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In Memoriam 2012


24 December 2012

Musician 1st Class Kenneth R. Fennell - Clarinetist and Saxophonist in The United States Navy Band - In Memoriam


Washington, DC

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Musician 1st Class Ken Fennell, our shipmate and friend. His musicianship and work ethic defined what it means to be a Navy musician; his huge heart and big laugh defined what it means to be a shipmate. Fair winds and following seas, Ken.

-Capt. Brian O. Walden

The United States Navy Band mourns the passing of Musician 1st Class Kenneth R. Fennell, who died on Monday, December 24th at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ken Fennell

Born in Macon, Ga. in 1960, Fennell chose the clarinet in fourth grade as his first instrument, and started playing saxophone several years later. After graduating from Southwest High School in Macon in 1978, Fennell spent two years at Valdosta State College in Valdosta, Ga., before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1981. After attending the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va., he reported to Atlantic Fleet Band in Norfolk, Va. Fennell served with Navy Band Guam and Navy Band Charleston, S.C. He deployed twice, performing in South America and Africa.

He separated from naval service in 1988, returned to college and graduated magna cum laude in 1990 with a Bachelor of Music in saxophone and flute performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the ‘90s, he was a very active musician working with the Norwegian Cruise Lines show band; at the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta; as a digital editor for Leading the Way Ministries; and at his own recording studio, Ken Fen Productions.

Fennell returned to the Navy in 2002, serving with Navy Band Northeast in Newport, R.I., before joining the United States Navy Band Washington, D.C. in 2003. There, he spent six years with the Cruisers popular music group, performing for military and civilian dignitaries and as a featured soloist at concerts in the Washington area. He also traveled with the Cruisers on their first national tour in May 2010.

In 2009, Fennell joined the band’s public affairs office, where he made innovative contributions. He instituted the command’s first email contact database, an e-ticketing campaign for the Navy Band's concerts at DAR Constitution Hall, and created a unique events marketing database.

Fennell is survived by his wife, Bridgit, and their two children, John Christian and Emily. Donations in his memory can be made to the American Brain Tumor Association at, or to the Fisher House Foundation at A memorial service in honor of MU1 Fennell will take place on Thursday, January 3 at 3:00 p.m. at:

Luther Place Memorial Church
1226 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005















5 December 2012

Dave Brubeck, Legend Jazz Pianist - In Memoriam


4 December 2012

Jonathan Harvey - British Composer - In Memoriam

London, United Kingdom

              British composer Jonathan Harvey has died aged 73, it was announced today. His publisher, Faber Music, confirmed that Harvey, who had been suffering from motor neurone disease for some time, died peacefully in a hospice in Sussex on Tuesday evening.

              Harvey has been composing since the 1960s, during which period he was a prominent disciple of Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose experimentalism and use of electronic instrumentation influenced Harvey's early works.

              But from the 1970s he began to establish his own distinctive voice, drawing on an abiding interest in spirituality and world religions. Using the cutting-edge digital technology developed at Pierre Boulez's Paris research centre Ircam he wrote a number of pieces, the best known of which is Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco, which uses the sounds of the bell of Winchester Cathedral and the treble voice of Harvey's son – a chorister there at the time.

              Harvey was long a devotee of eastern philosophy, and his works have increasingly drawn up themes from it, including his final opera, Wagner Dream, which will receive its British stage premiere in Cardiff in the summer of 2013.

             "I have worked closely with Jonathan for 30 years," said Sally Cavender, vice-chairman of Faber Music. "His impact as a composer has been profound and international in its scope. The spirituality of his music also pervaded his personality; no one who met him came away without commenting on his gentleness, generosity and breadth of imagination … Music simply poured out of him, naturally and organically. In every sense he was a superior human being and one that it has been a privilege to know, as much as it has been a delight to treasure his music."

             For much of his composing life, Harvey's work was more widely performed on the continent than in the UK, but in the last decade he has been recognised as one of our leading composers. In January the BBC dedicated one of its Total Immersion days to his music, while the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performed his Weltethos in June as part of the Cultural Olympiad; the work was premiered in 2011 by the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle.

           "We have lost a hugely important figure in classical music," said Roger Wright, controller of BBC Radio 3 and director of the Proms. "His was a powerfully original music which rightly received international acclaim. His gentle spirit and inner strength impressed me greatly and he will be much missed



24 November 2012

Charles Russo, New York legend Orchestral Clarinetist and Pedagogue and Recording Artist - In Memoriam

Leonia, New Jersey USA

             RUSSO CHARLES "CHARLIE", 86, of Leonia, NJ passed on Nov. 24, 2012. Charlie is survived by his three loving children, Amy, Ken and Angela. Cherished brother to Laura. Charlie enjoyed a great life of music with many talented artists and family friends including the late Charles McCracken, Ted Weiss and Jim Buffington and survived by Joe Soldo, Dave Carey and his good longtime friend, army buddy and accomplished performer, Tony Bennett. Charlie was world renowned for his unique sound and clarinet artistry, most notably with his tenure at the New York City Opera. He was a New York City artist in the truest sense of the word.

            One of the most highly regarded clarinetists of our time, Charles Russo has distinguished himself as a soloist, chamber artist and orchestral musician in countless performances, television broadcasts, film scores, and recordings. Many of these were historic performances, such as Pablo Casal's US appearance at the 25th anniversary of the United Nations, with Luciano Pavarotti as part of the 100th telecast of "Live From Lincoln Center," and as a soloist in Morton Gould's "Derivations for Solo Clarinet" for the Aaron Copland Tribute concert.

           Well known for his performance of the standard repertoire, Mr. Russo's career has encompassed many facets of music, including 20th century music affiliations with such venues as the Bennington Composers' Conference, the "Music In Our Time" series at the 92nd Street Y, and "20th Century Innovations" (with Gunther Schuller). He has been guest artist and soloist with some of the country's leading string quartets, chamber ensembles and orchestras. In addition to his position as Principal Clarinet of the New York City Opera Orchestra, he has served as principal clarinet on nearly every orchestra series in the metropolitan New York area. He has been a guest artist with the Juilliard, Guarneri, Emerson, and Bartok Quartets, and has been featured with the New York Chamber Soloists, New School Concerts, Musica Aeterna, and the New York Chamber Symphony.

          Charles Russo is heard on more than 100 recordings (with a number of Grammy nominations and awards), among them with Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Boulez, and Artur Rubinstein. His two most recent recordings, "Works of Gordon Jacob" and "Clarinet alla Cinema", both on the Premier record label, have garnered national critical acclaim.

          Mr. Russo is also an important influence on the current generation of classical musicians, teaching and conducting master classes around the country. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, the State University of New York at Purchase, and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Previous appointments have included the faculties of Yale, Vassar, and the New England Conservatory of Music.













5 November 2012

Elliott Carter -  Dean of American Composers spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries - In Memoriam

New York City USA

Born December 11, 1908; died November 5, 2012


              As an indication of just how old the composer Elliott Carter was, who has died aged 103, check out the video below in which he remembers hanging out with Edgard Varèse in a prohibition speakeasy in New York City’s East Village. When Carter scooped the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 he was 52 – another five decades of creative good health stretching ahead of him.


              And although Carter hung out in speakeasies, surrounded by bohemians, bums and proto-beatniks, in reality his background was sturdily bourgeois and upper-crust.
His father imported lace from Europe, and the young Elliott was tipped to take over the family firm. But after witnessing the first US performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in 1924, the same year he met Charles Ives, lace import/export clearly seemed rather humdrum. Carter wanted to compose; question was how.

              His earliest compositions – the ballet Pocahontas (1939), the choral works To Music (1937) and The Defense of Corinth (1941), the orchestral Holiday Overture (1944) – spoke pure Copland with a dash of Stravinsky. But Carter wanted to respond to a higher creative calling. The modernism of Ives, Varèse, Henry Cowell and Carl Ruggles was, he felt, time-locked; it was modern only like the celluloid of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd responded to a particular time and place. And so Carter spent the next 20 years laboriously knitting together a musical language that retained something of Ives’s multi-present layerings, but rationalised and streamlined it with a European sense of order and structural precision. Carter’s models were Schoenberg and Webern; he did, after all, end up importing delicate material from Europe.


             The Piano Sonata (1945) and String Quartet No 1 (1951) were his breakthrough works, this first period of intense exploration climaxing with the Double Concerto for Piano, Harpsichord and Two Chamber Orchestras (1959-61), the Piano Concerto (1964) and the Concerto for Orchestra (1969) – three pieces that totally nailed Carter’s US/Euro aspirations.

              There are those who reckon that Carter’s later music suffered from too much certainty; what made the Concerto for Orchestra et al so inspiring was his grappling with uncertainty. Certainly Carter wrote with a loquaciousness that didn’t always work in his favour. I remember sitting through a performance of his 2008 Flute Concerto in, I think, New York that left me admiring the patterns of notes while wishing there was more music inside them. The piece of late-period Carter I like best is the Adagio Tenebroso movement of his Symphonia: Sum fluxae pretium spei (1993-96) – the gestures calmed, the harmonic wizardry on full display.

Philip Clark

             We have lost one of the great American composers of the last and this century, who along with the greats of the past including Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Corigliano, and the others non American as Stravinsky, Bartok, Scheonberg, Webern, and Berg, made an immeasurable contribution to music and music history. Carter was devoted to expanding the instrumental capabilities in his writings and in the area of Clarinet performance, raised the bar. A close friend and pioneer of his music Charles Neidich premiered many works including written for him - the Carter Clarinet Quintet with the Juilliard String Quartet written when Carter was 100 year old, and still prolific. One can only imagine the impact of this great man.

Remembering Carter: Charles Neidich

A Link to History

I cannot begin to explain how privileged I feel to have known Elliott Carter. He was my great friend, my mentor, and an inspiration for much I have done in my life. Of course, as someone who cares passionately about classical music, the insight I received and the brilliant musical perspective I came to understand from him was invaluable, but knowing Elliott was more than just knowing the greatest composer of recent time; it gave me a link to history that only his exceptional longevity, his phenomenal memory, his acute sense of observation, and his humanity could offer.


What was most remarkable about Elliott Carter was his perpetual youthful curiosity. Living past the age of 103, he led a life of remarkable productivity, and throughout that life, he never lost his insatiable thirst for knowledge not only musical, but from every field of inquiry and aspect of life. In music, his youthfulness manifested itself in the fact that just about whenever he set about to compose he ended up redefining the form of the composition he was working on whether it was a duet or an opera. Outside of music, his interests were all-encompassing. Our conversations would range from the pronunciation of Homeric Greek to exotic plant species to contemporary politics. He was interested to know about everything from the space-time continuum to the recipes of the various courses of the virtuoso birthday dinners which my wife, Ayako Oshima, would prepare for him and his friends.

In looking back to our wonderful times together, my thoughts turn as well to Elliott’s brilliant wife, Helen, who passed away nine years ago. They were an inseparable couple, and I felt so much of his sensibility was informed by her great sense of taste and incredible perceptiveness.

It was Elliott’s perpetual youth that made his passing at such a remarkable age, while expected, so unexpected. His loss will touch me for a long time to come, but I will carry his influence and vision in everything I do.

—Charles Neidich, College Faculty; New York, Woodwind Quintet Clarinetist


4 November 2012

Clark Brody, Solo Clarinetist Emeritus in Chicago Symphony - In Memoriam

Evanston, Illinois USA


17 April 2012

Alan Hacker (Conductor, Clarinet) and Major icon in Historic and Standard Performance and former member of the London Philharmonic - In Memoriam

 In London, United Kingdom          

Born: September 30, 1938 - England

             The English clarinettist and conductor, Alan Hacker, is the son of Kenneth and Sybil Hacker. After attending Dulwich College (from 1950 to 1955), he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Dove Prize and the Boise Travelling Scholarship which he used to study in Paris, Bayreuth and Vienna.

             In 1958 Alan Hacker joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He became a professor of the Royal Academy of Music in 1960 and went on to found the Pierrot Players in 1965 along with Stephen Pruslin and Harrison Birtwistle which in 1972 became the Fires of London. In 1971 he founded his own group, Matrix. He was also appointed chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Music section and of the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He was one of those credited with reviving the basset clarinet and in 1967 he restored the original text of Mozart's Concerto and Quintet. He played them on an instrument modelled on that for whom Mozart originally wrote them, the Stadler's extended basset clarinet. Alan kacker is a most important name among UK Clarinettists. During a long career he has played all over the world. He championed not only works of Mozart, but new music.

           In 1972 Alan Hacker founded the Music Party, an organisation set up for the authentic performance of classical music. The Music Party gained itself an international reputation in concert and on record. Their versions of Haydn's Nocturnes, Hummel's Clarinet Quintet and Weber's Clarinet Quintet have since been reissued by Polygram. Later, in York, as Senior Lecturer he founded the Classical Orchestra (and the Early Music Festival) which under his direction gave 'first performances' of the classics on original instruments. Many of his former students play in today's Baroque and Classical Orchestra's. He established University studies in Community Music and more recently with his wife Margaret, Music Courses at their home in Yorkshire, conducted in an 'House Party' atmosphere. In the 1972-1973 academic year he became the Sir Robert Mayer lecturer at Leeds University. In 1976 he was appointed lecturer in music at the University of York and went on to hold a post of senior lecturer between 1984 and 1987.

          In the 1980's Alan Hacker's work as a conductor developed with work within the Orchestra of La Fenice in Venice, (six staged performances of J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) in the J.S. Bach/George Frideric Handel Centennial Year complemented with performances of G.F. Handel's Brockes Passion, HWV 48) the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble at the Schwetzingen Festival, further work in Sweden, the UK, including his acclaimed British performance of Mozart's La Finta Guardiniera. In Mozart's Centennial Year besides performances of the Quintet and the Concerto on Classical - and modern - instruments he conducted four Mozart operatic productions. Cosi fan tutte in Stuttgart, taken over at short notice, was described as the best for many years. Don Giovanni performances were followed by Monteverdi's Ulisse and Purcell's King Arthur (his own version); in both he played as well as conducted.

           In the 1990's, Alan Hacker continued with great strength and passion. Besides more operatic work in Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Cologne he gave wide ranging concerts with leading Continental Orchestras five concerts in 1996 alone with the Ochestre National de Lille of L.v. Beethoven, Rossini and a new work, including his own performance of the Mozart Concerto. In the 1998 CD catalogue his recordings of Mozart, Weber, Hummel, and Finzi are given the highest of recommendations. A later CD 'Sun Moon and Stars' is a collaboration wit the great jazz player Tony Coe. Some of his pioneer authentic recordings with Richard Burnett are still available including the Johannes Brahms Sonatas and Trio. He worked for a number of years teaching playing and conducting at the Arts Centre in Banff in the Rockies. He was a member of the first British Orchestra to tour Australia, was a visiting lecturer/artiste at the University of Perth, and more recently toured New Zealand.

         On into the new Millennium Alan Hacker continued work with the Komische Oper, Berlin, a stage production of G.F. Handel's Saul - and his Alcina (Stuttgart) with which he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000. The late William Mann, in one of his many Times' reviews concluded " to everything, even a Frescobaldi Canzona arranged for clarinet and piano, in defiance of the Authenticity Movement for which Hacker has elsewhere laboured valuably (in The Music Party, for instance), he has something uncommon, fresh, and very musical to bring. He is without doubt our clarinet player `hors concours' - a musician to be treasured in our midst."

         In 1959 Alan Hacker married Anna Maria Sroka with whom he had two daughters and a son. In addition to the many activities mentioned here, Alan and Margaret have made time to found a publishing venture under the banner CLARIONET, with orchestrations for small clarinet groups arranged by Alan. Alan Hacker was awarded the OBE for his services to music.

 8 April 2012

Jane Taylor, Bassoonist of Dorian Wind Quintet - In Memoriam

New York City USA


                     Ms. Taylor, who lived for a half-century in the same Morningside Heights apartment in Manhattan, had remained with the Dorian for 40 years after helping to form it in 1961, when she was one of a relatively small number of women who played the bassoon professionally. She was the only original member to stay past the mid-1960s, retiring in 2002.

                      The cause was a heart attack, said her sister, Beatrice Asken.

                       Wind quintets don’t have it easy. String quartets, made up of four similar instruments that blend seamlessly and resonate together, are the thoroughbreds of chamber music.

                       In contrast, wind quintets are an awkward five-way marriage. Each instrument has a different way of attacking notes. Some are wood and some are metal, and the timbres are all very different, even within their own range of registers. Woodwind quintets also lack the immense repertory of masterpieces available to string quartets, which can choose among the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and plenty of others.

                       Still, a quintet’s diversity can create a large palette of colors and contrasts, and wind quintets can have a punchy sound with distinct soloistic voices.

                       The Dorian proved to have few rivals. It has toured around the world, regularly performed in concerts and released numerous recordings. And Ms. Taylor was its heart and soul, its members said — a peacemaker when musicians clashed, the repair person when the group was on the road, and its guiding hand after the early years.

                       “She kept track of every concert, every program we did, every change of personnel,” said Jerry Kirkbride, the clarinetist, who joined in 1970.

                        He recalled that at one point, the quintet changed its stage formation, with Ms. Taylor moving from next to him to the rear. “She was a light back there,” he said. “How nice it was to see her facing the audience, with her complete enjoyment of music-making. It was a ‘Dorian plus’ — very appealing to the audience.”

                        Ms. Taylor was born on Sept. 27, 1932, in White Plains. Her father was a painter and her mother a singer. The family lost their house in the Depression and moved to Brooklyn when Ms. Taylor was 5, said Ms. Asken, who is her only survivor.

                         Ms. Taylor started studying the bassoon at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. “I took to it like a duck to water,” she said in a 2002 interview with the magazine The Double Reed. She went on to study with Bernard Garfield, later a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and with Harold Goltzer of the New York Philharmonic. She attended Queens College and then spent four years with the Florida Symphony Orchestra in Orlando.

                         In 1960 Ms. Taylor was invited by a Queens classmate, the flutist John Perras, to form an ensemble at the Tanglewood Music Festival to play the works of the composition students of Aaron Copland. After that first summer they decided to form a quintet, choosing the name Dorian after the musical mode and the column (they liked its simplicity). The other original members were David Perkett, oboe; Arthur Bloom, clarinet; and William G. Brown, horn.

                         Ms. Taylor was also a teacher and freelance musician, playing with the American Symphony Orchestra and the Long Island Philharmonic, among other ensembles.

                          Looking back over her career, Ms. Taylor told The Double Reed that the Dorian had set a standard of wind playing. “I’m hoping,” she said, “that people look to us through our recordings and our performances to say, ‘Gee, I’d like to do that.’ ”


11 March 2012

Lake Charles, Louisiana USA



22 February 2012

LORIN LEVEE, Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic - In Memoriam

Los Angeles, California USA

               LORIN LEVEE, Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, passed away peacefully on February 22 surrounded by friends and family. The concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Thursday, February 23, was dedicated to his memory and the orchestra performed Ravel’s “Le Jardin Féerique” from Mother Goose in his honor. Los Angeles Philharmonic Association President Deborah Borda broke the news to the audience and introduced the work with a tribute that included the following remarks:
             “Lorin possessed an absolutely blazing technique. He could play literally anything. In addition to his mastery of the regular repertoire, Lorin’s technical gifts gave him a special proclivity and skill for new music – a devoted pursuit of his. He was an avid chamber musician and a pillar of the LA Phil New Music Group. As a soloist he gave the premieres of all sorts of pieces, from Berio and Birtwistle to Martino and Ran. His colleagues still talk about his performance of the Kaipainen Clarinet Concerto, which a certain Finnish conductor [Esa-Pekka Salonen] invited him to present in its U. S premiere. It called for multiphonics, which basically means he had to play three notes at once — but… all on one clarinet.
            “Lorin was a dedicated professional, a brilliant mind, and had a wicked wit – which believe me you wanted to be on the right side of. He was a very private man but we increasingly saw his struggle. He fought a valiant battle for his health and life — and as a mark of that valor his final appearance with the Philharmonic came on January 8. The last work he performed with the orchestra was the Saint-Saëns “Organ” Symphony. Lorin loved playing the clarinet and he played to the very end in the music that was his life.”
            Born July 8, 1950, Levee began playing clarinet at the age of four and said that his earliest musical memory was “my father handing his clarinet to me and saying ‘blow’.” He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic as bass clarinet in 1976 under Zubin Mehta and became Principal Clarinet at the start of the 1981/82 season under Carlo Maria Giulini. He was frequently a performer in the Philharmonic’s Chamber Music concerts and with the New Music Group, where he was featured in local premieres of works by Luciano Berio, Harrison Birtwistle, Donald Martino, and Shulamit Ran. In 1994 he presented the U.S. premiere of Jouni Kaipainen’s Clarinet Concerto, Carpe diem!, under Philharmonic Music Director (now Conductor Laureate) Esa-Pekka Salonen. Levee was also a soloist with the orchestra: in the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto under André Previn (1989), in Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs for Jazz Band and Clarinet under David Alan Miller (1988), in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto under Edo de Waart (1985), and in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Winds under Carlo Maria Giulini (1984).
           Prior to coming to Los Angeles, Levee was a member of Chicago's Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra (Principal), the Contemporary Chamber Players at the University of Chicago, and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra (Principal). He appeared as soloist with the Chicago Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Civic Opera, and the Grant Park Symphony. During his last three years in Chicago he was on the faculty of his alma mater, De Paul University. Levee also served as principal clarinetist for the Colorado Music Festival and the Teton Festival.
           Levee is survived by his mother Mildred, brother Phil, son David, daughter Marissa Martinez, and granddaughters Maya and Gwen Levee. His funeral took place in Chicago.


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Revised: January 01, 2013