Gino Vivaldo Raffaelli
Gino Raffaelli, a founding member of ICSOM, passed away on January 10. He was a violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra from 1957 to 2001 and served as ICSOM’s first treasurer. He is survived by his daughter, Giovanna M. Shore, and two grandchildren.
Gino was widely admired by his friends and colleagues as both a musician and an activist. In 1984, with fellow Cleveland violinist Diane Mather, he co-founded Performers and Artists for Nuclear Disarmament (PAND).
Those in attendance at last summer’s ICSOM Conference had the privilege to hear him speak about ICSOM’s fundamental concepts and first meetings. He concluded with the following remarks:
I would like to relate one of my most endearing memories as a member of The Cleveland Orchestra. The year was 1963, and the venerable Pierre Monteaux was guest conductor. Mr. Monteaux was in his eighties at the time. At the end of the last rehearsal he turned to the orchestra and said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, you are truly a great orchestra, and it has been a pleasure to work with you this week. Many of you may know that this year is the 50th anniversary of the first performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and many of you may know that I conducted the premiere performance of this great work in Paris in 1963. And, I would love to conduct the 100th anniversary performance of this piece with your great orchestra, but unfortunately, by then most of you will be dead.” And so I would like to paraphrase the words of the good maestro. I won’t be around for the 100th anniversary of ICSOM, and so I extend to you my best wishes for good health and good fortune, so that all of you will be around for the 100th anniversary of ICSOM.
On February 28, the San Francisco Symphony lost one of its most beloved musicians. William Bennett, our principal oboe, died five days after collapsing at the front of the stage while performing the Strauss Oboe Concerto. He had been performing beautifully, when the sudden traumatic event shocked both the orchestra and the audience. The orchestra dedicated three performances of the Bruckner Seventh Symphony to his memory, with Michael Tilson Thomas leading a moment of silence before each.
Bill joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1979 as associate principal oboe, a year before Davies Hall opened, and won the principal oboe chair in 1987. The American composer John Harbison wrote his Oboe Concerto for Bill, and Herbert Blomstedt conducted its premiere, with subsequent performances on tour. Bill was also on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
To those who knew him, Bill was a man of many talents—supremely capable musician, creator of oil paintings, deft cartoonist, quirky arranger of music, and someone who had a keen eye for seeing the depth and humor in the world around him. To say that we in San Francisco will miss him is an incredible understatement. He is survived by his wife, Peggy, sons Daniel and Michael, mother, Fran, and sisters Jean and Nancy.
— Robert N. Ward, Principal Horn, San Francisco Symphony