In Their Own Words: Inspiring Quotes by Classical Musicians We Loved and Lost in 2016

By Candice Agree |

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2016 was a year of great loss and the world of music was not spared. Along with Prince, David Bowie, Natalie Cole, and George Michael, many classical artists died this year as well. As we reflect on 2016, WFMT salutes classical musicians we loved and lost. We hope you will find some inspiration in the words of these great composers, conductors, singers, and instrumentalists who are no longer with us.

Pierre Boulez

Composer and conductor, 90

Pierre Boulez conducting the New York Philharmonic in the 1970s. (New York Philharmonic Archives)

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

composer, 81

Einojuhani Rautavaara

composer, 87

(Photo via

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

conductor, cellist and scholar, 86

(Photo: Marco Borggreve)

Ursula Mamlok

composer, 93

(Photo: Simon Pauly)

Marni Nixon

soprano 86

(Photo: Everett Collection via

Sir Neville Mariner Mariner

conductor and violinist, 92

Neil Black

oboist, 84

(Photo via

Patrice Munsel

coloratura soprano, 91


Steven Stucky

composer, 66

(via YouTube)

Other Musicians We Loved and Lost in 2016
Peter Allen, radio announcer and past host of the Metropolitan Opera radio transmissions, 96
Brian Asawa, American opera singer, 49
Paul Bley, pianist and composer, 83
Johan Botha, South African tenor, 51
Oscar Brand, folk-singer/songwriter, 96
Inocente Carreño, Venezuelan composer, 96
Phyllis Curtin, 94, American soprano
Alirio Díaz, Venezuelan classical guitarist, (the Horowitz of the guitar) 92
Daniela Dessì, Italian soprano, 59
Huguette Dreyfus, French harpsichordist, 87
Roland Dyens, Tunisian-born French guitarist, 61
Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, 71
Jules Eskin, American cellist (Boston Symphony Orchestra), 85
Zoltán Kocsis, Hungarian pianist, conductor and composer, 64
Greg Lake, Emerson, Lake & Palmer Co-Founder, 69
Louis Lane, American conductor, 92
Jane Little, longest-tenured orchestra musician in the world (dbl bass, Atlanta), 87
James MacDonald, conductor emeritus Elmhurst Choral Union (conducted since 1998)
Sir George Martin, British recording producer, 90
Gustav Meier, Swiss-born American conductor, 86
Aurèle Nicolet, flautist, 90
Heinrich Schiff, cellist and conductor, 65
Toots Thielemans, jazz musician, 94
Peter Schaffer, author of Amadeus, 90
Gregg Smith, American choral conductor and composer, 84
Saulius Sondeckis, Lithuanian violinist and conductor, 87
Isao Tomita, composer, 84