Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during August 2022. May they rest in peace.
German composer and pianist Franz Hummel left us on 20 August in Regensburg, aged eighty-three. Born in Altmannstein on 2 January 1939, he developed an early interest in music by Hans Knappertsbusch, Eugen Papst and Richard Strauss, and he studied piano (with Elly Ney) and composition in Salzburg and at the Musikhochschule München. Until the 1970s he made a living as a concert pianist, performing across Europe and making a series of recordings of classical, Romantic and contemporary piano repertoire. From then on he mostly concentrated on composition, producing a series of ballets, chamber works, concertos, operas and symphonies, many of which have been performed several times in high-profile European halls and opera houses.
Finnish baritone Matti Lehtinen died in Helsinki on 16 August, aged one hundred. Born in Lappeenranta in South Karelia on 24 April 1922, he served in the military during the Second Soviet-Finnish War and was wounded twice in combat. When the war ended, he was able to study at the Sibelius Academy and then at Royal Swedish Opera. His debut in 1948 as Papageno in The Magic Flute in Helsinki led to work with Finnish Opera. He won the Geneva International Music Competition in 1950, coming to international attention, and then worked at Oper Köln (1952-5) before going freelance. He sang with Montserrat Caballé at Theater Basel in the first performance of Pászthory's Tilman Riemenschneider, and he sang the title role in the twentieth century's first complete performance of Kullervo by Sibelius. Later he returned to Finnish National Opera as an ensemble member, taking a number of important roles, both in Helsinki and at the Savonlinna Opera Festival. He was professor of singing at the Sibelius Academy (1963-1987), influencing students such as Heikki Raivio, Esa Ruuttunen and Matti Salminen.
American cellist Abdul Wadud passed away in Cleveland, Ohio on 10 August, aged seventy-five. Born in the same city on 30 April 1947, he played in the classical, jazz and avant-garde jazz genres.
American composer and pianist Michael Lang died on 5 August, aged eighty. Born in Los Angeles on 10 December 1941, he studied at the University of Michigan and with Leonard Stein, George Tremblay, Pearl Kaufman and Lalo Schifrin. He became a very versatile musician, working in jazz, pop and R&B styles, as well as classical, and working with, for example, Herb Alpert, John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Jerry Goldsmith, Josh Groban, John Lennon, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Barbara Streisand, John Williams and Frank Zappa. He also wrote music for a series of well-known films.
Posted 30 August 2022 by Keith Bramich