Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Adieu, Yonty Solomon

We were desperately saddened to hear the other day of the death of Yonty Solomon, a pianist who was one in a million. Born in South Africa, he became a student of Dame Myra Hess and for many years enriched his students at the Royal College of Music with his wisdom, humanity and humility. He had suffered from a brain tumour.

I will never forget the beauty of his tone, the freshness and deep love of music that infused his interpretations and the terrific regret that I felt, when I finally met him a few years ago at the Chetham's Piano Summer School, that I hadn't met him and studied with him a very long time ago.

His former student Vanessa Latarche wrote this beautiful tribute which was read out at his funeral on 29 September:
"Yonty was for all of his students the best role model that a teacher could possibly be, a colossus of the piano world, warm-hearted, generous, enthusiastic, energetic, and intellectually curious. To say that he will be sorely missed by us is an enormous understatement; his passing has left a huge hole on the second floor of the RCM, but his exceptional legacy is legendary. I know I can speak for all my colleagues when I say we feel very privileged to have known him."