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Here are brief details of some of the people lost to the classical music world during December 2022. May they rest in peace.
Italian pianist, musicologist and teacher Pietro Spada died on 31 December 2022, aged eighty-seven. Born in Rome on 29 July 1935 into a family with musical connections, he studied piano with Tito Aprea at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. His teachers also included Carlo Zecchi and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. He toured internationally, appearing with many high profile conductors and orchestras, and recorded extensively. He spent time in the USA, teaching at Florida States University, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Indiana University in Bloomington. Back in Italy, he taught at Turin Conservatory, Rome Conservatory and Naples Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella, before leaving teaching. As a researcher, he produced a new edition of symphonies by Clementi, and published and recorded previously unedited keyboard works by composers including Paisiello, Donizetti and Field. Together with Massimo Boccaccini, he founded the Boccaccini and Spada edition which issued a large volume of previously unpublished music.
Russian composer Eduard Artemyev died from complications from pneumonia in Moscow on 29 December, aged eighty-five. Born in Novosibirsk on 30 November 1937, he studied at Moscow Conservatory with Yuri Shaporin, began to develop an interest in electronic music and synthesisers in 1960, and created his first composition in 1967 on Yevgeny Murzin's ANS Synthesiser, becoming one of the first composers of electronic music. He became well known for his collaborations with film director Andrei Tarkovsky in the 1970s. Later he worked with film makers Andrei Konchalovsky and Nikita Mikhalkov, and his compositions were used in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Hungarian-born violinist Bela Dekany died from heart failure on 27 December, aged ninety-four. Born Bela Berger into a Jewish family in Budapest on 22 April 1928, he learnt violin initially from a cousin, then studied at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy, changing to his cousin's surname Dekany to avoid scrutiny as antisemitism was growing in Hungary. He survived various ghettos and camps including Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt. After the war he resumed his violin studies, then worked in Switzerland, then Australia and the UK, where he joined the Philharmonia Orchestra and then led the BBC Symphony Orchestra for twenty-two years.
French pianist Alain Bernheim died in Montreux, Switzerland on 27 December, aged ninety-one. Born in Paris on 23 May 1931, he survived arrest and detention in the Drancy concentration camp at the age of twelve. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and then became the first French student to win a Fulbright scholarship, leading to further study at the New England Conservatory of Music in the USA. In 1953, he and Vladimir Ashkenazy shared second prize at the international piano contest in Bucharest. He gave an estimated two thousand concerts until 1980, when, for health reasons, he gave up his musical career and switched to Masonic research, publishing several books on the subject.
American viola player, author and teacher David Johnson Dalton died on 23 December, aged eighty-eight. Born in Springville, Utah on 18 January 1934 into a well-connected family, he studied at the Eastman School of Music and then with William Primrose at Indiana University. He played in chamber and orchestral groups throughout his career. He taught at Brigham Young University and is known for his work with William Primrose to create the Primrose International Viola Archive. At BYU he directed the music for various opera productions and was conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony (1981-1994). He was the first editor of the journal of the American Viola Society, where he later became president (1986-90), and was also president of the International Viola Society (1999-2001).
American clarinetist Stanley Drucker died in Vista, California, on 19 December, aged ninety-three. Born in Brooklyn on 4 February 1929 into a Russian/Jewish family, he began to learn the clarinet at the age of ten. He interrupted his studies at the Curtis Institute when he was offered a position with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. From there, he moved to the Busch Little Symphony, then became the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's principal clarinetist. He moved to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948, and became the orchestra's principal clarinetist in 1960, remaining in post until 2009, after sixty-one years with the orchestra and 10,200 concerts. During his time with the NYPO, he gave the first performances of two of the orchestra's commissions: clarinet concerti by John Corigliano and William Bolcom. He also appeared on two recordings of Corigliano's concerto.
Belgian composer, percussionist and teacher Wim Henderickx died at his home on 18 December, aged sixty. Born in Lier on 17 March 1962, he worked initially as a jazz and rock drummer. He studied composition and percussion at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and then studied sonology at IRCAM and at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag. He taught analysis, harmony and counterpoint at the Antwerp Royal Conservatoire (1986-95) and composition, harmony and counterpoint at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven (1989-2002). His Requiem was perofrmed in 2017 by Opera Ballet Flanders, and his opera De Bekeerlinge (The Convert) was first performed in May 2022 by the same company, becoming its most successfuly contemporary production in over two decades.
American timpanist Elaine Viola Jones died from dementia on 17 December, aged ninety-four. Born in New York City on 30 January 1928 to immigrants from Barbados, she began to learn piano at the age of six from her mother, who had been promised a career as a concert pianist but had had to work as a cleaner because of the colour of her skin. Duke Ellington sponsored her and she was awarded a scholarship to Juilliard, where she became a student of New York Philharmonic Orchestra timpanist Saul Goodman and Morris Goldenberg. She struggled against gender and race discrimination at the start of her career, but in 1949 became the first black person to play in an opera orchestra. Later she joined San Francisco Opera orchestra and worked as a freelance timpanist for New York Metropolitan shows. She played with the New York Philharmonic in 1958, and in 1960 joined Stokowski's new American Symphony Orchestra. In 1965 she was one of the founders of the Symphony of the New World - the USA's first racially integrated orchestra. From 1972 she played in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, winning a blind audition, becoming the only African American in such a position, and many of the San Francisco critics gave her very positive reviews. She also held teaching positions in New York City.
Estonian composer Urmas Sisask died on 17 December, aged sixty-two. Born in Rapla on 9 September 1960, he was inspired by astronomy and planet trajectories to create the 'planetal scale', a mode which he discovered later was the same as the Japanese pentatonic scale (or Kumajoshi mode). He was a Roman Catholic, and much of his output was sacred music.
Azerbaijani composer, teacher and writer Oqtay Radjabov died on 15 December, aged eighty-one. Born in Baku on 5 April 1941, he studied physics but then became involved with Azerbaijani folk music. His six collections of children's songs focus on patriotism, nature and mathematics, and his output also includes four operas, two musical comedies and symphonic music.
American cellist and teacher Maxine Neuman died from cancer on 13 December 2022, aged seventy-four.
English music critic and composer Bayan Peter Northcott died in London on 13 December, aged eighty-two. Born in north-west London at Harrow on the Hill on 24 April 1940, Northcott studied English at Oxford University and then taught the subject between 1964 and 1970. Hans Keller and Alexander Goehr encouraged his interest in composition, and Goehr and Jonathan Harvey subsequently taught him composition at the University of Southampton. He then worked as a journalist for BBC Music Magazine, The New Statesman, The Sunday Telegraph and Tempo. From 1986 until 2009 he was chief music critic of The Independent. He leaves a rather modest output as a composer, mostly for small forces, but his Horn Concerto was performed in New York and London, and his Concerto for Orchestra was played at the 2016 BBC Proms.
American composer John Aler died suddenly on 10 December, aged seventy-three.
American composer, inventor and teacher Herbert Deutsch died at his home in Massapequa Park, New York, on 9 December, aged ninety. Born in Hempstead, New York on 9 February 1932, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music. He taught electronic music and composition at Hofstra University on Long Island. He's best known, with Bob Moog, for co-inventing the Moog Synthesizer in 1964, inventing the keyboard interface, composing the first piece for the instrument and giving early concerts on the Moog Synthesizer in New York.
Brazilian composer, conductor, music critic and record producer Edino Krieger died in Rio de Janeiro on 6 December, aged ninety-four. Born to composer and bandleader Aldo Krieger and his wife at Brusque in Santa Catarina on 17 March 1928, Edino Krieger studied at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música in Rio de Janeiro. He went on to compose more than 150 pieces, including his well-known Canticum Naturale (1972) for orchestra - a suite which recreates natural Amazonian sounds.
Canadian composer, pianist, teacher, writer and administrator John Beckwith died from pneumonia on 5 December, aged ninety-five.
Swiss composer and conductor Jost Meier died in Basel on 5 December, aged eighty-three. Born at Solothurn on 15 March 1939, he studied cello at the Conservatory of Biel and then performed with various ensembles, including Camerata Bern and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Later he was conductor of the Biel Solothurn Symphony Orchestra and of Theater Basel. His compositions include several operas.
Ukrainian conductor and teacher Volodymyr Kozhukhar died on 3 December, aged eighty-one. Born in Vinnytsia on 16 March 1941, he studied at the Kyiv Conservatory and was drawn to conducting. His first job was as chief conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Ukrainian SSR (now the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine), where he made several recordings. In Moscow he was chief conductor of the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre and also taught conducting at the Gnesin Music and Pedagogy Institute from 1978 until 1988. From 1989, in Kyiv, he directed the National Opera of Ukraine, touring Europe, Canada and Japan. He conducted and recorded stage and orchestral works by Ukrainian composers, including Vitaliy Hubarenko, Lev Kolodub, Borys Lyatoshynsky, Heorhiy Maiboroda, Levko Revutsky, Andriy Shtoharenko and Myroslav Skoryk. From 1993 he taught at the Kyiv Conservatory.
American oboist and teacher Laila Storch died on Orcas Island, Washington, on 2 December, aged a hundred and one. Born on 28 February 1921, she studied with Marcel Tabuteau at the Curtis Institute, where she was the first female oboist to graduate. She played with, often as principal oboist, for a whole series of high profile American orchestras, and she taught in Puerto Rico, Beijing and at the University of Washington and at Indiana University. She also published How Do You Expect to Play the Oboe If You Can’t Peel a Mushroom?, a biography of her teacher, the oboist Marcel Tabuteau (1915-54).
Posted 31 December 2022 and last updated 3 February 2023 by Keith Bramich