I was saddened to learn today that John Kreckler passed away earlier this week. John was probably best known to composers, performers, and new music audiences as the co-director of the Locrian Chamber Players, a New York-based ensemble that performs exclusively music less than a decade old.

I’d just seen John at the Locrian concert last week. Diva Goodfriend-Koven was performing two of my solo flute pieces. The atmosphere was light and friendly. He sat with me at the dress rehearsal, and joked that I should have given Diva more corrections after the run through (I hadn’t had much to say – Diva’s playing was really extraordinary!).

Before the concert, John gave introductory remarks about Locrian’s mission and their fifteen year-long history. He didn’t join in the after-concert festivities, begging off due to a trip early the next morning; but otherwise, John seemed fine. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone.

Although many knew about his work advocating for others’ music, John was an accomplished composer in his own right. His works were performed at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Aspen, and the American Institute of Arts and Letters. A program was devoted exclusively to his work at the Kendall Gallery in New York. He wrote a piano concerto, several string quartets, and two song cycles based on the poetry of Langston Hughes.

John was born in Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He got his Master’s degree and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from The Juilliard School, where he studied with David Diamond, Milton Babbitt and Stephen Albert. He taught at both the Juilliard School and the Aspen Music School.

Survivors include his father, Ed Kreckler, and two sisters, Renee Vandeberg and Cindy Orvel.

There will be a service on Tuesday at 7PM at the Bernard F. Dowd Funeral
Home in Queens.  Their address is 165-20 Hillside Ave., Jamaica, NY.

Phone: (718) 739-8117.

They have onsite parking and there’s a subway stop on the F line nearby.

5 Responses to “John Kreckler, RIP”
  1. chris sahar says:

    Christian –

    I’d like to mention that John worked very hard to bring choral music to inner city schools and recreation centers throughout Manhattan and Bronx with very tight budgets through his work with the Children’s Aid Society Chorus Program. I accompanied two of the choirs this year and John was one of the most pleasant, easy going and constructive people I have ever worked with. I wish I had had more time time to work with him.

    Also, the trip he told you about was a weekend retreat with 36 kids from the Children’s Aid Society program.

    There will be a memorial service for John tomorrow June 9th at 165-20 Hillside Ave in Jamaica, Queens at 7 pm.

  2. John was a beautiful person whose spirit and work enriched his colleagues and friends. We will miss him always for his kindness and generosity.

  3. Lisa Johnson says:

    Music Program Staff at the New York State Council on the Arts are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic loss.

    Lisa Johnson
    Music Program Director

  4. Shahana Sen says:

    My daughter is in the Children’s Aid Society Chorus and I knew John through this. I cannot believe that one of the finest people I knew is no more — that I won’t be seeing his gentle and kind face, and interacting with him again… The loss for the children in the chorus is beyond measure…

  5. shawn espinoza says:

    i met john back in april 2006. he was a great man, a gentle, kind hearted man. and he still is to me. we were friends, maybe not good friends, but we always conversed online and met up several times over the next 3 years, i last got to see john on april 22nd, and last spoke to him on june 1st. i miss him so much, and it saddens me that he’s gone. it upsets me even more that i just found out today. i wish i could of been there to his memorial service. John, i miss you and love you dearly. save me a seat where ever you are :-)

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