Michel Legrand came to San Jose at some point (I can’t remember the date) and performed (and conducted, I believe) with the San Jose Symphony. I barely remember that. I do remember watching the Umbrellas of Cherbourg over and over with our daughter. That man knew how to write lovely music!

I may put more music up later … for now I have students to teach.

Okay … one more (quickly):

I just learned of his passing, but he died on November 24.

Composer and arranger George Roumanis passed away at age 89. Roumanis began his career as a jazz bassist and arranger, working with luminaries such as Louie Armstrong, Johnny Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen and Bud Shank. Over the course of five decades, he composed and arranged dozens of popular jingles as well as four albums for Decca Records. His prolific TV scoring includes “Mission Impossible,” “Medical Center,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” and “Star Trek: Next Generation.” Roumanis was also a composer of concert music and opera. His first guitar concerto was performed by Tommy Tedesco and the Los Angeles Studio Orchestra and his opera, “Phaedra,” was performed by Opera San Jose and broadcast on PBS. George was thrilled when his opera became part of the Oxford University Archives.

Yes, I played when Opera San Jose did the video of Phaedra. That was long ago and I must confess I don’t remember the music well.

06. October 2018 · Comments Off on Montserrat Caballé 1933-2018 · Categories: Losses



FEW OPERA SINGERS rocketed to fame more swiftly than Montserrat Caballé. When the soprano substituted for Marilyn Horne in the title role in a concert performance of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall on April 20, 1965, she was virtually unknown beyond a few provincial European opera houses. After the performance—and a twenty-five-minute ovation—all that would change. Rival record companies dashed to Caballé’s dressing room to get her signature while the audience was still swooning in the aisles. (RCA won.) One new fan was heard shouting ecstatically to his companion, “Callas plus Tebaldi equals Caballé!” And of course invitations to sing all over the world poured in.


22. November 2017 · Comments Off on Dmitri Hvorostovsky 1962-2017 · Categories: Losses

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the charismatic Siberian baritone who won critical acclaim and devoted fans around the world for his burnished voice, uncanny breath control and rueful expressivity, died on Wednesday in London. He was 55.

Mark Hildrew of Askonas Holt, the talent management agency that represented Mr. Hvorostovsky, said the cause was brain cancer. Mr. Hvorostovsky announced the diagnosis in June 2015 and died in a hospice facility near his London home.

A favorite of audiences thanks to his alluring voice and heartthrob presence, Mr. Hvorostovsky cut a striking figure, his trim 6-foot-1 frame topped by a mane of prematurely white hair.

He also had a compelling personal story: He escaped the street-gang life as a teenager in a grim Siberian city, found his talent there despite the region’s cultural isolation, and overcame a tempestuous drinking problem that could have ruined his career.

You can read more here and, of course, a lot of other places.

24. May 2017 · Comments Off on Because Sometimes We Can’t FIND The Words · Categories: Listen, Losses, Watch

Aaron Hill’s response to the horror in Manchester was to improvise. Thank you, Aaron.

12. February 2017 · Comments Off on Al Jarreau 1940-2017 · Categories: Losses

I’m sorry to read of the death of Al Jarreau. Watching this video brings me right back to that era. He was amazing. I mean … truly ahead of his time, as far as I am concerned!

Here is the announcement of his death.

… and from 2011:

19. January 2017 · Comments Off on Roberta Peters 1930-2017 · Categories: Losses

Roberta Peters, the coloratura soprano who at 20 was catapulted to stardom by a phone call, a subway ride and a Metropolitan Opera debut — her first public performance anywhere — all in the space of five hours, died on Wednesday at her home in Rye, N.Y. She was 86.

The cause was Parkinson’s disease, her son Bruce Fields said.

Ms. Peters, who would sing with the Met 515 times over 35 vigorous years, was internationally renowned for her high, silvery voice (in private, she could hit a high A, two and a half octaves above middle C); her clarion diction in a flurry of languages; her attractive stage presence; and, by virtue of the fact that she and television came to prominence at about the same time, her wide popular appeal.

“As a coloratura,” Cue magazine wrote of Ms. Peters in 1960, “she has no peer.”

25. December 2016 · Comments Off on Very Sad News On Christmas Day · Categories: Losses

I had read of this last night, but hadn’t seen enough news to post. Now it’s in print and we know it’s true. Very, very sad.

Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, dancers and orchestra members, crashed into the Black Sea on its way to Syria on Sunday, killing everyone on board, Russian authorities said.

The Russian Defence Ministry said one of its TU-154 Tupolev planes had disappeared from radar screens at 0525 MSK (9.25 p.m. ET), two minutes after taking off from Sochi in southern Russia, where it had stopped to refuel from Moscow, on its way to Syria.

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesman, told reporters that nobody had survived.

“The area of the crash site has been established. No survivors have been spotted,” he said. An unnamed ministry source told Russian news agencies no life rafts had been found, while another source told the Interfax agency that the plane had not sent an SOS signal.

In televised comments, President Vladimir Putin, speaking in St Petersburg, declared Dec. 26 a national day of mourning.

The jet, a Soviet-era Tupolev plane built in 1983, had been carrying 84 passengers and eight crew members.

At least 60 were members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, better known internationally as the Red Army Choir, and were being flown out to Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria to entertain troops in the run-up to the New Year.


15. December 2016 · Comments Off on Karel Husa 1921-2016 · Categories: Losses

I just read that Karel Husa died yesterday.

I played Music for Prague 1968 when I was at San Jose State University. I don’t believe I’ve played anything else by the composer.

Northern Iowa Wind Symphony, Ronald Johnson conductor