Showing posts with label obituary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label obituary. Show all posts

Saturday, January 9, 2016

David Bowie: Change, Influences & Chicago Ties

At Bowie Is, MCA Chicago. By Dimitra DeFotis
A good quote for the new year from rock star genius David Bowie:
"I feel confident imposing change on myself. It's a lot more fun progressing than looking back. That's why I need to throw curve balls," Bowie said.
With yet another album from Bowie, a man of many styles, the Chicago Tribune's longtime music critic writes for the BBC on the surprising
list of U.S. artists who influenced Bowie, who Bowie encouraged or who collaborated with Bowie.

I shot the photo at right at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art at the 2014 Bowie Is retrospective, which was financed there with support from some big Chicago hedge fund managers. Here's the BBC piece:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160108-space-oddities-david-bowies-hidden-influences

UPDATE: I wrote this post the day Bowie died, not realizing he was on his deathbed. But he had just released his album. The New York Times obituary notes he was 69 and had cancer, Don't we all wish we could go the career retrospective in his honor, planned for March at Carnegie Hall. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Washington McClain Remembered

Washington McClain was a precious soul who defied stereotypes in ways that were truly inspiring, perhaps even radical. But in the most gentle way.
Washington McClain
Credit: www.amherstearlymusic.org
We were honored to consider him a family friend, always overjoyed to receive his prolific emails, and we cherished his deep laugh and big bear hug.
Washington's sudden passing this week at such a young age has left us in shock. 
"Wash" used his gifts to defy what you might expect of a black man who grew up in rural Louisiana in difficult circumstances. He played Baroque oboe in some of the finest period orchestras in North America, including Tafelmusik. (Listen to Wash playing while you read.) He lived in Canada and conducted much of his daily life in French. But he drove regularly to the Indiana University Early Music Institute where he was a music professor.
“Wash told me about his life, which was a miracle,” recalled Ensemble Arion colleague Matthieu Lussier in Musical Toronto. “Somehow he ended up playing baroque oboe. He was the sweetest guy with the roughest childhood. It says something about his force of character and determination.”
Washington traveled the world in pursuit of his music, reconnecting with us in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York - he knew people everywhere and always crashed with friends while touring. He always asked about extended family. He was devoted and made profound connections with many people.
Somewhere along this amazingly independent path, Washington became an Orthodox Christian. We met him when he was learning Greek while pursuing advanced music studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He was an inspiring presence in worship and in choir at Sts. Peter & Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Illinois.
“On tour in Athens performing at the Odeon theater at the Acropolis, Wash spoke to the audience in fluent Greek," Tafelmusik music director Jeanne Lamon told Musical Toronto. "And the looks on their faces were priceless."
Wash's Facebook "likes" describe him well: He was "Against Modern Opera" and for J. S. Bach and Romanos the Melodist. He was for President Barack Obama and against Sarah Palin. He liked the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Orthodox Church in America. He liked Battlestar Galactica. He read stories on the Al Jazeera Network. His last post: "Bonne fete, Toni Morrison!!"
Thank you Washington for the chance to play a Bach oboe-flute duet together at a church Christmas music program.
We remember you for your inspiring presence, your gift of language, your gift of music - one recording nominated for a Grammy last year! - and the many lives you touched. A bientot, Washington. Eternal memory dear brother. Eternal memory. Eternal memory!

  • Musical Toronto has a fine tribute, a video & details here.
  • Indiana University's press release on his passing here.
  • Here & below, the Grammy-nominated Handel performance in New York, featuring Washington on oboe quite clearly.
  • The Arion Orchestra posted this video tribute to Washington.
  • Washington's brothers said on Facebook that tributes may be left here.
  • Washington's friend Alison, a fellow woodwind player, wrote a tribute here with sound clips of his oboe playing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron, No Paltry Sum

Legendary writer and journalist Nora Ephron died today.
Her work was full of fabulous wit and juicy detail, which is apparent in this New Yorker essay I saved and read several times. It covers death and inheritance, and there's even a Greek angle.
The New York Times obituary has more detail -- love that she started as a fledgling city reporter in 1960s New York and, albeit coming from a family full of writers, she succeeded in Hollywood.
Her secret to life? Husband number three. "Marry an Italian," she said.