Top 30 Pieces of Classical Music
A Look Back: Notable 2012 Deaths in the Classical Music Industry
While each new year in the classical music industry is filled with great developments that continue to push this storied art form forward, each year is also filled with unfortunate deaths that affect composers and performers around the world. 2012 was no different, with a number of big names passing away and leaving the industry longing for someone to replace them as innovators, composers, and drivers forward of this essential profession.
At 103 years old, it’s hard to argue that composer Elliot Carter didn’t live life to its fullest for far longer than most of his contemporaries in the field. Carter’s work was innovative throughout his long and heralded career in the classical music industry, and he often pushed classical music further into modern times with each piece of music he composed. In the end, he was rewarded with two Pulitzer prizes for his legendary work and contributions to the field, and he will be remembered as a chief innovator among American composers.
While Elliot Carter might hold the title of most innovative composer, Ruggiero Ricci probably hold the title of the best violinist of the last century. Born Woodrow Wilson Rich, the performer made up for his rather usual name by becoming unusually good at violin performance at a young age. He was perhaps one of the best and youngest violin prodigies in America during the 20th century, and enjoyed a long career of performance that lasted until his dying day. Ricci was a particular hit in southern California, where the vast majority of his performances were staged later in his life.
At 85 years old, Charles Rosen was considered one of the leading forces in piano performance as well as in instruction of the craft. His performances were second to none and, for the vast majority of his 85 years, he performed in packed concert halls all around the world. It was his books, however, that garnered him the most lasting recognition. Perhaps the most well received of his works, “The Classical Style,” earned the National Book Award in 1972 and is considered one of the leading tomes regarding classical and piano performance styles.
Aged 61, Lorin Levee died as one of the longest-serving principal clarinetists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Levee was born in Chicago, but brought his talents to the L.A. Phil in 1976. Just five years later, he was named the principal clarinet performer for the organization and maintained that title until his death last year.
Hans Werner Henze
Known for his melding of various musical styles, including classical music and jazz, German composer Hans Werner Henze served as one of the chief innovators for classical composure throughout the 20th century. Henze’s commitment to atonality will be his lasting legacy, as it served to revolutionize performance during the middle part of the last century and continues to do so today.