Death of a fearless British soprano, 86

Death of a fearless British soprano, 86


norman lebrecht

May 07, 2017

We have received reports of the death on April 15 of Dorothy Dorow, a formidable modernist who premiered works by Ligeti, Hene, Dallapiccola, Nono, Birtwistle, Madena, Boulez and others no less challenging.

She had retired to Cornwall after living for many years in the Netherlands.


photo: Marcello Mencarini / Lebrecht Music&Arts


  • Vittorio Parisi says:

    What a sad new! Dorothy was very active in Italy, we had together a long tournee with the Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire when I was little more than a child. She was fantastic and a great woman. Rest in peace Dorothy

  • Dan P. says:

    She was a singer I haven’t thought about for a long time. I became aware of her in the late ’70s when I came upon her recording of Webern, Schoenberg, and late Stravinsky with Ensemble Amsterdam. This was a time when not very many people were singing that repertoire. Then there was a lot afterwards. She was fearless. I would have loved to hear her sing Boulez.

  • Chris Bell says:

    Thank you all for your lovely words about my mother; she was undoubtedly fearless.

    • Dan P. says:

      Mr. Bell, your mother will go down in history along with Bethany Beardslee, Cathy Berberian, Jan DeGaetano, Helena Lukomska, as well as maybe a few others to a lesser extent who sang the music that spoke to my generation. Without them – including your mother’s part in it – I doubt that as much of this repertoire would have become such a formative part of our development. And, in the burgeoning global culture we grew up in, your mother’s recorded influence was certainly felt across the Atlantic. Her voice will always resound in my ears when I think of those composers she cared so much about..

  • Tom Heck says:

    Dorothy and I became good friends after purchasing her condominium on De Brouwersgracht in Amsterdam The Netherlands back in 1986. She moved into a larger unit on the top floor herself. She was not only a fantastic vocalist but also a good friend. I lost contact with her after I moved back to the United States, R I P Dear Lady!!!