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April 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 April 2021. May they rest in peace.

English composer Anthony Payne died on 30 April, aged eighty-four.

Hungarian composer and teacher József Soproni died in Sopron on the Austrian border on 24 April, aged ninety. Born in the same city on 4 October 1930, he began piano lessons at six and started to compose, secretly, at the age of twelve. He studied composition with János Viski at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. His teaching career began at the Béla Bartók Music Secondary School, where from 1957 until 1972 he taught music theory then composition. From 1962 he also began teaching at the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy, and by 1974 he was a university professor there, teaching counterpoint, transposition score reading and composition. He eventually became rector of the Liszt Academy. There exist some recordings of his music, mainly on the Hungaroton label. He also received various awards, including the Ferenc Erkel Prize (1974), the Bartók-Pásztory Award (1987 and 2002), the Kossuth Prize (1999) and Artist of the Nation (2020).

Jozsef Soproni (1930-2021)
Jozsef Soproni (1930-2021)

German mezzo Christa Ludwig died on 24 April, aged ninety-three.

Swiss cellist Rocco Filippini passed away on 13 April, aged seventy-seven, from COVID-19, in Lugano. Born in the same town on 7 September 1943, his father was an artist, writer and broadcaster, and his mother was a pianist, and he began his musical training very young. Pierre Fournier and Franz Walter from the Geneva Conservatory were his teachers, and he received the rarely awarded Premier Prix de Virtuosité from Geneva Conservatory, and won the Geneva International Music Competition at the age of twenty-three. His performing career included a wide-ranging repertoire played internationally. Various works were dedicated to and written for him, including those by composers in neighbouring Italy - Franco Donatoni, Giovanni Sollima and Salvatore Sciarrino. Rocco Filippini became a cello professor at the Conservatorio di Musica 'Giuseppe Verdi' in Milan, and later was invited by Luciano Berio to be a professor at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He edited cello works by J S Bach, Popper and Servais for Italian music publisher Ricordi. He played the 1710 Baron Rothschild Gore-Booth Stradivari cello.

Rocco Filippini (1943-2021)
Rocco Filippini (1943-2021)

Hungarian music teacher and conductor Ilona Bartalus died on 10 April, aged eighty. She was born at Köröstarcsa on 11 September 1940. She was well-travelled, teaching in Australia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Japan, the USA and Yugoslavia. Working in Canada, in the 1980s she was a lecturer at Wilfrid Laurier University and, until 1993 she was head of the Department of Solfeggio Music Theory at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. In 1994 she returned to Hungary to work at Duna Televízió (Danube TV), one of the country's public TV channels, as music director and editor-in-chief. She also made film series on music themes, and worked as art director at the Köös College postgraduate Kodály Course and taught music theory at the Magyar Táncművészeti Egyetem (the Hungarian University of Dance).

Ilona Bartalus (1940-2021)
Ilona Bartalus (1940-2021)

The death of Irish soprano and singing teacher Veronica Dunne (or Ronnie Dunne) was announced on 5 April, aged ninety-three. Born into a rich family in Dublin on 2 August 1927, she began singing at eleven. She learnt with Hubert Rooney in Dublin and then with Soldini Calcagni and Francesco Calcatelli in Rome. She sang a series of roles in Dublin, and also in Milan, London, Wexford, Wales and Scotland. She gave first performances of various new Irish works. Later she taught at Dublin College of Music, Leinster School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. At eighty-seven she was still teaching a thirty-nine hour week. An international singing competition which bears her name was created in 1995. It awards bursuries triennially.

English composer Simon Bainbridge died during the evening of 2 April, aged sixty-nine.

Posted 21 April 2021 by Keith Bramich




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