Gordon Sherwood, whom Aaron Copland considered his most gifted student, died on Wednesday, aged 83, we are informed by his friends.
Sherwood, whose first Symphony was premiered by Dmitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic, opted to live on the streets, drinking in cafes, sleeping in doss-houses. He hung out in Hamburg, played in bars in Beirut. A friend writes: ‘He would beg on the Paris streets for six months and then travel and compose for the following months of the year. His begging, he would call fund-raising, which is actually what it was.’
Latterly, he found a berth in an old people’s home in Bavaria, where the Suddeutschezeitung profiled him as ‘der Bettelkomponist’.
Photo (c) Suddeutschezeitung
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Here’s some music of his.