In Memoriam: Classical Musicians Who Died in 2011 : Slideshow

Monday, December 26, 2011

Salvatore Licitra, tenor

Licitra’s debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 2002 was an overwhelming success; he replaced Luciano Pavarotti in Tosca on the last night of the season. He continued to please audiences with performances with the Metropolitan Opera for almost a decade thereafter, dying unexpectedly on Sept. 5 after being injured in a motorbike crash in Sicily.

Giorgio Tozzi, bass

American-born bass Giorgio Tozzi performed at the Metropolitan Opera, on Broadway and in movies; he was also a teacher at the Juilliard School and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Tozzi received a Tony nomination for the role of Tony Esposito in a revival production of the operatic musical comedy “The Most Happy Fella” by Frank Loesser. He died of a heart attack at age 88 on May 30, 2011.

Vincenzo La Scola, tenor

One of the youngest to die on this list, Italian tenor Vincenzo La Scola died of a heart attack at age 53 on April 15. La Scola performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as the San Francisco and Washington National Operas.

Vassar College Media Relations
Milton Babbitt, composer

The self-described “maximalist” composer, who furthered Arnold Schoenberg’s serialist method, died Jan. 29 at age 94. Babbitt's sense of humor became a well-known contrast to his challenging compositions, including some of the first works for the synthesizer. Among many awards, Babbitt received a Pulitzer citation and a MacArthur Fellowship, and was a professor at Princeton University.

Rinchen Lhamo
Peter Lieberson, Composer

A student of Babbitt's, American composer Peter Lieberson, husband to the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, lost his battle with lymphoma on April 22. Lieberson was heavily influenced by the cultural life of New York City, where he was raised; Tibetan Buddhism was also a significant influence in Lieberson's life. Music critic Alex Ross called him "a magician of harmony."

Bert Mulder
Greenhouse performing with The Beaux Arts Trio in the early 1980s

Bernard Greenhouse founded the Beaux Arts Trio, a piano trio including himself, violinist Daniel Guilet and pianist Menahem Pressler. Greenhouse played with the group for 32 years. The group emerged in the mid '50s, when the string quartet trumped the piano trio and the popularity of the cello had not yet been unlocked by Pablo Casals. Beaux Arts performed extensively and with unmatched respect for several generations.

Jonathan Torgovnik
Anthony Amato, Founder of Amato Opera

Anthony Amato and his wife founded Amato Opera over sixty years ago, championing productions in their small space next to the punk-rock club CBGB's. Amato chronicled his work as artistic director and conductor, alongside his wife (who handled myriad aspects from costuming to box office management) in his memoir, The Smallest Grand Opera in the World. He died on Dec. 13 at age 91.

Dino Anagnost, Conductor and Artistic Director, The Little Orchestra Society

Dino Anagnost dedicated himself to the post of conductor and artistic director of The Little Orchestra Society, a New York chamber orchestra, for over 30 years. He was known for his inventive programming, both for adults and children, and as the founder of numerous vocal groups throughout New York. He died on March 31 after a long illness.

Randy Duchaine
Olga Bloom, Founder of Bargemusic

Olga Bloom, a violinist and violist from Boston, is best known for founding New York's only floating performance space -- Bargemusic -- at Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn. The intimate atmosphere of the Barge, as well as it’s consistently high level performances, is familiar to anyone who visits this unique concert space. Bloom died on Nov. 24 at age 92.

A. Aymami
Montserrat Figueras, Soprano

Along with her husband, the viola de gamba player and conductor Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras was a founding member of the groups Hespèrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations. Figueras specialized in early music and her ethereal voice graced over 70 vocal albums. She died on Nov. 23 at age 69.

Kurt Sanderling (R), with Erich Honecker (L), at a concert celebrating the 750th anniversary of Berlin in 1987

Kurt Sanderling, a conductor whose career path embodied the entwinement of politics and art in 20th-century Europe, died Sept. 17 in Berlin, just two days shy of his 99th birthday. Surviving dictatorships and cultural prejudice as a Polish- (then East Prussia-) born Jew, Sanderling became a renowned interpreter of Romantic composers like Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich, his personal friend.

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