Norman Leyden, Laureate Associate Conductor of the Oregon Symphony, died today at the age of 96.
Oregon Symphony President and CEO Scott Showalter said, “Norman was one of the closest members of the Oregon Symphony family. While we mourn his loss, we also celebrate his life and incredible contribution to the arts.”
Mr. Leyden initiated the Oregon Symphony’s Pops concert series, one of the most successful in the nation, in 1970. “For 34 seasons as the Pops Musical Director, Norman charmed standing-room-only audiences with his warmth and musicality,” Showalter said. “His talents were revered far beyond our stage. He, his clarinet and his fine musical arrangements will be remembered by many for a long, long while.”
The musicians, board, and staff of the Oregon Symphony send their heartfelt condolences to his family and legion of fans throughout Portland and the U.S. The Symphony plans to honor his memory at its Waterfront Concert on August 28.
David Stabler has written a fine obituary in the Oregonian here, and Charles Noble offers his recollections about Leyden on Noble Viola here.
I have an hour-long tape of an interview that I did with Leyden in September of 2004. I'll have to write it up one of these days. It was part of several interviews that I did with older members of the Oregon Symphony, including Glen Reeves, John Richards, Cheri Ann Egbers Richards, Eugene Kaza, Reinhold Pauly, and Huw Ewart.