Fred Baldovin – Accordion
Ralph Bianculli – Electric Bass
Gordon Boelzner – Piano/Conductor
Elise Bretton – Piano/Arranger/Copyist
Al Casey – Guitar
Michael Dunn – Piano/Conductor/Arranger/Copyist
Andrew A. Fuchs – Accordion
Jonathan Lindenfeld Hazen – Violin
Shirley Horn – Piano/Vocalist
Steven Marcus – Saxophone
Faust J. Morra – Trombone
Gordon W. Nelling – Saxophone
Paul Pincus – Clarinet
Rodney Richardson – Bass
Jerome Roth – Oboe
Felix M. Sangenito – Trumpet
William Schneiderman – Timpani
Pat C. Strangis – Piano/Arranger
William Vacchiano – Trumpet
Edward Vetter – Drums
Peter Waranoff – Drums
Oscar Weizner – Violin
Gordon Boelzner, 68, a pianist and conductor and an 802 member since 1960, died on August 17.
Born in Inglewood, Calif., Mr. Boelzner was reared in a musical home. His father was a well-known voice teacher, and when Mr. Boelzner was young, he would often accompany his father’s students. Despite being featured as a soloist at Inglewood High School, he felt left out of the marching band and orchestra, and he solved the problem by playing the flute. Having graduated from high school as valedictorian at age 16, Mr. Boelzner set off to study on the east coast. He spent two years at the Eastman School of Music, and two years at Manhattan School of Music, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. After graduation, he had a variety of part-time jobs (including host at Sardi’s restaurant) while he continued his piano lessons with renowned teachers. It was during this time that he received a grant to study in Italy with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
Upon returning from Italy, Mr. Boelzner landed a position as pianist for the New York City Ballet. It didn’t take George Balanchine long to recognize and begin to utilize Mr. Boelzner consummate skill and intelligence and by the early 1960’s he was sitting at the piano in the main rehearsal hall assisting Balanchine and Stravinsky in their collaborations. Mr. Boelzner became the pianist for Balanchine whenever the choreographer created a ballet to solo piano music, and as a result, Mr. Boelzner was the pianist at the premieres of “Movements” (1963), “Rubies” (1967), “Who Cares?” (1968), “Duo Concertant” (1972), “Kammermusik No. 2” (1978), “Ballade” (1980) and “Davidsbundlertanze.”
Jerry Robbins was also keen to have Mr. Boelzner at the keyboard for his “piano ballets,” so Mr. Boelzner was the pianist for the premieres of “Dances at a Gathering” and “In the Night” with music by Chopin, “Goldberg Variations” to Bach’s 75-minute score, and “In G Major” to Ravel’s piano concerto. So monumental was his talent that on one occasion he performed Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2” and Robbins’ “Goldberg Variations” on the same program.
By the time Balanchine died in 1983, Mr. Boelzner was conducting the ballet orchestra practically as much as he was soloing. When Peter Martins took over for Balanchine, Mr. Boelzner conducted premieres of Martins’ ballets including John Adams’ “Fearful Symmetries,” as well “Sleeping Beauty.” From 1990 to 2000, Mr. Boelzner was music director of the ballet and after that music advisor. He was an expert in all the standard repertory of New York City Ballet, and with his encyclopedic knowledge and experience, became the mentor par excellence for a new generation of ballet musicians.
Mr. Boelzner is survived by a brother, Gary, of Irvine, Calif.
This obituary was submitted by Cameron Grant.
Al Casey, 89, a guitarist and an 802 member since 1936, died on Sept. 11.
Born in Kentucky, Mr. Casey was a schoolboy when he moved with his grandmother to New York in 1930 and first met Fats Waller. Two of Mr. Casey’s uncles and two of his aunts, already in the city, had formed a gospel quartet called the Southern Singers, which had worked with Waller on radio shows. They took the 14-year-old to Waller’s house to play for him and Waller immediately arranged for Mr. Casey to record in his band.
Later in New York he studied guitar at DeWitt Clinton High School before his uncles sent him to the Martin Smith Music School for three years.
Mr. Casey joined Waller’s group in the early 1930’s and was Waller’s main guitarist until Waller died in 1943. Mr. Casey also worked with Teddy Wilson’s big band in 1939 and 1940 and recorded with Billie Holiday, Frankie Newton and Chu Berry.
Mr. Casey played and recorded with Louis Armstrong in 1944 when both were recognized as leading jazz musicians in the Esquire magazine readers’ poll. Along the way he switched from acoustic to electric guitar.
Casey appeared with Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Jack Teagarden and others in a historic Esquire All-American Awards concert at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. In 1957 he joined the rhythm and blues band led by the saxophonist King Curtis, which led to much studio work.
In 1980, by then a veteran, he made a rewarding first tour of Britain with the pianist Ralph Sutton. The same year, Casey joined the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, which toured the world with success until the middle Nineties. A small band drawn from the group and led by Casey was resident at the Louisianan Community Bar and Grill from 1992 to 1997.
He is survived by his wife, Althea, and his son, Al Casey Jr.
This obituary was edited from the New York Times and the Independent (England).
Jonathan Lindenfeld Hazen
Jonathan Lindenfeld Hazen, 43, a violinist and an 802 member since 1998, died August 26, 2005 after a long illness.
Born in Canada, Mr. Hazen began studying violin as a child. He attended the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, and the Mozarteum Hochschule in Salzburg. He studied with Dorothy DeLay, Jean Fournier, Gerard Kantarjian and Itzhak Perlman. He performed with the Memphis Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Festival Philharmonic, the Manchester Festival Symphony Orchestra and Windsor Symphony Orchestra, among others. As the founder and first violinist of the Mariani String Quartet, Mr. Hazen has been featured on Albany Records. He was music producer for the Telly-award winning documentary “Death In America.” Jonathan Hazen faced his long and debilitating illness with extraordinary courage, humor and grace. He will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched. He is survived by his wife, soprano Ann Donaldson Hazen of New York, and his mother, Kathleen Dark, of Windsor, Ontario.
Steve Marcus, 66, a saxophonist and an 802 member since 1964, died on Sept. 25. He started playing the saxophone at age 15. He attended music school in Boston and then played tenor and soprano sax with Stan Kenton, Herbie Mann and Woody Herman.
Mr. Marcus was a pioneer of the jazz fusion movement of the late 1960’s. “Tomorrow Never Knows,” recorded in 1968 with the rock-influenced guitarist Larry Coryell, and produced by Herbie Mann, received a five-star review in Downbeat magazine. Two albums in a similar vein, “Count’s Rock Band” and “The Lord’s Prayer,” also produced by Mann, followed in 1969.
In 1975, Mr. Marcus returned to straight-ahead jazz, joining the Buddy Rich big band. He was a featured soloist until Rich died in 1987, and he remained identified with Rich for the rest of his life, briefly as the musical director of a memorial big band and in recent years as a member of Buddy’s Buddies, a quintet led by the drummer Steve Smith that plays Rich’s music.
He is survived by his wife Eleanor and daughter Holly.
William A. Vacchiano, 93, a trumpeter and an 802 member since 1932, died on Sept. 19.
Mr. Vacchiano joined the New York Philharmonic in 1935, became principal in 1942, and retired in 1973 having never missed a performance in 38 years. During his tenure with the Philharmonic, he performed under Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter. At the time of his retirement in 1973, he had the longest continuous service of any principal trumpet player in America, having held the position for 31 years.
“Mr. Vacchiano’s playing style had a distinct operatic vocal quality,” said Brian Shook, who is writing a biography of Mr. Vacchiano. “The wide spectrum of emotions he conveyed through his instrument was endless. His sound had a unique li-quidness and his lyrical solos soared over the orchestra with incredible effortlessness. Leonard Bernstein used to say, ‘This is a push-button brass section. All you have to do is push the button and they play it the way you want.’”
In addition to his illustrious career as an orchestral trumpet player, Mr. Vacchiano also made an impression on the pedagogical world of music. His teaching career spanned over six decades (1935-2002) where he served on the faculties of the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Columbia Teachers College, and Queens College. Mr. Vacchiano estimated the total number of his private students exceeded 2,000.
According to his students, Mr. Vacchiano’s teaching style was very direct and persistent. The lessons were extremely intense and he insisted on transposition, musicality, proper style, sight reading, and the basic fundamentals of trumpet playing. Regarding careers in music, he said “the ideal situation for the musician today is to teach in a university where he can play solos, give quintet concerts and play in a local orchestra.” He himself went back to school to earn a master’s degree in trumpet performance, which he completed at the Manhattan School of Music in 1955.
He is survived by his daughter Jo Ann, daughter-in-law Barbara and four grandchildren.
For more information or to contribute your memories of Mr. Vacchiano, please contact Brian A. Shook, Apt. #2102, 1600 West La Jolla Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282 or email@example.com.