The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are people that classical music lost in 2015. Can you think of others? | January 2, 2016

By Jacob Stockinger

Each year inevitably brings losses in the world of classical music.

And 2015 was no different.

Yet it some ways it seems to The Ear that the losses are getting harder to bear.

Is it because The Ear is getting older -– and finds that aging is not as desensitizing to death as he had expected?

Is it because so many of the deaths were high-profile figures like the German conductor Kurt Masur, who resurrected the New York Philharmonic and helped broker German reunification; or the distinguished Czech pianist Ivan Moravec, who also played the music for the Oscar-winning film “Amadeus”?

Kurt Masur closeup

ivan moravec playing

Is it because one of them, Metropolitan Opera’s weekly radio host Margaret Juntwait, died much too young from cancer?

Margaret Juntwait

Is it because of a local link, like the dramatic tenor Jon Vickers (below top in a 1998 photo by Graham Trott; and below bottom, as Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes) who performed in Madison when the Madison Opera was still coming of age?


Jon Vickers as Peter Grimes

Is it because it was someone who helped us, who brought us new beauty, as Robert Craft (below top, signing a copy of his memoir for Naxos) did with his championing of Igor Stravinsky? (In the photo below, Craft, left, is seen with Stravinsky.)

robert craft older

Robert Craft, left, and Igor Stravinsky

And there were others.

Here is a list of the classical music losses compiled by WQXR, the famed FM radio station in New York City:!/story/memoriam-classical-musicians-who-died-2015/



And to honor all those who were taken from us, The Ear offers one of the best pieces for grieving he knows, the stately and restrained “Pavane for a Dead Princess” by Maurice Ravel in the original piano version.

It is played below in a YouTube video by the late great pianist Shura Cherkassky.



  1. Both the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and Madison Symphony lost wonderful people in the past few months.

    Comment by Kia Karlen — January 4, 2016 @ 9:15 am

    • Dear Kia,
      Thank you for reading and replying, and for providing this information about local musicians we lost.
      You help is much appreciated
      and I apologize for overlooking them.
      The Ear

      Comment by welltemperedear — January 4, 2016 @ 9:25 am

  2. Anne Koscielny, concert pianist, pedagogue passed away on Sunday, 15 February, 2015, from brain cancer. She died peacefully in her home in Heath, Massachusetts, surrounded by loving family and friends. Born in 1936, in Tallahassee, Florida, Ms. Koscielny’s early education was in Jacksonville, Florida where she graduated summa cum laude from Robert E. Lee High School. A scholarship student at Eastman School of Music, (Rochester, NY), she studied piano with Cécile Staub Genhart, and graduated with distinction in 1958. Koscielny won multiple awards, including first prize of the Kosciuzko Chopin Competition and a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna, Austria. She married John Perry in1958. In 1960, she was a finalist in the Warsaw Chopin Competition. Later that year, her daughter, Cecile was born. In 1962, she was awarded a full scholarship to study at Manhattan School of Music (New York) with Robert Goldsand. Her marriage to John Perry ended. Upon graduation with distinction in1964, she was hired at Hartt School of Music (West Hartford, CT). She remained at Hartt for 23 years, and due to her tireless dedication to her students and to the refinement of her art, she was a vital part of the energy and life force of the school. She was the resident pianist at Taos School of Music Chamber Camp in New Mexico from 1969 – 1981. Ms. Koscielny was invited in 1987 to perform and teach as Artist in Residence at the University of Maryland in College Park. The following year, she was hired as a full professor, and she remained there until she retired in 2001. In her retirement years, she held positions as visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music, Furman University, and at Hartt School of Music where she had begun her teaching career. In 1972, she debuted at Wigmore Hall, where her performance was acclaimed by the London Telegraph as filled with “fire and feeling, outstanding interpretations, power and control¿a remarkable debut.” A Beethoven scholar and specialist, Koscielny performed the complete cycle of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas six times. She performed and lectured throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Europe, South America, and Asia. Koscielny served as featured artist and led master classes for numerous festivals, served on Fulbright Screening Committee, Gina Bachauer Competition, Maryland International Competition, Matthay Festival Committee. She has performed solo recitals at Kennedy Center, National Gallery of Art, Phillips Collection, Cummer Museum of Art, Kilbourne Hall, Wigmore Hall (London), and the Mohawk Trail Concert Series in Charlemont, MA. In addition, chamber concert collaborations included performances with the New Hungarian, American, Guarneri, and Emerson String Quartets, with orchestral appearances with Jacksonville Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Boston Pops, and Taipei City Symphony. Anne was married to David Woolley from 1965 to 1972. In 1973 Raymond Hanson and Anne were married. For 42 years, they collaborated musically and shared their home with family, fellow colleagues and students. Anne is survived by her husband, Raymond Hanson (Heath, MA), her sister, Margaret Koscielny (Jacksonville, FL), her children: Cécile and her husband, Jim Audette (Baltimore, MD), Lisa Hanson (Middletown, CT), Karen Hanson (West Hartford, CT), Krystyn and her husband, Dana Kelley (Bailey Island, ME), her grandchildren Renée Audette, Michael Picard, Heather LaCasse, David Veslocki, great grandchildren Drew and Olivia La Casse, and predeceased by her brother, Gordon Epperson (Tuscon, AZ)

    Comment by Thomas Moody — January 2, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

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