The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Can you name the 20 famous classical musicians who died in 2014? NPR remembers them and The Ear celebrates them with the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. | January 11, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Last year, classical music lost of a lot of important people -– performers and composers.

For The Ear, three of the most important people were the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado (below top), who was a master of the mainstream operatic and orchestral repertoire; the English conductor Christopher Hogwood (below middle), who also pioneered the performance and recording of early music, Baroque musicClassical era composers and even early Romantic composers — including Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert — on period instruments and with historically informed performance practices; and the Dutch flutist and conductor Frans Bruggen (below bottom), whose career followed a similar trajectory as Hogwood’s.

Claudio Abbado

Christopher Hogwood

Frans Bruggen 1

Those men made us hear music in new, unexpected and exciting ways — the highest achievement that any performer or interpreter can aspire to.

But we also lost highly accomplished and important singers and instrumentalists, including pianists and violinists.

The always outstanding Deceptive Cadence blog on NPR (National Public Radio) recently ran a list of 20 figures who died in 2014, though I am sure there are more.

Below is a link to the NPR story.

When you click on each entry you will get photo and full obituaries, readers’ comments and fine sound samples. So don’t be afraid to leave the NPR page and follow the various links.

And here is a fitting tribute, the final movement of the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms in which the chorus sings “Blessed are the dead for their works shall live on after them.”

And be sure to use the Comments section of this blog for any additions and tributes you wish to add, perhaps by naming your favorite composer or work they performed or recorded.



  1. “The Bishop”, Claudio Abbado, was truly special. A horrific loss for classical music.

    Comment by fflambeau — January 12, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

  2. Yes, these musicians will all be missed. Closer to home, I would also like to remember another great musician, Howard Karp.

    Comment by Anna Shen — January 12, 2015 @ 1:05 am

    • Anna,
      An outstanding suggestion.
      In fact, given the attention Howard Karp received in The New York Times and elsewhere,
      one wonders how he escaped the national and international list.
      No matter, though.
      We who knew his personal and political greatness completely agree with you.
      Thank you for reading and replying.

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 12, 2015 @ 8:15 am

  3. I completely agree with you. Thanks for putting Frans Bruggen on the list of most important people who passed this year. I just watched him conducting Eroica on YouTube last night. It was a great way to spend an hour- his musicianship has always been so inspiring to me. His Beethoven 7 is really great, too.

    Comment by Mindy Taranto — January 11, 2015 @ 10:29 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,262 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,330,042 hits
%d bloggers like this: