Death of a US pianist-composer, 80

Death of a US pianist-composer, 80


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2020

The composer and pianist Arthur Maddox has died, aged 80.

Based in Eugene, Oregon, he worked with the National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics and the official pianist of the US Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team. He was a close friend of the novelist Ken Kesey. His children’s piece Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear has been widely performed by US orchestras.

As a student, he helped John Cage make a four-hand version of his piece Cheap Imitation.





  • It wasn’t Cage’s Cheap Imitation, but rather Satie’s Socrate, and the arrangement is for two pianos.

    • Firing Back says:

      Aww, wasn’t that sweet. Such a warm, humane and sensitive correction to the death notice of a musician who will be sorely missed. It oozed empathy (eye roll).

      Spare me these bean counter pianists with no people skills.

  • RobK says:

    A lovely man, I knew Art well in the late 90’s and wrote my Music for Art and Tom for him with sax player Tom Bergeron. RIP Art.

    • Don Latarski says:

      Hi Rob,
      My name is Don Latarski. I’m putting together a video memorial for Art. He and I worked together extensively here in Eugene, OR mostly around the compositions of Mason Williams. If you have a story and/or video/audio that you’d like to share, please send to me at:

  • Betsy Parker says:

    My friend Arthur Maddox was 80 years old when he passed on Monday, Oct. 19 in Eugene, OR. He had been isolated in a locked-down rehabilitation center since March, unable to recover from emergency hip surgery. He developed pneumonia and passed without being able to see friends or return to his home. He was a gifted composer, pianist and arranger and is greatly missed.

    • RobK says:

      Dear Ms Parker: Art was very good to me when I visited him in around 2000 – he kindly organised a concert featuring my music in Beall Hall and played the Stravinsky Two Piano Sonata together, a work we both loved, and some of my own pieces. A warm and sympathetic man. My condolences to you.

      • Betsy Parker says:

        Thank you so much for your remembrances of Art. He was extraordinarily gifted and accomplished, and I’m so glad that you were able to play the Stravinsky with him.

  • Sharon says:

    Ken Kesey’s play (not the film which did not follow the play) One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest brought tears to my eyes because of its humanity and realism. It seems that Mr Maddox in his composing for children was concerned about humanity as well

  • In addition to being uniquely talented as a pianist and composer, Art was a friend to me in time of need. I will miss his special posts.

  • I am so sorry to hear of Art’s passing. We were friends when we were students at Illinois. I remember Art taking me to his concert at Roundhouse. He was so proud of being able to play there. Afterwards we went out for pizza. I tried to get in touch with him on Facebook last year. He probably wasn’t online much. He was an outstanding individual–warm, caring and so gifted. Rest in Power, Art!