Monday, April 4, 2011

Lee Hoiby (1926-2011): Where the Music Came From

A week ago – Monday, March 28th, 2011 – Ellen Hughes forwarded an e-mail to me announcing that American composer Lee Hoiby had died that afternoon at the age of 85.

If you attended the Market Square Concerts program in March, 2009, you heard Hoiby’s “Sextet for Winds & Piano” with Stuart Malina joining the Dorian Wind Quintet and perhaps had a chance to meet the composer who’d driven down from his Catskill home for the performance. Most people I talked to after that concert were convinced his birth date in the program was a typo – no way was this jovial, vital man 83 years old!

You can read the post from Sequenza21 here which includes the official obituary, and a reminiscence by a friend in this post at New Music Box, here.

In addition to being a composer I have long admired, Lee was a friend whom I’d corresponded with occasionally since I was in high school, but I haven’t been able to bring myself around to writing about it on my own blog – soon, perhaps.

But you can read my accounts of his visit to Harrisburg two years ago here with a follow-up post about other works by Lee Hoiby I'd recommend for people in the audience who, liking the sextet, wondered what else was out there they could listen to. Also, these posts about dinner with Lee before that concert and then this one about some inspiring songs for composers or listeners, including one of Lee’s more famous songs, “Where the Music Comes From.”

As often happens when composers die, their music lives on – as if they’ve never really left us. It’s just sad knowing there will be no more music coming from where that music came from…

- Dick Strawser

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