilk's 1962 instrumental tune "Stranger on the Shore" became the second No. 1 single in the United States by an English artist in the era of the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

Stephen Paulus, Classical Composer Rich in Lyricism, Dies at 65

Stephen Paulus (August 24, 1949 – October 19, 2014) was an American composer, best known for his operas and choral music. His best-known piece is his 1982 opera The Postman Always Rings Twice, one of several operas he composed for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which prompted The New York Times to call him "a young man on the road to big things". His style is essentially tonal, and melodic and romantic by nature. He received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation and won the prestigious Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize. He was commissioned by such notable organizations as the Minnesota Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, the American Composers Orchestra, the Dale Warland Singers, the Harvard Glee Club and the New York Choral Society. Paulus was a passionate advocate for the works and careers of his colleagues. He co-founded the American Composers Forum in 1973, the largest composer service organization in the U.S.


Mr. Paulus’s warmly received musical output was prodigious, including 13 operas and some 400 choral works. WIKIPEDIA

See obit By WILLIAM YARDLEYOCT. 21, 2014 NYTimes

Anita Cerquetti, Opera Fill-In Who Soared, Dies at 83

Her rise to fame was dramatic. Miss Cerquetti stepped in for Maria Callas in Rome in 1958, but her fame was relatively short-lived. Anita Cerquetti (13 April 1931 – 11 October 2014) was an Italian dramatic soprano who had a short career in the 1950s. Cerquetti was born in Montecosaro, near Macerata, Italy. She originally studied violin and trained eight years with Luigi Mori. After a mere year of vocal study at the Conservatory of Perugia, she made her operatic debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida. She sang all over Italy, notably in Florence as Noraime in Les Abencérages under Carlo Maria Giulini in 1956,in the Italian version "Gli Abencerragi", and as Elvira in Ernani under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1957. Her Teatro alla Scala debut was in 1958 as Abigaille in Nabucco. She also sang on RAI in a wide variety of roles, such as Elcia in Mosè in Egitto, Mathilde in Guglielmo Tell and Elena in I vespri siciliani.
 WIKIPEDIA Cerquetti made headlines in January 1958 when she replaced "in extremis" the ailing Maria Callas in Norma, at the Rome Opera House. She was already singing the role at the San Carlo in Naples. She commuted between the two cities to honor both engagements for several weeks. This "tour de force" won her great acclaim, but had serious effects on her health. Shortly afterward she started withdrawing little by little from the stage until her complete retirement in 1961, aged only 30.


Rita Shane, a Met Soprano Known for Range and Intensity, Dies at 78

Rita Shane, a dramatic coloratura soprano admired for the range, flexibility and size of her voice, as well as the intensity she brought to her performances, died on Thursday 9 October 2014, at her home in Manhattan. She was 78. NYTimes Obit Rita Shane (August 15, 1936 – October 9, 2014) was a dramatic coloratura soprano notable for her performances in opera. She studied at Barnard College and under Beverly Peck Johnson, and made her operatic debut as Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, at Chattanooga in 1964. The next year she appearing with the New York City Opera, as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. WIKIPEDIA Her performance in the 1971 live recording of Les Huguenots was described as "borderline astonishing" by reviewer Charles Parsons.[1] With the New York City Opera, Shane went on to sing in Dialogues des Carmélites (as Mme Lidoine), L'amour des trois oranges (as Fata Morgana), Don Giovanni (now as Donna Anna) and Die Zauberflöte (Queen of Night). She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1973, as the Queen of Night. Over eight seasons, she also sang in La bohème (as Musetta), Un ballo in maschera (as Oscar), Le siège de Corinthe, La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Le prophète (as Berthe, in John Dexter's production), and Rigoletto. Rita Shane at Amazon.com

Christopher Hogwood, Early-Music Devotee, Dies at 73

Christopher Hogwood, whose Academy of Ancient Music was a key ensemble in the period-instrument movement, striving to perform early music as the composer intended and as audiences were first presumed to have heard it, died on Wednesday 24 SEP 2014, at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 73.
Christopher Jarvis Haley Hogwood CBE (10 September 1941 – 24 September 2014) was an English conductor, harpsichordist, writer, musicologist and the founder of the Academy of Ancient Music.

Polly Bergen, 1930 - 2014

...Emmy-winning actress and singer Polly Bergen, who in a long career played the terrorized wife in the original "Cape Fear" and the first woman president in "Kisses for My President," died Saturday, 20 SEP 2014. She was 84.Link to AP obit
Polly Bergen (born Nellie Paulina Burgin; July 14, 1930 - September 20, 2014) was an American actress, singer, television host, and entrepreneur. WIKIPEDIA She won an Emmy Award in 1958 for her performance as Helen Morgan in The Helen Morgan Story. For her stage work she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical her performance as Carlotta Campion in Follies in 2001. Her film work included 1962's Cape Fear and 1963's The Caretakers, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.


What's My Line video

Bob Crew 1930 - 2014

Stanley Robert Crewe (November 12, 1930 – September 11, 2014) was an American songwriter, dancer, singer, manager, record producer and fine artist. He was known for producing, and co-writing with Bob Gaudio, a string of Top 10 singles for The Four Seasons. As a songwriter, his most successful songs included "Silhouettes" (co-written with Frank Slay); "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like a Man", "Rag Doll", "Silence Is Golden", "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You " and "Bye, Bye, Baby" (all co-written with Gaudio); "Let's Hang On!" (wriiten with Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell); and "My Eyes Adored You" and "Lady Marmalade" (both co-written with Kenny Nolan). He was also known for his hit recordings with The Rays, Diane Renay, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Freddy Cannon, Lesley Gore, Oliver, Michael Jackson, Bobby Darin, Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, Patti LaBelle, and his own The Bob Crewe Generation.


Magda Olivero, Frenzy-Inspiring Soprano, Dies at 104

Magda Olivero (25 March 1910 – 8 September 2014) was an Italian operatic soprano. Her career started in 1932 when she was 22, and later took her to opera houses around the world.NYTimes Obit Born as Maria Maddalena Olivero in Saluzzo, Italy, she made her operatic debut in 1932 on radio in Turin radio singing Nino Cattozzo's (1886–1961) oratorio, I misteri dolorosi. She performed widely and increasingly successfully until 1941, when she married and retired from performing. She returned to the stage ten years later, at the request of Francesco Cilea, who asked her to sing again the title role in his opera Adriana Lecouvreur. From 1951 until her final retirement, Olivero sang in opera houses around the world. Among her most renowned interpretations were the leading parts in Adriana Lecouvreur, Iris, Fedora, La bohème, La fanciulla del West, La traviata, La Wally, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Mefistofele, and Turandot (as Liù).