As the year comes to a close, let us pause to remember a number of musical artists whose passing in 2022 is profoundly felt. The list below is not meant to be complete but includes some of the most personal and notable names in the Chicago community and the world at large.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra family lost three prominent members in 2022: Dale Clevenger (1940-2022), who served as the CSO principal horn from 1966-2013; Jonathan Pegis (1960-2022), a much-loved member of the cello section from 1986-2018, and Donald Peck (1930-2022), who was principal flute from 1957-1999.
Chicago also lost violinist and educator Terrance Gray (1963-2022), who influenced the lives of young musicians in Chicago for nearly 30 years as Associate Conductor of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and Music Director of the Rita Simo Youth Orchestra. His cheerful, nurturing guidance remains a model for exemplary music education.
Movers and Shakers of Chamber Music
American cellist Leslie Parnas (1931-2022) was an early participant at the Marlboro Festival. Parnas was also a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which would go on to do more than any other organization to champion the cause of chamber music in the United States.
American composer George Crumb (1929-2022) was an avant-garde composer who pioneered the use of a range of extended techniques that redefined the sonic and performance-art possibilities for chamber music. The immersive experience of Crumb’s music continues to capture the imagination of new audiences.
British violist Roger Tapping (1960-2022), who joined the Juilliard Quartet in 2013, after having been a member of the Takács Quartet, was revered for his musical insight and artistic integrity. At Juilliard and the New England Conservatory, Tapping was a beloved teacher of many of the current generation of musical stars.
Pianist Joseph Kalichstein (1946-2022) was a brilliant solo and chamber music pianist who toured with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio for decades, beginning in 1977. Kalichstein was also a beloved educator whose many students went on to become prominent performers and teachers throughout the world.
A Conductor, a Soloist, and a Concertmaster
Larry Rachleff (1955-2022) was the founder of the Chicago Philharmonic. Rachleff was a well-respected musician and a gifted educator who trained a generation of successful orchestral musicians for over three decades at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. The famed Romanian pianist Radu Lupu (1945-2022), whose interpretations of Schubert were held up as a model for refined musicianship, won a Grammy for his 1996 recording of two Schubert Sonatas. Lupu’s four-hand Schubert performances with pianist-conductor Daniel Barenboim are legendary. American conductor
Violinist Jorja Fleezanis (1952-2022) was appointed concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra in 1989, becoming only the second woman in the U.S. to hold the title of concertmaster in a major orchestra. She was the longest-tenured concertmaster in the Minnesota Orchestra’s history, serving until 2009. Fleezanis was active as a chamber musician and soloist, and she was a revered educator whose many students continue to flourish all over the world.
A Unique Musical Leader
Violinist Geoff Nutall (1965-2022) was a visionary artist who co-founded the St. Lawrence Quartet in 1989 and remained its first violinist and spiritual leader until his death last October. Nutall built a unique connection with audiences through his passion, charisma, and unconventional ways of drawing listeners’ attention to the inner meaning of the music.
Each of these artists lifted the musical world in different ways. Together they leave a lasting legacy among their listeners and students. They are gone but not forgotten.