Great Musicians we lost in 2014

Distinguished conductors lead the list, along with legendary singers, players, composers

By Peter Alexander

New Year’s Eve is a time for reflections, not least of those who we could celebrate at the beginning of the year, but who are no longer with us.

A surprising number this year were conductors, but there were several legendary opera singers from past generations and other performers who have left their mark. And of course each and every one will be missed by families, by friends, by colleagues, and by the thousands who made up their audiences.

Below is a partial list of great musical artists who died during the year. This is a highly personal list: it includes great classical artists, but also other musicians who have touched me in some way. This should be more than a sad chronicle; perhaps it will help us remember to celebrate those great artists who give us so much, while they are still among the living.

To the memory of each person below, I can only express undying gratitude for the dedication, the love of music, and the incredibly hard work that each put in over a lifetime to bring us the music we treasure.

Claudio Abbado, conductor, 80
Licia Albanese, soprano, 105
Carlo Bergonzi, tenor, 90
Frans Brüggen, recorder player, conductor, scholar, 79
George Christie, manager of Glyndebourne Opera, 79
Buddy DeFranco, jazz clarinetist, 91
José Fenghali, pianist, 53
Claude Frank, pianist, 89
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor, 91
Alice Herz-Sommer, pianist and Holocaust survivor, 110
Christopher Hogwood, conductor, harpsichordist, organist, scholar, 73
Joseph Kerman, musicologist, 89
Lorin Maazel, conductor, 84
Manitas de Plata, flamenco guitarist, 91
Gerard Mortier, opera director, 70
Stephen Paulus, composer, 65
Julius Rudel, conductor, 93
Peter Sculthorpe, composer, 85
Pete Seeger, folksinger, songwriter, activist, 94
John Shirley-Quirk, baritone, 82
Elaine Stritch, Broadway singer and great interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s music, 89
Laszlo Varga, cellist, 89

May you rest in peace. You will be remembered.

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