These we have lost in 2020

These we have lost in 2020


norman lebrecht

December 18, 2020

It has been a year of terrible losses. All names can be found by searching Slipped Disc. These are just the best known.


1 Ida Haendel, violin queen (pictured)

2 Mirella Freni, soprano

3 Krysztof Penderecki, composer

4 Ennio Morricone, composer

5 Peter Jonas, opera administrator

6 Lynn Harrell, cellist

7 Leon Fleisher, pianist

8 Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor

9 Juliette Gréco, singer

10 James Wolfensohn, cello banker

11 Dvora Lewis, publicist

12 Alexander Bouzlov, cellist

13 Robert Layton, record critic

14 Barry Griffiths, orchestra leader

15 Erich Gruenberg,orchestra leader

16 Julian Bream, guitarist

17 Camil Marinescu, conductor

18 Nikolai Kapustin, composer

19 Rosana Martins, pianist

20 Jane Parker-Smith, organist

21 Nicolas Joel, opera manager

22 Keith Tippett, pianist

23 Allan Evans, record researcher

24 Mady Mesplé, soprano

25 Gabriel Bacquier, baritone

26 Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichordist

27 Jennifer Bate, organist

28 Zoltan Pesko, conductor

29 Gerard Schurmann, composer

30 Hellmut Stern, Berlin concertmaster

31 John Tooley, opera house manager

32 Charles Wuorinen, composer

33 Anton Coppola, composer

34 Franco Bordoni, baritone

35 Sergei Slonimsy, composer

36 Nello Santi, conductor

37 Volker David Kirchner, composer

38 Barry Tuckwell, horn player

39 Bruno Nettl, musicologist

40 Roger Scruton, musical philosopher

41 Emanuel Borok, concertmaster

42 Dmitry Smirnov, composer

43 Bassam Sabba, educator

44 Kamen Tchanev, tenor

45 Gabriel Chmura, conductor

46 Alexander Vedernikov, conductor

47 Patrick Davin, conductor

48 Bill Pursell, composer

49 Eldar Aliev, bass

50 John Macurdy, bass

51 Florian Schneider, of Kraftwerk

52 Jan Talich, quartet founder

53 Peter Serkin, pianist

54 John McMurray, ENO casting director

55 Elina Valiyeva, pianist

56 Michael Hedley, organist

57 Charles Krigbaum, organist

58 Vincent Lionti, violist

59 Alan Abel, percussionist

60 Ronald Harwood, musical playwright

61 Terrence McNally, playwright and librettist

62 Miriam Murphy singer

63 Hamish Milne pianist

64 Fanny Waterman, piano competition founder

65 Broadway star Rebecca Luker, 59

66 Ivry Gitlis, 98

67 Catherine Ennis, organist

68 Tony Rice, guitarist

69 Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet founder, 94

70 Juliette Gréco, singer, 93

71 Helen Reddy, singer, 78

72 Dame Vera Lynn, singer, 103

73 Jon Gibson, composer, 80

74 Annie Ross, jazz singer, 89

75 Judy Drucker, impresaria, 91

76 Reinbert de Leeuw, modernist conductor, 81

77 Little Richard, singer, 87

78 Erin Wall, soprano, 44

79 Ty, British rapper, 47

80 Fou Ts’ong, pianist, 86

81 Maynard Solomon, musicologist, 90

82 Christiane Eda-Pierre, soprano, 88

83 Dmitry Paperno, Soviet-American pianist, 90

84 Suzanne Gessner, violin professor, 68

85 Oswald Vogler, Berlin Philharmonic timpanist, 90

86 Shirley Young, China arts patron, 85

87 Paul Heinz Dittrich, German composer, 90

88 Claude Bolling, jazz composer, 90

89 Francois Juteau, classical microsite moderator

90 Alto Reed, Detroit saxophonist, 72

91 Jaan Rääts, composer, 88

92 Tito Rojas, salsa singer, 65

93 Víctor Cuica, Venezuelan saxophonist, 71

94 Amadeu Casas, Catalan composer, 66

95 Mojmir Sepe, Slovenian composer, 95

96 Mohamed Tazi Cherti, Andalusian master, 100

97 ‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny, pianist, 75

98 Brendan Townsend, conductor, 52

99 Kenneth V Jones, film composer, 96

100 Bela Siki, pianist, 97


  • Rob says:

    You forgot Des O’Connor, how could you?

  • Lady Weidenfeld says:

    And Sir Ronald Harwood – playwright whose work involved so many important musical subjects! Oscar winning screenplay for The Pianist, much acclaimed plays Taking Sides, Quartet, Mahler’s Conversion, Collaboration, Quartet, and a wonderful novel about César Franck – César and Augusta!

  • Ellen says:

    Miriam Murphy must be remembered.

  • #5 earned the title of Sir Peter Jonas and served as an Intendant of the most important opera house in Germany….so much more than “administrator” and certainly deserves all of our respect.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Add Ryan Anthony, trumpet, and Ellis Marsalis.

  • henry williams says:

    not a flattering picture of Ida.

  • Seán Hurley says:

    So many talented people who have given us so much pleasure over the years. “Golden lads and girls all”, may they rest in peace.

  • Antony Walker says:

    Anton Coppola (No.33) was better known as an opera conductor here in the US, although he was also a composer. James Weaver also died in 2020, and fell to Covid. A noted harpsichord player and curator of historical instruments at The Smithsonian. R.I.P. to both these talented gentlemen.

  • Cornishman says:

    This is all just terribly sad. It hadn’t really struck me how grievous the loss this year has been until I saw this list. So much talent, so much of the best of humanity lost to us. That really is the only response I can muster at present.

  • David A. Hollingsworth says:

    Eric Parkin, British Pianist

  • Jay Shulman says:

    Frank Grasso, trumpet
    Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar
    Karen Marmer, violinist
    Petia Kassarova, cellist

  • Una says:

    ENO baritone, Neil Howlett

  • Roger says:

    Erin Wall, soprano

  • Sharon says:

    Didn’t you recently publish a list of over 100 felled from Covid alone?
    Covid is also responsible for other deaths because people cannot get the medical care they need because resources and medical personnel are tied up or they are afraid or advised not to enter hospitals