Death of a US orchestral composer, 96

Death of a US orchestral composer, 96


norman lebrecht

March 26, 2020

Gerard Schurmann, a composer who was commissioned by leading US orchestras, has died in Los Angeles, aged 96.

Born in the former Dutch East Indies, he was raised in England, where he formed a close friendship with the composer Alan Rawsthorne.

Moving to the US in 1981, he was much esteemed by Lorin Maazel and Edo de Waart.

He also composed extensively for film.


  • Lady Weidenfeld says:

    Very sad! He was also a good friend of Bernard Herrmann and we used to see a lot of him in London in the 60s together with Benny who was a close family friend.

    • Annabel, how wonderful to read your comment, and be reminded of those days when we all got together with Benny. I’d love to be in touch. Can you send me an e-mail? If you can’t see the address here, Sam Wilcock at Novello (Wise Music Group) would give it to you.

  • Adam Stern says:

    A fine composer whose works embraced everything from darkness to whimsy, despair to ecstasy… His compositions make considerable, but never impossible, demands on the performer, and reward the executant with the license to really let go.

    Two widely contrasting movements from his “Six Studies of Francis Bacon”: