Saturday, November 27, 2021

Musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim dies at 91


Stephen Joshua Sondheim (/ˈsɒndhaɪm/ SOND-hym; March 22, 1930 – November 26, 2021) was an American composer and lyricist. One of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, Sondheim was praised for having "reinvented the American musical". WIKIPEDIA

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Jay Black, vocalist 1938-2021


Jay Black (born David Blatt; November 2, 1938 – October 22, 2021) was an American singer, also known as "The Voice," whose height of fame came in the 1960s when he was the lead singer of the band Jay and the Americans. The band had numerous hits including "Come a Little Bit Closer", "Cara Mia", and "This Magic Moment"

Monday, November 1, 2021

Nelson Freire, acclaimed classical pianist has died.

Nelson Freire (18 October 1944 — 31 October 2021)
Freire began playing the piano at age three. He replayed from memory pieces his older sister, Nelma, had just performed. His teachers in Brazil were Lucia Branco, a former student of Arthur de Greef, a pupil of Liszt, and her assistant Nise Obino. For his first public recital, at the age of four.

Freire had won his first prize at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon, Portugal (ex-aequo with Vladimir Krainev) and he also received the Dinu Lipatti Medal and the Harriet Cohen Medal in London, England. In December 2001, he chaired the jury for the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris. His debut at The Proms was in August 2005 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Bernard Haitink, renowned Dutch conductor, dies at 92


Bernard Johan Herman Haitink CH KBE (Dutch: [ˈbɛrnɑrt ˈɦaːi̯tɪŋk]; 4 March 1929 – 21 October 2021) was a Dutch conductor and violinist. He held posts as principal conductor of several international orchestras, beginning with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1961. He moved to London, as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1967 to 1979, and also music director at Glyndebourne Opera from 1978 to 1988, and of the Royal Opera House, from 1987 to 2002, when he became principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden. Finally, he was principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2006 to 2010. The focus of his prolific recording was on classical symphonies and orchestral works, but he also conducted operas. His awards include Grammy Awards and the 2015 Gramophone Award for his lifetime achievements. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Slovak coloratura soprano Edita Gruberova passed away on October 18, 2021


Gruberova had an extraordinary voice that repeatedly motivated directors to include rarely performed operas with challenging singing roles in their programs, especially for them. Gruberova, born in Bratislava in 1946, grew up in simple circumstances as her father drank, and she developed a close relationship with her mother. Singing was her escape from the often harsh reality and difficulties she was going through at home, in the school choir, and the children’s radio choir. Edita Gruberová (23 December 1946 – 18 October 2021) was a Slovak coloratura soprano. She enjoyed huge success internationally in roles such as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. In her later career, she explored heavier roles in the Italian bel canto repertoire, such as the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Elvira in Bellini's I puritani, and Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux. WIKIPEDIA | RECORDINGS

Friday, October 1, 2021

RIP CARLISLE FLOYD, American composer


Carlisle Sessions Floyd (June 11, 1926 – September 30, 2021) was an American opera composer. The son of a Methodist minister, he based many of his works on themes from living in the American South. His best known opera, Susannah (1955), is based on a story from the Biblical Apocrypha, transferred to contemporary, rural Tennessee, and is written for a Southern dialect.

| Avaiable Recordings

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Igor Davidovich Oistrakh (April 27, 1931 – August 14, 2021) was a Russian violinist.

Oistrakh was born in Odessa, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) and was the son of Tamara Rotareva and violinist David Oistrakh. He attended the Central Music School in Moscow and made his concert debut in 1948. From 1949 to 1955 he studied at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, winning the International Violin Competition in Budapest (1949) and the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań (1952). He then joined the faculty of the Conservatory in 1958, becoming a lecturer in 1965. Beginning in 1996, Oistrakh held the post of Professor of the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. Oistrakh appeared frequently internationally, both as a soloist and in joint recitals with his father, or with his father conducting. He was noted for his lean, modernist interpretations. The asteroid 42516 Oistrach was named in his and his father's honour. His son, Valery, is an active violist. (WIKIPEDIA doner) |  On Record at Amazon Store

Thursday, March 18, 2021

James Lawrence Levine (June 23, 1943 – March 9, 2021)


American conductor and pianist. He was primarily known for his tenure as music director of the Metropolitan Opera (the "Met"), a position he held for 40 years (1976–2016). He was formally terminated from all his positions and affiliations with the Met on March 12, 2018, over sexual misconduct allegations, which he denied.

WIKIPEDIA | Available recordings

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Claude Bolling (10 April 1930 – 29 December 2020)

 Bolling was also noted for a series of "crossover" collaborations with classical musicians. His Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio with Jean-Pierre Rampal, a mix of Baroque elegance with modern swing, has been a top seller for many years, and was followed up by other works in the same vein. It was particularly popular in the United States, at the top of the hit parade for two years after its release and on the Billboard top 40 for 530 weeks, roughly ten years. Following his work with Rampal, Bolling went on to work with many other musicians, from different genres, including guitarist Alexandre Lagoya, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, trumpeter Maurice André, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He also worked with and performed tributes to many others, including Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Stéphane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, and Oscar Peterson.

Available recordings

Friday, August 14, 2020

Julian Bream: Classical guitarist dies aged 87.

Julian Alexander Bream, CBE (15 July 1933 – 14 August 2020), was an English virtuoso classical guitarist and lutenist. One of the most distinguished classical guitarists of the 20th century, he played a significant role in improving the public perception of the classical guitar as a respectable instrument.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Leon Fleisher, renowned concert pianist, dies at 92

Yahoo news Leon Fleisher (July 23, 1928 – August 2, 2020) was an American classical pianist, conductor and pedagogue. He was one of the most renowned pianists and pedagogues in the world. Music correspondent Elijah Ho called him "one of the most refined and transcendent musicians the United States has ever produced". WIKIPEDIA

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ennio Morricone; 10 November 1928 – 6 July 2020) was an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor,

Morricone composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. He started as a talented football player for A.S. Roma but quickly left the sport to follow his passion for music. His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. His filmography includes over 70 award-winning films, including all Sergio Leone films (since A Fistful of Dollars), all Giuseppe Tornatore films (since Cinema Paradiso), The Battle of Algiers, Dario Argento's Animal Trilogy, 1900, Exorcist II, Days of Heaven, several major films in French cinema, in particular the comedy trilogy La Cage aux Folles I, II, III and Le Professionnel, as well as The Thing, The Mission, The Untouchables, Mission to Mars, Bugsy, Disclosure, In the Line of Fire, Bulworth, Ripley's Game and The Hateful Eight. WIKIPEDIA

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ida Haendel, CBE (15 December 1928 – 30 June 2020)

Polish-born British violinist. Haendel was a child prodigy. Her career spans over seven decades. She became an influential teacher. Haendel's highly emotive performances have inspired a generation of new violinists, including Anne-Sophie Mutter and Maxim Vengerov. In August 2012 she was Honorary Artist at the Cambridge International String Festival. She is a regular adjudicator for violin competitions, including the Sibelius, the Carl Flesch, the Benjamin Britten, and the International Violin Competition. She has returned to her native Poland to judge the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań on a number of occasions, and was Honorary Chairwoman in 2011.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Vera Lynn, singer and 'forces' sweetheart', dies aged 103

Dame Vera Margaret Lynn CH DBE OStJ (née Welch; born 20 March 1917) a British singer of traditional popular music, songwriter and actress, whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War. She is widely known as "the Forces' Sweetheart", and gave outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India, and Burma during the war as part of Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). The songs most associated with her are "We'll Meet Again", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "There'll Always Be an England". WIKIPEDIA

Sunday, May 31, 2020

RIP French coloratura soprano Mady Mesplé, aged 89.

Mady Mesplé (7 March 1931 – 30 May 2020) was a French opera singer, considered the leading high coloratura soprano of her generation in France, and sometimes heralded as the successor to Mado Robin. She made her debut at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1956, as Zémire in Grétry's Zémire et Azor. The same year saw her debut at the Opéra-Comique as Lakmé. Her Palais Garnier debut took place in 1958, as Constance in Francis Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. Full consecration came at that opera house, in 1960, when she took over from Joan Sutherland in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Other Italian roles included Amina in La sonnambula, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Norina in Don Pasquale and Gilda in Rigoletto. She also sang a few German roles with success, notably the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, and a much-acclaimed Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos in Aix-en-Provence in 1966. WIKIPEDIA

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Rosalind Elias Dies: Opera Singer Who Made Broadway Debut At 81 Was 90

Rosalind Elias (March 13, 1930 – May 3, 2020) was an American mezzo-soprano who enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the Metropolitan Opera. She was best known for creating the role of Erika in Samuel Barber's Vanessa in 1958. Elias made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Grimgerde in Wagner's Die Walküre, on February 23, 1954. She sang 687 performances of 54 roles there, including Bersi in Giordano's Andrea Chénier, the title role in Bizet's Carmen, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Laura in La Gioconda, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Siebel in Faust, Nancy in Martha, Cherubino and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Marina in Boris Godunov, Fenena in Nabucco, Azucena in Il trovatore, Amneris in Aida, Charlotte in Werther, and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel. She created the role of Erika in Samuel Barber's opera Vanessa on January 15, 1958, and the role of Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra by the same composer, for the opening of new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, on September 16, 1966. WIKIPEDIA

Friday, May 1, 2020

Cellist Martin Lovett, last surviving member of Amadeus Quartet, dies aged 93

For 40 years, the British cellist performed with the Amadeus Quartet – one of the leading chamber ensembles of the 20th century. Since the end of the Amadeus Quartet, Lovett had been much in demand for performances with various chamber music groups including the Amadeus Ensemble. Lovett OBE (3 March 1927 – 29 April 2020) WIKIPEDIA

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Cellist Lynn Harrell has died at age 76

Harrell was born to musician parents in New York City: his father was the baritone Mack Harrell and his mother, Marjorie McAlister Fulton (1909–1962), was a violinist. At the age of nine, he began cello studies. When he was 12, his family moved to Dallas, Texas, where he studied with Lev Aronson (1912–1988). After attending Denton High School, Harrell studied at the Juilliard School in New York with Leonard Rose and then at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Orlando Cole. In 1961, when he was 17, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as part of a Young People's Concert. In 1960, when Harrell was 15, his father died of cancer. In November 1962, when he was 18, his mother died from injuries sustained from a two-vehicle crash while traveling from Denton to Fort Worth with pianist Jean Mainous to perform a recital; she was violinist in residence (faculty) at the University of North Texas College of Music. Just before his mother died, in April 1962, Harrell had withdrawn from Denton High School in his junior year to advance to the semifinals of the Second International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. WIKIPEDIA

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Renowned Italian soprano Mirella Freni dies at age 84

Mirella Freni (Italian: [miˈrɛlːa ˈfreːni] ; born Mirella Fregni on 27 February 1935) is an Italian soprano whose repertoire includes Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Freni was married for many years to the Bulgarian bass Nicolai Ghiaurov, with whom she performed and recorded. Freni died Sunday, 9 FEB 2020 at her home in Modena, Italy, from a degenerative muscular disease and a series of stokes, according to her manager, Jack Mastroianni of IMG Artists.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Pianist Peter Serkin dies, age 72

Peter Adolf Serkin (July 24, 1947 – February 1, 2020) was an American classical pianist. He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Yale University, and Bard College. He was the son of pianist Rudolf Serkin, and grandson of the influential violinist Adolf Busch, whose daughter Irene was Peter's mother. Peter was given the middle name Adolf in honor of his grandfather. In 1958, at age 11, Serkin began studying at the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teachers included the Polish pianist Mieczysław Horszowski, the American virtuoso Lee Luvisi, as well as his own father. He graduated in 1965. He also studied with Ernst Oster, flutist Marcel Moyse, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel.