ABS mourns the loss of choral conductor, long-time Classical Music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, founding editor of San Francisco Classical Voice, and unofficial Dean of the Bay Area’s music press corps, Robert Commanday (1922-2015). A regular attendee at ABS concerts—from the very first ones at St. Stephen’s Church in 1990 (after the April concert he wrote, “A major Bach ensemble has started up in the Bay Area and soon will be a festival feature that people will travel distances to hear”) until last season’s St. Matthew Passion—Mr. Commanday was a great friend and a staunch advocate for the highest standards in musical performance. In 2012, Mr. Commanday made an indelible contribution to the ABS Festival & Academy when he presented an illuminating lecture, “A Millennium in 50 years … The Discovery of Early Music.” He will be greatly missed.
Obituaries for Robert Commanday are available at SFGate and SFCV (don’t miss the Comments section) and further testimonials can be found at the following: SFCV tribute page, Iron Tongue of Midnight, Kalimac LiveJournal, Musicology Now. Earlier this year Mr. Commanday finished an oral history for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he was interviewed by ABS harpsichordist Corey Jamason. Audio excerpts from the oral history interview are available here.