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February 2022 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 February 2022. May they rest in peace.

Austrian-born British composer and conductor Joseph Horovitz died on 9 February, aged ninety-five.

Mexican violinist and composer Rubén Fuentes died on 5 February, aged ninety-five. Born in Ciudad Guzmán on 15 February 1926, he is best known for his contributions to traditional Mexican Mariachi music. He was also musical director of RCA Records in Mexico during the 1950s and 1960s.

Indian classical composer, musicologist, singer and teacher Damodar Hota passed away on 5 February, aged eighty-six or eighty-seven. Born in Puri in December 1935, he was an expert in Odissi and Hindustani classical music, and undertook ground-breaking research in the 1960s into Indian classical music's historical roots.

Italian bel canto tenor and novelist Gianluca Floris died on 4 February, aged fifty-seven. Born in Cagliari on 12 June 1964, he was 'discovered' as a youth by Luciano Pavarotti. His many recorded roles include Bardolfo in the 2006 Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino video recording of Verdi's Falstaff. Since 2020 he had been president of Assolirica, the Italian national association of opera artists, and was known for his competence, optimism, determination and positive nature.

Gianluca Floris (1964-2022)
Gianluca Floris (1964-2022)

French/Uruguayan composer, conductor, harpsichordist, organist and pianist, Renée Pietrafesa Bonnet passed away in Montevideo, Uruguay on 3 February, aged eighty-three. Born in the same city on 17 December 1938, she studied initially with her pianist mother. Later she attended courses given by Jörg Demus and Héctor Tosar to develop her composing and performing skills. She organised the first Montevideo Open Air Chamber Music Festival and founded the Chorale de l'Alliance Française and the Montevideo Ars musicæ Chamber Orchestra which toured Latin America. Associated especially with electroacoustic and avant-garde music plus works by Latin-American composers, she collaborated with and was honoured by the French government, performing with Pierre Schaeffer at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris, and composing, teaching, performing and broadcasting in France.

American cellist Leslie Parnas died in Florida on 1 February, aged ninety. Born in St Louis, Missouri on 11 November 1931 into a musical family, he studied the piano from the age of five and switched to the cello when he was eight, making his solo debut with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra at fourteen and beginning lessons with Gregor Piatigorsky at the Curtis Institute when he was sixteen. He began his career as principal cellist of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra. After a series of competition wins, he began to get work as a soloist and recitalist, including in Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Puerto Rico and Spain. He was especially fond of playing in Russia, making several concert tours, serving twice as a juror for the International Tchaikovsky Competition and learning the language. At home he was a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, artistic director of the chamber music school and festival at Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, Maine, and taught at Boston University School of Music.

Posted 5 February 2022 by Keith Bramich




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