Saturday, April 24, 2010

Alan Rich

died yesterday. JW and I have wondered how he was doing, as we haven't run into him in a while. We used to run into him constantly, usually at the LAPhil during intermission, or at the Zipper Hall. We even sat next to him at a show at Royce Hall once.

After a while the run-ins got sort of comical in their frequency, and I often thought of just introducing myself and telling him we enjoyed his writing, but I never did. Instead we'd just stand in a corner and say, "Oh, there's Alan." Or we'd turn a corner and almost run smack into him, give an awkward nod, and keep moving, giggling to ourselves about how consistently that sort of thing would happen. I'm sure we're just a couple of many music lovers in town who'll miss seeing him out and about.

I've linked to and quoted Rich countless times over the years on FWL. Here are a few of those posts.

And here's a nice memorial by a music critic named John Rockwell.

UPDATE: LAWeekly has posted a memorial by his former editor, John Payne. Here's a nice passage.

Rich was one of your cultural coal canaries; he remained prescient right up to the end. Somewhere along the line he acquired a reputation as a gadfly, a status he thoroughly enjoyed. He'd been radicalized personally and artistically by his experiences as a student at Berkeley in the 1940s, where he rubbed shoulders with many of the future giants of the new music, including Lou Harrison, John Cage and Harry Partch. He never lost his passion for the new and pioneering "serious" music, and helped promote a long list of moderns including Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley. He was also an avid supporter of Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. And he dug Radiohead.

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