In Memoriam 2018

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In Memoriam 2018

 

 

 

 

8 August 2018 

 

 

 

André Pons - Clarinetist soloist at the Paris National Opera Orchestra - In Memoriam

 

Paris, France

 

André Pons (1932-2018) a nice friend disappeared yesterday.
Brillant musician ( clarinetist, pianist, composer) and Aïkido great praticien under the japanese Master Noro , Clarinetist soloist at the Paris National Opera orchestra and former principal clarinet at the Monte Carlo philharmonic orchestra .


Born in Castres ( near Toulouse).


1st prize at the Paris conservatoire ( CNSM).


2nd prize at the Geneva international competition .


The Ceremony wast Monday August 13th at 3 , cimetière des Caucades in Nice .

 

 

Photos with Sir Georg Solti in 1973 ( behind the flûtes) and with the Paris Opera clarinet section in 1986.

 

 

 

 

16 June 2018

 

 

Gennady Rozhdestvensky, An Influential Russian Conductor - In Memoriam

 

                   Conductor Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky, an immense presence in Russian musical life during much of the Soviet era and an artist who championed the likes of composers Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina, died Saturday at age 87. His son, violinist Sasha Rozhdestvensky, told the New York Times that his father had battled heart issues, diabetes and cancer, but did not confirm to NPR the location or further details of his death.

                  Rozhdestvensky was the former principal conductor of the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2000, he was named general artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre. In addition, he was a guest conductor at several other prominent podiums, including at the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

               Rozhdestvensky often communicated with his musicians not with a baton or hand gestures, but with facial expressions — a raised eyebrow here, an elaborate shrug there.

                 "If one could explain conducting," he said in a 2003 documentary by Bruno Monsaingeon, "There wouldn't be 1000 conductors, but 10,000. We'd put them in a class and tell them how to spin their arms. Fortunately, some things can't be explained ... in my opinion, the worst approach you can take is to limit teaching to the gestures. Moving your arms is hardly something you have to learn. You have to have a viewpoint, learn how to communicate a musical idea to the orchestra and through it, to the listener."

 

            Although he was best known internationally for his work within the Russian repertoire, and most especially with the living Russian composers of his prime, including Shostakovich, Gubaidulina and Schnittke, Rozhdestvensky also brought foreign works to his home audience, including the first performance in Russia of Benjamin Britten's opera A Midsummer Night's Dream and the first complete cycle of Ralph Vaughan Williams' symphonies. With the Soviet orchestra, he recorded the complete symphonies of Shostakovich, Alexander Glazunov and Alfred Schnittke — and also Anton Bruckner and Arthur Honegger — for Melodiya, the Soviet state-owned record label for which he was one of the earliest and most prolific recording artists.

              Rozhdestvensky often chafed at the artistic limitations that the Soviet government placed on him, and his performances sometimes skirted the lines of what the Soviet system found sanctionable. Among the works that the conductor championed was Dmitri Shostakovich's 1921 opera The Nose — a wry, bracing and absurdist satire inspired by a Gogol short story, which Rozhdestvensky daringly revived in the then-Soviet Union in 1974. That same year, he led the world premiere of Schnittke's brash and densely populated First Symphony in Gorky, far away from Moscow's ears.

           At the same time, he was put forth and promoted as a model Soviet artist, being awarded the People's Artist of the USSR prize in 1976 and named a Hero of Socialist Labor in 1990. He was also allowed to travel abroad for work, including to serve his posts in Stockholm and Vienna during the 1970s and '80s.

          As the Soviet system crumbled, however, Rozhdestvensky felt comfortable enough to complain to the New York Times about the state's stranglehold on cultural life: "I want to be able to work freely," he told the paper in 1988, when the visiting New York Philharmonic played side-by-side with the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra for a landmark concert in Moscow's Gorky Park. Referring to the state-controlled concert agency, which at the time held the sole right to arrange his concerts both domestically and abroad, the conductor said: "It is too difficult for me to work with such a bureaucratic machine. It interferes with my creativity and with my art. I love working here, but not with them. In Russian we have a saying: 'A spoonful of asphalt in a cask of honey.'"

            Born May 4, 1931 in Moscow, Rozhdestvensky seemed predestined for a life in music. His mother, Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya, was a soprano; his father, Nikolai Anosov, was a noted conductor and teacher. Unusually for that time and place, Rozhdestvensky took on his mother's surname rather than use Anosov — possibly simply to distinguish himself from his father, but it was a tactic that also helped him to dodge accusations of nepotism as he rose in his career. (That being said, Rozhdestvensky studied conducting with his father at the Moscow Conservatory of Music before being named as a conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre at age 20.)

            Rozhdestvensky married the pianist Viktoria Postnikova in 1969; his recordings with her include the Tchaikovsky piano concertos for the Decca label. He is survived by his wife and their son Sasha, with whom he recorded the first violin concertos of Shostakovich and Alexander Glazunov. As a family, the three musicians recorded Schnittke's Concerto Grosso No. 6, which the composer wrote for them.

 

10 May 2018

 

 

 

Michael L Mark -  Retired Towson University graduate school dean and professional musician and Clarinetist - In Memoriam

 

 Towson, Maryland USA           

                Dr Michael L. Mark, a retired Towson University graduate school dean and professional musician who was also a fair-housing activist, died of Parkinson’s disease complications May 10 at the Charlestown Retirement Community. The former Mount Washington resident was 81.

                Born in Schenectady, N.Y., he was the son of David Mark, a General Electric worker, and his wife, Ruth Garbowitz, a homemaker.

                Reared in Washington, he was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, then obtained a bachelor’s degree at Catholic University of America.

               He later received two master’s degrees: one from the University of Michigan — where he played in the school band when it made a State Department-sponsored trip to the U.S.S.R. in 1961 — and another from George Washington University. He returned to Catholic University for his doctorate.

              His brother, Brian Mark, a Pasadena, Calif. resident, said their mother “wanted to give her children as broad a cultural experience as possible and, despite having very little money, bought a small piano for her sons and paid for piano lessons.”

             He said his brother began playing the clarinet before he was 8 years old. A cousin gave the family one, and Dr. Mark showed aptitude with the instrument. He studied with teacher Sydney Forrest.

             He began playing in musical groups at 13 and later joined the musicians’ union. He was often called to play in pit orchestras at the Kennedy Center and the old Mechanic Theatre — he was part of the orchestra for the Mechanic’s 1967 opening night and its performance of “Hello, Dolly!” with Betty Grable.

             Dr. Mark also toured with Frankie Avalon and performed with Buddy Hackett, Jan and Dean, Liberace and Barry Manilow. He was a part of the Ringling Brothers circus band.

             He played saxophone in the Baltimore City Park Band under conductor Leigh Martinet.

             “He was a consummate musician, and one of the most self-deprecating persons I have ever met,” said Ed Goldstein, a tubist who is leader of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble. “We played these great transcriptions under Leigh, and Michael really got into it.”

              When Mr. Goldstein was writing a book about the tuba, Dr. Mark offered help and advice. “He was subtle in his approach and he saw the big picture,” he said. “He was invaluable to me.”

              After teaching in Prince George’s County public schools from 1958 to 1966, Dr. Mark became an associate professor at Morgan State University, serving as director of bands and teaching undergraduate and graduate school courses. He also was director of music for the Elmira, N.Y. school district, and from 1973 to 1981 was an associate professor of music at Catholic University.

             He was named dean of Towson University’s Graduate School in 1981. He headed a program for 25 master’s degree programs in arts, humanities, education and life and social sciences. He held the post until 1995.  He also served as professor of music at the university from 1981 until 1998.

             James Anthony, an associate professor of music emeritus at Towson University, said Dr. Mark “became a scholar of music education and was also a leader in that field. He was a gentle and pleasant person.”

             Widely regarded as a music education history and expert, he published more than 75 scholarly articles. He was also co-author of numerous books related to music education.

             Dr. Mark was a past president and longtime board member of Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. He wrote “But Not Next Door,” a book about fair housing and breaking segregation barriers in Baltimore.

              “I perceived him as a quiet lion,” said Robert J. Strupp, executive director at Batimore Neighborhoods. “His understanding of housing issues has enabled us to continue our work during his tenure.”

             Professor Mark was a past president of Young Audiences of Maryland and raised funds for the organization. He volunteered at the Maryland Historical Society.

             Last month, the Maryland Music Educators Association named him the recipient of its Corwin Taylor Music Education Award.

             “He was a giant in the field of music education,” said Mary Ellen Cohn, executive director of the association. “He was nationally and internationally recognized, and conferred with other music educators across the country and throughout Europe and in China.

            “He was the essence of humility and was always willing to give of himself,” Ms. Cohn said. “He was not afraid to tackle anyting.”

 

 

31 March 2018

 

 

Michael Tree - renowned Violist in the Guarneri String Quartet - In Memoriam

New York City USA

 

 

            American violist Michael Tree has passed away – aged 83.

           A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Leah Luboshutz, Veda Reynolds and Efram Zimbalist, Mr Tree was a founding and long term member of the Guarneri Quartet and the Marlboro Trio.

           He had played extensively throughout the world – and recorded more than 80 chamber music works.

GUARNERI STRING QUARTET | MOZART STRING QUARTET NO. 21 IN D MAJOR | 4TH MVT

“From the first time I heard Michael Tree 63 years ago, I knew that I was in the presence not only of an outstanding instrumentalist but of a remarkable artist as well …” violinist Arnold Steinhardt has told The Violin Channel.

“It was my great privilege to have made music with Michael in the Guarneri String Quartet for a blissful forty-five years,” he has said.

“The world lost a great musician … I lost a dear friend when Michael Tree passed away earlier today … to me, he was the most wonderful colleague, a frequent combatant on the tennis court and a fellow Yankees fan,” Juilliard School faculty member, violinist Cho-Liang Lin has said.

Throughout his career, Mr Tree held teaching positions on faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, The Juilliard School, Bard College Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of Maryland School of Music and Rutgers University.

Our condolences are with his family, friends, colleagues and students.

 

 

24 March 2018

 

   

 

José Antonio Abreu, creator of renowned Venezuelan El Sistema and the youth orchestra programs, achieving worldwide acclaim - In Memoriam

 

 

Caracus, Venezuela

 

                     José Antonio Abreu, a Venezuelan government economist turned musical educator who created a network of youth orchestras that has been replicated in dozens of countries around the world, died March 24. He was 78.

                  His death was announced by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, where his brother Jesús Abreu is president. No cause was given, but Mr. Abreu had been known to be battling several illnesses ever since he retired from El Sistema, as the musical education program is known, a few years ago.

                Mr. Abreu was the teacher to generations of Venezuelan classical music performers, most notably Gustavo Dudamel, musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

              “The Venezuelan people that you so loved today are crying for you Maestro,” Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said in a statement. “We are comforted by knowing that your legacy will remain alive in the hands and voices of the children of the youth orchestras.”

              Born in the western city of Valera on May 7, 1939, El Maestro, as Mr. Abreu was almost universally known in Venezuela, studied music from an early age. But he initially put his artistic aspirations on hold to become an economist, teaching at two universities in Caracas, and later entering politics.

             Well into his 30s in 1975, he formed a small orchestra of a dozen young musicians that would become the seed for El Sistema, or the System. Four decades later, the government-financed program claims to currently put 1 million Venezuelan children in contact with classical music through a network of hundreds of youth choirs, orchestras and music centers spread across the country.

             Internationally, its teaching model has spread to more than 60 countries, while its marquee Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra is a fixture in top-flight concert halls from New York to London.

But more recently the sterling reputations of the institution — and Mr. Abreu — have taken a hit as a result of the program’s close ties to Maduro, whose socialist administration has been accused of undermining Venezuela’s democracy.

           In 2014, amid a wave of deadly anti-government unrest, Mr. Abreu and Dudamel appeared alongside Maduro on national TV celebrating a recent European tour and reviewing blueprints for the government-funded “Dudamel Hall” designed by L.A.-based architect Frank Gehry.

         Around the same time, the book “El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth” by British musicologist Geoffrey Baker was published, describing Mr. Abreu as a politically cunning, autocratic and vengeful visionary as much feared as loved. The book also faulted El Sistema for fostering a culture of top-level corruption, favoritism and improper sexual relations between teachers and pupils.

          Mr. Abreu never publicly responded to the criticisms as he retired from public view shortly after the book’s publication. But El Sistema disputed Baker’s characterization and Mr. Abreu’s many backers, include even some government critics, said it overlooked his musical achievements and the successful building of one of the few institutions in Venezuela to have endured almost two decades of polarizing, socialist rule.

 

 

 

2 March 2018

 

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Jesús López Cobos - former Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Teatro Real in Madrid - In Memoriam

 

Berlin, Germany

 

               The Spanish conductor Jesús López Cobos has died in Berlin at the age of 78.

               López Cobos held several music director positions at leading orchestras throughout a long and successful career. He was the Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 2001, making several highly-regarded recordings for Telarc, and later became their Conductor Emeritus. López Cobos was also General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin from 1981 to 1990, Music Director of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra from 1991 to 2000 and Music Director of the Teatro Real in Madrid from 2003 to 2010. 

             Among his most highly regarded recordings for Telarc with the Cincinnati SO were a Respighi disc, including Church Windows, Brazilian Impressions and Roman Festivals, of which Gramophone's Michael Oliver commented: 'if every colour is precisely rendered, the quiet passages as affectionately turned as they are here (and it's surprising how much of this score is quiet), what skill there is to be found in it, what a gift for immaculately precise instrumental detail.'

            In fact, it was often López Cobos's superb ear for instrumental balance, colour and detail that separated his recordings and performances from those of other conductors. His recording of Shostakovich's First and 15th Symphonies, also with the Cincinnati SO, drew high praise from Gramophone's David Fanning: 'By dint of careful preparation López Cobos brings exceptional clarity to the First Symphony‚ forcing you to admire afresh the sheer inventiveness of the teenage Shostakovich’s counterpoint.'

           The recording of the 15th Symphony was singled-out by Philip Clark in his Gramophone Collection article surveying every recording of the work in 2008. Clark called the recording 'A valuable blueprint, full of fastidious orchestral detail and an ear for a good narrative. A faithful rendering of Shostakovich's intentions.'

 

                           In 1983, López Cobos made a great live recording of Verdi's Messa da Requiem with soloists Margaret Price, Livia Budai, Giuseppe Giacomini and Robert Lloyd with the London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra. 'Central to the experience,' wrote Gramophone's Richard Osborne, 'is the 43-year-old Spanish born Jesús López Cobos, whose conducting has fire, grace and an enviably unselfconscious feel for the work's musical and spiritual dynamic.'

                   From López Cobos's time at Teatro Real in Madrid there are several outstanding DVD/Blu-ray performances, including Verdi's La traviata, Puccini's La bohème, and a wonderful Cav & Pag. The La traviata DVD was an Editor's Choice in September 2006. Alan Blyth remarked that 'López Cobos conducts an interpretation notable for yielding support of his singers combined with dramatic dash, and the Madrid orchestra play as though their lives depended on the results. No wonder this staging has received so much praise in Spain.'

                  López Cobos was active right up until his death, indeed his website still lists performances that he was due to give in the coming months, including Verdi's Aida and Un ballo in maschera at the Vienna State Opera. 

 

A Tribute to his legacy by VIP Pascual Martinez-Forteza, 2nd Clarinetist in the New York Philharmonic

 

               Today is a very sad day. One of the best conductors of our time and one of the best persons I have known just left us. I will always be thankful for the enormous opportunity you gave me when I was only 25 years old to be part of the great Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Those 3 years under your baton were one of the most exciting and rewarding of my career. I remember my 1st rehearsal with you and the CSO when you stopped the orchestra to fix something in the clarinet section and you said “well, finally I can speak Spanish with somebody in this orchestra” and you started telling me what to do in Spanish. You where like a father figure to me those years and I am sure I wouldn’t be in the New York Philharmonic now without all the things I’ve learn from you. I hope to see you in heaven some day and make music together again.

 

 
Rest In Peace my dear Jesús


My Maestro

 

 

2 January 2018

 

 

Carmine Campione - clarinetist with the Cincinnatti Symphony orchestra, 40 years an Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at the College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati - In Memoriam

 

              Carmine Campione is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, 37 years a clarinetist with the Cincinnatti Symphony orchestra, 40 years an Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at the College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. A renowned teacher and author of several books that have been a staple in pedagogical content benefitting students for decades past.

 

 

 

1 January 2018

 

 

  

 

Robert Mann, Founding member of the Juilliard String Quartet - In Memoriam

 

New York City USA

 

                      Robert Mann, the founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, the internationally renowned ensemble that at midcentury helped engender a chamber music revival throughout the United States, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 97.

 

                     His death was announced by Debra Kinzler, associate director of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, of which he was president from 1971 to 2015.

Conceived in 1946, the Juilliard quartet gave its first official performance the next year. Besides Mr. Mann, the original roster included the second violinist Robert Koff, the violist Raphael Hillyer and the cellist Arthur Winograd.

 

                    Mr. Mann — for decades the quartet’s de facto spokesman, institutional memory and “resident spark plug,” as The Chicago Tribune called him in 1997 — remained with the ensemble for 51 years. By the time he retired in 1997 he had outlasted the entire original lineup, as well several subsequent permutations, to become one of the longest-serving members of any chamber group in the world.

 

 

                   From the beginning, the Juilliard Quartet was known for its probing musicality (the group once devoted two full rehearsals to a single measure from Elliott Carter’s Third String Quartet); hard-driving style, which for all its passionate intensity was considered refreshingly unsentimental; and deep commitment to contemporary music.

 

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