This is Polyphonic.org’s tribute to those of our colleagues and co-workers who left us in 2006. By its nature it is almost certainly not a complete list. We apologize for any omissions, and will make corrections if you post them in the “Comments” area.
Berton Siegel, age 80. Former violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra (retiring in 1995), Pittsburgh Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony; also department head of the string department at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and an active participant in orchestra committees and ICSOM delegate.
Milton Katims, age 96. Music Director of the Seattle Symphony from 1954 to 1976 and noted violist, serving as principal violist of the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini and working with the Budapest Quartet in performance and recordings. He also taught viola at several schools, including the Juilliard School.
Dan Dowdakin, age 76. Bassoonist/contrabassoonist with the Atlanta Symphony from 1953-2000.
Roland Kohloff, age 71. Principal timpanist with the New York Philharmonic for 32 years, retiring in 2004. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, he was principal timpanist with the San Francisco Symphony.
Maurice Dubonnet (aka Maurice Bonney), age 82. Former assistant principal violist and assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony during Leopold Stokowski’s tenure as music director, he also founded the Albuquerque Symphony and orchestras in Anchorage and Mesa (AZ).
Anna Moffo, age 73. Renowned soprano who made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1957.
Alan Traverse, age 68. Former co-concertmaster of the Houston Symphony. A native of London, he played with many of the London orchestras and was concertmaster of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic before moving to Houston.
Jesse Ceci, age 82. Former concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony/Denver Symphony, he also played with the Cleveland Orchestra as well as the Cincinnati Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic.
Curt Crain, age 77. Former technical director /stage manager with the Milwaukee Symphony, retiring in 1991 after 25 years. Crain also created the letter “M” that appeared on the wall of Mary Richard’s apartment in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Joseph Lanza, age 73. Assistant principal second violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra. A member of the second violin section since 1958, he auditioned for assistant principal second at the age of 50 and won the position.
Neville Amadio, age 93. Principal flutist with the Sydney Symphony from 1927 through 1978.
Jennifer Eley-Handler, age 44. Pianist with the Long Island Philharmonic.
Richard Kapp, age 69. Founder and conductor of the Philharmonic Virtuosi, a long-time New York freelance orchestra that concertized and recorded extensively.
Gyorgy Ligeti, age 83. Hungarian composer.
Richard Totusek, age 68. Pianist, businessman, and AFM local and national officer. He was long-time parliamentarian for ICSOM and ROPA and served as an officer of the RMA as well.
Laurence Rowden-Martin, age 48.English violinist/violist/gambist who worked with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis the Ensemble Intercontemperain, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, age 52. Renowned mezzo-soprano who began her career as a violist. She worked extensively with director Peter Sellars, and appeared at the Metropolitan Opera on several occasions, as well as with other major orchestras and opera companies in the United States and Europe. (A personal note: I worked with her when she a young violist named Lorrie Hunt. We shared a stand on occasion, and I remember her both as a wonderful person to hang out with and as a fabulous stand partner. I owed my first semi-steady professional gig to her bailing out of a run of kiddie concerts with the San Jose Symphony in 1974. One of my most prized possessions is a picture of her and I playing the PDQ Bach “Sonata for Viola Four Hands” at a recital I gave at Stanford University in 1978. I followed her career with great pride and pleasure, even though I only heard her sing once – Robert Levine)
José Rodriquez, age 89. Former violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
John Fenton Mathews, age 80. Former principal bassist with the Baltimore Symphony, he also played with the Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, and Detroit Symphony.
John Mack, age 78. Former principal oboe with the Cleveland Orchestra from 1965 to 2001. He also played with the New Orleans Symphony and the National Symphony before coming to Cleveland. He was also chair of the woodwind division at the Cleveland Institute of Music and was a very influential teacher, with former students in several major orchestral posts.
William Arsers, age 85. Former French hornist with the National Symphony and US Navy Band.
James Underwood, age 57. Principal trumpet with the Columbus Symphony. Formerly cornet soloist with the US Marine Band.
Charles Barr, age 31. Bassist with the Cleveland Orchestra. Formerly a member of the New World Symphony and principal bassist with the Charleston (SC) Symphony.
Milton Kaye, age 97. Pianist and arranger. Worked with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini, accompanied Jascha Heifetz on a tour of European war zones during WW II, and played the American premiere of the first piano concerto of Shostakovich.
Janee Gilbert Munroe, age 83. Former violist with the North Carolina and National symphonies, she also taught at the Juilliard School. She was the wife of former New York Philharmonic principal cellist Lorne Munroe.
Sir Malcolm Arnold, age 84. Renowned composer who was the first British composer to win an Oscar, he also wrote a great deal of music for the concert hall, including nine symphonies. As a young man, he served as second trumpet with the London Philharmonic.
Peter Sacco, age 59. Violinist and founder of the Alexander String Quartet in 1980, he was director of orchestral activities at the University of Connecticut and assistant conductor of the New Haven Symphony. He was also a founder of the Harkness Summer Music Festival and served as the festival’s Connecticut Orchestra until 2000.
David Battey, age 70. Former hornist with the Dallas Symphony, he also played for the New Orleans Philharmonic and the Indianapolis Symphony before moving to Dallas. As a member of the DSO, he served for three years as operations manager as well as serving on negotiation committees.
Joseph Primavera, age 80. Music director of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra for 51 years and former member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he was also a violist with the Baltimore Symphony prior to returning home to Philadelphia.
Anna Russell, age 94. Soprano who made an international career as a comedian and parodist. Born in Canada, she moved to London at a very young age and studied at the Royal College of Music with, amongst other teachers, Ralph Vaughan Williams. She began her comedic career writing arias for Toronto Symphony fundraising events in the 1940s.
George Goslee, age 89. Former principal bassoonist with the Cleveland Orchestra until 1988, he also served for three years as principal bassoonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, but was brought back to Cleveland at the insistence of newly hired music director George Szell. He also played with the NBC Summer Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony and was chairman of bassoon studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Mary Kathryn Alexander, age 80. Former harp and piano teacher at the Baylor Universitty School of Music.
Tommy Johnson, age 71. Noted LA film studio musician who played tuba on thousands of film scores since 1959, he was best known for his work on the score for “Jaws.” He also played with many of the professional orchestras in the Los Angeles area, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena Symphony. Three of his former students – Norm Pearson, Alan Baer, and Gene Pokorny – currently hold tuba positions with major American orchestras.
Gretchen Gonzales, age 43. Cellist with the New Jersey Symphony, she also played with the Syracuse Symphony before moving to New Jersey.
David Ireland, age 79. Violist with the Detroit Symphony from 1952 to 2000, he also played on recordings with Marvin Gaye.
Alice Preves, age 65. Violist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she was originally hired by SPCO music director Leopold Sipe. After leaving the orchestra for family responsibilities in the 1960s, she was re-hired by Dennis Russell Davies, left again, and was once again re-hired in 1982 by Pinchas Zukerman.
Frank Saam, age 79. Former violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra for 40 years, he played with the Houston and Detroit symphonies before joining the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1957, where he was also active on negotiating committees.
Emanuel Hurwitz, age 87. English violinist who served at various times as concertmaster of the New Philharmonia Orchestra and what became the English Chamber Orchestra. He was best known as first violinist of the Aeolian Quartet, and also taught at the Royal Academy of Music
Newton Pacht, age 82. Emeritus professor of law at Howard University, he began his career as a bass student at the Juilliard School, going on to play with the Dallas and St. Louis symphonies. When asked why he left performing for law, he said “Because I couldn’t tolerate the degrading working conditions and paltry salaries that highly skilled artists earn! I reasoned that studying law might make it possible to do something about the mistreatment of creative people.”
Merrill Erler, age 89. Former trombonist and euphoniumist with the US Navy Band and the National Symphony, he also played for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circuses.
Tom Heimberg, age 69. Former violist with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and San Francisco and Oakland symphonies, he was also long-time personnel manager for the Opera Orchestra. He also taught at San Francisco State University, served as president of the Northern California Viola Society, and was ICSOM delegate for the Opera Orchestra for many years. (Personal note: I first met Tom when he was shop steward for the San Francisco Symphony and I was a wet-behind-the-ears auditioner. I got to know him as a very smart and funny man when I later subbed with the SFS later and also through ICSOM. He wrote several Heimberg-esque articles for Senza Sordino full of tips and hints – Robert Levine)
Ralph Gomberg, age 85. Principal oboe of the Boston Symphony for 37 years, he joined the BSO in 1950.
Vincent Cichowicz, former trumpet with the Chicago Symphony from 1952 to 1974, he became then full-time professor of trumpet at Northwestern University, where he received the Legends in Teaching Award upon his retirement in 1998. Prior to coming to Chicago, he was a member of the Houston Symphony
Felix Kraus, age 76. English hornist with the Cleveland Orchestra from 1979 to 2004, he joined the orchestra as an oboist in 1963. He was a native of Austria, leaving in 1939 as part of the Kinderstransport program, which placed Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Austria and Germany with foster parents until they could be reunited with their parents. He trained as a mathematician at the University of California at Berkeley, and was principal oboe with the Portland (OR) Symphony and National Symphony before joining the Cleveland Orchestra. He also produced many of the Cleveland Orchestra’s in-house recordings.
Daniel Pinkham, age 83. American composer and professor at the New England Conservatory, as well as music director of King’s Chapel in Boston, where he began a long-running series of Sunday evening concerts.
Cynthia Steljes, age 46. Oboist and founding member of Quartetto Gelato, she was a native of Deep River (Ontario) and studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.