Obituary: composer and new-music champion John Duffy, 89

Posted on: December 23, 2015

“American composer and beloved new-music advocate John Duffy, who founded Meet The Composer in 1974, died in Virginia this morning after a long illness,” writes Ed Harsh, president and CEO of New Music USA, on Tuesday (12/22) at NewMusicBox. Duffy’s “views were decades ahead of their time…. For years in the late 1970s and early 1980s he enthusiastically regaled anyone who would listen with his idea for putting composers in residence with orchestras around the country…. What an improbable idea it was for a little nonprofit with a tiny budget…. By 1992 … it wasn’t improbable anymore. It was obvious. That was a big victory, but it wasn’t the only one. There was also the [Meet The Composer] commissioning program, the composer-choreographer program, the New Residencies program…. John’s life leaves a resilient legacy, especially precious at moments when our courage and faith are tested. John reminds us that what’s possible goes way beyond the horizon we see, and maybe even as far as we dare to dream.” Duffy composed several hundred works for orchestra, opera, theater, television, and film. He received many honors in recognition of his contributions to music, including the American Music Center’s Founders’ Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Posted December 23, 2015