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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.

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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.
By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK, NYTimes...|...WIKIPEDIA
 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.
  WIKIPEDIA
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.

  WIKIPEDIA