We are saddened to learn of the death during the night of Mira Zakai, an Israeli contralto who won a Grammy for her recording of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with Sir Georg Solti and performed with most of the world’s top conductors and orchestras. She was in recovery from a stroke that she suffered a year ago.
A person of unassuming manners and profound humilty, she was the least assertive of colleagues yet always a strong presence. Like her surname, which means innocent, she seemed untouched by the darker sides of life.
Mira wrote a wonderful book of conversations with the deep-thinking, equally shy Israeli composer Andre Hajdu. Several other composers wrote for her. She retired from singing in 2000 and became Head of Lied and Oratorio at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv.
A devotee of Slipped Disc, she and I enjoyed many conversations. Amir Mandel has written a beautiful Hebrew obituary.
Her memory is blessed.