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March 2021 Obituaries

Our summary of those the
classical music world has lost this month


Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during March 2021. May they rest in peace.

American composer, conductor, double bass player and teacher Paul William Whear died in March, aged ninety-five. Born in Auburn, Indiana on 13 November 1925, he studied at Marquette University and at the DePauw University School of Music. His compositions attracted prizes and awards, he conducted internationally and held a series of academic apppointments.

Czech soprano Jadwiga Wysoczanská-Štrosová passed away in Prague on 31 March, aged ninety-three. Born in the same city on 24 May 1927, she sang solo roles at the National Theatre in Prague from 1960, including the title roles in Rusalka (Dvořák), Libuše (Smetana) and Aida (Verdi).

English soprano Jane Manning died on 31 March, aged eighty-two.

Japanese pianist Keiko Toyama passed away on 29 March, aged eighty-seven, from a brain tumour. Born in Tokyo on 25 March 1934, she was discovered by Alfred Cortot whilst visiting Japan. She subsequently studied at the École Normale de Musique de Paris, from the age of twenty, and became known as a specialist in modern French music and also Mozart.

Dutch violinist and violin teacher Coosje Wijzenbeek died on 26 March, aged seventy-two. Born in Hilversum on 18 April 1948, she was the figurehead of the Fancy Fiddlers string ensemble - a group which gave her students important performimg experience. Many of her violin students, who included Rosa Arnold, Janine Jansen, Joël Waterman and Anna Schultsz, went on to have successful careers.

Czech pianist, composer and teacher Jaroslav Šaroun passed away on 25 March, aged seventy-seven. He played piano with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

French/American violinist Corinne Chapelle died on 23 March, aged only forty-four, suffering a stroke after several months fighting a rare and aggressive cancer. Born in California to a Tunisian mother and French father, she began learning the violin aged two, and gave a concert at the age of three. She studied in the UK with Yehudi Menuhin (who thought she was one of her generation's most promising talents) and then at Juilliard, learning with Pinchas Zukerman in New York. She won prizes in a series of prestigious international competitions, and performed with various well-known musicians and orchestras.

Indonesian composer Trisutji Djuliati Kamal passed away on 21 March, aged eighty-four. Born in Jakarta on 28 November 1936, she studied composition and piano at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Henk Badings and then in Paris at the Ecole Normale de Musique and in Rome at the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia. Her music often includes parts for traditional Indonesian instruments alongside Western ones, and are influenced by Islam and gamelan music. She founded the Trisutji Kamal Ensemble in 1994.

American experimental multi-media artist and producer Constance Demby, who worked with paint and clay, as well as creating ambient and space music, died on 20 March, aged eighty-one. Born in Oakland, California on 9 May 1939, she played piano, synthesisers and hammered dulcimers, is known for the album Novus Magnificat and was a pioneer in new age music.

Australian soprano Taryn Fiebig died in Sydney on 20 March, aged forty-nine, from ovarian cancer. Born in Perth on 1 February 1972, she studied at the University of Western Australia, beginning as a cellist before joining Opera Australia as a principal soprano in 2005, where she sang a wide range of roles.

British-born Australian tenor Robert Gard passed away on 20 March, aged ninety-four. Born in Padstow on 7 March 1927, his studies in London were interrupted by World War II, but after the war he gained a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He began singing in Australia in the 1960s, initially in musicals, but moving on to sing with Opera Australia and other companies. He is also known for taking the role of Aschenbach in the first Australian performance and Tony Parker's film of Britten's Death in Venice.

Russian bass Yevgeny Nesterenko died in Vienna on 20 March, aged eighty-three. Born in Moscow to musical parents on 8 January 1938, his international career was based around the Bolshoi Theatre. He became known for playing the title role of Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, but had a repertoire of fifty leading roles.

Spanish-born Italian harpsichordist, musicologist and teacher Emilia Fadini passed away in Gorlago on 16 March, aged ninety. Born in Barcelona on 11 October 1930, she became one of Italy's leading performers and academics in the historically informed early music field.

Russian violinist, teacher and writer Mark Lubotsky died on 13 March, aged eighty-nine. Born on 18 May 1931, he studied with David Oistrakh, and is known for giving first performances of works by Alfred Schnittke and Benjamin Britten.

American composer Stephen Scott died on 10 March, aged seventy-six. Born on 10 October 1944, he studied at the University of Oregon. He is best known for developing an extended bowed piano playing technique, based on that of C Curtis-Smith, which involved ten musicians playing a grand piano using various utensils.

American conductor and pianist James Levine died in Palm Springs, California on 9 March, aged seventy-seven. Born on 23 June 1943 in Cincinnati, he was best known for his role as music director of New York Metropolitan Orchestra from 1976 until 2016. All his connections with the Met were stopped in 2018 following allegations of his sexual misconduct.

Estonian soprano Maarja Haamer passed away on 9 March, aged eighty-two. She was born in Tartu on 17 September 1938.

Hungarian soprano Éva Tordai died on 8 March, aged eighty-three, in Budapest, where she had been born on 25 October 1937.

Russian pianist Dmitri Bashkirov passed away in Madrid on 7 March, aged eighty-nine. Born in Tbilisi on 1 November 1931, his piano teachers included Anastasia Virsaladze at the Tbilisi Conservatory and Alexander Goldenweiser at th Moscow Conservatory. His career as a soloist, after winning first prize in the 1955 Marguerite Long Piano Competition in Paris, was interrupted between 1980 and 1988 due to a ban on concerts outside of Russia. He recorded for the Swiss label Claves, sat on the jury panels of various piano competitions, and taught at the Moscow Conservatory (1957-1991) and at the Reina Sofia School of Music in Madrid (from 1991).

French lyric coloratura soprano Renée Doria died on 6 March, aged one hundred. Born Renée Dumazert in Perpignan on 13 February 1921, she studied with Umberto Valdarmini and gave her first concert appearance aged eighteen. During a career lasting over thirty years, she sang approximately sixty roles, appearing in operas by composers including Bizet, Delibes, Gounod, Massenet, Mozart, Offenbach, Poulenc, Rameau, Ravel, Rossini, Thomas and Verdi.

Renée Doria (1921-2021)
Renée Doria (1921-2021)

French ballet dancer and director Patrick Dupond passed away on 5 March, aged sixty-one. Born on 14 March 1959, he won the gold medal at the 1976 Varna International Ballet Competition and had a successful career in France and internationally. At Paris Opera Ballet he was premier danseur (from 1978), danseur étoile (from 1980) and dance director (1990-95). He worked with Alvin Alley, Béjart, Grigorovich, Neumeier, Alwin Nikolais, Nureyev, Petit and Twyla Tharp.

German oboist, conductor and teacher Helmut Winschermann was found dead at his home in Bonn on 4 March, aged one hundred. Born at Mülheim an der Ruhr on 22 March 1920, he studied oboe with Johann Baptist Schlee at the Folkwangschule and later studied in Paris. He was co-founder of the chamber ensemble Collegium Pro Arte (later Collegium Instrumentale Detmold). In 1960 he founded the instrumental ensemble Deutsche Bachsolisten.

Armenian cellist Medea Abrahamyan died on 3 March, aged eighty-eight in Yerevan, where she had been born on 8 March 1932. She studied at Yerevan's Tchaikovsky Music School, at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. She was one of Mistislav Rostropovich's cello students. She won various prizes for her playing, and performed internationally, with a repertoire including classical and contemporary works, and featuring Armenian music for the cello, often written especially for her. She also taught, lectured, gave masterclasses and served on competition juries.

British cellist Anna Shuttleworth passed away on 2 March, aged ninety-three. Born in Bournemouth on 2 May 1927, she became a cello scholar at the Royal College of Music in London, where her teachers were Ivor James and Harvey Phillips. Later she also studied with Enrico Mainardi, Franz Walter, Pablo Casals and, briefly, Rostropovich. She was a founding member of the Vivien Hind String Quartet, and joined the Newbury String Players, where she became friends with the Gerald Finzi's family and with Ralph Vaughan Williams. In the 1960s and 1970s her career took off - she played on BBC broadcasts, and wrote Learning the Cello with Hugh Cole, published by Novello. At the Royal College of Music, she became one of the most asked-for cello professors.

Posted 14 March 2021 and last updated 3 April 2021 by Keith Bramich




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