The death of someone you’ve made music with is an intense type of sorrow, indeed.
I first met Steve at UMass Amherst when I began performing in YWE, the UMass Youth Wind Ensemble, in 2000. I have several fond memories of his meditative conducting and always-smiling state of being. Throughout my own graduate degree in conducting, I remembered to wear black every time I stood in front of an ensemble, thinking of him each and every time. Why? As he taught and practiced, it allows attention to lay with the baton and not the person wielding it. I have since worked under some very well-known conductors, and since 2000, Steve has been my favorite. In fact, I wrote about him in one of my graduate comps, even though at that point I was 2000 miles away and 10 years past the last time I had worked under him.
Though it’s been years since YWE, I saw him once every couple of years at various conferences, and we always managed to find time to chat. Additionally, he has always been one of those great conversation starters to bridge the gap between myself and someone I was just meeting in the profession: “oh, you know Steve?”… and the conversation would go on from there. I can only image how much he will be missed by his family, students, friends, and colleagues.
**It looks like a lot of people are googling him over the past few days, and ending up here as a result. Unfortunately, I have yet to find out exactly what happened. I know it was a sudden death. I know he was speaking with a friend of his the night before he died and he had mentioned he was trying to get over a nasty flu. Next thing I know, a friend is posting on facebook that he had passed away. If you have any more information that this, please post it here. This post has had several hundred visitors in the past couple days all searching for “why and how”. Thanks..