Leading Aids scientist was an avid composer

Leading Aids scientist was an avid composer


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2021

The South African born scientist Joseph Sonnabend, who died this weekend aged 88, was a busy part-time composer.

This was to be his last recorded work.




  • Morgan says:

    The twitter account vividly encapsulates the remarkable man I knew for the past 15 years or so.
    ” It was as if the whole (AIDS)pandemic was buried in him, weighing him down, often bubbling up…..He was traumatised. Spiky. Brilliant”

    Joe’s last interview was on Radio 3 in November, where he recalled the hive of cultural treasure he experienced as a result of the (mostly Jewish) refugees in the isolated town of Bulawaya. Aged 12 he was particularly struck by Berg’s Wozzeck via his mum’s record collection and you can hear the influence in his music.