Ted Curson, 77, a trumpeter and a Local 802 member since 1957, died on Nov. 4. Mr. Curson was born in Philadelphia and began his musical studies at Philadelphia’s Granoff School of Music. It was Miles Davis himself who suggested to Mr. Curson that he move to New York, which he did in 1956.
Soon, he was invited to join Charles Mingus’ group. During his career, he recorded 16 albums as a leader and 300 as a side musician. Cecil Taylor, Bill Barron and Archie Shepp were collaborators, as was Eric Dolphy. When Dolphy died, Mr. Curson wrote “Tears for Dolphy,” which became the title track to his most well-known album. The tune was used in the films “The Brown Bunny” and “Last Date.”
For many years, Mr. Curson led a monthly jam session at the Blue Note. In 2001, he moved the session to Montclair, New Jersey, where he lived and where he was a regular at local jazz clubs.
Mr. Curson was extremely well known in Finland. He was a guest of honor at the Pori Jazz Festival, which he played every year starting in 1966. He was known even to the president of Finland.
In addition to his performance work, Mr. Curson taught clinics for young musicians at many colleges and universities.
Mr. Curson is survived by his wife Marjorie, children Ted Jr. and Charlene, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Peter Jay Rosenfeld
Peter Jay Rosenfeld, 76, a cellist and a Local 802 member since 1959, died on Oct. 21.
Mr. Rosenfeld was a member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Musica Aeterna, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the New York Pops, the Kohon Quartet, the American Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, and the New York City Opera Orchestra.
He was a founding member of the Leonia Chamber Musicians and played for many years with Young Audiences New York. Summer festivals included the Bennington Composers Conference, the Manchester Music Festival and the Provincetown Symphony. He also taught at the City University of New York for more than 25 years, as well as at several music schools, including the Mannes College of Music.
Mr. Rosenfeld was born in Pittsfield, Mass., graduated from Swarthmore, attended Juilliard, and earned a master’s degree at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He also attended the Marlboro Music School and Festival. He was a cello student of Paul Bazelaire in Paris and Luigi Silva, Alex Kouguell and Bernard Greenhouse in New York.
Reviewers in the New York Times described him as “an adaptable and persuasive stylist who plays with authority and a considerable amount of expressive insight” and as a “rock-solid musician steeped in the finest interpretive tradition who happens to play the cello and does it quite well.”
He is survived by his wife Lucy, daughters Sophia, Marina and Lucinda, and six grandchildren.
Charles “Charlie” Russo, 86, a clarinetist and a Local 802 member since 1950, died on Nov. 24.
Mr. Russo was a guest artist and soloist with some of the country’s leading string quartets, chamber ensembles and orchestras. He served as principal clarinetist of the New York City Opera Orchestra for many years. He was featured with the Juilliard, Guarneri, and Emerson string quartets as well as Mostly Mozart, Caramoor, the New York Chamber Symphony, New York Chamber Soloists and Musica Aeterna, among others. He was also the founder and artistic director of Le Mont Chamber Music Seminar in Nyack.
A Grammy nominee, Mr. Russo recorded on more than 100 albums. He performed and recorded with many of the world’s greatest composers and conductors, including Stravinsky, Copland, Stokowski and Bernstein as well as scores of renowned performers including Arthur Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin, Isaac Stern, Beverly Sills, Pablo Casals and Luciano Pavarotti.
Mr. Russo was also an important influence on the current generation of classical musicians. He taught and conducted master classes at the Manhattan School of Music, SUNY-Purchase, the Hartt School of Music, Yale, Vassar and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others.
Mr. Russo is survived by his children Amy, Ken and Angela, and his sister Laura.
The family is planning a celebration of Mr. Russo’s life in NYC. For more information, please visit Mr. Russo’s guestbook at www.bitly.com/CharlieRusso and leave your contact details. Obituary information from www.CharlesRusso.net and the faculty Web page of the Manhattan School of Music.
John Signorelli, 89, a saxophonist and a member of Local 802 since 1947, died on Nov. 21.
Mr. Signorelli started his professional career with theatre orchestras in Massachusetts. In May 1943, he enlisted in the Marines and was assigned to Bob Crosby’s dance band, which played shows and music in Marine camps overseas.
In November 1944, instruments were put away for rifles in his 5th Marine division, and on February 1945 Iwo Jima was invaded. Mr. Signorelli survived the invasion, and after the war ended, he was assigned to occupation duty in Nagasaki, Japan.
Discharged in March 1946, Mr. Signorelli settled in Brooklyn and picked up his music again. He played with the popular dance bands of Billy Butterfield, Gene Krupa, Harry James, Les Elgart, Sammy Kaye and Perez Prado. He played the Roseland and Arcadia ballrooms, the Copacabana, Stork Club and the Riverboat, among other venues. Mr. Signorelli toured with Englebert Humperdinck, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Vic Damone, Connie Francis, Donny and Marie Osmond, and the Dorsey and Glenn Miller legacy bands. He also played in Broadway orchestras and performed on cruise ships, including seven around-the-world trips on World Cruise lines.
Mr. Signorelli performed on two movies: Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” and Woody Allen’s “Zelig.”
He is survived by his daughter Ena and her husband Joseph, son Anthony and his wife Sandra, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
We also remember . . .
Morton D. Cahn Jr, violin
Patrick J. Cochran, French horn
Norman Dean, piano
Barry Finclair, violin
Robert J. Handschuh, saxophone
Marion Herrman, vocalist
Donald Homuth, cello
Willis Kelly, trumpet
Bobby Livingood, trumpet
Obert Maves, saxophone
Willie Mitchell, piano
John (Red) Triolo, saxophone