Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012)

“The connecting thread between this vast array of works in so many disparate genres was politics, a commitment to which never left him, although varying in degree over time. Henze adhered throughout his life to leftwing ideologies, a reaction to his youth in Nazi Germany, which left an indelible mark on his creative psyche. He was not afraid of courting controversy, even as recently as last month: ‘So long as...
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Lee Hoiby (1926-2011)

Lee Hoiby (1926-2011)
The American composer celebrated his 85th birthday on February 17 and died on March 28.  A former protege of Barber and Menotti, Hoiby lived in a remote corner of the Catskills Mountains with his partner of many years, Mark Shulgasser. In all he wrote eight staged works, and his web site lists “Romeo & Juliet” as in progress. Opera News obituary New York Times obituary Please share your memories of Lee here. Previously...
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Remembering poet Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010)

Remembering poet Peter Orlovsky (1933-2010)
Peter Orlovsky published five books of poems in his own right, but is famous for having been the long-time lover of one of the 20th century’s greatest poets, Allen Ginsberg. He died in Williston Vermont on May 30 at age 76. Make my grave shape of heart so like a flower be free aired and handsome felt. Grave root pillow, tung up from grave & wigle at blown up clowd. Ear turnes close to underlayer of green felt moss...
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Earl Wild R.I.P.

Earl Wild R.I.P.
Apparently Earl Wild lived up to his name.  The virtuoso pianist who died on January 22 at age 94 was out for most of his life, and promiscuous with music as well as men, though he is survived by a partner of 38 years Michael Rolland Davis. Wild’s repertoire was enormous and his performance style grandly romantic.  He transcribed all kinds of things for the piano and also composed.  And to those taken into confidence...
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Remembering Lou Harrison’s gentle queer spirit

Composer Lou Harrison, who died in February at age 85, was sometimes called the Santa Claus of contemporary music. He certainly looked the part, with a big belly and a white mustache and beard.  The nickname was apt for other reasons as well: He was a joyous and generous man, and all his life he carried a big bag of toys. That’s what he called his many interests and pursuits. “From the start,” he often said, “I...
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