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In Memoriam 2020

 

 

 

27 April 2020

 

 

Lynn Harrel - Celebrated Cello Soloist and former Principal Cellist in the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell, and faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Juilliard School and many other renowned Conservatories - In Memoriam

 

Lynn Harrell, who successfully made the leap from orchestral musician to top-flight soloist, has died at the age of 76. He was born in New York into a musical family: his father was the baritone Mack Harrell and his mother, Marjorie McAlister Fulton, a violinist. He studied at Juilliard (with Leonard Rose) and at Curtis (with Orlando Cole).

His parents both died when Harrell was young: his father in 1960 when Lynn was 15, and his mother in 1962 when he was 18. In an interview with Andrew Stewart in Gramophone in May 1994, he talked about his father’s influence: ‘My father was a great singer, but I wasn't aware of that until after he died. But then I would play along with, study and listen to small snippets of his recordings, over and over again, to see the meaning of his art. At times, that experience was often overpowering. I began to realize that it was possible to get a similar variety of attack with the bow as that possible from the human voice. Listening to records of singers became my inspiration fully for five or six years, and I then consciously attempted to extend the palette of sounds I could produce on the cello to rival those of the voice.’

In 1962, he joined George Szell’s Cleveland Orchestra, becoming Principal Cello in 1964, a post he held until 1971. That year he made his solo debut in New York and his solo career was launched.

He both performed and recorded extensively as a soloist (mainly for Decca) but also worked frequently in the trio with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Itzhak Perlman – together they recorded Beethoven’s piano trios (for EMI) and with Ashkenazy, the cello sonatas (for Decca). Among his extensive discography was a recording for DG of Taneyev’s Piano Quintet (with Ilya Gringolts, Vadim Repin, Nobuko Imai and Mikhail Pletnev) which won Gramophone’s Chamber Award in 2006. His catalogue embraces most of the cello concerto repertoire as well as numerous chamber music, and solo, recordings.

Harrell played a Montagnana cello from 1720 and then the 1673 Stradivarius cello owned previously by Jacqueline du Pré. Latterly he played on a modern instrument made by Christopher Dungey.

As his solo career slowed, Harrell took on a number of teaching posts: the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Juilliard, the USC Thornton School of Music in LA and at Rice University.

 

 

17 April 2020

 

 

Paul Shelden - Renowned Clarinetist and wind doubler  - Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn College - In Memoriam

 

Hewlitt, New York

 

                        Paul Shelden was a musician who performed with big stars, but his most important role was as a husband and father who thought nothing of sticking his arm down a restaurant toilet to retrieve his son’s pen, and who always made sure his daughter’s school projects were completed.

                        Shelden, a resident of Hewlett for 28 years and a professor emeritus of music at Brooklyn College, died at home on April 17 of complications of Covid-19. He was 79.

                     “He did it all,” said Seth, who is also a musician and performer. “He was quite well known, and an accomplished person.”

                     Seth recounted the time he thought he couldn’t complete a college challenge that involved sleeping in the great outdoors for a month. Having never slept outside, he found it extremely difficult, so he called his dad and asked for a ride home. “I fully expected him not to do this, but he didn’t miss a beat, and said he’d come right up. I was flabbergasted. I said, I better finish, I can’t make him do that.” So Seth completed the challenge.

                    Paul Sheldon was born on March 8, 1941, in Brooklyn, and took to music as a youngster. He and his twin brother, Aaron, performed on Ted Mack’s television variety show “The Original Amateur Hour” in 1956.

                   Shelden’s musical talent took him to the Stevensville Hotel, a resort in the Catskill Mountains, where he became the bandleader. Pam Jacobs, who sang with the band, met Sheldon in 1963, and they fell in love. They were married for 51 years.

                 “He was generous and giving,” said his wife, who is also ill with Covid-19. She recounted Paul’s retrieval of Seth’s favorite pen from the restaurant toilet when his son was around 7.

                 After earning degrees from Juilliard, Shelden performed and conducted classical, jazz, klezmer and opera at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Radio City Musical Hall, the Tilles Center, the White House and other venues. He also performed in Broadway musical orchestras and in bands for stars who spanned generations, including Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Bob Hope, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra and Blood, Sweat & Tears. For many years he performed in Guy Lombardo’s annual televised New Year’s Eve concerts.

                Shelden earned a doctorate from the University of Maryland, and also played under the batons of conductors James Levine and Robert Shaw, and debuted works written specifically for him, according to his son. He wrote many published articles on music teaching and performance, and was in demand as a judge for competitions and programs.

               He founded his own company in 2003, Diplomatte Musical Instruments, and oversaw the design and manufacture of woodwind instruments made in China.

              Asked what she would most remember, Shelden’s daughter, Dr. Loren Napoli, a school psychologist, said, “His patience and eagerness, and that he wanted the people around him to be as happy as possible. He would sacrifice his own needs for everybody. If we had to wake up early, he would wake up early. If we had to stay up late, he would stay up late.”

             Despite also battling Parkinson’s disease, Shelden connected with his father’s past as a dedicated participant in Rock Steady Boxing, a therapy program at the New York Institute of Technology. Despite the Parkinson’s and before he contracted Covid-19, he performed with Long Island’s Northwinds Symphonic Band.

            In addition to his wife and children, Shelden is survived by his brother (who still plays the accordion, and worked in television financial services), as well as Napoli’s husband, Rocco, and their two children.

           The family held a graveside service on April 21, led by Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg. Only 10 people attended, but more than 200 others viewed the service on Zoom.

           Seth recalled that the day’s crazy weather included heavy winds, a hailstorm and then a rainbow. “It seemed magical,” he said, “since my father’s signature song was ‘Over the Rainbow.’” 

 

 

30 March 2020

 

 

 

Dennis Zeisler,  Member of the West Point Band and later Acclaimed Professor and Director of Bands at Old Dominion University - In Memoriam

 

Norfolk, Virginia USA

 

                  Dennis Zeisler enlisted in the Army as solo clarinetist of the West Point Band, was professor of music for 39 years at Old Dominion University, founded and conducted the Virginia Wind Symphony, served as 77th president of the American Bandmasters Association, and sat on the board of the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Zeisler was a proud University of Michigan alumni.

 

 

Tributes to Dennis Zeisler from Past Colleagues from the West Point Band

 

 

LTC (Ret) David Deitrick - former Commander of the USMA Band

 

            I believe I first met Dennis when I was band commander and he came to a reunion, conducting the band for the concert.  He was a talented musician/conductor, and one of the finest people I know.  I got to know him much better during the last 18 years during ABA conferences.  He was highly respected and loved, always friendly and encouraging to those around him.  His wife Carol is also a remarkable person.
 
Dennis was proud of his service at West Point.  He will be missed very much.
 
David Deitrick

 

 

 

Peter Cokkinias - Clarinet Colleague

 

          Thanks for your message and this sad news about Dennis Zeisler.   I also served with him during those years as well and salute his amazing career and service to the musical arts. He was quite a musician and shared his talents with so many people!

Warm regards and stay safe!
Peter

 

 

 

29 March 2020

 

 

Krzysztof Penderecki - Internationally Renowned Composer, Conductor and Iconic Musical Figure of the last and Present Century - In Memoriam

Author: Culture.pl

             Krzysztof Penderecki is a composer and conductor. He was born on 23 November 1933, in Dębica, died on 29th March 2020. In the history of 20th-century music, his career stands out for his fast rise to the top, matched by none, with the possible exception of Stravinsky.

 

                       

 

 

 

                   

 

 

 

 

 

                    The Berliner Philharmoniker mourn the death of Krzysztof Penderecki, who died on 29 March at the age of 86. Penderecki was one of the most prominent composers of our time and his works have been featured in major opera houses and concert halls. The Berliner Philharmoniker have also performed many of his compositions, both under his own direction and in concerts with Herbert von Karajan and Zubin Mehta.

                   Among the works performed were Penderecki’s Symphonies No. 1 and 2 and his Second Violin Concerto. His Cello Concerto No. 2 was premiered in 1983 by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Penderecki’s direction and with Mstislav Rostropovich as the soloist. A performance of the St. Luke Passion with Antoni Wit as conductor was recorded for the Digital Concert Hall in 2013.

                  Go to the St. Luke Passion in the Digital Concert Hall

 

11 March 2020

 

Charles Wuorinen - Major American Composer and proactive authority in New Music - In Memoriam

 

 

             

 

                             It is with regret that we announce the death of Charles Wuorinen, composer of over 270 works, virtuosic pianist, and conductor. He died on Wednesday, March 11 from complications after sustaining a fall in September 2019.

                           Wuorinen’s music of refinement, power, technical excellence and wide-ranging emotional pallet found a home in operas, ballets, symphonies, and chamber and vocal works of all combinations and instruments. Wuorinen’s last completed work was his Second Percussion Symphony, premiered in Miami in September 2019.
 
                         In recent years James Levine became a staunch advocate for Wuorinen’s music and commissioned five orchestral works including his Fourth Piano Concerto with Peter Serkin for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Michael Tilson Thomas, a conductor whom Wuorinen worked with for much of his career, commissioned Bamboula Beach for the inaugural concert of the New World Symphony, and most recently Sudden Changes for the San Francisco Symphony.  

                      The first composer Christoph von Dohnányi commissioned for the Cleveland Orchestra was Wuorinen, who produced Movers and Shakers. Oliver Knussen, a great interpreter of Wuorinen’s works, recorded A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky, which enshrined musical fragments entrusted to Wuorinen at the Russian composer’s death by his widow, Vera Stravinsky.
 
                    Wuorinen wrote six works for the New York City Ballet including three scores inspired by scenes from Dante for Peter Martins, and Five: Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra with the dual purpose of it being a cello concerto for his great friend and collaborator Fred Sherry.
 
                  Wuorinen’s works for the stage include operas on Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain and Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Throughout his career Wuorinen displayed his mastery of vocal writing, setting texts from the Vulgate to contemporary writers such as James Fenton, James Tate, and John Ashbery.
 
                Wuorinen had a strong interest in earlier music which is seen in such works as Delight of the Muses, written for the Mozart Bicentennial, Time Regained, which uses materials from Machaut, Dufay, Gibbons, and Mattei de Perugia, and The Magic Art: An Instrumental Masque drawn from the works of Henry Purcell.
 
I              In 1962 he co-founded The Group for Contemporary Music with Harvey Sollberger. The Group was the precursor of a large number of similar ensembles formed throughout America particularly in the early 1970’s, and its luminous performances were widely regarded as models to be emulated.
 
              A prodigy who started composing at age five, Wuorinen was a polymath with interests in fractal geometry, astrophysics, Egyptology and Chinese calligraphy.
 
             He was the recipient of many awards, fellowships, and honors including the Pulitzer Prize (for Time’s Encomium) and a MacArthur Fellowship, and he was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the author of Simple Composition, used by composition students throughout the world. His longtime publisher is C.F. Peters.
 
           He is survived by his husband of thirty-two years, Howard Stokar.

 

 

4 March 2020

 

 

William O Smith - Renowned Clarinetist and Jazz Performer and Composer of some of the most important  Contemporary Music for the Clarinet - In Memoriam

 

Seattle, Washington USA

 

                  The groundbreaking clarinetist known as William O. “Bill” Smith, a founding member of the Dave Brubeck Octet, Smith also pioneered the use of multiphonics on clarinet in the 1960s and has continued to experiment with extended techniques throughout his life. Born in Sacramento, California, he studied at Juilliard, Mills College, the University of California–Berkeley and the Paris Conservatory, and his longest teaching appointment was at the University of Washington, where he taught composition, clarinet and contemporary music for more than 30 years. He has enjoyed great success over seven decades as a composer and performer. He is still writing and performing music, most recently at a residency this summer at the Bologna Conservatory in Italy.

 

                Bill Smith makes so much music that he's had to divide his workload between two personae.

                As William O. Smith, he's an acclaimed and influential innovator in "new" or "contemporary music." He pioneered the use of many untapped sounds of the clarinet, and incorporated them into his 200 compositions.

 

              In his second musical world, jazz, his renown is just as great, thanks not just to those same clarinet innovations, but moreover to his subtle use of them in soloing and accompaniment.

 

              Dave Brubeck calls Smith "one of the all-time greats." And he doesn't just say that because he and Bill have known each other well for 50 years. They have worked together throughout that long friendship, which began when they were at graduate school together at Mills College, in Oakland, Cal. Smith was an original member of the Brubeck octet that worked the Bay Area, beginning in 1947, and with which Brubeck began one of the most successful careers in West Coast jazz.

Smith performed on and contributed compositions to the group's first recordings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the 1960s he again recorded with Brubeck - an album a year until he moved to Seattle in 1966. That pace of recording resumed when the two began working together again regularly in 1982. That was when Smith took over the soloist's spot with the Brubeck Quartet and began to work its many concerts - up to 100 a year. The group's pace has slowed of late, but Smith still performs on its long spring tours of Europe and on West Coast gigs.

 

           When Brubeck asked him to begin touring with his band, Smith agreed with the proviso that touring wouldn't preclude teaching composition, orchestration, and contemporary idioms at the University of Washington, and co-directing its highly praised Contemporary Group.

 

 

26 February 2020

 

 

 

Hans Deinzer - Celebrated German Klarinette Pedagogue and teacher at the Musikhochule in Hannover and mentor of many of the Great German and European players - In Memoriam

 

Hannover, Germany

 

                Born in Rothenbruck [de], Deinzer received his first clarinet lessons at the Städtisches Konservatoriun in Nuremberg between 1949 and 1955.[2] He was until 1962 a student of Rudolf Gall in Munich.[

 

               Deinzer was clarinetist at the Nürnberger Symphoniker and at the Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks in Hamburg.[2]

 

              He was one of the first clarinetists to professionally adopt the use of rubber mouthpieces, and also was a champion of historical instruments and playing. He recorded two versions of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto using a reconstructed historical boxwood clarinet and has premiered several important works, including Pierre Boulez's "Domaines" —which was written for him— and Henri Pousseur's Madrigal I.

             He is a two-time winner of the Grand Prix du Disque.

             His students include several prominent clarinetists, such as Sabine Meyer, Reiner Wehle, Wolfgang Meyer, Martin Fröst, Andrew Marriner, Nicholas Cox, Antonio Salguero and Michele Zukovsky.

 

 

18 January 2020

 

 

Robert Crowley - Acclaimed Clarinetist and Teacher - Solo Clarinetist Emeritus in the Montreal Symphony - In Memoriam

 

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

 

                       Robert Crowley's professional world was one of music and performance. He always said it was an immense privilege to be able to work at that about which he was most passionate. He started playing clarinet at age 9 as part of the school band in Deer Park, Long Island. He excelled and was accepted to the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Stanley Hasty. He completed his Master's degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Robert Marcellus. He performed in the United States from 1973 to 1976. In 1976 he won the audition for Associate Principal clarinetist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and was appointed Principal in 1998. Bob was always known for his persistent quest for the perfect reed and for the perfect mouthpiece. But the result was so worth it! He could play like no one else and produce an angelic sound. He was also a devoted teacher to an entire generation of clarinet students at McGill University. He was proud of each and every one.

                   

                 You can call this is trademark recording- Rhapsody in Blue.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLera4qKSc&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3SMAYd_d-v4sLDEbPvi2ddYTTlp5TUDY9hcBCaXHjpW_lyKj8DKM449PE

 

 

14 January 2020

 

 

Guy DePlus, Renowned French Clarinetist and Professor at the Paris Superiore Conservatory and a Founding member of the Paris Intercontemparian with Pierre Boulez - In Memoriam

 

Paris, France

 

                     Guy Deplus studied clarinet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and received Premiers Prix in clarinet and chamber music. He was a professor of clarinet at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, and was retired. He taught many French orchestral clarinetists. He was also one of the clarinetists who collaborated with Buffet Crampon on the creation of the Tosca and Festival clarinets. Together with Pierre Boulez, Deplus cofounded the "Concerts du Domaine Musical". He was a soloist in the Paris Opera. Deplus received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Clarinet Association (for "Outstanding Performance, Teaching, Research, and Service to the Clarinet).  He has been Director of the International Clarinet Congress 81 and 97 held in Paris.  His collaboration with Buffet-Crampon, the renowned Clarinet Maker brought about the development of advanced Clarinet models including the Tosca and other models.  He was 96 years old.

 

 

 

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