The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Here are many of the major figures that classical music lost in 2017 | January 2, 2018

By Jacob Stockinger

One of the traditional ways to start a new year is to take stock of the past year.

That often means compiling lists of the best performances, the best recordings, the best books, and so forth.

It also means listing the major figures who died in the past year.

Two of the more prominent classical music performers who died in 2017 were the renowned Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (below top), who died of a brain tumor at 55, and the conductor Georges Prêtre (below bottom in a photo by Dieter Hagli for Getty Images).

There were many more, but they seem harder to find or to remember.

It seems to The Ear that such lists used to be more common.

It also seems to The Ear that many more of such lists for classical music are being incorporated into a overall lists of entertainers and celebrities in pop, rock, country, jazz, folk and even film stars who died. That is what National Public Radio (NPR) and The New York Times did this year.

Does that trend suggest that classical music is gradually and increasingly being marginalized or ignored? It is a reasonable question with, The Ear fears, a sad answer.

Does anyone else see it the same way?

But at least one reliable source – famed radio station WQXR-FM in New York City – has provided a list of performers, presenters and scholars of classical music who died in 2017.

Moreover, the list comes with generous sound and video samples that often make the loss more poignant.

Here is the link:

https://www.wqxr.org/story/music-made-classical-artists-lost-2017

Has someone been overlooked, especially among local figures?

If so, please use the COMMENT section to leave a name or even your reaction to the other deaths.

The Ear wants to hear.


2 Comments »

  1. It seems that all music is now being blended regardless of genre. That classical artists are being included with other more contemporary genres may or may not speak well of their increasing inclusion in such lists. A celebrity is, after all, a celebrity, regardless of accomplishment. It depends on your point of view and whether or not you want to accept the nature of inclusiveness as a positive one. I think that it is, but that could and would exclude a lot of less well-known classical performers in a general list. Perhaps there’s a place for a “master list,” as well as one specific to the genre.

    Comment by Mike and Jean — January 2, 2018 @ 8:58 am

  2. If the list included many musical genres already, then why make an exception for classical music? Is it somehow different from other genres? Some might argue it was, I guess. But you could ask the same question about any of the other genres that were included.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — January 2, 2018 @ 7:43 am


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