Classical Music Swan Songs: Musicians We Lost In 2010

Composer Henryk Gorecki i i

hide captionComposer Henryk Gorecki was one of the important classical musicians who died in 2010.

AFP/Getty Images
Composer Henryk Gorecki

Composer Henryk Gorecki was one of the important classical musicians who died in 2010.

AFP/Getty Images

It is a custom at about this time to sum up the year — what we've gained and what we've lost.

In the loss column we had to include many terrific musicians: from mega-stars like Lena Horne and Teddy Pendergrass to lesser-known, but no less important figures such as George David Weiss (composer of "What a Wonderful World") and Esteban Jordan, the man they called the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion.

You can explore these musicians and another 30 or so through our terrific "In Memoriam," an interactive grid of stories, photos and music.

Classical music took quite a few major hits this year.

Perhaps the biggest to fall silent was the great Australian soprano Joan Sutherland. She may just have possessed the largest, and at the same time, most flexible voice of the last century. But even the artistry of great "La Stupenda," as she was called, wasn't without its controversy.

The sensitive and strong-willed conductor Charles Mackerras was another big loss. Alex Ross, of The New Yorker called him "one of the most keenly musical conductors of our time." It was also sad to see Polish composer Henryk Gorecki go. Even though he'd not produced much music in the last 10 years, the impact of his "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" will live on for a very long time.

Below is a list of other important classical musicians we said farewell to this past year.

Jan. 8 Otmar Suitner, 87 (Austrian conductor)

Jan. 10 Carlos Bonilla Chavez, 86 (Ecuadorian guitarist)

Jan. 23 Earl Wild, 94 (American pianist)

Feb. 11 Irina Arkhipova, 85 (Russian opera singer)

Feb. 25 David Soyer, 87 (American cellist)

Feb. 26 Bernard Coutaz, 87 (French founder of Harmonia Mundi label)

May 17 Yvonne Loriod, 86 (French pianist-composer)

May 25 Robert Muczynski, 81 (American composer)

Jun. 18 Kalmen Opperman, 90 (American clarinetist)

Jul. 5 David Fanshawe, 68 (British composer)

Jul. 14 Charles Mackerras, 84 (American-born Australian conductor)

Jul. 21 Anthony Rolfe Johnson, 69 (English opera singer)

Sept. 19 Laszlo Polgar, 63 (Hungarian opera singer)

Oct. 10 Joan Sutherland, 83 (Australian opera singer)

Nov. 2 Rudolf Barshai, 86 (Russian conductor)

Nov. 5 Shirley Verrett, 79 (American opera singer)

Nov. 12 Henryk Gorecki, 76 (Polish composer)

Dec. 3 Hughes Cuenod, 108 (Swiss opera singer)

Dec. 16 Karen Tuttle, 90 (American violist and teacher)

If you have remembrances of these musicians please share them in the comments section.

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