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In Memoriam

(L-R) Paul Badura Skoda, Joelle Utley, and Oliver Mtudkudzi

The end of the calendar year provides time to reflect upon the last year and remember all of those we have lost. This post pays tribute to some of the musicians, collectors, inventors, and scholars whose work had a lasting impact on the world of musical instruments. Please join us a minute to acknowledge the contributions of these influential people who died in 2019.

Joella Utley was a philanthropist and musician. Joella and her husband Joe created a collection of outstanding high brass instruments and then donated them to the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in 1999. Although the gift was formalized, more than 90% of it remained in the Utley home and after Joe's death in 2001, Joella became the primary caretaker of the collection. Among many activities, Joella served on the board of the National Music Museum and as president of the Utley Foundation, which funded brass research and the publication of award-winning catalogs.

William R Reglein (1948–2019) was a former owner, president, and chairman of the jjBabbitt company company of Elkhart, Indiana. Reglein began as a delivery boy in the company that was founded by his great uncle. Over a 52 year career he rose through the ranks until eventually becoming its president. He recently led the planning for the company's centennial celebration in 2019.

Myron Bloom (1926–2019) served as the principal horn player in the Cleveland Orchestra for more than two decades under the baton of George Szell and later in the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Beginning in 1985, Bloom taught horn at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. In addition, Bloom worked with Hans Hoyer horns to develop their Heritage model series.

Paul Badura Skoda (1927–2019) was one of the most celebrated pianists of the twentieth century. Though trained as a modern concert pianist, in his twenties he heard Isolde Ahlgrimm, an Austrian fortepianist, perform and it sparked an interest for him in early keyboard instruments. He built a large collection of historic instruments, which he used in performances and in a prolific recording career. He also co-authored, along with his wife Eva Badura Skoda, authored the influential “Interpreting Mozart at the Keyboard.”

Vincent Bell (1932–2019) was a "first call" session guitarist in the New York City area through the 1960s and 1970s. He played on recordings with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and Dionne Warwick, as well as on movie soundtracks including "The Godfather." Along with Nat Daniel of Danelectro Guitars, Bell designed and produced the electric guitar-sitar, that could create approximations with an electric guitar of sounds reminiscent of the Indian sitar. Bell used the instrument on many recordings, especially during the psychedelic rock era, but it was also utilized by many other musicians wishing to evoke the sound of the sitar in popular music.

Charles R Walter (1927–2019) founder of the Walter piano firm of Elkhart, Indiana.

Aaron Rosand (1927–2019) was a noted concert violinist and teacher. His career began at the age of 10 with an appearance with the Chicago Symphony. He made his Town Hall debut in New York City in 1948. He went on to appear as a soloist around the world and to teach at the Curtiss Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 1957 he purchased a Giuseppe Guarneri (del Gesu) violin made in 1741. In 2009, upon retirement, he sold the instrument for more than 10 million dollars and donated 1.5 million of that sale to the Curtiss Institute.

Ginger Baker (1939–2019) was a drummer who redefined the use of the drumset in rock & roll. Baker began by studying jazz drumming in England, before joining Blues Incorporated in the 1960s where he met the bassist Jack Bruce. The two would join Eric Clapton to form the power trio Cream, in which Baker grew a reputation as rock's first superstar drummer. Baker pioneered the use of two bass drums and the long form drum solo. His playing melded jazz and African rhythms. Ginger Baker's Energy band

21 March 1980. Zemun, Yugoslavia

CC BY-SA 2.0

Clora Bryant (1927–2019) was one of the most important trumpeters in the Los Angeles jazz scene. A trailblazing woman player, Clora came of age during the big band era of the 1940s before becoming an important adherent of the bebop genre in the 1950s, when she began hosting regular jam sessions. Dizzy Gillespie was so impressed with her playing that he began refering to Bryant as "his protégé. She toured extensively and appeared along other trumpeters including Louis Armstrong and Harry James. She released a single album during her lifetime, "Gal with a Horn" in 1957." Among many award, she was honored by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.