In Memoriam - History-Changing Figures (Pavarotti, Slava, Sills, Stockhausen) Among the Departed of 2007

Classic Arts News   In Memoriam - History-Changing Figures (Pavarotti, Slava, Sills, Stockhausen) Among the Departed of 2007
 
Every year we in the arts media publish "in memoriam" pieces remembering some of the notable figures who passed away over the preceding 12 months. But 2007 seems different — we saw the passing of many individuals who changed the very history of their genres (and some whose influence was even wider).

Mstislav Rostropovich, who so greatly expanded both the literature and the audience for the cello, and who affected political and literary history with his brave defense of author Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Gian Carlo Menotti, who wrote the first operas ever created specifically for radio and for television and who even made a success of opera on Broadway (something nearly unimaginable today), and then went on to create two of the most admired arts festivals in the world.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, whose celebrity was superseded by the extraordinary effect she had on the development of the arts in New York through her two decades as head of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Beverly Sills, who not only had a stellar career as a coloratura soprano but exposed millions of Americans to opera through her television appearances — and then went on to a major career as an administrator, saving New York City Opera from bankruptcy and serving at both the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center.

Luciano Pavarotti, whose spectacular voice and charisma made him arguably the single best-known opera star since Caruso and whose record sales, particularly as one of The Three Tenors, changed the classical recording industry.

Russell Johnson, who virtually created the modern profession of concert hall acoustician and spearheaded both the return to the traditional "shoebox" design of concert halls and the introduction of adjustable elements (such as a movable canopy over the stage) into auditoriums.

Maurice B_jart, a choreographer who brought an unprecedented open eroticism to the ballet stage and won a huge (and notably young) following doing so.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, a pioneer in electronic music and one of the central figures of the mid-20th-century avant-garde, and a composer who took Wagner's ideal of the totally integrated work of art to an extreme, outdoing the Ring cycle with a seven-day operatic epic.

And, as every year, we mourn those artists who died much too young. Three musicians and a dancer, all in their 30s or early 40s, killed in auto collisions while coming home from rehearsals or performances. The COO of Los Angeles Opera, who succumbed to cancer at only 51. A 30-year-old pianist who edited and produced a 9-CD set of his concert recordings while in his hospital bed suffering from brain cancer. A beloved American tenor whose depression ended in a tragic suicide. A gifted choreographer, only 29, who died in a freak accident just six weeks before she took up one of the top posts in Australia's dance world.

One consolation, at least, is that this year (as far as we know) there were no prominent deaths "in action" — no conductor collapsing on the podium or producer having a heart attack during a recording session.

And so, below, a list of some notable individuals to whom we bid farewell this year.


January

Werner Hollweg, 70, tenor known for his suave interpretations of Mozart and lieder in the 1970s and '80s. Jan. 1, of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Eleonore Schoenfeld, 81, cellist who performed with her violinist sister Alice in the Schoenfeld Duo and who taught at the University of Southern Caifornia for five decades. Jan. 1, of a heart attack.

Jšnos F‹rst, 71, Hungarian violinist and conductor who co-founded the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra and who served as chief conductor of (among others) the RTê_ Symphony Orchestra in Dublin and the Marseilles Opera. Jan. 3, of cancer.

Ruthanna Boris, 88, ballerina who was the first American star of the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and who went on to choreograph for New York City Ballet and several regional companies. Jan. 5, of cancer.

Alice Coltrane, 69, a jazz pianist and harpist who joined the band of the great saxophonist John Coltrane, was his wife for the final years of his life and went on to become a spiritual leader as well as a notable musician in her own right. January 12, of respiratory failure.

Michael Brecker, 57, one of the most active jazz saxophonists of the last several decades and an 11-time Grammy Award winner. January 13, of leukemia.

Carter Harman, 88, author, composer, record producer and music critic known for his work covering jazz and making discs of contemporary music with the label CRI; author of the Dell paperback A Popular History of Music — From Gregorian Chant to Jazz. January 23, no cause of death reported.

Klšra Palšnkay, 85, Hungarian mezzo-soprano famed for her portrayal of Judith in Bart‹k's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. January 24, of respiratory failure.

Glen Tetley, 80, whose fusion of ballet and modern dance made him one of the most performed and influential choreographers of the late 20th century. January 26, of melanoma.

Elmer Setzer, 86, longtime violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra who played under George Szell and Lorin Maazel; father of violinist Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet. January 30, of complications of pneumonia.


February

Gian Carlo Menotti, 95, likely the most successful opera composer of the mid-20th century, whose works The Medium, The Telephone, The Consul and The Saint of Bleecker Street thrived on Broadway and on opera houses; author of the first operas ever written for radio (The Old Man and the Thief) and television (Amahl and the Night Visitors); longtime companion of composer Samuel Barber; founder of Spoleto Festivals in Italy and the U.S. February 1; no cause of death reported.

Kjersten J. Oquist, 36, and Angela Svendsen, 31, principal viola and principal second violin, respectively, of the Eugene Symphony Orchestra in Oregon. February 11; in an automobile collision while driving home to Portland from a rehearsal.

Ray Minshull, 72, longtime director of artists and repertoire for Decca Classics and the producer who signed (among others) Radu Lupu, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Andršs Schiff, Riccardo Chailly and Cecilia Bartoli. February 16; no cause of death reported.

Celia Franca, 85, dancer and teacher who founded the National Ballet of Canada from scratch and served as its artistic director for 24 years. February 19, after several months of frail health following bone fractures.

Siegfried Landau, 85, conductor who founded the Brooklyn Philharmonic and established that orchestra's practice of presenting new and unusual repertoire. February 20, in a fire which destroyed his home and also took the life of his wife, former ballet dancer Irene Gabriel Landau (age 70).

Edgar Evans, 85, a founding member of the postwar opera company at London's Covent Garden which became the Royal Opera, where he sang 45 roles. February 22; no cause of death reported.

Julian Budden, 82, a producer for BBC radio and a scholar whose writings on Verdi were acknowledged as classics. February 28; no cause of death reported.


March

Natalie Bodanya, 98, American soprano who sang at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s and early '40s. March 4; no cause of death reported.

Edith d'Addario, 84, longtime director of the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. March 4, of complications from emphysema.

John Thow, 57, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a composer who made use of Native American music in his work. March 4, of complications from a chronic illness.

Theophanis Dymiotis, 41, violinist, member of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, co-concertmaster and composer in residence with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and a professor at McDaniel College on Maryland's Eastern Shore. March 10, in an automobile accident.

Edgar Baitzel, 51, an opera director and administrator who served as artistic director at the houses in Karlsruhe and Bonn before coming to Los Angeles Opera, at the invitation of Plšcido Domingo, as artistic administrator and later as chief operating officer. March 11, of cancer.

Ernst Haefliger, 87, Swiss tenor noted for his performances of oratorio (especially as the Evangelist in the Bach Passions) and lieder as well as of the Mozart operatic repertoire. March 17, of a heart attack.

Amelia Haygood, 87, founder of the Delos International record label. March 19, of cancer.

Janice Harsanyi, 77, soprano and longtime voice professor at Florida State University. March 21, of heart failure.

Mimi Lerner, 61, mezzo-soprano, chair of the voice faculty at Carnegie-Mellon University and mainstay of the Pittsburgh classical music community. March 29, of cancer.


April

Colin Graham, 75, a stage director and librettist who staged 55 world premieres, became the preferred director of Benjamin Britten, and led Opera Theatre of St. Louis to international prominence during 22 years as artistic director. April 6, of respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Edgar B. Young, 98, administrator oversaw the building of Lincoln Center in the 1960s. April 6; no cause of death reported.

Natalia Clare, 87, once a soloist under Bronislava Nijinska with the Ballets Russes, later a teacher and founder of a ballet school in Los Angeles. April 8, of complications from a series of strokes.

Walter Hendl, 90, a conductor who served as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1949-1958) and director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester (1964-1972). April 10, of heart and lung disease.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96, actress and singer who appeared in the U.S. premiere of Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera as well as in the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera, but who had her greatest impact as a tireless champion of the arts and of New York in her two decades as chairperson of the New York State Council on the Arts. April 17, of pneumonia.

Carlo Maria Badini, 81, administrator who served as superintendent of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and of La Scala (1977-1990), provoking controversy when he introduced commercial sponsorship to the house. April 19, after a long illness.

Michael Smuin, 68, dancer and choreographer who co-directed the San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1985 and founded his own company, Smuin Ballet, in 1994; won a 1988 Tony Award for choreographing the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Anything Goes and was nominated for a Tony in 1981 for Sophisticated Ladies. April 23, of an apparent heart attack during a rehearsal.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, not only one of the most accomplished cellists of the 20th century, but also a conductor, composer, pianist, and, by dint of his worldwide standing, an important political figure in the long journey towards the dissolution of the Soviet Union. April 27, of intestinal cancer.


May

Leo Panasevich, 85, a founding member of the Cambridge String Quartet and for 46 years a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. May 5; of long-term complications from a stroke.

David Farquhar, 79, a respected New Zealand composer and for 40 years a professor of composition at Victoria University in the country's capital, Wellington. May 8; no cause of death reported.

Kyle Mills, 31, and Jenny Sengpiel, 25, principal horn and principal oboe, respectively, of the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra in Montana, and a couple who had planned to marry at the end of the summer. May 12; in an airplane crash.

Aaron McMillan, 30, an Australian pianist who struggled against brain cancer for six years, giving two full recitals at the Sydney Opera House in the years after major neurosurgery and producing a nine-CD collection of his recordings from his hospice bed. May 14; of brain cancer.

Dietmar Pflegerl, 63, Austrian theater and opera director. May 17, of cancer.

Donald Johanos, 79, for eight years (1962-70) music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and for 15 years (1979-94) music director of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. May 29; of heart and kidney disease.


June

Christopher Rowland, 60, first violinist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and later director of chamber music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. June 6, of cancer.

Robert Tracy, 52, dance journalist and author who wrote notable books of interviews with the dancers of George Balanchine's and Martha Graham's companies. June 7, of complications from HIV infection.

Bill Winspear, 73, the philanthropist who made the lead donation for Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House now under construction in Dallas. June 10, of cancer.

Mac Morgan, 89, American bass-baritone who appeared on stage, radio and television from the 1940s to the 1970s and went on to chair the voice department at Boston University. June 12, of complications from an appendectomy.

Paul Strauss, 87, American-born conductor who served as the music director of Belgium's Orchestre philharmonique de Liêëge from 1967 to 1977. June 19; no cause of death reported.

Nina Vyroubova, 86, Russian-born and -trained ballerina who achieved the rank of _toile with the Paris Opera Ballet and was a star with choreographer Roland Petit's first company. June 25; no cause of death reported.

Thea King, 81, doyenne of British clarinetists and an accomplished pianist as well; the soloist on the very first recording released by Hyperion Records. June 26; no cause of death reported.


July

Beverly Sills, 78, one of the world's top coloratura sopranos of the 1960s and '70s, and later (at New York City Opera, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera) one of New York's top arts administrators, fundraisers and spokespeople; also a beloved and influential television personality and arts advocate. July 2, of lung cancer, despite the fact that she never smoked.

R_gine Crespin, 80, dramatic soprano and one of the most celebrated opera singers France produced in the 20th century. July 6, of liver cancer.

Natalia Karp, 96, pianist whose playing helped her to survive the Nazi death camps and who went on to a successful career in London and Europe. July 9; no cause of death reported.

Vartan Manoogian, 71, onetime concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and author of the four-volume primer Foundations of Violin Technique. July 12; no cause of death reported.

Jerry Hadley, 55, one of America's and the world's leading lyric tenors of the 1980s and '90s. July 18, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Teresa Stich-Randall, 79, lyric coloratura who specialized in Mozart and the late Baroque in the 1950s and '60s, and the first American to be honored with the title of Kammers‹nger(in) by the Vienna State Opera. July 17; no cause of death reported.

Nicola Zaccaria, 85, Greek-born bass-baritone who was a mainstay at the Teatro alla Scala in the 1950s and '60s (often opposite Maria Callas) and had an extended relationship with The Dallas Opera. July 24, of Alzheimer's disease.

Louis Moyse, 94, prominent flutist, pedagogue and co-founder of the Marlboro Music School & Festival. July 30, of heart failure.


August

Russell Johnson, 83, one of the world's leading acoustical consultants, sound designer for numerous admired concert hall and the man responsible for two of the late 20th century's major developments in concert hall design: adjustable elements such as stage canopies and resonating chambers, and a return to the traditional "shoebox" shape of such auditoriums as Boston's Symphony Hall and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. August 7, evidently in his sleep after a typical workday.

Clifford Benson, 60, pianist who was highly valued in the British music world as a chamber music partner and teacher. August 10, of an inoperable brain tumor.

Tikhon Khrennikov, 94, appointed head of the Soviet Composers' Union in 1948 by Joseph Stalin and held the post until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991; most (in)famous in the West for his official denunciations of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Schnittke and others. August 14; no cause of death reported.

Alan Blyth, 78, British music critic who contributed freq uently to Gramophone and Opera magazines and the Financial Times and was a staff critic for The Daily Telegraph from 1976 to 1991. August 14, of cancer.

Richard Bradshaw, 63, British conductor who, as artistic and then general director of Canadian Opera Company, presided over a tremendous rise in the standards and fortunes of the company — and who oversaw the building and successful opening of Canada's first purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto. August 15, of a heart attack at Toronto's Pearson Airport while returning from a vacation.

Max Roach, 83, eminent jazz drummer who was one of the creators of be-bop and revolutionized jazz percussion technique. August 16; no cause of death reported.

Tanja Liedtke, 29, award-winning German-Spanish-British-Australian choreographer who had been named the next artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company but died six weeks before officially taking up her new position. August 17, struck by a garbage truck.

Rose Bampton, 99, American opera star who sang both mezzo-soprano and soprano roles at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s and '40s. August 21, after several years of ill health.


September

Luciano Pavarotti, 71, the "King of the High Cs," a tenor who captured the popular imagination of the Western world with his powerful voice and charisma, becoming arguably the most famous opera star since Caruso. September 5, of pancreatic cancer.

Joe Zawinul, 75, jazz pianist and founder of the jazz-rock fusion group Weather Report. September 11, of skin cancer.

Robert Savoie, 80, Canadian baritone who helped found the Op_ra de Montr_al. September 14, of a heart attack.

Albert Fuller, 81, harpsichordist and teacher who was one of the pioneers of the period-instrument movement in the United States. September 23, of congestive heart failure.

Gary Rideout, 55, Canadian tenor who began his international career on Broadway in The Phanton of the Opera before moving into the operatic repertoire and who sang Siegfried in Australia's first Ring cycle in 2004. September 29, of pneumonia.

Nathalie Gleboff, 88, onetime director of the School of American Ballet, for which she was hired by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. September 30, of pneumonia.


October

Margaret Carson, 96, regarded as the doyenne of classical music publicists in New York, onetime head of the Metropolitan Opera's press office and subsequently the press representative for Leonard Bernstein, Benny Goodman, Michael Tilson Thomas and others. October 23; no cause of death reported.

Ursula Vaughan Williams, 96, widow and biographer of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and an accomplished poet, novelist and librettist in her own right. October 23, after a long illness.

Petr Eben, 78, Czech composer and organist whose Catholic faith (cemented by his survival of the Holocaust) inspired and permeated his music. October 24, of an unspecified illness.

Arnold Broido, 87, music editor and publisher who served as chairman of the Theodore Presser Company. October 25; no cause of death reported.


November

Igor Moiseyev, 101, choreographer who founded Russia's and the Soviet Union's first, and most famous, professional folk dance company. November 2, of heart failure.

Herbert Barrett, 97, artist manager who guided the careers of (among many others) Sherrill Milnes, Joseph Szigeti, Wilhelm Backhaus, Eileen Farrell, Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, Martha Argerich and Tatiana Troyanos. November 5, of heart failure.

Craig Smith, 60, founder and director of Boston's Emmanuel Music, which performed the first complete cycle of Bach cantatas in the U.S., and conductor of the (in)famous Peter Sellars stagings of Giulio Cesare, Cosê‘ fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro and the Bach cantatas Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut and Ich habe genug (which starred Lorraine Hunt Lieberson). November 14, of heart failure.

David Oppenheim, 85, onetime director of the Columbia Masterworks record label and later dean of New York University's School of the Arts, which he transformed into the Tisch School of the Arts. November 14; no cause of death reported.

Andrew Foldi, 81, Hungarian-American bass renowned as an operatic character actor and who sang more than 20 roles at Lyric Opera of Chicago over four decades. November 21, of complications following a stroke.

Maurice B_jart, 80, modern dance choreographer who attracted huge (and young) audiences with a style that openly celebrated eroticism to an extent previously unseen on top international stages. November 22, of heart and kidney disease.

Frank Guarrera, 83, Metropolitan Opera baritone who, over 28 years, sang 35 roles, including more performances as Escamillo in Carmen (85) and Guglielmo in Cosê‘ fan tutte (29) than any other singer in the company's history. November 23, of complications from diabetes.

Gudrun Wagner, 63, former secretary and then wife and top lieutenant of Wolfgang Wagner, director of the Bayreuth Festival and grandson of composer Richard Wagner. November 28; no cause of death reported.


December

Danny Newman, 88, longtime press agent for Lyric Opera of Chicago and near-legendary arts management guru cited as the individual responsible for the present-day subscription sales system at U.S. performing arts institutions. December 1, of pulmonary fibrosis.

Jennifer Alexander, 35, beloved member of American Ballet Theatre's corps de ballet. December 2, in a ten-car automobile accident on an icy highway while returning with her husband from a Pennsylvania performance of The Nutcracker in which he had danced the title role.

Zara Dolukhanova, 89, Armenian mezzo-soprano who was considered one of the great singers of the Soviet Union, with a specialty, unusual for that time and place, in bel canto. December 4; no cause of death reported.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, 79, groundbreaking composer who pioneered early experiments in electronic music, wrote for such famously unconventional (and expensive) ensembles as string quartet with four helicopters, developed an entire cosmology and wrote a 29-hour, seven-opera cycle (Licht) based upon it. December 5; no cause of death reported.

Andrew Imbrie, 86, American composer and widely admired teacher of composition at the University of California at Berkeley and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. December 5, after a long illness.

H. Wiley Hitchcock, 84, eminent scholar of Baroque music and American music and co-editor of the New Grove Dictionary of American Music. December 5, of prostate cancer.

Carlo Felice Cillario, 92, Italian-Argentine opera conductor who was on the podium for the legendary 1964 Franco Zeffirelli/Maria Callas Tosca and who devoted much of his career to the Australian Opera (now Opera Australia). December 17; no cause of death reported.

Allen Young, 89, onetime critic for The Denver Post, Variety and Opera News. December 17; no cause of death reported.

Oscar Peterson, 82, jazz pianist and composer renowned the world over for his virtuosity at the keyboard. December 23, of kidney failure.

Jerome Ashby, 51, Associate Principal Horn of the New York Philharmonic and one of the few African-American musicians in the orchestra. December 26, of prostate cancer.

Marie-Jeanne, 87, a member of the first class at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet and a ballerina closely associated with his early years as a choreographer in the U.S. December 28, of congestive heart failure.

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