Death of West Coast maestro, 93

Death of West Coast maestro, 93


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2020

The chorus conductor Joseph Liebling, leader of many Bay Area ensembles, died on July 4 at the age of 93. He was music director of the Oakland Symphony Chorus for quarter of a century.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Joe Liebling, so sorry to see you go.
    I always enjoyed hearing the Oakland Symphony Chorus back in its glory days under you.
    A long life, very productively spent.
    Bravo, Joe. See you on the other side.

  • Mike and Marilyn Harryman says:

    Sad to learn of Joe’s passing! Thoughtful Obit in Sunday Chron.He will be particularly missed Playing piano at our Jan 1 New Years celebrations along with Bob Mielke, trombone, who passed earlier this year. His bright angelic smile will last forever.

  • Barbara Dane told me that Joe was esteemed in jazz circles.

  • Edgar Self says:

    I knew Mr. Lieling only by name, guessing he dated to Gerhard Samuel’s time at Oakland Symphony, for I was busy across the Bay in San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the old Municipal Chorus founded by my old friend Dr. Hans Leschke for Alfred Herz, the Winnifred Baker horale, Marin College chorus, Unitarian Church under Alexander Post, &tcc, but I know enough to trust Greg Bottini’s gauge of him.

    I think former “Chronicle’ music critic and flautist *(playing flat), Robert Coammanday, with whom I sang at Len Sperry’s private concerts in his octagolnal livng room on Belvidere Island, big enough to accommodate orchestra and chorus, with original Rembrandt ethings on the walls, though we paid Len, a Sperry-Rand heir, for refreshers. He played timpani in the Contra Costa orchestra. We did Brahms German Requiem with psychologist Erik Eriksen and his singer wife in attendance.

    Dr.Leschke, founder of San Francisco Municipal Chorus that recorded Alto Rhapsody with Marian Anderson, emigrated from Berlin after WWI with the Wagner Opera Company with Kipnis,etc., went bust, and settled in the Bay Area His original salary of $5.000 was unchanged 50 years later. I hiked every Sunday with him from West Point Club on Mt. Tamalais, where Casals had an accient. Kent Nagano was then in Berkeley, giving the U.S. oncert premiere of HansPfitner’s musicalopera “Palestrina”, whichGeorg Tintner thought the greatest opera after Wagner according to Mrs. Tintner, who posted here.

  • Barbara George says:

    I knew him in Gunnison, Colorado, when he was about to become very well known in the musical world. He was very talented and briefly on the faculty of Western State College, in Gunnison.