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The visionary who brought Yoko Ono to New York

We have been informed of the death of Beate Sirota Gordon, the pianist’s daughter who ran New York’s Asia Society and imported numerous musicians, artists, dancers and film-makers to the US, among them Yoko Ono, whose father studied with Leo Sirota, her own father.



photo courtesy Allan Evans

Beate was 89. Born in Vienna, a niece of the conductor Jascha Horenstein, she migrated with her family to Japan where, after the War, she wrote the women’s rights section of the Japanese constitution. More here, in her Wikipedia entry. Here’s a college address she gave last year.

sirota yoko ono


photo (c)

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  1. Thank you so much for this posting. It is always especially poignant to learn of someone’s life through the reading or viewing of an obituary or memorial.

  2. Helping to draft Japan’s postwar constitution, with special emphasis on rights for women is commendable. Bringing hammer-a-nail Yucky Ono to New York who herself turned her husband into a full time babysitter, really, so what?

  3. @cabbagejuice, I confess that I feel bruised to read your words on this page dedicated not to Ono but to Gordon. I don’t care what people think of Ono. But you’ve made a death notice a place for bashing. Speaking for myself, it’s horrible to see.

    @Lebrecht, you may have laid the groundwork for such a reaction. Not that Ono’s a red herring in Gordon’s amazing career of nurturing and presenting artists. But she was just one on an incredibly long and diverse list — one who happened to become world-famous.

    I almost wish this page could be deleted, and posted afresh with a different artist depicted at Beate Gordon’s side. Except that I, as doubtless Beate Gordon did, ardently support free speech.

    That said, I’m glad that she, at least, won’t be reading this page.

    R.I.P. Beate Sirota Gordon. Thank you for all you have been and have given to so many.

    • Lighten up, will ya? Even Shakespeare had a sense of humor and most great people do. I can think of things that are indeed “horrible” (crazed killing sprees anywhere in the world) but not a lèse majesté everytime someone’s self importance is pricked.

  4. I disagree totally with the anti-Yoko comments in reply to the tribute to the late Beate Sirota. She had the vision to recognize an original artist who rightfully rose to world fame. Jealousy is a terrible thing and an insult to the brilliant taste and discernment of Beate, may she R.I.P. Yoko’s voice is soothing and her songs feminine and unique. I appreciate her and her work.

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