Death of Grammy-winning cellist, 79

The cellist David Darling, who won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, has died at his home in Hartford.

He made 15 recordings for ECM and founded Music for People, which fosters improvisation in young players.


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  • I took part in one of his improvisation workshops twenty-five years ago when I was in high school; my school was hosting him so students got to go for free. He had a way of making classical players let go enough to be able to actually do it without being self-conscious that I could never duplicate myself, and I remember him being a very gracious man.

  • Even though Darling had spent the last two decades doing New Age music and gaining a reputation as a musician rooted in that genre (aided by his early association with the Paul Winter Consort), his collaborations with famed European and American jazzmen in the 1980s and 1990s for the ECM label are strong work. Cycles and The Sea are among my all-time favorite jazz recordings.

  • Got to know him at the Omega Summer Institute in upstate New York in 1987 . Fine artist and, as mentioned in an earlier comment, a very gracious man.

  • Very sorry to hear this. He was a star already as a high school musician in our hometown of Elkhart, IN. Very gentle soul, he conducted a summer student orchestra in which I played and was very encouraging to us younger players. He enjoyed it. Also a nice tennis player. He will be missed.

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