Daniel Leutenegger, Bulliard 95, CH-1792 Cordast, Tel +41 (0)26 684 16 45 (nachmittags), www.ch-cultura.ch

Daniel Leutenegger
Bulliard 95
CH-1792 Cordast
Tel +41 (0)26 684 16 45 (nachmittags)
Fax +41 (0)26 684 36 45

GEORGE SHANGROW ist gestorben

GEORGE SHANGROW ist gestorben

20.08.2010 Unglaubliche, unsäglich traurige nächtliche Nachricht aus den USA: Flötist Jeffrey Cohan berichtet am Telefon, dass unser gemeinsame Freund, der Dirigent und Tastenkünstler George Shangrow aus Seattle bei einem Verkehrsunfall vollkommen unschuldig ums Leben gekommen ist. Diesen Sonntag, 22. August 2010, 14 Uhr, findet in der University Christian Church von Seattle die Trauerfeier statt.

Mit meiner Arbeit für das nordamerikanische Cohan Shangrow Duo sammelte ich anfangs der 1970er Jahre meine ersten professionellen Erfahrungen als Organisator von Konzerten und Tourneen, zudem auch lebendige Einsichten ins Musikerdasein, die fortan mein Wirken als Musikjournalist prägten. Aus der intensiven Zusammenarbeit wurden sehr bald tiefe Freundschaften, die über Ozeane und Epochen hinweg bis heute anhielten und immer wieder zu gegenseitigen Besuchen auf der einen oder andern Seite des grossen Teichs führten.

Uns verband die unbändige Lebensfreude ebenso wie die nachhaltige Nachdenklichkeit, die grenzenlose Neugier auf die klingenden Welten und die Ausdrucksweisen der Menschen aller Länder und Kulturen. 

Dem Flötisten Jeff und dem Cembalisten / Pianisten George, diesen so vollkommen ungleichen Menschen und diesem so absolut vollkommenen Duo verdanke ich unvergessliche Erlebnisse mit barocker Musik, mit Werken wie jenen von Erik Satie und zahlreicher zeitgenössischer klassischer Komponisten aus den USA.

George hat mir zudem viele Geheimnisse der Chor- und Orchestermusik aufgezeigt und teilweise entschlüsselt. Und als besonderes Privileg empfand und empfinde ich es, dank George eine kleine Vorstellung von den Kraftfeldern rund ums Dirigentenpult erhalten zu haben.

George fand in jedem einzelnen Stück Musik die darin verborgenen tiefen Emotionen und Weisheiten, das  flirrend Atmosphärische und das wohltuend Greifbare, das Unvermittelte, das Unvermittelbare, aber auch - das machte ihn bei einem breiten Publikum so beliebt - das Mitteilbare. George war der geborene Vermittler klassischer Musik, er hielt es fast nicht aus, wenn er seine Freude, sein Vergnügen, seine elementaren Empfindungen nicht mitteilen, weiter vermitteln konnte.

George konnte ein ausserordentlich lustiger, dabei immer (selbst-)kritischer Tisch- und Weggefährte sein, zumindest im Hintergrund blieb er ein wissender und wissbegieriger Nachdenker, der den Ernst des Lebens nie verdrängte. Und bei jeder Tages- und Nachtform von George war  klar, wie wichtig ihm Verlässlichkeit war, was ihm Freundschaft bedeutete und was für ein endlos treuer Freund er war.

Daniel Leutenegger



George Shangrow, well-known musician, killed in crash

WINTHROP, Wash. - A well-known Seattle music director was killed Saturday when a car driven by a teenager crossed the centerline and slammed head-on into his car on Highway 20 during a driving rainstorm.

George Shangrow, 59, founder of the Seattle Chamber Singers and Orchestra Seattle, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

When the accident occurred, Shangrow had been enroute to deliver a pre-concert lecture on American classical music as part of an annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, the Wenatchee World reported. (...)

Shangrow was a well-known fixture in the Seattle classical music scene. For many years he hosted "Live, by George," a Seattle radio show that featured live classical performances.

He also had appeared as guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Tacoma Opera, Rudolf Nureyev and Friends, East Texas University Opera, Oregon Symphony and the Sapporo (Japan) Symphony.

He was music director and conductor of Pacific Chamber Opera from 1976 to 1978 and has conducted world premieres of six operas and numerous other orchestral and choral works.


Remembering George Shangrow

By Peter Newman

There is a big hole in the Seattle-area music community. Our friend and colleague George Shangrow did so many things and so many things well that he couldn't help but touch many of us who care about music, community service, and communicating the joy of art to the public.

He was on his way to give a lecture at a music festival when a traffic accident claimed his life. How like George. It seems he was born to be on a mission. At the podium, on the radio, speaking to the public - it was all part of the same impulse to make classical music relevant and entertaining.

In the late 1980's George was a frequent guest on the air at KING-FM, where I have long worked. I did many interviews with George. He would talk about an upcoming concert, a new recording or an old chestnut in the music library. It didn't take a great leap of judgment to conclude that George should be conducting the interviews. Over the years he hosted and promoted local musicians, visiting artists, recent recordings to the KING music library, and live broadcasts. All this while continuing to lead Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers, to guest-conduct other ensembles, to play the harpsichord, and to serve as music director at University Unitarian Church. Somewhere there is a George Shangrow clock that has 25 hours in a day.

If you wonder why Seattle has such a rich classical music scene, why we enjoy chamber music, choral concerts, opera, ballet, symphonic music - all out of proportion to the size of our community - then you have George in large part to thank for this heritage.

He will be greatly missed because he was George and because there is so much more music that is waiting for us to explore and love.

Peter Newman is a long time host for Classic KING-FM.


The Seattle Times:

Tribute: George Shangrow, a roaring presence on Seattle's classical-music scene

A tribute to the career of Seattle conductor and teacher George Shangrow, whose death in a car accident at age 59 was a shock to the city's classical-music family.

By Melinda Bargreen

Special to The Seattle Times

Musician, conductor and radio host George Shangrow, left, shown with Fritz Klein, co-concertmaster of Orchestra Seattle. Shangrow, founder of Seattle Chamber Singers and Orchestra Seattle, died in a car accident July 31. JOHN CORNICELLO


In memoriam

Tributes to George Shangrow: the Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers Facebook page (www.facebook.com, search for OSSCS) and Orchestra Seattle website (www.osscs.org).


The news no one could quite believe was ricocheting around Facebook, Twitter and the phone lines with increasing speed Sunday evening and Monday, as more and more friends and fans tried to come to terms with the sudden death of George Shangrow in a car accident on Highway 20 on July 31.

It's a loss that feels deeply personal to so many in the music community. It's personal to the musicians who worked with him in his Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, who are now orphaned by the loss of their founder/conductor. And personal to the soloists he believed in, and the composers he championed, and the audiences he entertained and educated. And to the musical partners who performed with George at the keyboard, the listeners inspired by his lectures, and the radio audiences who followed his zesty interviews and commentary on KING-FM's "Live, By George" show.

Why is this one man so important? Because it's impossible to think of anyone who more embodied the essential joy of music - the visceral thrill of great music, great performances and wholehearted participation. George's heart and soul were bound up in this joy, and he was determined to share it with the world.

When George buttonholed you, beaming and exclaiming "You've GOT to hear this!," you knew your next hour was spoken for. It would be a recording of pianist Mark Salman ("an unbelievable artist!") playing Beethoven, or perhaps a new piece by Robert Kechley ("one of the greatest composers today!"), or an old disc of the Elizabethan Singers performing British folk songs ("You'll love this!"). Whoever it was, you could be sure of a performance that communicated energy and fun, one that shunned dull orthodoxy.

Music lovers will long remember the roaring excitement of George's Bach performances on the harpsichord with his longtime duo partner, flutist Jeff Cohan. How often do you get to use "roaring excitement" and "Bach sonatas" in the same sentence? Not often enough, George would say. He also specialized in getting the most possible excitement out of Handel's "Messiah," an annual fixture on his concert schedule. As a festive postscript, he inaugurated the after-Christmas tradition of the "Sing Along, Play Along Messiah," conducting all comers for years in a boisterous come-as-you-are version of the Handel classic in University Unitarian Church.

A Shangrow performance was less concerned about details of historical practice than about extracting the "juice" of the music and presenting it to listeners. As a conductor, he was so riveting to watch that the performers visually locked onto his face and his hands, ready to follow him anywhere. Rehearsals for the Seattle Chamber Singers (with which I sang in the 1970s, before becoming a music critic) were never a dull slog. They were usually both serious and uproarious, full of fun and jokes that sometimes were unprintable.

Irreverent, funny and erudite, George had plenty of chutzpah and a substantial ego - but he was the first to recognize when he was wrong. In the late '70s, when I had an extra set of tickets to Seattle Opera's Wagnerian "Ring," I invited George to come along. He had previously dismissed the "Ring" as not particularly interesting, but this firsthand experience transformed him. He immediately began reading everything he could find on the subject, becoming a passionate advocate and eventually an inspiring lecturer on these operas.

George's deep commitment to new music meant lots of fundraising to drum up enough money for a commission. In the nonprofit-arts world, this kind of money is very difficult to find, but he was persistent. He also knew what he wanted: music that had beauty, expressive content and the ability to communicate. George had no patience with compositional gimmicks or random sounds from what he called "the Squawk-Bleep School." The composers he championed - Kechley, Carol Sams, Huntley Beyer - produced over the past four decades a remarkable body of work that might not have come to the public without Shangrow's enthusiasm and determination.

One reason George's Seattle musical roots are so deep is that he started so early. He was still in high school when he founded the Seattle Chamber Singers. Back in early 1969, when Shangrow was only 17, the Roosevelt High School senior was already termed "a genius" by another legend, Seattle Times feature writer Don Duncan, who cited his talents as composer, arranger, pianist, harpsichordist, choral director, and teacher of flute, piano and organ. "One thing seems certain," Duncan accurately predicted. "We will be hearing more about George Shangrow in the years ahead."

Ever since his high-school years, George remained deeply loyal to his musical friends, many who continued to perform with him regularly over the years. The opera singer Margaret Russell, now based in Germany, joined Sams (who also is a singer) in a Seattle duo recital with Shangrow at the keyboard last summer, reuniting friendships that span four decades. Russell's husband, Dennis Van Zandt, also one of Shangrow's closest friends since high school, has continued his love for choral singing in Germany. Over the years, George's musicians would bring their new babies to rehearsals in their backpacks and baskets; later, as toddlers, the kids would rampage through church pews during rehearsals, and finally they'd start their own music lessons, as the years rolled past.

It's no exaggeration, however, to say that thousands of Seattle-area music lovers considered George Shangrow a friend, even those who only knew him as that great radio voice announcing the next musical treat in store. Gregarious, enthusiastic and never happier than before a receptive audience, George also made friends of hundreds of students who learned from him at the Seattle Conservatory of Music, Seattle Community College and Seattle University.

George's longtime friend and violinist Deede Cook observed: "Our time in Seattle Chamber Singers was such a rich period for all of us - young, trying to make sense of the world, coming of age as adults, and establishing ourselves as musicians. Passions ran high - and so did creativity. And our beloved George was at the center of the storm. I am so grateful to him for all that beautiful music and I feel so sad that we will not have the opportunity of enjoying a delightful friendship together in our old age."

The greatest loss, of course, is to Shangrow's only child, Daisy (almost 15), who was the light of her father's life. He waited a long time to become a parent, and threw himself into that role with total joy, involving himself deeply in her education. Never was a father more proud of his daughter - her sweet nature, her appearance and her musical talent as a budding cellist. Friends were eagerly shown the latest Daisy photos and regaled with tales of her progress.

Shangrow, 59, is survived by family that also includes brother Robert, sisters Reba Utevsky and Mary Schimmelbusch, stepsons Zachary and Luke Wheeler, nephew Spencer Shangrow, and nieces Nicola Shangrow-Reilly, Olivia Shangrow, and Natasha, Hazel and Nora Utevsky. Relatives are still deciding details of a memorial. Judging from all those e-mails, posts and phone calls from devastated colleagues and friends, they're going to need a very large venue. A chunk of Seattle's musical heart has been ripped away. And people are grieving.

Melinda Bargreen: mbargreen@aol.com


Website Orchestra Seattle / Seattle Chamber Singers:

George Shangrow, Music Director

As you likely now know, George Shangrow died in a car crash on Saturday. He was 59 years old. We will all miss him terribly.

In 1969, when he was still a teenager, George founded the Seattle Chamber Singers. Ten years later, he formed the group that would become Orchestra Seattle. Over the past four decades, George touched the lives of thousands of musicians who worked with him in these and other ensembles, audience members across the region and around the world who experienced his unique brand of music-making, and countless others who knew him as the host of radio's "Live By George."

George possessed a rare combination of musical gifts-conductor, harpsichordist, pianist, teacher, speaker-that he employed in the most intimate chamber music as well as the grandest works for chorus and orchestra. He leaves an astounding musical legacy, having conducted dozens of world premieres by Northwest composers and introduced so many seldom-performed masterpieces of the oratorio repertoire to Seattle audiences.

Those of us who performed with George are shocked and deeply saddened by his death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family members, several of whom are also our musical colleagues.

If you wish to share your thoughts and memories about George, please do so by e-mailing memorial@osscs.org; we will share them with George's friends and family, and post your tributes below.

Update: A memorial service for George will take place on Sunday, August 22, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., with a reception to follow, at University Christian Church (4731 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105, 206-522-0169).



George Shangrow (Conductor)

Born: May 13, 1951 - Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: July 31, 2010 - Winthrop, Washington, USA

The American conductor, keyboard player and teacher, George Shangrow, received his musical training at the University of Washington, where he studied conducting, Baroque performance practice, harpsichord, and composition.

George Shangrow began his professional conducting career at the youthful age of 18. In 1969 he founded the Seattle Chamber Singers in 1969 and and in 1979 Orchestra Seattle (formerly the Broadway Symphony). He concentrated his musical efforts with these two ensembles. He appeared as guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Tacoma Opera, Rudolf Nureyev and Friends, East Texas University Opera, Oregon Symphony and the Sapporo (Japan) Symphony and other ensembles. He was Music Director and Conductor of Pacific Chamber Opera from 1976 to 1978. A musician with a broad range of skills, his repertoire included music of all eras with special emphasis on the Baroque and 20th Century literature. He conducted world premieres of six operas, in addition to classical opera, primarily of Mozart. and numerous other orchestral and choral works.

George Shangrow and his ensembles toured Europe several times and he performed throughout the USA as a chamber musician. As a keyboardist, he was a sought-after accompanist and appeared in recital with many Northwest artists. He concertized frequently at his homeland and abroad as part of the Cohan-Shangrow Duo with flutist Jeffrey Cohan. He appeared in concert on the piano and harpsichord with many noted soloists and ensembles such as El Trio Grande, the Kronos Quartet, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He recorded with London Records, Voyager Records, Edel America, and Sonic Window Records and Lyman Digital Recording.

George Shangrow taught at Seattle University and Seattle Community College and was a frequent lecturer throughout the Northwest. His last post was on the faculty of the Seattle Conservatory of Music, where he teaught Music History, Conducting, and Literature.

George Shangrow served at the University Christian Church as Director of Music. Seattle music lovers also knew him as a regular announcer on Classical KING-FM and host of the "Live, by George" show, a nightly radio program featuring live, in-studio classical music performances.

George Shangrow was killed on Saturday July 31, 2010 when a car driven by a teenager crossed the centerline and slammed head-on into his car on Highway 20 during a driving rainstorm. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. When the accident occurred, Shangrow had been enroute to deliver a pre-concert lecture on American classical music as part of an annual Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.

Source: Orchestra Seattle-Seattle Chamber Singers Website and SCN Website; KOMO News Website (August 1, 2010)
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (April 2010); Gay Armsden (August 2010)

George Shangrow: Short Biography | Seattle Chamber Singers | Orchestra Seattle | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Georrge Shangrow (SCN)
George Shangrow - music director (OS-SCS)

George Shangrow, well-known musician, killed in crash (KOMO News)
Remembering George Shangrow, by Peter Newman (Crosscut)


Magic Moments:


NNCN.com / KING 5 News:


American Federation of Television an Radio Artists:


Progressive Alaska:


Zum Cohan Shangrow Duo:


Seattle Community College Television:










Aktiver Gast: George Shangrow im September 1986 in Bulliard - Cordast.






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