Obituary: Pops conductor and mentor Erich Kunzel, 74

Posted on: September 2, 2009

“An era has ended,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Wednesday’s (9/2) Cincinnati Enquirer. “Erich Kunzel, 74, Cincinnati’s music man for more than 44 years, has died. He died Tuesday at about 10 a.m. in Bar Harbor, Maine, near his home on Swan’s Island, according to his personal manager Peter Throm. He had battled cancer since receiving a diagnosis in late April. … Kunzel’s final public appearance was with his own Cincinnati Pops Orchestra at Riverbend Music Center on Aug. 1, to conclude the 25th anniversary season of the outdoor venue that he and the orchestra had christened in 1984. … In 2005, he led the Cincinnati Pops on its historic tour to China, the first American pops orchestra to tour the mainland. Last summer, he returned to Beijing, to lead the orchestra in concerts at the Summer Olympics, the only American orchestra invited to do so. … In 2006, Kunzel was awarded the National Medal of Arts in a White House ceremony, the nation’s highest honor awarded to artists.” He was “a mentor to a new generation, including the Boston Pops’ Keith Lockhart and the New York Pops’ Steven Reineke.”

Posted September 2, 2009