Nicholas Caliendo – Drums
John E. Collins – Guitar
Dominic Cortese – Accordion
Ted Da Bruzzo – Drums
Artie Deutsch – Musician/Activist
Alec Fila – Trumpet
Anthony Fiocco – Trumpet
Charles W. Fox – Piano
Armando Ghitalla – Trumpet
Allen Gould – Drums
Laszlo Halasz – Music Director/Piano
Edwin Hesse – Drums
Fei-Ping Hsu – Piano
Howie Mann – Drums
Donald L. Pike – Bass
Wilbur F. Sielaff – Saxophone
Kenneth Steel – Electric Organ-Foot Pedal
Robert E. Turner – Piano
Dominic Cortese, 80, undoubtedly the most widely recorded accordion player in the country and an 802 member for 55 years, died on Aug. 9, 2001.
Mr. Cortese began recording in the late 1960s, at a time when there was a great demand for instrumentalists to record sessions with exotic or romantic themes. He became known as the quintessential Italian accordion player through a series of recordings for the Time and Command label, such as “Accordion Magic,” “Accordion Italy” and “Accordion Continental.” He also played in several groups that seemed more inspired by unique artists such as Spike Jones and Raymond Scott. In “Tito And His Swingtet,” Mr. Cortese played tunes such as the immortal “Nightmare of a Termite.” Another album from the period was the “All Accordion Band on Time.”
When the music industry and public taste shifted from these instrumental novelties, Mr. Cortese became a first-call session player who was greatly in demand by top artists. Some major credits were Bob Dylan’s “Desire,” a half-dozen Billy Joel albums, Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas soundtrack and the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.
Mr. Cortese’s playing is heard on an extraordinary range of recordings. Pop artists he recorded with include Tony Bird, Raquel Bitton, Uri Caine, Al Caiola, Dick Contino, Dick Dia, Bob Dylan, Art Garfunkel, Ian Hunter, Dick Hyman, Billy Joel, Enoch Light, Helen Merrill, Tony Mottola, Zina Pavlova, Peter, Paul & Mary, John Pizzarelli, Elvis Presley, Maddy Prior, Don Sebesky, Loudon Wainwright, Vanessa Williams and Peter Yarrow. Among the jazz musicians he recorded with are Ron Carter, Larry Coryell, Ronnie Cuber, Mark Feldman, Steve Lacy, Bob Moses and Jaco Pastorius. His playing is heard on recordings made by the All Accordion Band and Mighty Accordion Band, as well as his own albums: “Summertime in Venice,” “Rock & Roll Party in Hi-Fi” and “Accordion Continental.” He appeared in several films, including Happiness, Moonstruck and Cradle Will Rock, where he had a cameo role.
Arthur Deutsch, 93, a musician, architect, and a lifelong activist in campaigns for peace and justice, died on Dec. 2 in San Diego, where he resided. He had been an 802 member since 1929.
Born on New York City’s Lower East Side, he attended Seward Park High School and City College of New York. Mr. Deutsch worked as a draftsman through the depression, supporting his family, and played saxophone and clarinet on nights and summers.
During World War II, he worked as a mechanical engineer on battleships and destroyers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He later pursued a career in architecture, working on the United Nations Secretariat Building and many other New York City structures.
A constant thread, throughout his life, was involvement in social movements to extend democracy and economic security. He was active in campaigns to win Social Security, civil rights, universal health care, the rights of seniors and young people. After retiring to San Diego, he formed a chapter of the national Gray Panthers, serving as its president and on several committees formed by the Mayor and City Council.
He is survived by a son, Larry, and grandchildren Paul, Robin, and Owen; by his second wife, Jean, and daughters Diane and Linda.
Laszlo Halasz, 96, the founder and first music director of the New York City Opera, died on Oct. 26. He had been an 802 member since 1947.
Born in Hungary, Mr. Halasz originally trained as a concert pianist at the Academy of Music in Budapest, where his teachers included Erno Dohnanyi, Zoltan Kodaly, Bela Bartok and Leo Weiner. He performed for a time, but soon turned to conducting and in 1929 was appointed assistant to George Szell at the Prague Opera. In 1935 he worked at the Salzburg Festival as assistant to Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini. When Toscanini moved to the United States to lead the NBC Symphony Orchestra, he urged Mr. Halasz to come along. The following year, Mr. Halasz made his American conducting debut with the St. Louis Opera. He served as the opera company’s music director from 1939 to 1941, and then made nationwide USO tours with a symphony orchestra for the armed forces.
In 1943 Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed him to head the newly-formed New York City Opera. During his eight-year tenure, he presented many U.S. and world premieres of operas and introduced many new singers and conductors who went on to make international careers. He was the first to hire African American artists as permanent members of a major American opera company.
In subsequent years, Mr. Halasz was associated with the Teatro Licco in Barcelona, the opera and conducting departments of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, and the Empire State Music Festival. He made numerous guest appearances in Europe and South America.
He is survived by his wife, the former Suzette Forgues, a cellist, and children George and Suzanne.
Fei-Ping Hsu, 51, a Chinese-born pianist, was killed in a car accident while on a concert tour in northeastern China on Nov. 29.
Mr. Hsu was a child prodigy who won a gold medal at the 1983 Arthur Rubinstein International Competition. Born on Gulangyu, a tiny island off China’s southeastern coast, he started playing the piano at age 5. He attended the primary and middle schools of the Shanghai Conservatory, China’s top music school, before joining the China Symphony at the age of 20. His training was interrupted during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.
In 1979 Mr. Hsu left China for the United States to attend the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School. He later became a U.S. citizen. He made his American debut in 1984 in New York playing Liszt, Beethoven and Chopin, composers from the Romantic school in which he would later specialize. He lived in New York City and had performed around the world.
He is survived by his wife and their 9-year-old daughter, and by his brother Xu Feixing.
Howie Mann, 74, a drummer who joined Local 802 in 1945, died on Sept. 25.
Mr. Mann started his career playing in local bands in New York City. During World War II he played with the 392 Band Unit in Camp Lee, Virginia. After his discharge he went on the road, with big bands led by Elliott Lawrence, Hal McIntyre, the Dorsey brothers and others. He performed at the Hollywood Palladium and at the Paramount in New York City. His playing is heard on many big band recordings, including Elliott Lawrence’s “Elevation.” He also led his own small band, which provided music for shows featuring such artists as Nat Cole, Mel Torme and Edie Gorme and Steve Lawrence.
He gave up traveling in 1952, after the birth of his first child, but continued to perform widely. Mr. Mann played with the New York Jets Stage Band at Shea Stadium for 14 years, and for the last 24 years he led the Howie Mann Big Band at a wide range of venues in New York City and Long Island. His band was part of the MPTF-sponsored Jazz Nexus series, which brought jazz to hundreds of New York City schools.
He was also one of the city’s leading drum teachers, helping to develop several generations of drummers for almost 40 years, from his Hicksville Drum Studio.
He is survived by children Lorry, Judy and Howard, grandchildren Keith, Brett, Kristopher, Brian and Jessica, sister Louise and brother Alois.