March 12, 2002 |
Wilhelm Frederick "Billy" Krechmer, 92, a clarinetist whose name once was synonymous with jazz in Philadelphia, died yesterday of heart failure at Sunrise Assisted Living in Paoli. Born in Millville, Cumberland County, Mr. Krechmer had long resided in Longport, N.J. He also had lived in West Philadelphia. Mr. Krechmer recorded with Herb Gordon's band and toured with the Ted Lewis Orchestra during the big-band era, but in Philadelphia he was known for the jazz club he owned, operated, and served as band leader for nearly 30 years.
December 6, 2001 |
Anthony Gigliotti, Philadelphia Orchestra clarinetist for an unprecedented 47 years who crossed paths with the greatest musicians of two generations, died Monday at Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center in Camden. He was 79. Gigliotti's death was attributed to myelodysplasia, a bone marrow disorder associated with anemia. Gigliotti joined the orchestra in 1949 and held the first-chair position from 1950 to 1996, considered an unparalleled span for a principal player. A master of his instrument, he soloed in the major concerto and chamber works in the clarinet repertoire.
May 7, 1999 |
For years, clarinetist Don Byron was known, formally or informally, as "The Black Guy Who Plays Klezmer Music. " Byron was a founding member of the Klezmer Conservatory Orchestra (later Klezmer Conservatory Band) in the early '80s, and in 1993 he released an album of music by the late klezmer composer and bandleader Mickey Katz. But Byron will let you know that that's not all he's about. "I am a black guy, and I do play klezmer music," he said. "But I think it became an excuse to not cover my own music, which, if I was an exclusively repertory musician, that would have bothered me. That was the most damaging thing about it. " Byron has formed several groups since then, including the hip-hop/avant-garde/poetry aggregation called Existential Dred, and recorded an album, Bug Music, that intelligently but irreverently addressed the music of Duke Ellington and two '40s cartoon-music composers.
October 28, 1997 |
Kimberly Fisher, the Philadelphia Orchestra violinist promoted four weeks ago to the position of associate principal second violinist, has relinquished the new spot in a dispute with orchestra management over money. "We weren't able to come to an agreement on the salary relative to the amount of time that was involved," said the violinist. "I have a lot of other commitments that I had to balance with [the new post], and it just didn't work out. " Fisher will rejoin the first violin section.
February 25, 1997 |
When Burt Hara took his seat at the head of the Philadelphia Orchestra's clarinet section, he said he realized he would have to stop being so starstruck and show some leadership. He was, at 32, sitting a chair away from his former teacher at the Curtis Institute, Donald Montanaro, and in the chair occupied for 47 years by Anthony Gigliotti. He was beside bassoonist Bernard Garfield and just behind oboist Richard Woodhams, all mentoring figures in his student days. Orchestra audiences have heard Hara in important solos in this strike-shortened season, and tomorrow he will play his first recital since returning to Philadelphia as part of the series at the Art Alliance.
July 7, 1996 |
Harry Truman was president, the Berlin Airlift had just ended, and the Korean War was still in the future when Anthony Gigliotti settled into the solo clarinetist's chair with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the 47 years since then, Gigliotti has provided sonic continuity and musical integrity - and loomed as a leading contributor to the orchestra's distinctive sound. A couple of generations of Philadelphia audiences have accepted his playing as the standard, but will have to learn something new, for he is leaving the orchestra after the summer concerts at the Mann Music Center and in Saratoga, N.Y. He made his last local appearance as soloist with the orchestra and conductor Charles Dutoit on Wednesday, when he played Debussy's First Rhapsody at the Mann.
February 1, 1995 |
Julius DiGialleonardo, 77, a clarinetist for area dance bands and the proprietor of Father & Son Shoe Repair in Camden for more than 20 years, died Sunday at St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia after a long battle with cancer. Mr. DiGialleonardo was an Audubon Park resident. He was born in Camden. His family moved back to Italy, settling in Rome, when he was age 7. After returning to Italy, his training as a classical clarinetist began. Mr. DiGialleonardo attended a music academy in Rome, graduating in 1936.
July 12, 1994 |
A U.S. District Court judge has affirmed the decision of a federal arbitrator, allowing a clarinetist with the Pennsylvania Ballet orchestra to keep his job. Judge Thomas N. O'Neill Jr. concurred with the findings of arbitrator Richard R. Kasher, who last year determined that the ballet had not followed proper procedure in firing Stuart Best. Kasher ordered in June 1993 that Best be reinstated in the orchestra, and directed the ballet to compensate him for wages and benefits lost as a result of the dismissal.
May 29, 1994 |
John Van Fossen, 91, a local musician who once played clarinet with John Philip Sousa, died Thursday at his home in Olney. Mr. Van Fossen worked with Sousa - known as the march king - from 1925 to 1931. The first time he played with the band, he recalled in a 1989 interview, he got stage fright. "When we went into 'Stars and Stripes' for the finale, all of a sudden I couldn't play," he said "I was entranced by everything. I found out later that the same thing happened to most musicians in their first appearance.