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Composer

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NEWS
July 3, 2012
Abram Wilson, 38, an acclaimed jazz trumpeter and composer from New Orleans who helped lead a new generation of jazz artists in Britain, performing as a kind of cultural attache from the jazz homeland, died June 9 in London. He died several days after suspending a concert tour and checking into a hospital with stomach pains, his wife, Jennie Cashman, said. The cause was cancer, she said. Mr. Wilson, who was raised in New Orleans and steeped in its hybrid musical traditions, was known for combining musical forms.
NEWS
July 9, 2011
Billy Blanco, a veteran Bossa Nova composer, died Friday in a Rio de Janeiro hospital from complications of a stroke he suffered in October. Mr. Blanco was at the heart of the Bossa Nova movement when it bloomed in the early 1960s. He wrote more than 300 songs and collaborated with the genre's biggest names, such as Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto, and Baden Powell. Blanco was known as the "Diamond of Bossa Nova. " He was born in the Amazon jungle city of Belem, but migrated south to Sao Paulo as a young man to study architecture.
NEWS
June 9, 2011
Andrew Gold, 59, a singer, musician, and composer whose songs included the 1977 hit "Lonely Boy," died in his sleep Friday at his home in Encino, Calif., said his sister, Melani Gold Friedman. She said he had cancer but had been responding to treatment. Mr. Gold was a multi-instrumental player whose popular singles included "Thank You for Being a Friend" and the British hit "Never Let Her Slip Away. " He was in Linda Ronstadt's band, arranged songs for and performed on several Ronstadt albums, including Heart Like a Wheel , and did session work for artists such as James Taylor and Carly Simon.
NEWS
June 27, 2011
Television and film music composer Fred Steiner, 88, creator of the bold and gritty theme for the Perry Mason TV series and one of the composers of the Oscar-nominated score for The Color Purple , died of natural causes Thursday at his home in the town of Ajijic in the Mexican state of Jalisco, according to his daughter Wendy Waldman, a singer-songwriter. One of the busiest composers working in Hollywood in the 1950s and '60s, Mr. Steiner also crafted music for Gunsmoke ; The Twilight Zone ; Star Trek ; Have Gun, Will Travel ; Rawhide ; Hogan's Heroes ; and other TV series.
NEWS
April 12, 2011
Mexican composer Daniel Catan, 62, who adapted the Italian film Il Postino to opera, died Friday while working on a new opera in Austin, Texas, a University of Texas spokeswoman said Monday. The cause of death Friday was not immediately released. Mr. Catan was best known in the United States for his operatic adaptation of Il Postino, which is sung in Spanish. The Los Angeles Opera premiered Il Postino last year with Placido Domingo playing the poet Pablo Neruda and tenor Charles Castronovo as the wide-eyed postman Mario Ruoppolo.
NEWS
November 23, 2012
Richard Robbins, 71, the composer who created memorable scores for such films as A Room With a View , Howards End , and The Remains of the Day during a quarter-century collaboration with director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, died Nov. 7 in Rhinebeck, N.Y., of Parkinson's disease, said Michael Schell, his longtime partner. Mr. Robbins created the score for nearly every Merchant-Ivory film from The Europeans in 1979 to The White Countess in 2005. He earned back-to-back Academy Award nominations in 1992 and 1993 for his original music for Merchant-Ivory productions.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2012 | By Mary SYDNOR and For the Daily News
AUGUST RODIN is generally considered the father of modern sculpture, though his works reference the classical sculpture of ancient Greece and Rome. That balance of old and new is reflected in the just-reopened Rodin Museum on the Parkway. As part of its summer concert series, the museum commissioned contemporary French composer Philippe Hurel to create three pieces, called "Spectral Impressions," that will be performed Saturday in the museum's sculpture garden by the Argento Chamber Ensemble.
NEWS
February 15, 2012
Dory Previn Shannon, 86, who helped write the score for the film Valley of the Dolls " and the theme for Last Tango in Paris , has died. According to her husband, Joby Baker, she died Tuesday of natural causes at her farm in Southfield, Mass. She earned Oscar nominations in the 1960s for writing lyrics alongside Andre Previn's music for the films Pepe and Two for the Seesaw . She and Previn were married from 1959 to 1970. She won an Emmy in 1984 for cowriting the theme song for the TV show Two of a Kind . She sang at Carnegie Hall, wrote a libretto for Mozart's opera The Impresario and recorded many albums.
NEWS
May 24, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Henri Dutilleux, 97, a composer whose modest output belied his huge impact on listeners and musicians alike, died Wednesday in Paris, European news services reported. Mr. Dutilleux, born in Angers and trained at the Paris Conservatory, maintained a compositional link with Debussy and Ravel while taking their economy and elegance to greater levels of complexity and dissonance. Conductor Charles Dutoit, a Dutilleux champion who led several notable premieres, said that his death, though expected, was a major loss.
NEWS
November 8, 2012 | By Deepti Hajela, Associated Press
NEW YORK - The composer Elliott Carter, 103, whose challenging and rhythmically complex works earned him widespread admiration and two Pulitzer Prizes, died Monday. In a 1992 interview, Mr. Carter described his works as "music that asks to be listened to in a concentrated way and listened to with a great deal of attention. It's not music that makes an overt theatrical effect, but it assumes the listener is listening to sounds and making some sense out of them. " The complex way that the different instruments interact in his compositions created drama for listeners who made the effort to understand them, but it made them difficult for orchestras to learn.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Many alleluias - at turns complex, simple, strange, sad and always intriguing - were heard from Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia in celebratory commissions, both titled "Alleluia," from two of the city's best-known composers, Jennifer Higdon and Andrea Clearfield. Titled "Eastern Voices," the program smartly contextualized them amid unlikely but revelatory bedfellows: Eastern European composers whose names you can't hope to pronounce. The common denominator devised by artistic director Paul Rardin on Saturday at the Temple University Performing Arts Center was religious works that weren't afraid to unhinge themselves from the formality of hymns, often abruptly and in ways you could never predict.
NEWS
February 14, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Completion without finality is the curious fate of the Mozart Requiem . Left unfinished at the composer's deathbed, this touchstone choral work has been the ultimate unfinished masterpiece - which hasn't stopped many from trying, over the centuries. The latest completion, by Gregory Spears, is also among the boldest. It will be performed Thursday at St. Clement's Church by Seraphic Fire, the Florida-based choral group. "It doesn't pretend to be what it can never be. We will only get Mozart's music from Mozart," says Seraphic Fire artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley.
NEWS
January 29, 2016 | By Shaun Brady, For The Inquirer
Ask any children of the 1970s or '80s how they were first exposed to jazz, and chances are that memory will have a cartoon attached. At Christmastime, it was Vince Guaraldi's drifting-snow swing behind the Peanuts gang's bittersweet holiday celebrations in A Charlie Brown Christmas . For the rest of the year, though, it was the sneakily educational, improbably hip songs of Schoolhouse Rock! The short films aired on Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1985 (returning briefly in the '90s)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Women composers aren't classical-music underdogs in this stretch of the 21st century, at least in Philadelphia. But their road to prominence took on a more personal narrative in Dolce Suono Ensemble's highly curated Women Pioneers of American Music concert on Sunday at the Curtis Institute. The flute-based chamber music repertoire showed the composers not so much out to conquer the world as processing their worlds in a more intimate medium - including newer works by Andrea Clearfield and Jennifer Higdon.
NEWS
January 10, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Donald Washington Jr., 64, of Philadelphia, a jazz musician and composer, died Wednesday, Dec. 30, of cancer at Manor Care Health Services-Lansdale. Mr. Washington, known as "Chappy," was a musician beginning at age 9. He mastered the piano, trombone, guitar, flute, violin, and drums. Later, he wrote and arranged music. "He was such a huge force in this area," said his stepmother, Marilyn Washington. "But he was so humble. He was not a braggart. " A graduate of West Philadelphia High School with a letter in music, he studied at Combs College of Music and became one of the initial students of the Clef Club of Philadelphia, a social, teaching, and performance group for jazz musicians that dates to the 1960s.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 17, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Dawn, new beginnings, and acts of creation were the theme at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Friday Kimmel Center concert, but the Paris terrorist attacks earlier that day inevitably cast a shadow. Orchestra president Allison Vulgamore made an understated preconcert dedication to the victims. Less fortunately, mid-performance outbursts - the sort usually associated with medical emergencies - came from the composer of the concert's main piece, Hannibal Lokumbe. He shouted encouragement to the orchestra from the first tier during the premiere of his One Land, One River, One People . Dramatized in the allegorical fashion of William Blake, Lokumbe's creation story promised to sit easily beside Sibelius' Finlandia and Copland's Appalachian Spring (both in beautifully prepared performances led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin)
NEWS
November 6, 2015 | Chuck Darrow, Daily News
Sometimes it's what you don't know that can lead to great success. Case in point: "A Christmas Story, The Musical," which on Tuesday has its local premiere at the Walnut Street Theatre, where it will be staged through Jan. 10. The show's score was written by Ardmore native Benj Pasek and his writing partner, Justin Paul , in 2010 when the two University of Michigan musical-theater majors were just 25. Which meant that they weren't...
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Some composers don't slip into obscurity as much as their creative quest seemed always to have been the express route to oblivion. The charismatic face and name of Julius Eastman, a confrontational, openly gay African American, kept appearing and reappearing to Bowerbird founder Dustin Hurt as he researched the 1970 avant-garde giants John Cage and Morton Feldman. Who was this person who kept such esoteric company? Now, Bowerbird is holding a pair of events dedicated to Eastman, with a concert Friday at the Rotunda and a panel Saturday at the Slought Foundation.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The double-bass world could use Xavier Foley. At 21, he's a standout player, studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. But he's also a bright spark of a composer, and, to judge from Saturday night's premiere of his "Zalistar" Trio , a musician who hears borders between styles as limitations best ignored. The work was commissioned by Astral Artists, and opened its season alongside other chamber works at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Structurally, the piece fits an accepted norm, moving from section to section before returning to original material.
NEWS
September 11, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
HELEN KEMP was internationally known as a specialist in teaching children to sing, but in later years she discovered the pleasures of teaching singing to seniors. She trained children and their teachers in the art of choral singing for more than seven decades. When she went to a retirement home in Doylestown, she organized retirees into a chorus that was highly acclaimed. Helen Hubbert Kemp, a lyric soprano who sang with some of the leading orchestras of her day, a former faculty member of the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., and a composer of more than 35 anthems, died Aug. 23. She was 97 and lived in Jamison, Bucks County.
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