Obituary: St. Louis Symphony Chorus Manager Richard E. Ashburner, 57

Posted on: March 22, 2011

In Monday’s (3/21) St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sarah Bryan Miller writes, “Richard E. Ashburner, manager of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1989, died Friday (March 18, 2011) at Barnes-Jewish Hospital from complications of pneumonia. He was 57. A chorus manager must be organized and detail-oriented, sensitive to people issues, efficient and compassionate—and it helps to have a sense of humor. Mr. Ashburner had all of these qualities and more, said chorus director Amy Kaiser. ‘He was an equal partner in building and nurturing the (chorus) for the past 22 years,’ said Kaiser, who said she believed Mr. Ashburner was ‘the best chorus manager in the world.’ Mr. Ashburner was also an administrator with the Special School District and received national recognition for his work in the field of speech pathology. He retired from that position several years ago. … Eddie Silva, publications manager for the SLSO, noted that several years ago, musicians involved in school outreach programs were frustrated by their inability to connect with students. Mr. Ashburner worked closely with them ‘before they went into the classroom, creating class presentations, and helped the classroom to become a real working and functioning place.’ ”

Posted March 22, 2011