John Duffy, Composer, Dies at 89

 John Duffy, the founder and longtime director of Meet the Composer, an organization created to promote contemporary music and place composers in residence with American orchestras, died on Dec. 22, 2015 at his home in Norfolk, Va. He was 89. NYTimes obit | Schott music... John Duffy was one of the last of a breed of American visionary artist-impresarios...; these veritable forces of nature who built from the ground-up, who dared to do the impossible, and in so doing, would forever change the landscape of American contemporary performing arts. - Fred Ho John Duffy has composed more than 300 works for symphony orchestra, theater, television and film. His music has earned many awards including two Emmys, an ASCAP award for special recognition in film and television music, a New York State Governor’s Art Award and the (New York City) Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts and Culture. ----see more at Schott Music link

Snuff Garrett, Record Producer Who Made a String of Hits, Dies at 77

Thomas Lesslie "Snuff" Garrett (July 5, 1938 – December 16, 2015) was an American record producer whose most famous work was during the 1960s and 1970s. 

His nickname is a derivation of Levi Garrett, a brand of snuff. WIKIPEDIA Snuff Garrett, a former Texas disc jockey who was forsaken by his own music teachers but became a millionaire by the time he was 30 producing records for Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Gary Lewis & the Playboys and other artists, died on Dec. 16 in Tucson. He was 77. NYTimes Obit

Kurt Masur Dies at 88; Conductor Transformed New York Philharmonic

Kurt Masur (18 July 1927 – 19 December 2015)
  NYTimes obit Kurt Masur, the music director emeritus of the New York Philharmonic, who was credited with transforming the orchestra from a sullen, lackluster ensemble into one of luminous renown, died on Saturday December 19, 2015, in Greenwich, Conn. He was 88. Masur was born in Brieg, Lower Silesia, Germany (now Brzeg in Poland) and studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig, Saxony. Masur was married three times. His first marriage ended in divorce. He and his second wife, Irmgard, had a daughter, Carolin. Irmgard Masur died in 1972 in a car accident in which Masur was severely injured. His marriage to his third wife, the former Tomoko Sakurai, produced a son, Ken-David, a classical singer and conductor WIKIPEDIA VIDEO:

Heinz Fricke (February 11, 1927 – December 7, 2015)

Heinz Fricke, the East German conductor who had an unlikely late-career renaissance as the beloved music director of the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, died Dec. 7 near Berlin. He was 88. WASHINGTON POST Obit

 Heinz Fricke was a German conductor. From 1961 to 1992 he held the position of Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. He also worked at the Den Norske Opera. In 2010 Fricke announced his retirement after 18 years with the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra (he was appointed to both in 1993). He was the honorary Music Director Emeritus of the WNO and the KCOHO.

 VIDEO: Heinz Fricke 


John Eaton, Composer and Electronic Innovator, Dies at 80

 John Eaton, an avant-garde composer of operas both grandiose and chamber-size and an early proponent of synthesizer music, died on Dec. 2 in Manhattan. He was 80. NYTimes Obit

John Charles Eaton (March 30, 1935 – December 2, 2015) was an American composer (Anon. n.d.(a); Morgan 2001), recipient of the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim Fellow (Morgan 2001), MacArthur Fellow and professor emeritus of composition at the University of Chicago (Anon. 2008). WIKIPEDIA

VIDEO: The Greeks: Ancient and Modern, part I by John Eaton, composer; Marcy Richardson, soprano; with two pianos tuned quarter tone apart. 

Mattiwilda Dobbs, Soprano and Principal at Met, Dies at 90

Mattiwilda Dobbs, a coloratura soprano who was the third African-American to appear as a principal singer with the Metropolitan Opera, died on Tuesday, 8 Dec 2015, at her home in Atlanta. She was 90. Mattiwilda Dobbs (July 11, 1925 – December 8, 2015) was an African-American coloratura soprano and one of the first black singers to enjoy a major international career in opera. Possessing a small but buoyant voice, Dobbs was admired for her refined vocal technique and lively interpretations. NYTimes Obit | Wikipedia

 VIDEO: Rare and unknown voices - MATTIWILDA DOBBS

Jerzy Katelwicz died November 16, 2015

Jerzy Katelwicz. Conductor, Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra; pianist, and educator...Jerzy Katlewicz was one of the finest and the most deserving for the promotion of indigenous culture in the world of Polish conductors. His artistic career in a unique way intertwined with the Philharmonic. Karol Szymanowski Krakow - here held his concert diploma in 1952; he was also the longest in the history of the Krakow Philharmonic responsible for its artistic image - from 1968 to the 1980s. George Katlewicz (b. April 2, 1927 r. Bochnia) in 1952. Graduated with honors from conducting at the State Higher School of Music in Cracow in the class of Arthur Malawski. In 1955. He won the first prize in the Competition for Young Conductors in Besancon Belgian. Earlier, in the years 1947 - 1949 he worked as an organist in the church. Nicholas Bochnia, and from 1949-1952 he was music director of the theater "Grotesque" in Cracow. Then he served as music director and conductor and opera conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Krakow; artistic director of the Philharmonic in Poznan and Director of the State Opera and the Baltic Philharmonic in Gdansk. After a period as director, he directed the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of Polish Radio and Television in Krakow, and in 1979-82 he was the artistic director Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orkest in Haarlem in the Netherlands.

Joseph Silverstein (March 21, 1932 – November 21, 2015) was an American violinist and conductor.

Joseph Silverstein was born in Detroit. As a youth, Silverstein studied with his father, Bernard Silverstein, who was a public school music teacher. He later studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Efrem Zimbalist, and also studied with William Primrose, Josef Gingold, and Mischa Mischakoff. In 1959 he won a silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition and in 1960 was awarded Naumburg Award from the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation. In 1962, Silverstein became concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 22 years. He was appointed assistant conductor in 1971. He was music director of the Utah Symphony from 1983 to 1998. He served as acting music director of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001 until the orchestra's demise in 2003. He was the artistic advisor to the Portland Symphony Orchestra in 2007-2008 season. He has served as a professor of violin at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, following his position at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Since 1969, he has been a regular faculty artist at the Sarasota Music Festival. Silverstein performed on a 1742 Guarneri del Gesù. Silverstein died on November 22, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts from a heart attack at the age of 83. VIDEO:

Seymour Lipkin, Pianist and Conductor, Dies at 88

Seymour Lipkin, a pianist and conductor widely admired in both roles for his acute, deliberately unflashy musicianship, died on Monday, 16 Nov 2015, in Blue Hill, Me. He was 88. Pianist Seymour Lipkin was born in Detroit. His grandfather had been a violinist (his custom violin is now on loan for Juilliard students to use), and while Lipkin’s parents weren’t musicians, they were musical, and they noted and encouraged his early interest in listening to music. When Lipkin was 11, he moved to Philadelphia to study at Curtis, boarding with a local family (that Curtis supplied with a piano). A few years later, his sister, Eleanor, joined him, and she later enjoyed a successful performing career in Europe. Lipkin received a Bachelor of Music from Curtis in 1947 and has been on the faculty there since 1969. In addition to Juilliard, where he joined the faculty in 1986, Lipkin has also taught at Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Marymount College. He has performed as a soloist with most major American orchestras, recorded extensively, and also had a distinguished conducting career. NYTimes Obit

 VIDEO: Seymour Lipkin Talks About Piano Music American classical pianist Seymour Lipkin took a rare interview with NTD Television on piano playing. In the interview, Lipkin also gives advices to the Chinese piano students on how to master piano arts as a musician. To promote classical piano music and young Chinese pianists on a world stage, NTD Television is hosting the 3rd International Chinese Piano Competition in New York City. The Finals and Award Concert this year will be held at Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall on October 27, 2013. For more information, please visit: http://piano.ntdtv.com 

Andrei Yakovlevich Eshpai (15 May 1925 – 8 November 2015) was Russian and Soviet composer.

Andrei Yakovlevich Eshpai (Russian: Андре́й Я́ковлевич Эшпа́й; 15 May 1925 – 8 November 2015) was an ethnic Mari (Russian and Soviet) composer Eshpai was born at Kozmodemyansk, Mari El. A Red Army World War II veteran, he studied piano at Moscow Conservatory from 1948 to 1953 under Vladimir Sofronitsky, and composition under Nikolai Rakov, Nikolai Myaskovsky and Evgeny Golubev. He performed his postgraduate study under Aram Khachaturian from 1953 to 1956. He was the son of the composer Yakov Andreyevich Eshpai, and the father of the filmmaker Andrei Andreyevich Eshpai. On 8 November 2015, Eshpai died in Moscow from a stroke at the age of 90.



Robert Craft, Stravinsky Adviser and Steward, Dies at 92

Mr. Craft’s close relationship with Stravinsky included sustaining and interpreting the composer’s legacy. 

 Robert Lawson Craft (October 20, 1923 – November 10, 2015) was an American conductor and writer. He is best known for his intimate working friendship with Igor Stravinsky, on which Craft drew in producing numerous recordings and books. Craft met Stravinsky in 1948, and from then until the composer's death in 1971, Craft continued to work alongside Stravinsky in a variety of roles. A relationship that started out with Craft in a rather modest role eventually evolved into a full artistic partnership. Craft compiled the libretti for Stravinsky's The Flood and A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer, and lived with Igor and Vera Stravinsky in Hollywood and later in New York City. Craft remained close to the composer's widow until her death in 1982. After Stravinsky's death, Craft continued to concertize and to write. His 2002 book, An Improbable Life, details his life before, during, and after his friendship with Stravinsky. The memoir elaborates on the impact that Igor Stravinsky had on his life. Craft married Stravinsky's longtime nurse, Rita Christiansen, and is the father of one son, Robert Alexander Craft, who lives in Copenhagen. Late in life he made a second marriage, to Alva Rodriquez Minoff (a real estate salesperson). Craft died on November 10, 2015, in Gulf Stream, Florida

 VIDEO: "Scenes de Ballet: Apotheose" by Robert Craft & St. Luke's Orchestra


Duncan Druce, composer - obituary Violinist who composed a sensitive and convincing completion of Mozart’s unfinished Requiem

Duncan Druce, who has died aged 76, was a composer, violinist and musicologist whose completion of Mozart’s Requiem drew much attention when it was first heard at the Proms in 1991 – not least when the conductor Roger Norrington brought him forward from his place among the violins to share the applause . The son of a bacteriologist, Robert Duncan Druce was born at Nantwich, Cheshire, on May 23 1939. He was seven when the family moved to Leeds where, encouraged by a school teacher, he immersed himself in the city’s musical life. He played violin with the National Youth Orchestra and spent a year studying with Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music. At King’s College, Cambridge, where he took a double first in Music, one of his undergraduate exercises was to compose a single movement for a string quartet in the style of Mozart; Druce instead wrote an entire quartet. TELEGRAPH OBIT

David Frederick Stock (June 3, 1939 – November 2, 2015) was an American composer and conductor.

Stock was a longtime resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he served as a professor of composition and as the conductor of the Contemporary Ensemble at Duquesne University. In 1976, he founded the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and was the music director for 23 years until his retirement in 1999. He was the composer in residence for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra during the 1987-88 season, and for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra for the 1996-97 season. Among his many compositions are Kickoff, premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur during the Orchestra's 150th Anniversary; Violin Concerto, premiered by Andres Cardenes and the Pittsburgh Symphony under Lorin Maazel for that Orchestra's 100th Anniversary; and Second Symphony, premiered by the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz.

VIDEO: DAVID STOCK: Violin Concerto: Final Movement - Andres Cardenes, Violin

David Willcocks, Choral Conductor Kings College (1919-2015)

Sir David Willcocks, who has died aged 95, was the most influential choirmaster of his generation, spending 17 years as director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, and 38 years in charge of the Bach Choir. He was a man of immense courage in both musical and military fields, earning an immediate MC during his war service in Normandy.OBIT Sir David Valentine Willcocks CBE, MC (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015) was a British choral conductor, organist, composer and music administrator. He is particularly well known for his association with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, which he directed from 1957 to 1974, making frequent broadcasts and recordings. Several of the descants and carol arrangements he wrote for the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols were published in the series of books Carols for Choirs which he edited along with Reginald Jacques and John Rutter. He was also director of the Royal College of Music in London. During the Second World War he served as an officer in the British Army, and was decorated with the Military Cross for his actions during the Battle of Normandy. His elder son, Jonathan Willcocks, is also a composer. WIKIPEDIA

Jaime Leon Ferro (1921 - 2015)

Born in 1921, Jaime León the Grand Old Man of Colombian music. A vital figure in the development of Colombian art-music, León has been pianist (a grand-student of Clara Schumann), conductor, teacher, administrator and composer. His Misa breve has an innocent sincerity reminiscent of Poulenc’s religious music, and although the word-setting in his songs is subtle and imaginative, they have the same melodic immediacy and uncomplicated appeal. He died May 8, 2015....
Jaime Leon

 VIDEO: In this video Colombian soprano Patricia Caicedo and pianist Janet Pumill perform a set of art songs by Colombian composer Jaime Leon. The songs are Más que nunca (poetry by Maruja Vieira), A tí (poetry by José Asunción Silva), Rima (poetry by Eduardo Carranza) and Todo pasó (poetry by Rafael Maya). The performance took place at TCU in Fort Worth, TX, on October 4, 2011. It was part of the 8th Latin-American Music Festival. If you are interested in learning about the Latin-American Art Song repertoire, its composers and poets please visit www.barcelonafestivalofsong.com the site of the Barcelona Festival of Song a Summer Program for singers and accompanists dedicated to the study of the history and interpretation of the Latin-American and Spanish Vocal Repertoire. If you are looking for scores please visit www.mundoarts.com For more info about Patricia Caicedo, her performances, books and CDs please visit www.patriciacaicedo.com

George Cleve, Conductor Who Interpreted Mozart, Dies at 79

George Wolfgang Cleve (1935 or 1936 – August 27, 2015) was an Austrian born American musical conductorMr. Cleve, who was born in Vienna, fled with his family to the United States and spent most of his American career on the West Coast.NYTimes Obit Cleve studied at the High School of Music and Art and the Mannes College of Music. His conducting teachers included Pierre Monteux, Leonard Bernstein, George Szell and Franco Ferrara. He guest conducted many orchestra in both the United States, Great Britain, and continental Europe, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the Singapore Symphony, among others. Cleve was appointed music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for the 1969-70 season, and then served as the music director of the San Jose Symphony from 1972 to 1992. Cleve was also an active opera conductor, having led performances of Carmen with the San Francisco Opera, Don Giovanni, Pagliacci, and Cavalleria rusticana with Opera San José, and other productions with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, San Francisco Spring Opera, Long Beach Opera, the Spoleto USA Festival and the Mannheim Opera. Cleve was the founder, in 1974, and director of the Midsummer Mozart Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cleve died at the age of 79 in Berkeley, California in 2015.

VIDEO: George Cleve conducts the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia...Schumann, Symphony no. 4


Issachar Miron (a.k.a. Stefan Michrovsky)

Miron, born in 1919, (died January 29, 2015 at 95). He left Poland at the age of 19, thus avoiding the Holocaust. In 1941, while serving in the Jewish Brigade of the British forces, he composed the melody for lyrics written by Chagiz. The song became popular in Palestine and was played on the Israeli radio. Julius Grossman, who did not know who composed the song, wrote the so-called third part of 'Tzena' about November 1946. Gordon Jenkins made an arrangement of the song for The Weavers, who sang it with Jenkins' orchestra as backing. The Jenkins/Weavers version, released by Decca Records under catalog number 27077, was one side of a two-sided hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard magazine charts while the flip side, "Goodnight Irene," reached #1. Cromwell Music Inc., a subsidiary of Richmond/TRO, claimed the rights to the song, and had licensed the Decca release. They alleged the music to have been composed by a person named Spencer Ross, though in reality this was a fictitious persona constructed to hide the melody's true authorship. Mills Music, Inc., Miron's publisher, sued Cromwell (TRO) and won. The presiding judge also dismissed Cromwell's claim that the melody was based on a traditional folk song and was thus in the public domain. Arounds the '80s, Israeli folk star Ron (Ran) Eliran recorded the song along with 14 more songs by Miron to make a CD together called, Sing to Me Eretz Yisrael. The original English lyric, written by Mitchell Parish, was greatly altered in the version recorded by The Weavers. Other charting versions were recorded by Vic Damone and Mitch Miller's Orchestra. A humorous version, entitled "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" was recorded by the Smothers Brothers on their 1961 debut album, The Smothers Brothers at the Purple Onion. The newest version was released in October, 2012 by Bruce Berger, also known as Rebbe Soul. The arrangement is highly rhythmic, contemporary, and upbeat. Guitarist Chet Atkins also recorded the song--without lyrics--on his 1960 album The Other Chet Atkins

.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzena,_Tzena,_Tzena BIO NYTimes

Wolfgang Gönnenwein was a German conductor

Born in Schwäbisch Hall, Wolfgang Gönnenwein studied music and German studies at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Tübingen. In 1959 he became the conductor of the choir Süddeutscher Madrigalchor (South German Madrigal Chorus). He also conducted the choir of the Bach-Verein Köln (de) from 1969 until 1973. In 1968 he was appointed Professor for choral conducting at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, in 1973 he was elected Rektor (president), serving until 1982. He also directed the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele (de) until 2004. He was Generalintendant (General Manager) of the Staatstheater Stuttgart from 1985 to 1992. For EMI, Gönnenwein recorded many of Bach's sacred works, including the St Matthew Passion, as well as Haydn's oratorios and Mozart's Requiem. Gönnenwein died on 26 July 2015 at the age of 82


VIDEO: "Final Chorus" from Matthäus-Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach Süddeutscher Madrigalchor


Lynn Anderson, singer of 'Rose Garden,' dies in Nashville

Lynn Anderson, whose 'Rose Garden' album was one of the best-selling country LPs of all time, has died at 67. Lynn Rene Anderson (September 26, 1947 – July 30, 2015) was a multi-award-winning American country music singer known for a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her 1970 country-pop, worldwide megahit "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden". Anderson's crossover appeal and regular exposure on national television helped her to become one of the most popular and successful country singers of the 1970s. WIKIPEDIA

Van Alexander, Composer, arranger and studio conductor Dies at 100

Van Alexander (born Alexander Van Vliet Feldman, May 2, 1915 – July 19, 2015) was an American bandleader, arranger and composer. Alexander led bands and arranged from high school, and studied composition in college. He landed a job selling arrangements to Chick Webb in the middle of the 1930s. One of these, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", became a hit for Webb and Ella Fitzgerald, and subsequently became one of her signature tunes. Alexander later arranged other nursery rhymes for jazz performance, such as "Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?" and "Got a Pebble in My Shoe" The composer and arranger, whose adaptation of a nursery rhyme became Ella Fitzgerald’s breakout hit, also wrote for movies and television. He arranged and conducted for variety shows starring Mickey Rooney, Gordon MacRae, Dean Martin and James Stewart. Additionally, he was involved in recording sessions with Kay Starr, Dakota Staton, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, Doris Day and Peggy Lee. Alexander won several Emmy Awards for his television scores, and was presented with the Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime achievement from ASCAP.

WIKIPEDIA...|...NYTimes Obit

VIDEO: Here are a few excerpts from a two hour in-depth interview with the distinguished film & television composer and arranger: Van Alexander for the Film Music Foundation. Here he discusses working with Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald & Dean Martin.

Ivan Moravec (9 November 1930 ‒ 27 July 2015)

The Czech pianist Ivan Moravec has died at the age of 84. Moravec began piano lessons at age seven, continuing his studies at Prague Conservatory and Prague Academy of the Arts. In 1957, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli invited Moravec to attend his masterclasses in Arezzo. He made his first recording with the Connoisseur Society in 1962, and his New York debut two years later, appearing with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. The success of this concert placed Moravec in the international spotlight, launching his career.


VIDEO: Masterful Czech pianist Ivan Moravec recording Chopin, discusses his recording philosophy and his deep understanding of the piano as an instrument. Includes rare footage of his artistry.