Obituary: Emilio Anthony Gravagno, longtime Philadelphia Orchestra bassist, 82

Posted on: September 30, 2016

“Emilio Anthony Gravagno, 82, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s double-bass section for more than four decades, died Saturday … after a long struggle with lymphoma,” writes Peter Dobrin in Thursday’s (9/28) Philadelphia Inquirer. After retiring from the orchestra in 2009, Gravagno “remained active in musical circles … With his wife, philanthropist Carole Haas Gravagno, he recognized his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music … by underwriting … the Carole H. and Emilio A. Gravagno Double Bass Studio, a roomy new hub for studying the jumbo string instrument. He recently donated his own longtime double bass—an unusually large, Italian, 19th-century instrument once owned by important pedagogue Anton Torello—to Curtis, where it is now being played by a student. Last Friday … in his hospital room … the composer Hannibal Lokumbe visited to read and sing a bit from a forthcoming work, Crucifixion and Resurrection, that the couple has commissioned in reaction to the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston…. [Gravagno] played in the New Orleans Symphony and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, joining the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1967.” A memorial service in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania is set for October 17.

Posted September 30, 2016