Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
Like Tree11Likes

Thread: Oldest classical performer

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    466

    Question Oldest classical performer

    I am interested in how long anyone can continue to perform as a professional classical musician? I ask this question because people are in better health and are living longer. Are there any over 80 year olds, not including conductors who are still working?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,855
    Blog Entries
    24

    Default

    http://super-conductor.blogspot.com/...singer-in.html

    Your question led me to an Internet search that brought up the name of a singer who performed in an opera at the age of 85.

    Sorry it wasn't an instrumentalist for you, but....

  3. #3
    Senior Member mensch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Elliott Carter is still composing at the ripe age of 103 and gives occasional masterclasses if Wikipedia is to be believed. He doesn't perform however, I just realised.

    There's also Johannes Heesters who died in late 2011 at the age of 108 and still performed as a singer. He was quite famous in Germany and infamous in The Netherlands because of his dealings with the Nazis and success in war-time Germany.

    Alfred Brendel, to name an instrumentalist, is currently 81 and still playing the piano, although he suffers from arthritis.
    Last edited by mensch; May-25-2012 at 16:51.
    “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste. ” – Marcel Duchamp

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,424

    Default

    Horszowski was a bit past middle-age ...
    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
    - anonymous

  5. #5
    Senior Member Moira's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg, S Africa
    Posts
    539

    Default

    Yehudi Menuhin was 83 and still playing. Recording what's more.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clementine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Not quite as old, Martha Argerich is 71 and still as active (and amazing) as ever. Pianists probably have it easiest in regard to longevity, whereas woodwinds and vocals tend to peak sooner.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,091
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Leopold Stokowski conducted right into his nineties, I think. Arturo Toscanini conducted well into his eighties as well. Of course, pianist Vladimir Horowitz had his big comeback in his eighties, after decades of personal problems (eg. drinking alcohol with prescription drugs, depression, the death of his daughter possibly from an overdose, etc.). It's inspiring how he did that, but his legacy was already secure from his earlier (esp. pre-1945) recordings. Mstislav Rostropovich also had a very long career, he was still performing till his seventies, but in his final years switched the cello for the baton, going into conducting.

    I think there are many like this, or at least a fair few.

    mensch, I think Alfred BRendel retired in recent year(s)? I thought Heesters would be mentioned (Hitler's favourite singer for his favourite operetta, The Merry Widow). I have little time for such people, but he deserves a mention here in terms of the topic.
    Last edited by Sid James; May-26-2012 at 04:26.
    Il_Penseroso, mensch and Moira like this.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

  8. #8
    Senior Member Moira's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Johannesburg, S Africa
    Posts
    539

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    [B]
    mensch, I think Alfred BRendel retired in recent year(s)? I thought Heesters would be mentioned (Hitler's favourite singer for his favourite operetta, The Merry Widow). I have little time for such people, but he deserves a mention here in terms of the topic.
    Sid, you say you have little time for such people by which I assume you mean for Nazis, but that he (Heesters) deserves a mention here in terms of the topic. Now there are few people these days who applaud Nazis for their ideology. I in fact wrote this article about the role of theatre in dealing with the aftermath of the holocaust http://artscomments.wordpress.com/20...the-holocaust/.

    Next year I shall perhaps write an article based on artists of the Nazi era. I will question the validity of spurning for all time the artistic output of an artist based on his or her ideological (or simply, I sing/write/draw/play/act to survive and asterisk all the politicians who pay to hear me, but I need to put food on my table anyway) beliefs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,091
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    ^^I will reply by private message, moira, we can keep this discussion going on there if you wish. It's a side issue, I don't want to derail this thread.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

  10. #10
    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    591

    Default

    Here is a video of the great Russian Bass Mark Reizen singing at the Bolshoi at age 90.



    and the Swedish Tenor Nicolai Gedda at 80 singing with an Orthodox Choir in Finland

    Sid James and Il_Penseroso like this.
    Rob

  11. #11
    Senior Member mensch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    mensch, I think Alfred BRendel retired in recent year(s)? I thought Heesters would be mentioned (Hitler's favourite singer for his favourite operetta, The Merry Widow). I have little time for such people, but he deserves a mention here in terms of the topic.
    Yes, I think you're right. Most of the material Brendel recorded that's currently released are older recordings or remasters, I believe. So he might be fully retired now.

    Heesters certainly wasn't a hero and I think his infamous reputation was justly attributed to him, but he was very old and still active when he passed away so he merits inclusion in this thread.
    Last edited by mensch; May-29-2012 at 14:21.
    Sid James likes this.
    “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste. ” – Marcel Duchamp

  12. #12
    sah
    sah is offline
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    South Spain
    Posts
    89

    Default

    Andrés Segovia

    His health remained exceptional into his 90s, with only an eye operation for a detached retina in 1968 interrupting his playing schedule.
    http://www.pellegrinlowend.com/segovia.html
    Sid James likes this.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    119

    Default

    Boulez and Haitink are getting up there - and still actively conducting.
    Sid James likes this.

  14. #14
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Worcestershire, England
    Posts
    2,376

    Default

    Pianist Peter Katin is now 81 and, to the best of my knowledge, still active.
    Sid James likes this.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    9,091
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Pianist Peter Katin is now 81 and, to the best of my knowledge, still active.
    He's a favourite pianist of mine, got him doing Rachmaninov and Mendelssohn concertos on vinyl; but I thought he was retired. I would call his playing poetic.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Oldest Recording in Your Collection
    By opus67 in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 83
    Last Post: May-20-2014, 17:41
  2. Memory Lane 2 - Oldest purchases still in your collection and why you still have them
    By Vesteralen in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: Aug-16-2011, 09:14
  3. The oldest composer I have ever known! (Leo Ornstein)
    By myaskovsky2002 in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Jan-26-2011, 00:26
  4. Who is the oldest member and is still very active recently?
    By UniverseInfinite in forum Community Forum
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: Jun-21-2009, 07:42
  5. Oldest songs ever
    By MEDIEVAL MIAMI in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: May-16-2009, 17:52

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •