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A Farewell to Musicians Who Died in 2010

The Australian soprano Joan Sutherland died at her home near Montreux, Switzerland on Oct. 10 after suffering a long illness. Over a career that spanned more than 40 years, with fully 75 opera roles in her well-traveled repertoire, "La Stupenda" was remembered as one of the last singers who truly earned the title prima donna. In this photo taken on July 7, 1994 in Coquelles, France, she christens a locomotive.

(THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

American pianist Earl Wild died Jan. 23 in Palm Springs, California, after a long bout with congestive heart disease. Wild reveled in bravura works — from Liszt to Rachmaninoff — but all of his animated performances combined a deeply considered interpretive approach and an ironclad technique.

The iconoclastic American composer Benjamin Lees died May 25 at the age of 86 in Glen Cove, NY. Known for embracing a tonal, lyrical style at a time when serialism was dominant among contemporary composers, Lees wrote works for orchestra, chamber ensemble and soloists. Among his best-known compositions was his Symphony No. 4, written in 1985 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

Henryk Górecki, a once obscure Polish composer who went on to become one of the best-selling classical artists of all time, died in Katowice, Poland on Nov. 11. He was 76. Górecki was best known for his Symphony No. 3, which was composed in 1976 and sold more than a million copies. This picture was taken in 1994 near Zakopane, Poland in the Tatra mountains.


Giulietta Simionato, a leading Italian mezzo-soprano who specialized in the Bel Canto repertory, died May 5 at age 99. She sang at La Scala in Milan from 1936 until her retirement in 1966, while in the United States, Simionato appeared frequently at the Met and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In this undated publicity photo she appears as Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos.

Ernest Fleischmann, who died on June 13 aged 85, was an impresario who ran the Los Angeles Philharmonic for three decades, transforming it into one of the country's pre-eminent orchestras. He honed his famously outspoken and fearless style of management as the general manager of the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1960s. A noted talent scout, Fleishman recruited the young Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen to become L.A.'s music director in 1992, and later helped court Gustavo Dudamel, the current music director.

(LA Philharmonic)

Part of the remarkable generation of great African-American singers who rose to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, mezzo-soprano Shirley Verrett died Nov. 5 at age 79. Verrett was known for her powerful, dark voice, exceptional range and riveting characterizations, especially as Bizet's Carmen. Her Met career stretched over 20 years. After retiring from the opera stage she taught singing at the University of Michigan.

Jacob Lateiner, a Cuban-American concert pianist who taught several generations of students at Juilliard and the Mannes College of Music, died Dec. 12 at age 82. Lateiner was noted for his Beethoven interpretations but also premiered major works by Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions. Among his many recordings was a Grammy-winning account of Beethoven’s Piano Trio Opus 1, No. 1, with Heifetz and Piatigorsky.

Conductor and musicologist Sir Charles Mackerras died on July 14 at age 84 . Mackerras was born in Schenectady, New York and grew up and studied music in Australia. Known for his rigor and intellectual curiosity, Mackerras was a particular advocate for the Czech composer Leos Janacek, making such operas as Kátya Kabanová, Jenufa and The Makropulos Affair staples of the repertory. Here Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) presents the inaugural Queen's Medal For Music to Mackerras (R) at Buckingham Palace in London. (Matthew Fearn/AFP/Getty Images)