Tadeusz Gorny — 12/12/2011

Professor Tadeusz Gorny, on the faculty of the Academy of Music in Wroclaw, Poland since 1977, died on December 12th. He was only 60 years only. His colleague, Professor Irena Olkiewicz, also on the Academy faculty, worked with him for more than 30 years. She reports, “Professor Tadeusz Gorny was one from the most outstanding Polish double bassists and teachers in our country’s history. He was a jury member in the first Vratistawia International Double Bass Competition in 2008 and of the World Bass Festival competition in 2010.” He was a member of the Polish Double Bass Society.

Anthony-BiancoTony Bianco — 10/24/2011

Anthony “Tony” Bianco passed away Monday morning, October 24th at age 94. He was well known as a teacher to bassists of all ages and abilities, as well as a distinguished orchestral musician. He joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1944 as principal bass under Fritz Reiner and completed 55 years with the orchestra, twenty-six as principal. He received the ISB’s Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement, its highest honor, in 2007. A sought-after presenter at ISB conventions and other double bass events even into his 90s, he was always generous with his time and advice, especially to younger bassists.

Jim-KrummenacherJim Krummenacher — 10/22/2011

Jim Krummenacher, age 81, died Saturday, October 22nd after a brief battle with cancer. He attended the 2011 ISB convention at San Francisco State University where he was, as always, full of life and love of music and all things bass. A loyal and longtime ISB member who attended the very first ISB convention in Madison, WI, Jim joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1956 and retired in 2006, having served with distinction for 50 years. He is survived by his brothers Edwin A. Krummenacher, Jr. of La Mesa, CA and Bruce C. Krummenacher of Warrenville, IL, and six nieces and nephews.

Tony and Jim, the best of friends, passed away just two days apart and both were ISB “lifers.” While they may not be attending future events in body, they will always be with us in spirit. They were mentors to aspiring professional musicians, yet both remained continuing students of music and life. We will miss them both, and send our deepest sympathies to their families, friends and colleagues. To make a donation to the ISB in their memory, click here. Well done, Tony and Jim! By now you’ve found each other and are playing duets in the great concert hall in the clouds.

Detroit-based jazz bassist Donald Mayberry died of a heart attack on April 11, 2011. He was 57 years old. He is remembered as a first-call “musician’s musician,” equally at home playing in a symphony, for a Broadway show or in the classroom, but his greatest love was jazz. His first professional job was at age 13 performing with the Dorothy Ashby trio. After graduation from Cass Tech, he was a member of the Tommy Saunder traditional band, and toured with drummer J.C. Heard’s big band, David Bowie and jazz greats such as Clark Terry. A favorite of vocalists, he toured nationally with Lena Horne, Joe Williams, Diane Schuur, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Mathis and Michael Feinstein. He also performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. A respected classical bassist, he also played with the Detroit and Scandinavian Symphony Orchestras. For more information, contact his friends Barbara and Spencer Barefield at barbarabarefield@aol.com.

Eldon-ObrechtEldon Obrecht, emeritus professor of music of the University of Iowa, died March 7, 2011 at the age of 90. He received a scholarship to the University of Iowa (then the State University of Iowa), where he studied composition for both undergraduate and master’s degrees and met his wife Maxine. They had four musical daughters, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. After a brief stint with the National Symphony Orchestra, he returned to the University of Iowa to join the faculty and pursue his doctoral degree in 1947. During his tenure, he taught double bass, music appreciation, music theory and composition. He also collaborated with Tom Turner to write a book on musical form and analysis. In 1953 he took over the music appreciation classes at the university, which were broadcast on WSUI radio until 1973. He also served as principal bass with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. He retired from the university in 1990. As Mario Chiarello noted in his own doctoral thesis: “As a composer he wrote three symphonies, a concerto, and many other works. As a teacher he launched many students into careers, not all of which ended in music, and taught many non-musicians through his music appreciation classes and their broadcasts. Whatever hat he was wearing, he was always known for his positive attitude.” Memorial contributions may be made to the Eldon Obrecht Fund at the University of Iowa School of Music, which will be used to fund a scholarship in his name. Contributions may be sent to the University of Iowa Foundation, c/o Eldon Obrecht Fund, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244.