Categotry Archives: Musicians


Harold Schonberg

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Categories: Media, Musicians

Harold Charles Schonberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic for The New York Times, died on July 26. Cause of death was not released. He was 87.
Schonberg took his first trip to the Metropolitan Opera when he was 11. That night he decided he wanted to become a music critic when he grew up. Almost four decades later, he devoted a Sunday column to his recollections of that evening.
As an undergraduate at Brooklyn College, Schonberg published his first reviews in the Musical Advance. He attended grad school at New York University and wrote a master’s thesis on the musical and literary significance of Elizabethan songbooks.
In 1939, Schonberg became a record critic for American Music Lover magazine, a publication that was later renamed the American Record Guide. His career was placed on hold during World War II when he served as a code breaker and parachutist in the United States Army Airborne Signal Corps.
When the war ended, Schonberg returned to New York City and took a job as a music critic for The New York Sun. He also contributed reviews to the Musical Courier, Musical Digest and Gramophone.
Schonberg joined The New York Times in 1950 and became its record editor five years later. By 1960, he was promoted to senior music critic, a position he held for two decades. Schonberg wrote daily reviews and longer Sunday features on opera and classical music. In 1971, he won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. It was the first time the award was given to a music critic.
Schonberg also had a passion for writing about chess and literature. He covered the Boris Spassky-Bobby Fischer championship match in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1972, and the championship match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in 1984. From 1972 to 1995, Schonberg reviewed mysteries and thrillers for The New York Times Book Review under the pseudonym Newgate Callendar.
Schonberg also published 13 books, including “The Great Pianists,” “The Lives of the Great Composers” and “Facing the Music,” a collection of his favorite columns.


Erik Braunn


Categories: Musicians

ebraunn.jpgErik Braunn, the former guitarist of Iron Butterfly, died of cardiac arrest on July 25. He was 52.

Braunn was a four-year-old violin savant when he got accepted into the prodigy program at The Boston Symphony. When he was 16, heavy metal band Iron Butterfly asked him to join the group. He played with Ron Bushy, Lee Dorman and Doug Ingle from 1967 to 1969 — the band’s most prosperous period.

In 1968, Iron Butterfly released the album, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which sold over 20 million copies, went platinum and stayed on the Billboard Magazines charts for over a year.

Braunn’s contribution to the 17-minute song by the same name is one of the most recognizable guitar licks in rock music. Although a three-minute version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was released, the longer one was favored by radio DJs who wanted to take an extra long break.

Braunn occasionally reunited Iron Butterfly for concerts, but he was putting together a solo album when he died.

Listen to a Clip From “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

Listen to “Stiletto (A Night in Morocco)” by Erik Braunn


Joel Brandon


Categories: Musicians

Joel Alexander Brandon, “The Master Whistler,” died on July 15 from pancreatic cancer. He was 56.
Brandon was a Chicago native who studied composition at the American Conservatory of Music. Although he sang and played the flute, Brandon’s true talent was whistling.
By sucking air in through pursed lips, Brandon had a three-range octave whistle that won national and international contests. He whistled the “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the White Sox and the San Francisco Giants, and performed with several world-class orchestras. In 1997, Brandon was inducted into the Whistlers Hall of Fame. He released his debut CD, “Haven’t We All…?” in 2001.


Ernest Outlaw

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Categories: Musicians

Ernest Outlaw, a bass violinist who played jazz at the Chicago Playboy Club, died on July 12 of kidney failure. He was 75.
Outlaw started playing music when he was five or six years old. He taught himself the bass, then learned how to play various woodwind instruments. During World War II, Outlaw toured Europe playing the sax in the 427th Army Band.
After he returned to the states, Outlaw joined the Joe Iaco Trio, the band at the Playboy Club, and played there for 25 years, performing alongside Barbra Streisand, James Moody and Sonny Sitt.


Rosalyn Tureck


Categories: Musicians, Writers/Editors

rtureck.jpgRosalyn Tureck was a distinguished pianist whose devotion to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach lasted for over 60 years.
Tureck started playing the piano when she was four years old. She took lessons with Russian pianist Sophia Brilliant-Liven, and made her public recital debut in Chicago at the age of nine.
As a teenager, Tureck auditioned for the Juilliard School of Music in New York by playing most of Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues from memory. Although Bach was not considered a good career choice for a concert pianist, Tureck was accepted into the school. But when she made it to the finals of the Naumburg Competition, the jury refused to give her an award for playing an all-Bach program.
During her first week at Juilliard, Tureck taught herself to play the theremin. Her performance of “God Save the Queen” earned her a year-long scholarship, and her 1932 debut at Carnegie Hall consisted of playing a Bach concerto on the electronic instrument. Tureck eventually learned how to play the harpsichord and the clavichord, as well.
While performing numerous Bach concerts at Town Hall in New York, Tureck created a parallel career playing recitals of Chopin, Debussy, Brahms and Beethoven with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. But her adoration of Bach’s style only blossomed with time. Twenty years later, Tureck moved to London and formed the Tureck Bach Players and the International Bach Society. These projects, along with her continued performances of his work, earned Tureck the title, the “high priestess of Bach.”
In her lifetime, Tureck released more than 20 albums and gave orchestral performances as a soloist and conductor all over the world. She held teaching posts at the Philadelphia Conservatory, Juilliard and Columbia University, and published several books including the three-volume set, “An Introduction to the Performance of Bach.”
Tureck died on July 17. She was 89.

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