A tribute to Ronald Anderson

Volume 123, No. 9October, 2023

Ronald K. Anderson, 89, a trumpeter and a member of Local 802 since 1950, died on Sept. 5, 2023.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Ron was a longtime resident of Shushan, New York, whose professional life was largely centered in New York City. He earned advanced degrees in trumpet and musicology from Juilliard, as well as a doctorate of education from Columbia University.

He served in the Army and performed throughout postwar Europe as part of the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, the only orchestral ensemble ever created under the supervision of the Army. Ron later became one of the first members of the American Brass Quintet, traveling, performing, and recording works by prominent contemporary composers from 1962 to 1965.

In 1964, Ron performed Igor Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theatre for Two Trumpets in C” with Theodore Weiss for the opening ceremony of the New York State Theatre at Lincoln Center. He later went on to serve as principal trumpet with the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1976 to 1993 performing and traveling with the orchestra both domestically and internationally. The ballet, and his many lifelong colleagues from the orchestra, was the true joy of his life. He also taught for many years at Purchase College, New York University, Stony Brook University, and Bennington College educating and mentoring many young trumpet players.

Ron recorded for European Broadcasting Stations and record labels, including works by contemporary and new music composers, such as Ralph Shapey and Stephan Wolpe. In 1981, Ron was offered the unique opportunity to travel to Beijing as part of the U.S.-China Arts Exchange during the Cultural Revolution. There, he conducted the first performances of the works of Igor Stravinsky and worked extensively with the orchestra and individual musicians during his residency. During many years performing with the ballet in Saratoga Springs, Ron and his family explored the area and fell in love with upstate New York and the many hamlets in the area.

After countless summers they eventually made their permanent home in Shushan. For many years, Ron played “Taps” as part of Shushan’s recognition of Memorial Day. Over recent years, Ron rediscovered his love of piano and continued his many interests, including reading, poetry, languages, gardening, and lively discussions with so many friends and neighbors. He is fondly remembered as a gentle, intelligent, warm-hearted person who loved to laugh.

Ron is survived by Felicitas, his wife of 62 years; his daughter, Stephanie (Charles); son, Mark; granddaughter, Maggie; and nephews Andreas (Christina) and Martin (Anne) with whom he was very close.

A celebration of life will be held at a later time.