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In Memory - Classmates

Giudo Ajmone-Marsan VIEW PROFILE

Giudo Ajmone-Marsan

Guido Ajmone-Marsan


I am Guido's wife writing to you with the sad news that Guido passed away on the 19th November after a two-year battle with cancer.

Maybe you can add this to the Bethesda Forum.

Best wishes,

Helle Ajmone-Marsan

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12/03/14 09:49 AM #1    

Anita Bollt

I was fortunate to correspond with Guido a few times in 2014 after Joyce located him for the reunion.  I wrote to him a few days before the reunion and he replied:

Thanks for thinking about me.  I've had a wonderful summer at our cottage in Denmark, ....

I wish you all a very happy reunion.  Old times are always great to remember!!

All my best to everyone who remembers me.  GUIDO

Do read about Guido's remarkable life in the article linked on the menu to your left.

12/20/14 05:28 PM #2    

Anita Bollt

I received the following tribute to Guido from his wife Helle.

Guido's funeral was on the 1st of December with beautiful music and spoken tributes from both our 35 year old son and me. We played a short excerpt from his last concert in Nuremberg last year and our daughter's musician friends played the slow movement from Schubert string quintet. At the end we played 'Beim Schlafengehen' from Strauss Four last Songs which both Guido and I loved.

A pianist friend of ours has recently written the following tribute which we are hoping will be published in at least some of the London newspapers. 

Guido AM, who died recently after a long illness, was an Italian-American conductor who excelled in a wide range of repertoire, and who had a particular affinity with the great Italian operas of Verdi and Puccini.

He was a person of great charm and warmth, and his talent as a young conductor brought him to the attention of the great Franco Ferrara, teacher of many of today’s greatest maestros. Ferrara considered him to be one of his most outstanding students.

Propelled into prominence at the age of 22, he won a major conducting competition in Florence, closely followed by successes in the Cantelli and Mitropolous competitions, the latter of which brought him to the attention of Leonard Bernstein, with whom he later shared the stage conducting the orchestra of La Scala.

His big international break came in 1973, when he won both the LSO/Rupert foundation competition in London and the Solti competition in Chicago one month later. Following his success in Chicago, Solti took a keen interest in the development of his career and his one year association with the London Symphony, working alongside Andre Previn, gave him a number of opportunities to lead the LSO.

He was soon in demand worldwide, appearing with leading orchestras such as the Orchestre de Paris, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, and in London with the LSO, the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony as well as all the regional orchestras.His conducting also took him further afield to such places as Tokyo, Sydney and Buenos Aires. 

His Covent Garden debut was in 1983 and he made a triumphant debut at the Met with Rigoletto in 1990. He was also music director of the Essen Opera in Germany from 1986-90 and was responsible for a great revival of that company’s fortunes. This he achieved with a quiet grace and dignity - a perfect foil for his intensely committed music-making, which was never compromised by any over-inflated view of himself.

He worked with distinguished artists such as Dame Janet Baker, Jessye Norman, Vladimir Ashkenazy and ItzhakPerlman, and his courtesy and consideration knew no bounds.

He was a delight to be with, both on and offstage, his gently introverted nature giving way to unexpected bouts of uninhibited laughter. He invariably displayed a rare generosity of spirit towards his colleagues, not least when, for some unfathomable reason, there were fewer opportunities in later years for him to conduct. 

Right to the last, his love of music and conducting remained undimmed, as demonstrated when, already ill, he conducted his final concert with the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in November 2013. 

Guido AM is survived by his Danish wife Helle, their three children and two grandchildren

12/21/14 01:34 PM #3    

Michael Boorstein

Thank you Anita for posting the note from Guido's wife Helle.

While I have no recollection of knowing Guido at BCC, I can relate to his life for two reasons:  I enjoy opera, having listened with my father to Saturday opera broadcasts on WGMS. My dad was a real opera buff, and could sing arias, even though he didn't know Italian and knew all the stories and would often quiz me on them. I saw my first opera when I was 14, on a trip with my parents, where in Vienna we saw Turondot, and I was quite impressed with the music, costumes, and story line.  After I joined the Foreign Service, our first overseas post was in Palermo, Italy,and we had season tickets to the opera for both years we were there, seeing not only the "greats" of Puccini and Verdi, but also avant garde operas, which often were greeted by boos of derision by the tranditionalists among the Italians.  

My other reason for relating to Guido's life is that his mother was my Italian teacher at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute, where I studied before going to Palermo. I learned only then that Guido was her son and that he attended BCC.

I regret that I didn't know him or have the opportunity to actually see him conduct, but it was heartwarming to read about his life and the tribute his wife gave to him which she shared with all of us.


Mike Boorstein

12/21/14 01:34 PM #4    

Lois Peck (Davis)

I moved to Cleveland with my husband in 1970.  It was sometime in the 70's that we went to a Cleveland Orchestra concert that was part of a communitty outreach program.  It was given in a gym and had a young "guest conductor".  That conductor  was Guido!  I was so excited to see him conducting.  I was able to speak to him briefly afterwards.  I'm not sure he remembered me since I was mostly in Choir and the musicials, not orchestra or band, but he was very gracious.  I remember this to this day, seeing a B-CC graduate conduct such a great orchestra.

12/21/14 03:39 PM #5    

Elena Jurgela

Helle, Please accept my deepest sympathy and prayers.  Guido accomplished so much, and I wish I had known him better.  As a singer, I also sang a lot of Puccini, and can appreciate his affinity to that wonderful composer.  I know all his classmates will miss him dearly.


12/21/14 03:55 PM #6    

Joyce Hill (Stoner)

Rusty  and I always talked about Guido and all the wonderful things we thought he would end up doing!  He certainly did do wonderful things, and I wish Rusty were still here to join me in reading this!

Best to all, Joyce

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