Friday, November 16, 2007

Sic gloria transit mundi

(photo by Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe Staff)

Boston unexpectedly lost a major star in its musical firmament this week. Craig Smith, the conductor and pianist who founded Emmanuel Music, passed away on Wednesday due to heart and renal failure, both complications of a diabetes diagnosis. Smith built Emmanuel into a beloved mainstay of the local classical music scene, and was at the forefront of many national and international music initiatives. His programming of Bach cantatas became a weekly staple at Emmanuel, where the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson got her start; he was a driving force in the revival of several Handel operas, and collaborated with Peter Sellars on his landmark "updates" of Mozart's Da Ponte operas; and he conducted the world premiere of Mark Morris's "L'Allegro." A memorial service will take place at Emmanuel Church but has yet to be announced.

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