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Peter Maxwell Davies, British Composer, Dies at 81



 Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the prolific English composer long known as an anti-establishment anti-monarchist avant-gardist enfant terrible — but whose work was so renowned that he was named Queen Elizabeth II’s official music master anyway — died on Monday 14 MAR 2016, at his home in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. He was 81. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CH CBE (8 September 1934 – 14 March 2016) was an English composer and conductor. In 2004 he was made Master of the Queen's Music. As a student at both the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music, he formed a group dedicated to contemporary music, the New Music Manchester, with fellow students Harrison Birtwistle, Alexander Goehr, Elgar Howarth and John Ogdon. His compositions include eight works for the stage, from the monodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King, which shocked the audience in 1969, to Kommilitonen!, first performed in 2011. He wrote ten symphonies, the first from 1973 to 1976, the tenth ("Alla ricerca di Borromini") in 2013. As a conductor, he was Artistic Director of the Dartington International Summer School from 1979 to 1984. From 1992 to 2002 he was associate conductor/composer with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he also held with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra." WIKIPEDIA

 VIDEO: 'The Lighthouse' by Peter Maxwell Davies

Sir George Henry Martin CBE (3 January 1926 – 9 March 2016)


Martin was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle" in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles' original albums. He is considered one of the greatest record producers of all time, with 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States. Martin was influenced by a range of musical styles, encompassing Cole Porter and John Dankworth. He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to 1950, studying piano and oboe. Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC's classical music department, then joined EMI in 1950. Martin produced comedy and novelty records in the early 1950s, working with Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, among others. WIKIPEDIA VIDEO:

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor and Early-Music Specialist, Dies at 86



Mr. Harnoncourt, who was also a cellist, founded the period-instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien and worked regularly with many of Europe’s major orchestras. NYTimes OBIT 

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Johann Nikolaus Graf de la Fontaine und d’Harnoncourt-Unverzagt; 6 December 1929 – 5 March 2016) was an Austrian conductor, particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era and earlier. Starting out as a classical cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble, Concentus Musicus Wien, in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement. Around 1970, Harnoncourt started to conduct opera and concert performances, soon leading renowned international symphony orchestras, and appearing at leading concert halls, operatic venues and festivals. His repertoire then widened to include composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2001 and 2003, he conducted the Vienna New Year's Concert. Harnoncourt was also the author of several books, mostly on subjects of performance history and musical aesthetics. WIKIPEDIA

VIDEO: For decades now Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt has been best known for using old instruments and the original notes to make his classical music performances sound as close to the original as possible. Over the last few years he has been working with piano soloist Lang Lang... 

Christine Palmer Whitlock, lyric soprano and former Dallas voice coach, dies at 96

Whitlock toured extensively with the San Carlo Opera and became a leading lady with the New York City Opera. She was offered a contract with the Metropolitan Opera, but decided to stick with her lighter repertoire. She also sang with operas in Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. She performed lead roles in musical comedies and appeared on television and in clubs across the country. She also taught voice in New York. OBIT

Violist Peter Kamnitzer, 93

Violist Peter Kamnitzer passed away in Israel on Feb. 23, 2016, at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Neora “Sophy” Kamnitzer.
BIO
The LaSalle Quartet was best known for its espousal of the Second Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and of the European modernists who derived from that tradition, though they also performed standard classical and romantic literature. The Quartet gave the premiere of Witold Lutosławski's String Quartet in Stockholm in 1965. György Ligeti dedicated his Second String Quartet to the group, and they premiered it in Baden-Baden on December 14, 1969. The quartet has been credited with the "Zemlinsky Renaissance," as Zemlinsky remained largely unknown until they performed his works. The quartet won the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis for their recording of his four string quartets.

 Member of the LaSalle Quartet was a string quartet active from 1946 to 1987. It was founded by first violinist Walter Levin. The LaSalle's name is attributed to an apartment on LaSalle Street in Manhattan, where some of its members lived during the quartet's inception. The quartet played on a donated set of Amati instruments.

Miguel Ángel Coria Varela (born 24 October 1937 – 24 February 2016)

Spanish composer of classical music. His early work showed affinities to the music of Anton Webern, but he became increasingly influenced by Impressionism. From 1973 he entered his post-modern period where his compositions were marked by "attempts to evoke the spirit of the music of the past, but without literal allusions". In addition to his instrumental music, he also composed an opera, Belisa, which premiered at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1992. Coria served as the Administrative Director of the RTVE Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the 1980s and was a co-founder of ALEA, Spain's first laboratory for electronic music. WIKIPEDIA