A classical staffer is among California fire dead

A classical staffer is among California fire dead


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2016

Matías Tarnopolsky, director of Cal Performances at Berkeley, has posted:

Dear Friends,

It is with incredible sadness that I write to inform you that a beloved member of our staff, Griffin Madden, perished in the fire in Oakland on Friday night. Griffin had been missing since last being seen there, and his death was confirmed yesterday evening.

Griffin was Cal Performances Audience Services Associate, recently winning that full-time position after having worked as a Cal student usher throughout his undergraduate career. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a double major in Philosophy, and Slavic Languages and Literature. He was devoted to Cal Performances and had been an integral member of our staff for five years, starting as a freshman at age 18. Griffin was 23 years old.

Our community is heartbroken at this news. We extend our deep condolences to Griffin’s family and to his friends.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Heartbreaking story, again.

    Often SD takes-on the appearance of a graveyard, reminding us that ars may be longa, but vita remains brevis.

    • Steven Holloway says:

      It is heartbreaking, and your observation is true. It will be more of a graveyard if deaths such as this are reported. In its current calendar, Cal Performances offer slightly less than 50% classical music events. Dance accounts for some 25%, and some events have nothing at all to do with music. Thus, if being an ‘Audience Services Associate’ at Cal warrants a “Classical Staffer” death notice, so might the unhappy passing of just about anyone.

      • jaxon says:

        Are you really taking this as an opportunity to complain that Cal Performances doesn’t present enough classical music

        • Steven Holloway says:

          Not one iota. No matter what % of its presentations might be classical, attending them would be a pretty mind-boggling commute for me. I don’t know how you managed to read that into my comment, which was rather intended to point out that the post has absolutely nothing to do with classical music, news and discussion of which is putatively the purpose of this blog. To understand why the term “classical staffer” is hardly accurate you have to know the intent of Cal Performances combined with this young man’s position with the organization. It pays him no respect to misrepresent him in any way. God knows, I’ve heard enough of people doing the same thing speaking at funerals.