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Posts Tagged ‘obituaries’

Donald Erb (Photo: Theodore Presser Company)Youngstown-born American composer Donald Erb died last week. Erb, distinguished professor emeritus of composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music, was 81.

Erb was one of the pioneers of electronic music and was especially noted for his works combining electronics with traditional instruments. He played trumpet in high school and was a jazz trumpet player in the years after World War II. Many of his later works employed brass instruments. He had an intense and visceral reaction to the Cold War and Vietnam conflict, as evidenced in such works as Fallout (1964), Fission (1968), and The Purple-Roofed Ethical Suicide Parlor (1972).

Erb attended Kent State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He then studied composition with Marcel Dick at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and with Bernhard Heiden at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received his Doctorate from Indiana in 1964.

Donald Erb was appointed to the CIM faculty in 1952. He was composer in residence there from 1966 to 1981, became distinguished professor of composition in 1987, and moved to emeritus status in 1996.

That same year, Erb suffered cardiac arrest. He had not been active as a composer since.

Erb leaves his wife of 58 years, Lucille; daughter Christine Hoell and son Matthew, both of Columbus; daughter Stephanie Erb of Los Angeles; daughter Janet Carroll of Rockaway, NJ; and nine grandchildren.

Alice Chalifoux and her dressing room
Alice Chalifoux and her
personal dressing room

If you heard the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center Sunday evening (3 August 2008), you heard the legacy of an extraordinary musician and human.

Cleveland Orchestra harpist Trina Struble shared with principal clarinet Franklin Cohen the solo duties in Cleveland-born composer Eric Ewazen’s Ballade. Struble was one of the hundreds of students nurtured by the orchestra’s harpist from 1931 to 1974, Alice Chalifoux. So was Telarc recording artist Yolanda Kondonassis.

Chalifoux died Thursday in Winchester, Virginia, at the age of 100.

Along with some of her students, Chalifoux appeared as part of the Music from Stan Hywet series. These programs were broadcast on WKSU during the 1980s. Of course, she also played in countless Cleveland Orchestra programs. As harpist under five music directors — Nikolai Sokoloff, Artur Rodzinski, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell and Lorin Maazel — she made many broadcasts and recordings with the orchestra. Hers is the solo harp you hear on the 1967 Boulez recording of Debussy’s Danse sacree et profane.

For some years Chalifoux was the only female member of The Cleveland Orchestra. Faced with concert halls that had no facilities for women, she would use her harp case as a dressing room. By the time she retired in 1974, thirteen other women had joined her in the orchestra’s ranks.

Chalifoux’s teachers included the great Carlos Salzedo. She inherited his school and taught for years at the Salzedo Harp Colony in addition to the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, and Baldwin-Wallace.

She is survived by a daughter and a niece.

Listen to part of Danses sacree et profane

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Leonard PennarioAmerican pianist Leonard Pennario has died, just two weeks short of his 84th birthday.

Pennario, born in Buffalo 9 July 1924, made his public debut at the age of 12, playing the Grieg concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He is remembered for his chamber music collaborations with violinist Jascha Heifetz and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. In the 1970s, Pennario expanded his audience appeal with more popular works by such composers as Gershwin and Gottschalk.

Pennario’s biographer, Mary Kunz Goldman, remembers Pennario’s enthusiasm for music lovers. Perhaps Pennario was thinking of Glenn Gould when he said, "You have to play for the people; you have to play for an audience. You can’t just go into the studio and make records, you know?"

Goldman says that Pennario died Friday (27 June 2008) at his home in San Diego of complications from Parkinson’s disease.


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