Obituary

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Mirella Freni, one of the most adored sopranos of all time, passed away on February 9th in her hometown of Modena, Italy at the age of 84.  Her storied career extended for 50 years, beginning with her debut in 1955 in Modena singing Micaëla in Bizet's Carmen to singing Ioanna in The Maid of Orleans with the Washington National Opera in 2005.

Jazz Saxophone Legend Jimmy Heath Has Died

Jan 19, 2020

Jimmy Heath, a prolific saxophonist, composer and bandleader who played alongside some of the biggest names of jazz, including Miles Davis and John Coltrane, has died.

Heath died Sunday morning in Loganville, Georgia of natural causes, his grandson told NPR. He was 93 years old. His family was at his side, including his wife of 60 years, Mona Heath, his children Mtume and Rozie, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and his brother, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath.

One of classical music's most beloved conductors has died: Latvian-born Mariss Jansons, who was age 76 at his death on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jansons had long had a heart condition, which first became known when he collapsed on the podium while conducting in Norway more than 20 years ago.

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In her remarkable career, the late Jessye Norman graced the great opera stages of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. In 2014, the American soprano remembered her first encounter with opera in a small room in Augusta, GA.

Opera fans are mourning one of the world's most revered voices.

Soprano Jessye Norman died Monday morning at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York. Her death was confirmed to NPR by a spokesperson for her family, Gwendolyn Quinn, as well as a representative from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. The official cause of death was septic shock and multi-organ failure, secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She was 74.

Composer Christopher Rouse, who once called himself a writer of "fast and furious" music and who taught courses in the history of rock, died Saturday of complications of renal cancer at age 70.

The saxophonist and clarinetist, a student of Sidney Bechet and a specialist in early styles of the music, died Aug. 4 at the age of 91. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1988, excerpted here. (Hear the full interview through the Fresh Air archive.)

Robin Jerstad

Jim Cullum, Jr. said it with music. The jazz legend, who exemplified the artistic spirit and energy of San Antonio for nearly 60 years, died peacefully at home on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Cullum was 77 years old.

The musical theater director and producer Hal Prince, winner of an unprecedented 21 Tony Awards, has died in Iceland after a brief illness. He was 91.

Prince worked on such major shows as Cabaret, Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera. But he was always looking forward to the next show, regardless of how the last one turned out.

In 1965, composer John Kander was working on a show that Prince produced called Flora, The Red Menace — and it was not going well.

All of us in the WRTI family are deeply saddened to report that our dear friend and colleague, Jeff Duperon, lost his battle with cancer today, June 17th, 2019 at age 66.

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