Deep sorrow: Marin Alsop loses both her parents

Deep sorrow: Marin Alsop loses both her parents


norman lebrecht

February 05, 2014

The conductor has lost both of her parents in the past two weeks. Both were respected professional musicians. Marin has asked Slipped Disc to share these messages with the music community.

Dear friends;

It is with great emotion that I share the news of my mother’s passing.  Kristin and I had a slumber party with her all night and after we served a big lunch, surrounded by friends and family, we sorted through old pictures near her bedside, laughing and sharing memories together.  Shortly after we finished my mother slipped away to a deeply peaceful rest.

She was courageous to the end, defying every single doctor’s expectations, living 5 times beyond their predictions…but would we have expected anything less?

Most importantly, in the end, she was truly at peace and had become the person and mother she had always wanted to be. Thank you all for loving my mother and for sharing her time on this planet.

with much love


*marin and ruth alsop


Saratoga Springs

Ruth Alsop – 82, passed away at home, surrounded by her family, on January 23rd. She was born on February 24th, 1931 in Melrose, Massachusetts, the daughter of the late William and Mary O’Neil Condell. She attended St. Mary’s Academy in Melrose, after which she attended Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, where she received her Master’s degree in Music. She also attended the Yale School of Music, eventually moving to Colorado to further her study in music.

She was a cellist for 50+ years with the New York City Orchestra Ballet. She toured with Columbia Artists with the Gotham Trio. Ruth was also a cellist for the Radio City Music Hall and taught music at Brooklyn College and Potsdam University for many years. When the Statue of Liberty reopened, Ruth played with Frank Sinatra at the ceremonies. She owned Schoolhouse Antiques in Saratoga.

Ruth is survived by her daughter Marin Alsop and her Partner Kristin Jurkscheit of Baltimore, MD; Sisters M. Elaine Love of Saratoga Springs, NY., Clair Meuse of Wilton, ME., Nancy Green of Wakefield, MA; Beloved grandson, Auden Alsop, 11 nieces and nephews and many, great-nieces and nephews and adored friends. The family will hold a Tribute to Ruth’s amazing life later in the year.

Online condolences can be made at

Donations to the Alsop Family Foundation to further Ruth’s commitment to women in the arts can be made in lieu of flowers.


lamar alsop


Dear friends;

It is with unspeakable sorrow that I share the news of my father’s death. We told stories of his many escapades and he quietly and peacefully left us. He was an inspiring, gifted, talented, fun loving, generous man who had only kindness in his heart. His passing is especially heartbreaking, coming less than two weeks after my beautiful mother’s passing. 

We will be planning a celebration concert in NYC for later this spring.  Please remember Lamar smiling, whistling, riding his bike through the streets of Manhattan with his violin or viola (or both) dangling over the handlebars! 

Thank you all for your kindness and compassion.



Baltimore, Maryland

Keith Lamar Alsop passed away on February 3, 2014 at 10:30pm with his family at his side. He was born on March 11, 1928 in Murray, Utah, and grew up surrounded by 7 siblings and much music.

Graduating from the Mannes College of Music, “Lamar” served as the Concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra for over 30 years, retiring in 1993. A versatile musician, he began his career at the age of 17 in the Utah Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Maurice Abravenal and mastered the violin, viola, clarinet, flute  and saxophone before completing his musical studies at Columbia University.  Lamar was a member of the Beaux Art String Quartet, the American String Quartet, the Carnegie String Quartet, the Alsop-Bernstein Trio, with wife, Ruth Alsop, and the Philadelphia Piano Quartet with fellow concertmaster, Norman Caroll.  He served as a faculty member at Brooklyn College, SUNY Pottsdam  and Luzerne Music Center. In addition to his career in symphonic music, Alsop toured the country with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.

Lamar was one of the most well-recorded studio artists of his generation. He collaborated and recorded with Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Tony Bennett, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Peter, Paul and Mary, Ricky Martin, Wynton Marsalis, Gloria Estefan, Spyro Gyra and many others. He can be heard on the sound tracks of over 50 movies, including “Fargo” and “Fame.” Among his avocations was the fine art of whistling and he was featured on numerous albums and commercials as whistler.


Proud Father of Marin and her partner, Kristin Jurkscheit, he is also survived by his beloved grandson, Auden. (Lamar was an avid antique collector; he loved corned beef sandwiches from the Carnegie Deli: renovating houses; and always had a project in progress. He took pride in crafting hand-turned batons for his daughter.) He is pre-deceased by Ruth E. Alsop, his former wife of 49 years, and cellist in the New York City Ballet for more than 50 years who passed away on January 23, 2014.


The family will have a memorial service to honor their enormous contribution to music and life in NYC later this year.  Tax deductible donations can be made to the Alsop Family Foundation: PO Box 70185 Springfield, Oregon 97475.


lamar alsop2


  • What sadness for Maestra Alsop–and yet what an extraordinary and beautiful partnership of her parents, who were so close that it seemed as though they could not be without one another for too long. Condolences to the Alsop family.

    • shirley schultz says:

      Dear Marin & family,

      I was deeply saddened to hear of your father’s passing so soon after your mother. Norman called me early today to tell me the news. We are heartbroken!

      I have so many fond memories of your parents and will miss them terribly.

      Please keep the Saratoga people informed on the special program you plan for them.

      My deepest condolences go out to you.

      With Fondness,

      Shirley Schultz

  • Janey says:

    Heart-wrenching. My sincere, deepest condolences.

  • Thank you for sharing with us the passing of your wonderful parents. I keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Rgiarola says:


    We are all sending heartfelt condolences on the loss of your loved ones. (All from São Paulo – The city you’re the symphony MD)

  • Lucy Manning says:

    This such sad news. I admired your parents so much and was honored to call them my friends when I lived in Saratoga Springs. Their passion for life, love of people, and pursuit of excellence were infectious,

  • Dear Marin,

    I have always held GREAT fond, loving memories of both of your parents as they were incredibly joyous and supportive and loving to me when I joined – only as a sub – the Ballet Family. I also shared your Mom’s love of antiques and bought a simple, lovely broach from her one Saratoga summer and wore it just last week, oddly, on the day she passed. I love them both and always thought of them and how proud they must have continued to be of your well – deserved success.

  • Keitha Hamann says:

    I am so sorry for your losses. I send you comforting thoughts and prayers for strength and resilience.

  • Sending deepest and most heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved and remarkable Mother and Father. Our thoughts are with you.

    Lydia Artymiw and David Grayson

  • Kirstin Peltz says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful parents with so many people. We were so grateful to be able to spend time with and get to know both of them in Saratoga, Glens Falls and Luzerne. Our deepest condolences to you, Kristin and Auden.


    Charles, Kirstin and Ellie Peltz

  • Ava Ordman says:

    Thinking of you, Marin, at this most difficult time. Sending my love and prayers to you, Kristin and Auden. Love you, Ava

  • Dearest Marin, Your grief must be all-consuming at this double loss of your devoted and wonderful parents. The only consolation that they are still together to care for each other on their next journey. They must have been so very proud of you. You are in my thoughts and my heart goes out to you.

    Lots of love,

    Chi-chi xxx

  • My heart goes out to you, Marin and Auden, for the loss of your warm, funny, and truly remarkable parents. As violist of that Carnegie Quartet in residence at Brooklyn College, they helped to make the musical life of New York scene a joy. I hold them dearly in my memory – Lamar’s pointed wisecracks, Ruthie’s ever-present grin, you coming out of your bedroom as a child to play your violin for me in your PJs in the house that Lamar built with his own hands, and their exceptional humanity. Your musical accomplishments manifest a natural leap from their combined talent and love of life. Naomi and I have the fondest memories of times, musical and other, together.


  • Thinking of you, Marin. Since my youth, I heard your parents play for and with the NYC Ballet for years on end at SPAC in the summer months. I remember reading the program and seeing their names on the program and thinking “what a great family affair, making music together.” I am from a family of pianists so it resonated with me. Love learning about their antique collecting, too (another passion of my family). Wonderful memories. I’ll hang onto them. My heart goes out to you

  • Nanette Koch says:

    Sending most sincere condolences to you and your family. Your remarkable parents left a lasting legacy.

  • Mitch Estrin says:


    I am deeply saddened to read of the passing of your beloved parents. What a great joy and privilege it was to work alongside your father in the NY studios for so many years – and how proud he was of you! I also remember working with your mother on that freezing night on Governor’s Island in 1986. Lamar and Ruth will be missed by so many people – anyone who had the great fortune to have known them – and the music world. My father has been gone for 13 years now. He and Lamar played together hundreds of times and even whistled together for the microphone on occasion. The end of an era. May you find some comfort at this time of incalculable loss. Thinking of you.

    Mitch Estrin

  • Russell Harlow says:

    A wonderful performance of the Smetana Quartet with Lamar Alsop can be found at!new-beaux-arts-tquartet/c16fm. A wonderful musician. Our condolences. Russell and Leslie Harlow

  • Dearest Marin. I have not been in touch with you for so many years, but hold you fondly in my heart. What a huge weight on your heart as these weeks have been so emotionaly draining and such loss. I do consider a beautiful person and have truly wonderful memories of our time together! I am still doing the early music thing…and I have watched you grow up the exciting ladder. Come to Chicago! Love Jeri-Lou

  • Maurice Peress says:

    Dear Marin,

    I loved your Dad we played together in the Mannes Orchestra in the early fifties, Lamar was often concertmaster and I played first trumpet when he played the Brahms concerto. Over the years since Lamar often played principal for me most recently in the “Birth of the Rhapsody in Blue” concerts including it’s prize winning CD. A sweetheart as a player and a human. And did he take immense pride in your success. I knew your Mom as well. Your double loss is only made bearable thru music and your loving family. Maurice

  • Sarah Connolly says:

    Dear Marin

    Sending you love and supportive hugs at this shocking time.

    You have been blessed by having your parents with you for so long, and your family has such a fantastic dynamic.

    Sarah C. X

  • Bob Gluck says:

    Marin, I’m so sorry and saddened to hear about the death of each of your folks. They meant so much to me during those years in Potsdam and following, including down in Westchester . I hadn’t seen them in a while until a day up in luzerne not that long ago, which reminded me of what special people they were. You’ve given them so much to be proud of. Bob Gluck

  • Jenny Powers says:

    Dear Marin – from Smitty of PHM and daughter Jenny

    We will miss Lamar and your visits, you both brought sunshine into our midst! Your and Auden’s duets were a treat for Smitty and the day room group.

    Blessings & comfort to you. Jenny & Smitty

  • Joshua Perry says:


    Your parents were always kind and generous to me and my parents, Steve and Penny of the Oregon Antique Mall. My father (passed, 2007) especially enjoyed their visits.

    I fondly remember the time I delivered furniture to the Saratoga mansion and stayed the night. (Do you know it’s haunted?)

    They were the best.

    Blessings to you.

  • Kimberly Butler Nelson says:

    Marin, my thoughts and prayers are with you! What special people your parents were! I feel blessed to have known them!

  • Jeffrey Schindler says:

    Dear Marin,

    Bonnie and I are so sorry to hear of your loss, and our thoughts are with you at this most difficult of times. We wish you, in its proper time, a return to contentment, wholeness, and peace.

  • John Evans says:

    Dear Marin. I know from your many friends here in Eugene just how devoted you were to your parents and how proud they were of you. This must be a terribly distressing time, losing both parents within days of one another, and I wanted you to know that your friends, colleagues and admirers at the OBF were greatly saddened by this news, and all our thoughts and love go out to you at this time. Take care. John

  • Jo Anne Meinert says:

    Dear Marin, May the caring thoughts of your friends from the Foothills Unit of the Colorado Symphony Guild comfort you at this time. Jo Anne Meinert ,Colorado Symphony Guild

  • Dear Marin,

    I never met your parents, but they sound like wonderful people. They must have been very proud of you. My condolences go to you on the sad occasion of both of their deaths. May your love for them and for music sustain you in this difficult time.

  • Darlene says:

    Dear Marin

    Please accept my condolences, I know this must be a difficulty time for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Marin, thanks for sharing so many interesting anecdotes about your parents in

    They were unusual, dedicated, and very interesting people. I send you condolences on your double loss.

  • claire alsop says:

    Dear Marin

    I am a stranger to you researching my family tree and chanced upon this site (I am an Alsop too) born England, now in Australia, my thoughts are with you at what is probably the most difficult time in your life. I would not normally leave a comment on such a site but as I expect we have a centuries old common ancestry to the first Alsops who originated in Derbyshire I felt a little sad at your loss, funny really but there you are. Anyway my warm wishes and thoughts from Australia to you.

  • David Straka says:

    Dear Marin,

    We send our heartfelt sympathy upon the loss of your parents. I carry fond memories of rehearsing and performing Brahms’ Sextet in G with Ruth and Lamar at Luzerne along with some other great musicians. Your folks were not only wonderful to work with, but were also warm, generous and funny, instantly befriending Leslie and me. We still have a lovely hand-stitched clutch toy made by your mom after the birth of our first son. I feel fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to know and work with all three of you. With deepest condolences,

    David Straka