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A composers’ friend is gone

Mary Lou Humphrey, who was a dramaturg at New York City opera and a champion of US composers at Schirmer’s, died of cancer on December 23, aged 59.

mary lou

Among the composers she helped most as advocate and editor were John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Tan Dun and Aaron Jay Kernis. She wrote a libretto for an opera by Richard Danielpour. At City Opera, she was right-hand woman to general director Beverly Sills. From college days on, her specialist study was the music of Alban Berg.

Here’s how she described herself:¬†I work in multiple areas of the classical music/opera and publishing worlds, both as a creator and behind the scenes.¬†Artistic endeavors energize me enormously. I love language’s ability to communicate subtle shadings of meaning and to reveal deep psychological insights, as well as abstract music’s capacity to express human emotion.

May she rest in peace.

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  1. Steven Ledbetter says:

    She was a bright spirit…. the news of her death far too early is deeply saddening.

    • I met May Lou when I was assistant conductor and rehearsal conductor for Tan Dun.
      She was so full of energy and enthusiasm. You could not escape it!

      I had no idea. Ma you Rest in Peace Mary Lou.

  2. Marsha Hunter says:

    Mary Lou and I met in the orchestra pit of a production of Company by Sondheim in 1971, and were instant life-long friends. Her enthusiastic love of new music was, and will always be, one of my favorite things. I can see her face light up, hear her spirited, “Listen to THIS!” as we settled into a musical reverie with some new recording.

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