Another giant falls
Erich Kunzel lost his battle with cancer today. We have lost a friend.
Maestro Kunzel was more than some Pops guy. He had a deep love of classical music, and was able to conduct any genre with ease and style. My colleague David Roden at WKSU, Cincinnati's classical station, really said it best:
For my part, I will always remember my Kunzel Encounter fondly. It was Halloween, 1999. Like many of my coworkers, I dressed for the day, putting together a little outfit I called Single Working Mother of Two: Rollers and a hairnet, cold cream slathered on my face, ratty flannel PJ's, an old, no longer fluffy, yellow bathrobe, and Marvin the Martian slippers (I won the "Scariest Costume" prize, but that's another story for another day). Erich Kunzel was in town as guest conductor for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a group he performed and recorded with many times over the years. We were hip-deep in fundraising and in the middle of my shift when I heard those fateful words: "Julia, I'd like you to meet Erich Kunzel. He's stopped in to pitch with you."
And there I stood. Never looked worse. I put out my hand and said, "What a pleasure to meet you on the most embarassing day of my life." Always the gentleman, the nattily attired Mr. Kunzel smiled and said. "You look fine to me." And he sat down, pitched his heart out with me for 2 hours, and we made the goal. It was a good day. Check that. It was a great day.
So thank-you, Maestro Kunzel. For your music, for your generosity, and especially for your sense of humor.