Music

In Memoriam: a tribute to the musicians who left us in 2020

To the remarkable artists who passed away this year, farewell and thank you.

To the remarkable artists who passed away this year, farewell and thank you

We said goodbye to many greats in 2020, including the one and only Little Richard. (Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Stringer/Getty Images; design by Andrea Warner/CBC Music.)

This year took and it took and it took.

Great musicians and talented artists were no exceptions. In 2020, we said goodbye to pioneers of everything from reggae to conga to rock; virtuosos and geniuses alike; and artists who broke through racial barriers and gender binaries, trailblazers who changed music for everyone that followed.

In 2020, the "global experience" — coronavirus, the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and anti-Black violence — has been both shared and cruelly individual. Perpetual absence — this is where the sorrow lives. Where the rage, fear and grief make it almost impossible to acknowledge the moments of gratitude and grace. A perfect high note, a glass ceiling shattered, constant disruptions to the status quo, innovators who could not be contained and whose legacies will echo on forever.


Listen to an in memoriam radio special, Souvenirs, hosted by Rich Terfry, airing Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 a.m. on CBC Music.


A lyric from Leonard Cohen's "Anthem" is quoted frequently: "There is a crack, a crack in everything/ that's how the light gets in." It's quoted because it's perfect, but it misses the first two lines, which feel particularly relevant in 2020. 

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack, a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in.

"Ring the bells that still can ring" is the best we can do in 2020. Some incredible musicians, composers, and industry people left us this year. Let's stand still together for a little bit and pay tribute not just to what they gave us while they were here, but what they leave us to discover over and over and over again.


Neil Peart 

Sept. 12, 1952 - Jan. 7, 2020
Drummer, lyricist (Rush)

"I love what the bike gives me. The injection of life, freedom, engagement with the world, and it's still something that I love: the anonymity I have on the motorcycle. I stop at a diner or at a gas station, I have wonderful encounters with people at rest areas at the side of the road.… These moments that are just person to person. Those are the moments, that is how I live best." 

Neil Peart (via Prog


Jimmy Heath 

Oct. 25, 1926 - Jan. 19, 2020
Jazz saxophonist

"You become an icon when you're dead. I always say I'd rather be an acorn, and be alive." 

Jimmy Heath


Peter Serkin 

July 24, 1947 - Feb. 1, 2020
Pianist

"The most important lesson I took from my studies with Peter Serkin was that he didn't think there was one answer to the question of how to interpret a score. He was thoughtful and questioning and didn't rely on received wisdom. The lessons were investigations into the music that we made together, and by doing that he taught me how to be an independent thinker, and to be brave about following the path wherever the music led me."

Simone Dinnerstein (via NPR)


Nello Santi 

Sept. 22, 1931 - Feb. 6, 2020
Conductor


Mirella Freni 

Feb. 27, 1935 - Feb. 9, 2020
Soprano

"I am generous in many ways, but not when I think it will destroy my voice. Some singers think they are gods who can do everything. But I have always been honest with myself and my possibilities."

Mirella Freni (via Opera News)


Joseph Shabalala 

Aug. 28, 1940 - Feb. 11, 2020
Founding director of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

"It uplifts the spirit. It makes you respect yourself, respect your father, your mother. It makes you share ideas with your family at home and then it takes you to church also. You get into church like a person who is ready."

Joseph Shabalala on the sound of his group (via NPR)


Ja'Net Dubois 

Aug. 5, 1945 - Feb. 16, 2020
Singer, songwriter, actress


Pop Smoke

July 20, 1999 - Feb. 19, 2020
Rapper, singer-songwriter

"He told me he's going to start telling kids, don't go the gang route. He was trying to be a better person. In the last two months, he was completely changing. In the environment he was in and the things that he went through, it was hard for him to show that big heart that he had. He always had to be on defence. That really wasn't what he wanted to be every day."

Ricobeats (via The New York Times)


McCoy Tyner 

Dec. 11, 1938 - March 6, 2020
Jazz pianist

"What you don't play is sometimes as important as what you do play. I would leave space, which wouldn't identify the chord so definitely to the point that it inhibited your other voicings."

McCoy Tyner (via The New York Times)


Doriot Anthony Dwyer

March 6, 1922 - March 14, 2020
Flutist

"When Doriot Anthony Dwyer, flutist, was selected as one of the first woman principal players in a top 5 U.S. orchestra, the press went crazy: 'Woman Crashes Boston Symphony: Eyebrows Lifted as Miss Anthony sat at Famous Flutist's Desk,' 'Flutist, 30 and Pretty, Here with Boston Symphony' (Boston Globe, Oct. 12, 1952.) She had broken not a glass ceiling but a concrete one!"

— Janet Horvath, cellist and writer (via Interlude)


In Memoriam: musicians we lost in 2020 | CBC Music

1 year ago
Duration 1:43
A tribute to musicians we lost in 2020.

Sean Cunnington 

June 12, 1968 - March 18, 2020
Musician

"He was one of the most energetic, fun, and creative people I ever met — and one hell of a guitar player. He was always thinking of ways to make learning music fun for people, and did such a wonderful job helping to build the T-Rox Music Academy. Rest in Peace, Sean."

Emily Burgess (via Hamilton Blues Lovers)


Kenny Rogers

Aug. 21, 1938 - March 20, 2020
Singer-songwriter, actor

"Well, I couldn't believe it this morning when I got up and turned on the TV, checking to see what the coronavirus was doing.... And they told me that my friend and singing partner, Kenny Rogers, had passed away. I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today, but I'm pretty sure he's going to be talking to God some time today, if he ain't already, and he's going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness going on here."

— Dolly Parton (via Billboard)


Ray Mantilla

June 22, 1934 - March 21, 2020
Jazz percussionist

"Congas are street drumming things, man. You can't write music for that."

— Ray Mantilla on his roots in the South Bronx (via The New York Times)


Eric Weissberg 

Aug. 16, 1939 - March 22, 2020
Banjo player, bluegrass musician

"Eric Weissberg was a consummate musician, a solid and seemingly effortless player of stringed instruments of all kinds — banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, and string bass. Despite his prodigious talents and musical successes, he was humble, down-to-earth, and an easygoing companion with not a bit of artifice in him. He had many wonderful stories from his long career that he told in minute detail and with a twinkle of good humor that could keep you entertained for hours."

Happy Traum (via Rolling Stone)


Manu Dibango 

Dec. 12, 1933 - March 24, 2020
Musician and songwriter

"Manu Dibango has been a hero of Africa and will continue to be for long into the future. We honor this man, his music and the way he represented all Africans during his glorious career. We had the great privilege to collaborate with Manu and create a beautiful recording together. We have many wonderful memories of Manu. In this year that has brought too much sadness, we listen to this great man's music to find our smile again. Rest now brother, you have done well."

Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Thulani Shabalala, Sibongiseni Shabalala, Thamsanqa Shabalala, Msizi Shabalala, Albert Mazibuko, Abednego Mazibuko) (via CNN)


Joe Diffie 

Dec. 28, 1958 - March 29, 2020
Singer-songwriter and musician

"Sometimes I hear bad news, and over and over again in that cold empty space, I think if I wait a minute or two, the news will change, but it's final. Joe Diffie, one of our best singers and my buddy, is gone. We are the same age, so it's very scary. I will miss his voice, his laughter, his songs. My thoughts go out to his entire family. I'll love you always Joe and am so grateful you were in my life."

Tanya Tucker (via Music Row)


Krzysztof Penderecki

Nov. 23, 1933 - March 29, 2020
Composer

"Penderecki's legacy has been assured from nearly the moment he started composing a half a century ago. His music helped us reckon with the disastrous human rights violations that marked the middle of the 1900s, helped us hear cries made mute for the first time, turned the abstract toll of cruelty into something concrete."

— Roger Ebert (via rogerebert.com)


Bill Withers

July 4, 1938 - March 30, 2020
Singer-songwriter

"He's the last African-American Everyman. Jordan's vertical jump has to be higher than everyone. Michael Jackson has to defy gravity. On the other side of the coin, we're often viewed as primitive animals. We rarely land in the middle. Bill Withers is the closest thing Black people have to a Bruce Springsteen." 

— Questlove (via Rolling Stone)


Wallace Roney

May 25, 1960 - March 31, 2020
Jazz trumpeter

"I see my music as an extension of 'Nefertiti,' 'A Love Supreme,' Tony Williams' Lifetime, Herbie's sextet and Miles' last band. You could look at it as if Lifetime had a gig one night, and Miles sat in, and Wayne came and played, and Herbie played and wrote some arrangements, and Joe Zawinul came and sat in too, and Ron and Me'shell Ndegeocello played bass, and Prince, Sly Stone, Bennie Maupin and Mos Def dropped by.... That's part of what I'm doing. The other part is updating it with stuff that I hear today, the new synthesizers and the new sounds that appeal to me. I bring all those elements together and still try to play what I consider straight-ahead, innovative music."

— Wallace Roney (via The New York Times)


Cristina 

Jan. 2, 1959 - March 31, 2020
Singer-songwriter

"A Harvard graduate turned underwear model turned theatre critic who not only successfully married disco's sparkle to punk's nihilism, but also injected it with influences of Brechtian cabaret and an arch sense of humour."

Sophia Wyeth (via God is in the TV)


Ellis Marsalis Jr. 

Nov. 14, 1934 - April 1, 2020
Musician and educator

"My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be. My friend and Harvard law professor David Wilkins just sent me the following text: 'We can all marvel at the sheer audacity of a man who believed he could teach his black boys to be excellent in a world that denied that very possibility, and then watch them go on to redefine what excellence means for all time.'"

Branford Marsalis (via The Guardian)


Bucky Pizzarelli 

Jan. 9, 1926 - April 1, 2020
Jazz guitarist

"The whole foundation of everything I know about music comes from being around my father. Being able to go to gigs with him and meet all the musicians that he played with, this amazing crew of people. And then, really, the way I learned the guitar was that I accompanied him."

John Pizarelli (via NPR)


Adam Schlesinger 

Oct. 31, 1967 - April 1, 2020
Musician, singer-songwriter, composer, producer

"With the terrible instant clarity that tragedy confers, it's now easy to recognize [Adam Schlesinger] for what he was: a modest man of immodestly lavish talent. He was one of the great songwriters of his generation, with a body of work that stands next to those of far bigger boldface names.'"

Jody Rosen (via The New Yorker)


Hal Willner 

April 6, 1956 - April 7, 2020
Producer

"Hal didn't care about 'popular.' What made Hal so great besides his sweet collaborative nature, was that he was unapologetically weird. His entire life was a face-first dive into the unknown. He believed weird was as essential to mankind as love or the light bulb."

Adam McKay (via CNN)


John Prine 

Oct. 10, 1946 - April 7, 2020
Singer-songwriter

"Words can't even come close. I'm crushed by the loss of my dear friend, John. My heart and love go out to Fiona and all the family. For all of us whose hearts are breaking, we will keep singing his songs and holding him near."

Bonnie Raitt (via Variety)


Andy González 

Jan. 1, 1951 - April 9, 2020
Latin jazz bassist

"I have too many influences. I learned something from every bass player that I have ever heard. What I do is a combination of everything that I have learned, so I can't pin it down. But, if you tell me, 'Play like Cachao!' I can play just like him. If you tell me, 'Play like Bobby Rodriguez!' I can play just like him."

Andy González (via Herencia Latina)


Henry Grimes 

Nov. 3, 1935 - April 15, 2020
Jazz double bassist and vocalist

"First of all, he's a great improviser. Full of ideas. One of the things that you see in some beginning improvisers are that if you play a note they have to play the same note just to show, 'Hey. See, I heard you' [laughs.] Henry manages to counterpoint whatever's going on, but he doesn't have that insecure reaction at all. He counterpoints while following his own trajectory, and it always works."

Mark Ribot (via WBGO)


Lee Konitz 

Oct. 13, 1927 - April 15, 2020
Composer and jazz musician

"Improvisary means unforeheard, unforeseen. I don't know what the Latin word for heard is. But it's something like that. And that's a question that I asked the so-called improvisers — how much of what you're improvising is really pre-planned? The idea is that the music is full of surprises."

Lee Konitz (via NPR)


Kenneth Gilbert

Dec. 16, 1931 - April 16, 2020
Harpsichordist, organist

"Kenneth Gilbert was a leader in his field. The tip of the iceberg was obviously the [hundreds of] records that popularized his name around the world."

Christophe Huss (via Le Devoir)


Howard Crompton Tweddle 

Feb. 15, 1951 - April 22, 2020
Jazz bassist

"How good he was as a bass player in a jazz context is reflected by how many different groups he played with around the city and how many people are feeling very sad now."

John Haysom (via CBC Radio's All in a Day)


Fred the Godson 

Jan. 1, 1985 - April 23, 2020
Rapper and DJ

"My little brother ooooh how sad am I. I prayed and prayed and prayed for you all night long.… I am in shock to say the least. I love you soooooooo much little brother. It's been years since i felt this pain.... Maybe now the world will pay attention to your greatness."

Fat Joe (via Instagram)


Lynn Harrell

Jan. 30, 1944 - April 27, 2020
Cellist

"He has music in his bones, plus a technique that a cellist two or three times his age can envy."

New York Times review of Harrell's Carnegie Hall debut in 1964


Tony Allen

July 20, 1940 - April 30, 2020
Drummer

"I never stop. I never stop experimenting. I don't like repeating myself too much. I need to move forward."

— Tony Allen (via Pitchfork)


Rosalind Elias

March 13, 1930 - May 3, 2020
Mezzo-soprano

"I shared a cab with her once. During the ride, she told me, 'Don't let the bastards bring you down!' RIP Rosalind Elias."

— Julie Nesrallah, mezzo-soprano and CBC Music host (via Twitter)


Dave Greenfield

March 29, 1949 - May 3, 2020
Keyboardist, songwriter

"I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Dave Greenfield. He was the difference between the Stranglers and every other punk band. His musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band. He should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of Golden Brown."

Hugh Cornwell (via Twitter)


Ty 

Aug. 17, 1972 - May 7, 2020
Rapper, vocalist, producer

"Our music is considered 'unclassic' by mainstream British culture. It's considered throwaway and vague, and I think we have become comfortable with the name tag and position. I'm not comfortable with this process, art form, culture and experience being relegated to a minor importance, just because it isn't classical music. A lot of thought and self-analysis goes into making music, let alone hip-hop music, and I wanted to upgrade the perception a little."

— Ty (via The Guardian)


Little Richard

Dec. 5, 1932 - May 9, 2020
Rock 'n' roll pioneer

"I loved him, man. He had to push, push, push for everything and I don't think there was one popular entertainer — from Elvis onwards — who he didn't affect. I really don't think he knew how much people were affected by him, but that was probably a good thing. It made him who he was. He was still the guy who took all the ingredients of rock 'n' roll, prepared the meal and served it up, who still had that passion for being himself to the end — for letting himself go free."

— Bootsy Collins (via The Guardian)


Betty Wright

Dec. 21, 1953 - May 10, 2020
R&B/soul singer, songwriter, producer and label owner

"If you came to a BBQ at my house you would hear live music. Because at my house, there's always a concert. Somebody would pick up a guitar. And after a while, somebody would pick up a drum. So you would hear a multiplicity of genres. I don't have a preference. Just every time I start singing, they say it's R&B just because I have a soulful tone in my voice. I can sing opera."

— Betty Wright (via Miami New Times)


Jimmy Cobb

Jan. 20, 1929 - May 24, 2020
Jazz drummer

"I figured it was something I'd like to do, and when I learned enough to do it, I figured that would be what I would do for the rest of my life."

— Jimmy Cobb (via NPR)


Mady Mesplé

March 7, 1931 - May 30, 2020
Soprano

"Like all great singers, she had an immediately recognizable voice, and not just thanks to her amazing high notes. With her particular artistry, Mady Mesplé left no one indifferent; even those who were not attracted to her timbre recognized that she was an outstanding artist and musician, who defined her era and who will forever remain one of the greatest glories of French song."

— Alain Lanceron, president of Warner Classics (via Wanderer)


Bonnie Pointer

July 11, 1950 - June 8, 2020
Singer

"I'm the kind of person who likes to do adventurous, new things. It's got to be a challenge for me to go forward, 'cause I don't like to be stuck into just one thing."

— Bonnie Pointer (via The New York Times)


Hugh Fraser

Oct. 26, 1958 - June 17, 2020
Jazz pianist, trombonist and bandleader

"The Hugh Fraser Quintet was the 'Jazz Messengers' of Canada."

Cory Weeds, saxophonist and founding president of Cellar Music Group


Victor Feldbrill

April 4, 1924 - June 17, 2020
Conductor

"A dear colleague and fine mensch, full of generosity and ever youthful spirit! Taught me a lot about music as well as where to find the best smoked meat in TO. What an honour to have met this eminent man and musician!"

Johannes Debus, music director of the Canadian Opera Company


Vera Lynn

March 20, 1917 - June 18, 2020
Singer-songwriter

"When war first started, when it was declared, I thought, 'Well there goes my career.' You know, I shall finish up in a factory or the army or somewhere. You imagined all the theatres closing down, which didn't happen except when the sirens sounded. And everybody, if they wanted to, they could stay in the theatre and the show would go on."

— Vera Lynn (via CBC)


Johnny Mandel

Nov. 23, 1925 - June 29, 2020
Composer, arranger


Ida Haendel

Dec. 15, 1928 - July 1, 2020
Violinist

"Please accept my most cordial thanks for your excellent performance of my violin concerto. You played it masterfully in every respect. I congratulate you upon the great success. But above all, I congratulate myself that my concerto has found an interpreter of your rare standard."

— Jean Sibelius to Ida Haendel (via The Times)


Ennio Morricone

Nov. 10, 1928 - July 6, 2020
Composer

"I'm convinced my music is not just for films; it has its own life. It can live far away from the images of the movie."

— Ennio Morricone (via rogerebert.com)


Chi Pig

Oct. 19, 1962 - July 16, 2020
Punk musician, songwriter

From The Tyee:

An artist to the end, Chi Pig recorded a song called "Cement Mixer" that was released the day he died. In the song, Chi Pig visualizes his last resting place in a cement mixer to become part of the pavement and the ultimate "dead man around town."

"Goodbye to all my friends," the song concludes. "Gonna miss you guys."


Annie Ross

July 25, 1930 - July 21, 2020
Singer

"I only wanted to sing and be free. I never really looked ahead that much. I just lived every day."

— Annie Ross (via NPR)


Leon Fleisher

July 23, 1928 - Aug. 2, 2020
Pianist, conductor, pedagogue

"Music is an activity that is ennobling, enriching, empowering. It exercises the finest aspects and instincts of human nature. I'm quite convinced that it makes us better people. It's a manifestation of the fact that we are human and not animals."

— Leon Fleisher, in conversation with Bruce Duffie


Constance Weldon

Jan. 25, 1932 - Aug. 7, 2020
Tuba virtuoso

"I played it and said, 'This is for me. On no other instrument I played had the sound come so naturally."

— Constance Weldon (via The New York Times)


Salome Bey

Oct. 10, 1933 - Aug. 8, 2020
Blues and gospel singer, songwriter

"Salome was unique. She could sing with the deepest bass vocalists to the highest of the sopranos. She not only hit the notes — she embodied the music. Here is the ultimate gift of a true artist. Rather than use their voice as an instrument, they use their voice to make a statement. They use their voice to speak for them.… or preach.… or teach. Salome did all that every time she sang."

— Trevor Payne (via Montrealer Online)


Julian Bream

July 15, 1933 - Aug. 14, 2020
Classical guitarist and lutenist

"Until the advent of recording, music had a sort of mysticism attached to it. The music was played, and it vanished; you could never capture it. And it is indeed this fact of capture which I find at times almost working against the very nature of musical sound. It shows a sort of greediness on the part of people that they want to conserve something which should vanish. It's a bit like wanting to eat strawberries all the year 'round. I prefer to eat strawberries at strawberry time, and with music the moment is very important."

— Julian Bream (via Frets)


Justin Townes Earle

Jan. 4, 1982 - Aug. 20, 2020
Singer-songwriter, musician

"I've never loved anything in this world more than him. I was connected to him in ways that, you know — he's my first born, he did the same thing I did and we both had this disease."

— Steve Earle (via NYT)


Christiane Eda-Pierre

March 24, 1932 - Sept. 6, 2020
Soprano


Toots Hibbert

Dec. 8, 1942 - Sept. 11, 2020
Musician, songwriter, bandleader

Via Interview Magazine:

Jared Levy: Is that what reggae means to you? A positive message?

Toots Hibbert: A message of consolation; a message of salvation. The youth are going to the school and they have to listen to the words. The parents have to listen to the words. God has to listen to the words. So, we have to make it positive. If you sing nursery rhymes, it is nothing. You just blow up tomorrow, and the record dies at the same time. But if you give positive words, that song lives forever.


Juliette Gréco

Feb. 7, 1927 - Sept. 23, 2020
Singer

"Today there is much less magic. Things have changed. Perhaps the young have been taken hostage by money."

— Juliette Gréco (via The New York  Times)


Helen Reddy

Oct. 25, 1941 - Sept. 29, 2020
Singer, songwriter

"'I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.' And I thought, well, this has to be a song."

— Helen Reddy (via NPR)


Johnny Nash

Aug. 19, 1940 - Oct. 6, 2020
Singer, songwriter

"I think I've achieved gratification in terms of the people I've had the chance to meet. I never won the Grammy, but I don't put my faith in things of that nature. A lifetime body of work I can be proud of is more important to me. And the special folksy blend to the music I make, that's what it is all about."

— Johnny Nash (via CBC)


Eddie Van Halen

Jan. 26, 1955 - Oct. 6, 2020
Musician, songwriter

"There were some other good players, and there are some very clever ones, but it's not just playing an instrument. You've got to put the emotion behind you, and Eddie had all that. He made it look so easy."

— Ozzy Osbourne (via People)


Erin Wall

Nov. 4, 1975 - Oct. 8, 2020
Soprano

"It's amazing how being diagnosed as terminal changes what you care about. A lot less about what people think, for one. It's freeing, after a career based primarily on that very thing."

— Erin Wall (via Twitter)


Viola Smith

Nov. 29, 1912 - Oct. 21, 2020
Drummer

Via Downbeat Magazine:

[Viola Smith] also penned a proto-feminist manifesto for Downbeat in 1942, titled "Give Girl Musicians A Break!"

"In these times of national emergency, [when] many of the star instrumentalists of the big-name bands are being drafted, why not let some of the great girl musicians of the country take their place?" Smith argued in her impassioned piece. "The girls today are not the helpless creatures of earlier generations. Some girl musicians are as much masters of their instruments as are male musicians. They can improvise, their solos are well-defined and thought-provoking and show unlimited imagination."

Though the pioneering jazz feminist concluded her screed with a provocative tagline — "Think it over, boys!" — much work was left to be done. It remains so today. Still, it was the first real call to arms from women in the musical trenches, and Smith herself went on to have an enduring career.


Jerry Jeff Walker

March 16, 1942 - Oct. 23, 2020
Singer-songwriter

Via Statesman

"At one point I had chemo, radiation and pneumonia, and a blood infection — all at the same time. That's where I became touch and go. As we were at the bottom, Susan (his wife of 45 years) said somewhere in there, 'Do you want to fight? You want to fight for this?' They said I was going like this," he says as he tilts his head, to connote contemplation. "Like I was weighing the decision. I guess I chose life. Because here I am."


Alexander Vedernikov

Jan. 11, 1964 - Oct. 29, 2020
Conductor

"Thank God that Russian music has an important role in the world symphonic repertoire. Being a Russian conductor it gives me an opportunity to remain really natural to myself, in the sense of my approach to the music. When you're doing, for example, Czech music, French music or Italian music it always takes some time to penetrate the psychology of the composer."

— Alexander Vedernikov (via BBC Music Magazine)


Yehonatan Berick

Aug. 30, 1968 - Oct. 31, 2020
Violinist

"Yehonatan was the most earnestly good human being that I have ever met. [He] was one of those rare people who filled up a room with his relentlessly positive presence. A deeply compassionate and caring human, he brought out the best in everyone around him. He will be so deeply missed by the countless students and colleagues who had the good fortune of crossing paths with him. I am so grateful to have had the chance to learn from him and to have had him as a friend. My heart goes out to his family in Ottawa and all around the world."

— Jonathan Crow, concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (via CBC Music)


Candido Camero

April 22, 1921 - Nov. 7, 2020
Latin jazz percussionist

"Every percussionist working today, in any context, owes a debt of gratitude to him."

— Bobby Sanabria (via The New York Times)


Marietta Orlov

July 23, 1932 - Nov. 7, 2020
Pianist, instructor

​"Marietta was a valued friend and colleague who enriched the lives of countless musicians. Her contributions to the RCM were enormous and ongoing, and we will all miss her greatly."

— James Anagnoson, dean, the Glenn Gould School (via Royal Conservatory of Music)


Alexander Buzlov

Sept. 15, 1983 - Nov. 8, 2020
Pianist, instructor


Victor Danchenko

Nov. 12, 1937 - Nov. 17, 2020
Violinist, instructor

"To say I am proud is an understatement. I am more than proud to help develop promising and talented students. It is a feeling deep in my heart and soul. To be able to instruct these students and successfully serve a higher purpose, it's like passing the torch. The best students realize they are connected with a great past, taught by greats, and will continue teaching greats," he continued. "I consider the Royal Conservatory an alma mater of teaching, and my pedagogical home. I look forward to continuing to bring new standards of performance and education to my students at the Conservatory."

— Victor Danchenko (via Royal Conservatory of Music)


Arthur Woodley

April 13, 1949 - Nov. 20, 2020
Operatic bass

"I try to approach everything as a character actor, so I am always looking forward to doing something new, trying something new. I'm all in".

— Arthur Woodley (via Seattle Opera Blog)


André Gagnon

Aug. 2, 1936 - Dec. 3, 2020
Pianist, composer


Denise Jones

April 23, 1956 - Dec. 3, 2020
Co-founder of Jambana One World Festival, manager


Charley Pride

March 18, 1934 - Dec. 12, 2020
Singer, songwriter

"People used to say to me, 'With a voice like yours, why do you have to sing that stuff?' They used to say it like that. 'You could sing anything you want to.' I said, 'Well I'm not saying I could sing anything I want to, but I do feel that I sing the basics of American music: country, gospel and the blues. I think I'm the epitome of all of that. And not only when you hear me, but when you see me, too."

— Charley Pride (via NPR)


K.T. Oslin

May 15, 1942 - Dec. 21, 2020
Country singer-songwriter

We've been educated,
We got liberated,
And had complicating matters with men.
Oh, we've said "I do,"
And we've signed "I don't,"
And we've sworn we'd never do that again.
Oh, we burned our bras,
And we burned our dinners,
And we burned our candles at both ends.

— K.T. Oslin's "'80s Ladies"


Ivry Gitlis

Aug. 25, 1922 - Dec. 24, 2020
Violinist

"If you make music but you don't have the emotion to move people, what's the point? In masterclasses, I try to make students understand that they shouldn't only be motivated by perfect technique. It sounds like a cliché to say music is the most important thing – it's so obvious. Technique should be about gaining the ability to play what you are feeling and what you want to give, to create a situation where when you play, you forget about your work. If someone comes to me after a concert and says, 'You must have practised a lot,' it means I must have played badly."

— Ivry Gitlis (via The Strad)


Réjean Poirier

Harpsichordist, organist
April 22, 1950 - Dec. 24, 2020

"Dear Réjean, you were my first guide on the harpsichord. I was a beginner and knew nothing about early music. Through you, I discovered Bach, Couperin, Rameau, Dowland, Farnaby, Byrd and so many others…. Thank you for everything you taught me, for your encouragement, your good humour and your patience with the beginner that I was then. Rest in peace and may the song of the angels accompany your journey."

Suzie LeBlanc, artistic and executive director, Early Music Vancouver


Michael Jarvis

Fortepianist, harpsichordist, organist
Aug. 3, 1958 - Dec. 25, 2020

"We loved your impish ways and your extraordinary knowledge, and exceeding talent. Your love for the music was astounding and it inspired us all. We have lost a treasure."

Saint Barnabas Church, Victoria


Tony Rice

Bluegrass guitarist
June 8, 1951 -
Dec. 25, 2020


Douglas Haas

Dec. 25, 1936 - Dec. 27, 2020
Organist

"You were one of my first organ teachers, and had a formative influence on my understanding of the instrument. But your teaching went so much further, as you patiently mentored this somewhat erratic teenager toward a more structured approach to life in general. Over and over, you took chances on young musicians, and supported, encouraged, organized, pushed, and challenged us. And through all of it, you never lost that boyish enthusiasm for new ideas, new technology, new projects, or your zest for life."

— Jonathan Oldengarm (via Facebook)


Armando Manzanero

Dec. 7, 1935 - Dec. 28, 2020
Singer-songwriter, composer


 

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