From Alan Watkins (on orchestralist):
I record the death a few days ago at the Mount Sinai Hospice NY of the timpanist and percussionist Michael Aaronson after a long battle against serious illness.
While probably not well known in “name” terms he was a significant timpanist and percussionist in the busy New York scene for over forty years and played across a very wide range of music from full symphony to Broadway and pretty much everywhere in between.
He is known to his colleagues as an expert on timpani heads and mallets and was, at one time, involved with helping Ludwig design timp heads which were, then, a significant improvement on what was currently on the market.
He was a graduate of Juilliard where he studied timpani under Saul Goodman. He had battled serious illness for sometime with his usual built in optimism.
He was the “first choice extra” for the New York Philharmonic for a long time and can be heard on Bernstein’s recordings of the Mahler symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon.
He was regularly consulted by timpanists well outside America for his views on all manner of matters concerning the kettledrums.
RIP and condolences to his family.