Final Bows of 2022

Remembering musicians we lost in the past year

By Peter Alexander Dec. 31 at 6:38 p.m.

Here is a partial list of musicians who passed away during the past year. Of course the list is never complete, and it reflects my own personal experience and interests. Readers are always welcome to add the names of people that you will miss that I did not include.

Dec. 19, 2021: Judith Davidoff, trained first as a cellist and later master of Renaissance and Baroque stringed instruments, particularly the viola da gamba, as a member of ensembles including the Boston Camerata and New York Pro Musica, and founder of the New York Consort of Viols, a leader of the early-music movement, 94

Maria Ewing as Salome

Jan. 5: Dale Clevenger, principal horn of the Chicago Symphony for 47 years, member of the famed Chicago brass section working with a number of other renowned brass players, known for his ability to overcome the greatest challenges on his instrument, 81

Jan. 9: Maria Ewing, soprano/mezzo-soprano who appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera in London and other major houses, known for her performances as Carmen, Salome, Cherubino and Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck, among other roles, and the ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall who directed her in several roles, 71

Jan. 12: Everett Lee, African-American conductor who broke racial barriers as the music director of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town on Broadway in 1945, and the first Black conductor to lead a white orchestra in the South (Louisville, 1953) and the New York City Opera (1955), who later pursued a career in Europe, and returned to the U.S. to conduct the New York Philharmonic on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 1976, 105

Roger Tapping

Jan. 15: Beverly Ross, one of the first female songwriters of the rock ‘n’ roll era, known for songs with a bright beat and soft-core romantic themes including “Dim, Dim the Lights,” one of the first hits for Bill Haley and the Comets, and the ubiquitous “Lollipop” (1958), 87

Jan. 18: Roger Tapping, violist, former member of the Takács Quartet and the CU College of Music faculty, who also played with the Allegri Quartet in the UK and in 2013 succeeded Samuel Rhodes in the Juilliard Quartet, 61

Jan. 20: Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, rock singer and film actor whose 1977 debut, “Bat Out of Hell,” became a best seller and later spawned several sequels, and who appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show as well as Fight Club, Wayne’s World and other films, 74

Feb. 1: Leslie Parnas, American cellist and silver medalist at the 1962 Tchaikovsky competition who returned to Russia to perform and teach, and later as a jurist for the Tchaikovsky competition, a highly expressive player who was also a frequent performer at the Marlboro festival and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; 90

William Kraft

Feb. 6: George Crumb, stunningly original American composer of works requiring careful listening and deep attention to sound, running an astonishing gambit from a nightmarish protest of the Vietnam War (Black Angels, 1970), to eerie (Ancient Voices of Children, 1970), to mysteriously evocative (Vox Balaenae, 1971), to beguiling (Music for a Summer Evening, 1974), whose scores were often visually as well as musically artistic, 92

Feb, 12: William Kraft, principal timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 18 years and a composer who aimed to elevate percussion section above what he called “rat-a-tat, boom-boom” music, who worked with Igor Stravinsky, founded performing ensembles and taught at UC Santa Barbara, 98

Feb. 19: Gary Brooker: singer/pianist with Procol Harum who co-wrote “Whiter Shade of Pale,” the group’s first and greatest hit in 1967, and nearly all of the music that sustained their remarkable five-decade recording career that lasted until 2017, staying with the band as de-facto leader through other personnel changes, 76

March 8: Ron Miles, jazz cornet player who formed a trio with fellow Denver natives Rudy Royston and Bill Frisell and maintained a major career while remaining in Colorado and teaching at Metropolitan State University, of a rare blood dis order, 58

Harrison Birtwhistle

March 31: Joseph Kalichstein, Israeli-American pianist, Leventritt Competition winner, Juilliard graduate and later professor, best known as a chamber musician, particularly as a member of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio throughout its 45 years of performing and recording together, 76

April 18: Harrison Birtwhistle, an evocatively-named British composer known for music of uncompromising modernism and complex structures, a high degree of dissonance, and often intense theatricality, a one-time fellow student with Peter Maxwell Davies, 87

April 18: Nicholas Angelich, American-born pianist, winner of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in 1994, who performed mostly in Europe, and primarily German repertoire, and whose American appearances garnered admiring reviews; 51

April 17: Radu Lupu, Romanian-born pianist known for his eccentric and meditative performances and his avoidance of publicity, who launched his career with wins at the Van Cliburn, George Enescu and Leeds International piano competitions but largely avoided showy repertoire, saying he would have liked a career “playing nothing but slow movements,” 76

May 11: Alexander Toradze, Georgian-American pianist who won the silver medal at the Van Cliburn competition in 1977 and defected from the Soviet Union to the U.S. in 1983, known for idiosyncratic performances of Russian repertoire, 69

Teresa Berganza

May 13: Teresa Berganza, Spanish mezzo and alto known for her performances as Carmen in Bizet’s opera and Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, who sang her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1967 as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and gained acclaim in other Rossini and Mozart roles, 89

May 13: Simon Preston, English organist, conductor and composer who served at organist and choir director at Westminster Abbey 1981–87, who was first appointed organist at Westminster Abbey in 1962 and also served at St. Alban’s Cathedral and Christ Church Oxford, ad memorably directed the music for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986; 83

May 13: Rosmarie Trapp, the last surviving daughter of Baron Georg and Maria Augusta von Trapp and a member of the Trapp Family Singers, who often held sing-alongs for guests at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt., 93

May 17: Richard Best, American bass who sang 545 performances at the Met, including the Met premieres of Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Berg’s Lulu; he also sang at the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Paris Opéra, and taught at Southern Illinois University after retiring from the stage, 87

May 17: Vangelis, self-taught Greek composer of the Academy-Award winning scores for the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, which made him internationally famous and was followed by scores for Blade Runner and other films, 79

May 18: Anne Howells, English mezzo-soprano who came up through the ranks at Glyndebourne from chorus member to Dorabella and Meg Page, among other roles; she also sang at Covent Garden, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Met, and later taught at the Royal Academy of Music, 81

Richard Taruskin

June 6: Jim Seals, half of the soft-rock duo Seals and Croft with Dash Crofts, whose Baha’i faith lead them away from the harsh and loud sound of 1960s hard rock to a gentler style characterized in hits such as 1972’s “Summer Breeze” and 1973’s “We May Never Pass This Way (Again),” 79

July 1: Richard Taruskin, a musicologist and scholar of Russian music who ascended to the level of pubic intellectual through the pages of the New York Times, who was the author of the magisterial six-volume Oxford History of Western Music (2005), and who was known for his contentious style of argument on topics from performance practice to the politics of Soviet music—most famously the honesty or dishonesty of the putative Shostakovich memoir Testimony—and just about anything else to which he turned his attention; emeritus professor at UC Berkeley, 77

July 2: Peter Brook, creative English stage director who directed works in several genres, including numerous landmark Shakespeare production; Truman Capote and Harold Arlen’s House of Flowers on Broadway in 1955; a nine-hour stage adaptation of The Mahabharata in 1985; and several operatic productions including the condensed Tragédie de Carmen in 1983 and Magic Flute in 2011; 97

July 22: Stefan Soltesz, an Austrian conductor who collapsed on the podium during a performance of Richard Strauss’ Schweigsame Frau at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) in Munich, and died later at a hospital, 73

Olivia Newton-John

Aug. 8: Olivia Newton-John, star of the mega-hit pop musical Grease and much-loved singer of amiable pop music, including seven top-10 hits on the country chart and four records that sold more than two million copies each in the 1970s and ‘80s, and who was known in recent years for her long battle with breast cancer; 73

Aug. 25: Joey DeFrancesco, a jazz organist and the son of a jazz organist, credited with reviving jazz organ in the 21st century, who toured with Miles Davis while still a teenager and who also played trumpet, saxophone and piano, but preferred the Hammond B3 organ, 51

Sept. 5: Lars Vogt, German pianist and conductor known for his solo performances, his recitals with singers Thomas Quasthoff and Ian Bostridge, and the chamber music festival he founded in Heimbach, Germany; he was appointed music director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris in 2020, and was scheduled to be artist-in-residence with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern for 2022-23, 51

Sept 9: Jorja Fleezanis, American violinist, the daughter of Greek immigrants, who served as concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra for 20 years before joining the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2009, and also played the premiere of Johan Adams’s Violin Concerto in 1994, 70

Sept. 10: Paul T. Kwami, longtime director of the Fisk Jubilee singers, the choral group from the historically Black Fisk University that was formed a year after the end of the Civil War and that was known for its performance of African American spirituals, 70

Ramsey Lewis

Sept. 12: Ramsey Lewis, jazz pianist whose professional life spanned more than 50 years, leader of the Ramsey Lewis Trio and later the Urban Knights, who unexpectedly broke into the pop music Top 10 in 1965 with “The ‘In’ Crowd,” and was named a Jazz Master by the NEA 2007, 87

Sept. 24: Pharoah Sanders, American saxophonist and composer who played with Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra and John Coltrane and was known for playing highly individual, spiritual free jazz as well as jazz standards and Caribbean-inflected music, 81

Oct. 4: Loretta Lynn, the “coal miner’s daughter” who became one of the most beloved country singers on the basis of both her powerful voice and her life story that was chronicled in her autobiography and the Oscar-winning film based on it; 90

Oct. 19: Joanna Simon, American mezzo-soprano, oldest sister to Lucy (see below) and Carly Simon, whose operatic career took her to the New York City Opera as well as “The Dick Cavett Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and who occasionally sang backup for her sisters, with whom she remained close throughout her career; 85

Oct. 20: Lucy Simon, sister of Joanna and Carly Simon, with the latter of whom she sang in a duo as the Simon Sisters in the 1960s folk revival, later released her own solo albums and also wrote the Tony-nominated score for the musical The Secret Garden, 82

Elayne Jones (Don Jones/San Francisco Symphony Archives)

Oct. 28: Jerry Lee Lewis, rockabilly singer and pounding pianist whose hits in the 1950s, including “Great Balls of Fire,” shot to the top of the charts, but whose personal life including his marriage to a 13-year-old cousin, cut short his rock stardom until he was able to revive his career as a country musician in the late ‘60s and ‘70s; 87

Nov. 6: Don Lewis, electronic music pioneer who in the 1970s created and performed with the Live Electronic Orchestra from his collection of keyboards, synthesizers and drum machines all joined together, the only one of its kind, which offered a remarkable choice of sounds in one package before the later invention of the MIDI keyboard; 81

Nov. 18: Ned Rorem, Pulitzer prize-winning composer noted for his art songs and other vocal works, as well as one-act operas, chamber music and three symphonies; whose published diaries gave insight into the gay musical and artistic circles from the 1960s onward; 99

Dec. 18: Elayne Jones, a timpanist who joined the San Francisco Symphony under Seiji Ozawa in 1972 as the first black principal player in a major US orchestra but had to fight a legal battle over racial and sexual discrimination when she was denied tenure by the orchestra, in spite of rave reviews from critics and public, and who continued to play in the orchestra of the San Francisco Opera until 1998; 94

Dec. 19: Stanley Drucker, orchestral clarinetist who played with the New York Philharmonic under five of its music directors, from Leonard Bernstein to Lorin Maazel and for more than 60 years, 1948–2009, and taught at the Juilliard School for 30 years; 98

CORRECTIONS: Minor typos corrected 1/1/2023

4 thoughts on “Final Bows of 2022

  1. I have been enjoying your newsletters this year — I became a memberof the Board of Directors of the Longmont Symphony Orchestra this pastyear.   Just finished reading your tribute newsletter — and the only onethat surprised me — was Meatloaf.   He was a neighbor in Wilton CT backwhen I lived there in the 1990’s before relocating to CO.  We both were clients of the same Hair Salon in Wilton — but I didn’t recognize him andhe was getting styled for a record cover.  Until I got  home and told myhusband – he couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize him.  And so it goes. Thanks for such great newsletters – 

                Nancy McIlva

  2. a few more: Christine McVie, Irene Cara, Naomi Judd, Coolio, Klaus Schulze, Bobby Rydell, Ian McDonald, Sam Lay, Ronnie Spector…

    — Winston

  3. Hi Peter,

    This is great. I like that you included different genres. And of course, I heart Dale Clevenger.


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