Archive for the “Obits” Category

Photo: David Rose

Peter Maxwell Davies

English composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies died on Monday, March 14th 2016. At the age of 81, Davies passed away in his Orkney home. The cause of death was leukemia. In 2004, Davies was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music.

Farewell to Stromness is one of Davies most popular works for solo piano. The piece is a piano interlude from his work The Yellow Cake Revue, a work he created for the campaign against the proposed uranium mine on the Oakley Isles.

In this recording of his Symphony No. 7, Davies displays his skills as both composer and conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

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The quiet, quirky, extremely inventive Californian composer Art Jarvinen (b.1956) has died. Always one to go his own way and not chase the typical composers “path to glory”, Art was still a strong influence on a lot of younger southern Californian minds. Both David Ocker and Kyle Gann have a little personal appreciation and what little info we know about Art’s passing, something that came far too quickly.

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There’s a lot of shock and sadness in the Mexican classical community just now: last week one of the finest violists in Mexico and the world, Omar Hernández-Hidalgo, was found dead in his hometown of Tijuana, four days after apparently being kidnapped. A principal violist by the age of 21, Grammy-nominated twice, the first violist in his country to recieve a PhD. (at Indiana University), praised by Pierre Boulez, Hernández-Hidalgo was a champion of contemporary music, especially the new and vital in his own country. While his technique was commanding and virtuosic, his own personality was warm, modest and endlessly generous. He was in the midst of a demanding schedule of performances and festivals right up to his disappearance, and the sudden hole his senseless death leaves in the Mexican musical soul is keen and intense. Our hearts go out to his colleagues, family and friends, along with our hopes for sanity, peace and determination to stand for a world that will not stand for this kind of evil. RIP.



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George Perle died this weekend, at the ripe old age of 93. Little-known and little heard by the general audience, Perle was a name virtually every composer of the last half century knows. His book Serial Composition and Atonality passed through most of our hands at one point or other in our study; it and his later Twelve-Tone Tonality caused a lot of us to seek out performances and recordings of his poised, extremely lucid and limpid works.

Big-name appreciation is rare enough anymore for composers, as to almost seem a fluke. Given that, the place to pay attention to is who composers themselves appreciate. George Perle certainly had that kind of “cred”, and he’s still alive and vital for his comrades-in-music.

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One of our greatest musical thinkers in these last fifty years, Leonard B. Meyer has passed away. His series of books from 1956 onwards are still avidly bought, read and discussed in 2007, and that’s no mean feat. Some of his work was pioneering, some spookily prescient, and a lot of it has stuck in this head since my earliest college days. Thanks for all the fish, Leonard.

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recieved at the Canadian Eletroacoustic mail-list:

The composer Karlheinz Stockhausen passed away on December 5th 2007 at his home in Kuerten-Kettenberg and will be buried in the Waldfriedhof (forest cemetery) in Kuerten.

He composed 362 individually performable works. The works which were composed until 1969 are published by Universal Edition in Vienna, and all works since then are published by the Stockhausen-Verlag. Numerous texts by Stockhausen and about his works have been published by the Stockhausen Foundation for Music.

Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer, who have performed many of his works and, together with him, have taken care of the scores, compact discs, books, films, flowers, shrubs, and trees will continue to disseminate his work throughout the world, as prescribed in the statutes of the Stockhausen Foundation for Music, of which they are executive board members.

Stockhausen always said that GOD gave birth to him and calls him home.


for love is stronger than death.

IN FRIENDSHIP and gratitude for everything that he has given to us personally and to humanity through his love and his music, we bid FAREWELL to Karlheinz Stockhausen, who lived to bring celestial music to humans, and human music to the celestial beings, so that Man may listen to GOD and GOD may hear His children.

On December 5th he ascended with JOY through HEAVEN’S DOOR, in order to continue to compose in PARADISE with COSMIC PULSES in eternal HARMONY, as he had always hoped to do: You, who summon me to Heaven, Eva, Mikael and Maria, let me eternally compose music for Heaven’s Father-Mother, GOD creator of Cosmic Music.

May Saint Michael, together with Heaven’s musicians in ANGEL PROCESSIONS and INVISIBLE CHOIRS welcome him with a fitting musical GREETING.

On behalf of him and following his example, we will endeavor to continue to protect the music.

Suzanne Stephens and Kathinka Pasveer
in the name of the world-wide family of musicians who love him, together with everyone who loves his music.


On Thursday, December 13th 2007, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. it will be possible to personally say farewell to Karlheinz Stockhausen in the chapel of the Waldfriedhof in Kuerten (Kastanienstrasse).

A commemorative concert will take place soon at the Sülztalhalle in Kuerten. Programme, time and date will be specially announced.


The Stockhausen foundation has already published a PDF memorial booklet, which you can download and print for free. And, thirty-five years ago:

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Saint SebastianMy father-in-law, Alfred Russell, died a few weeks ago. He was an amazing painter and a really eccentric person. He was one of the hottest Paris/New York abstractionist painters in the 40’s and 50’s. Ad Reinhardt was the best man at his wedding; he got Rothko his first teaching job; was friends/enemies with all the big names but because of his notorious provocateur spirit he never got rich while all of his equals sold their souls to the rich for millions of dollars. A famous article in October Magazine started the trend, when he lamented the ‘easy abstraction’ of the minimalists – mainly poking at Rothko and later Reinhardt.

He was a big modern music fan, amateur flutist and close friend of Edgard Varèse who in a Paris cafe once wrote him a solo flute piece which has never been premiered. I’ve got a mimeograph of it somewhere in a closet he gave me, but we’ve been looking for the original for years to prove it’s legitimacy.

Roberta Smith writes about him today in the New York Times – Alfred Russell, Painter with a Classical Style Dies at 87. Here are a few of his paintings from our site – Works of Alfred Russell. No need to offer condolences…

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Okay, he stayed too long at the fair.  The idea of a 60-year-old, 400-pound man playing a starving artist failed to suspend disbelief.  The three tenors crap was execrable.  He probably inspired Andrea Bocelli.

But, once upon a time, there was this voice:


Alex Ross, Steve Smith, Marcus Maroney, Charles T. Downey, Tim Mangan, Marc Geelhoed, Opera Chic

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Mstislav Rostropovich died this morning in Moscow.  He was 80 and suffered from intestinal cancer.  Tim Page has an appreciation here.

Updates:  Alex Ross, Charles T. Downey, Guardian Tributes, Marc Geelhoed, Bruce Hodges, Pliable, Kenneth Woods, Steve Hicken, Jessica DuchenScott Spiegelberg, Jeremy Eichler

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Vienna born conductor and composer Peter Paul Fuchs died in Greensboro, North Carolina on March 28 aged 90. For an appreciation of his music by John McLaughlin Williams follow An Overgrown Path

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