Unexplained death of a New York conductor

Unexplained death of a New York conductor


norman lebrecht

October 29, 2020

We have been informed of the death of Scott Bergeson, a former stalwart of New York City Opera who was found dead at his home in Jay, Vermont, on October 28th. He was 69 and, as of this time, no cause is known.

Bergeson was a resident conductor for many years at New York City Opera under Beverly Sills (whom he called ‘Mom’), conducting over 300 performances. He became an assistant conductor at the Met, where he conducted Karita Mattila in Salome and Jonas Kaufmann in Magin Flute, in addition to performances of La Traviata, Idomeneo, and The Rake’s Progress. He conducted at several other opera companies across the US. Robert Commanday, foundwr of San Francisco Classical Voice, called him a conductor of ‘skill, experience and vital, incisive style.’



  • Devastated to learn this news.

  • Papageno says:

    What? No obit of the great Met designer Ming Cho Lee ?

  • Stephen Lord says:

    Scott was an old friend from college days until now. In fact, he lived across the hall and I introduced him to a lot of operatic repertoire. We were in the same piano studio and one day, before a student recital where we were back to back, we were hysterical in laughter back stage as to who would be Hiroshima and who would be Nagasaki. Scott was very much a loner and a hermit. Even back then he would close himself in his room and write stories, letters, diaries and in a very small and very neat script. My first job, which was at Michigan Opera Theatre was brought about by Scott who was conducting BARBER and he needed a pianist who could play it on tour. It was Christopher Alden’s debut, mine, Rockwell Blake’s and Alan Glassman’s. Not a bad start for him and the rest of us! We were in a production of THE FANTASTIKS where I was the old actor and he was the Indian. Fun times when the future was so far ahead and we were able to dream. The tragedy today is that dreams are simply not realistic. I shall never EVER forget laughs and very serious times together. Wherever he is I hope it is fields of gold and beautiful music. Xx

  • Lenore Rosenberg says:

    The cause of death was a heart attack.

    • Doc Martin says:

      That is not a correct term, was it acute myocardial infarction, need to specify and verify by PM, medical history etc.
      Acute coronary syndrome
      STEMI: The classic or major heart attack.
      CAS, silent heart attack, or heart attack without blockage.

    • Susan Woodruff Versage says:

      Thank you, Lenore. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

    • Juliana Gondek says:

      Thank you, Lenore. I’m so sad to read this news. Scott and I got our start together, along with Andy Litton, as Young Artists training under Tito Capobianco at San Diego Opera.

  • Mark Shulgasser says:


  • Her Royal Snarkiness says:

    Scott was a frequent guest conductor at the late Cleveland Opera, where I played bass. Meticulous and kind is how i remember him. I’m just a few years younger than him, making him quite young and accomplished in those days! RIP

  • Kenneth Shaw says:

    This breaks my heart. Scott was in the pit for so many of my performances at NYCO, and he was influential in supporting my career in opera houses elsewhere. I am forever indebted to him for his friendship, his leadership and his guidance, all offered with care, precision and thoughtfulness.
    RIP Maestro
    RIP Scotty

  • Sharon says:

    May his family find peace.

  • Doc Martin says:

    An unexplained death in Ireland requires an inquest and a post mortem. Do they not do the same across the pond?

    • Garech de Brun says:

      I guess they have some many over there Doc they don’t bother, especially if many have no insurance.

    • Juliana Gondek says:

      Please don’t post a comment based on pure conjecture. “Unexplained” can mean “Unconfirmed as of date of press”. Has nothing to do with insurance or coroner reports.

  • Edgar Self says:

    As an eerie example of prolepsis and fa ootnote to Hiroshima, there is a character of that name in August Strindberg’s play “The Road to Damascus”.