News of two great men passing came my way this morning. While that might not be the greatest way to start a Monday, reflecting on their gifts and great lives isn’t so bad.
First, I learned that Gyorgy Ligeti died this morning at age 83. One of my most memorable concert-going experiences - one of those that made me want to stand up and shout and say “YES!! THIS is how music is supposed to be!” – was hearing Pierre Laurent-Aimard play Ligeti’s Etudes at Tanglewood in 2003. His hands were a cartoonish blur at times as seemingly thousands of notes poured out of the piano. It was inspiring.
That same summer, several of my colleagues sang Le Grand Macabre in concert with the Tanglewood Orchestra, Robert Spano on the podium. Another fantastic work. At the end, when the audience was applauding madly, Spano lifted the score off of his stand and held it up to the crowd, as if to say, “Don’t applaud us, applaud this.” And they did.
I also learned this morning that Daniel Steiner, President of New England Conservatory from 1999 through the end of this past school year, died Sunday. The first non-musician to head the school, he brought to NEC his business savvy combined with his great love of music and belief in the futures all the students. He always had a smile for us as we rushed past him in the halls.
There are several NEC graduates here at Santa Fe this summer; at least five apprentices and maybe more, not to mention mainstage artists. Maybe we can all send a card…
Two great men, two great lives. May we learn from their example.