December 7, 2012

CIM Mourns Loss of Jazz Legend Dave Brubeck

CLEVELAND, OH (12.7.12) Innovative Jazz pianist and composer, the legendary Dave Brubeck, passed away on December 5 at the age of 91, just one day shy of his birthday. His music defined an era.

“CIM deeply mourns the passing of Dave Brubeck, a longtime member of CIM’s International Board of Trustees,” said CIM President Joel Smirnoff. “A composition student of Darius Milhaud, Mr. Brubeck was celebrated as that rare musical icon whose music crossed all boundaries, appealing both to lovers of jazz and of classical music, melding the disciplines of improvisation, performance and composition. CIM is proud of its long association with this important complete musician and will always treasure his lasting contribution to our musical perceptions.”

CIM had a special connection to Mr. Brubeck that spanned more than a decade. In 2001, he was awarded the CIM honorary doctorate for his pioneering work in music. Just two years later, he brought his cool jazz style to a packed Severance Hall, performing with the CIM Orchestra at the first benefit hosted there by the Women's Committee of CIM. Directed by Carl Topilow, the Orchestra played Dvořák's Slavonic Dance No. 1, Op. 46 and selections from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, and then joined The Dave Brubeck Quartet in performing some of their hits, including "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," under the guest baton of Russell Gloyd. Mr. Brubeck continued his support of CIM until his death, serving as an International Trustee on the Board.

Throughout his career, Mr. Brubeck experimented with blending jazz and classical, appearing as a composer-performer with most of the major orchestras in the United States and with prestigious choral groups and orchestras in Europe and America.

Dave Brubeck’s music is known for unique time signatures, rhythms, meters and tonalities during a career that spanned six decades. His prolific output of music also includes the soundtracks for television such as Mr. Broadway and This is America, Charlie Brown. At its peak, the Dave Brubeck Quartet produced as many as four albums a year. The Quartet toured with fellow jazz royalty, artists Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz. Mr. Brubeck himself was featured on the cover of Time Magazine with a story about the jazz renaissance. He has performed for British Royalty, a Pope, kings, presidents and heads of state.

A recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1994, numerous honorary degrees and the BBBC Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award (2007), Mr. Brubeck also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. In 2008, United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice presented him with a “Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy” for offering America a “vision of hope, opportunity and freedom” through his music. He was honored with the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Smithsonian Medal and Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, the National Endowment of the Arts declared him a “Jazz Masters” and he was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to his family and friends and express our gratitude for the amazing musical legacy he leaves behind,” President Smirnoff said.

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