According to KUSC’s Twitter feed, Lorin Levee, Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has passed away. He was 61 years old. The information was retweeted by the LA Phil, so I’m guessing that the sad news is accurate. Thoughts, prayers, and condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
No additional details, andthe orchestra has not yet issued an official media release. As soon as they do, I’ll pass them along.
Mr. Levee joined the orchestra in 1976 as bass clarinetist. He was promoted to principal in 1981 by Carlo Maria Giulini.
He has been prominently featured on many of the orchestras recordings, including the Rachmaninoff 2nd Symphony conducted by Simon Rattle and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. More recently, he could be seen on video in Gustavo Dudamel’s 2009 inaugural concert as Music Director, most especially during that concert’s performance of the Mahler 1st Symphony.
UPDATE (12:58PM PST): This from the LA Phil’s Facebook page . . .
It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that our Principal Clarinet, Lorin Levee passed away yesterday. He fought a long and courageous battle with a fatal blood disorder; a battle so valiant that he played his final concert with us only on January 8. Lorin joined the orchestra in 1976 as our bass clarinetist and in 1981 won the position as Principal. He was a great clarinetist, a dedicated member of our New Music group, and had appeared with the orchestra as a soloist on numerous occasions. This is a real loss for us all.
UPDATE (4:04PM PST): details from the Los Angeles Times of music to be played tonight in his honor:
A concert on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall will be dedicated to Levee. The orchestra has added an extra piece to the program — Ravel’s “Le Jardin Féerique” (The Enchanted Garden) — in honor of the musician. In addition, Deborah Borda, president of the L.A. Philharmonic, is scheduled to speak.
Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Levee when he came into the hospital where I was moonlighting as a young physician. As an ardent classical music fan, I immediately recognized who my next patient was going to be when I grabbed his chart before entering the room. Aside from dealing with his medical problem at the time, he and I didn’t waste much time before the discussion turned to classical music and the clarinet. It was a real treat. He was kind, cordial, and appreciative. But it was I who was appreciative. One of the best orchestral clarinet players I ever heard, no doubt. Soli Deo Gloria.
Thank you very much for sharing, Dr. Kraske. Soli Deo Gloria, indeed.
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