ELIAS CARMEN - FAREWELL


(The following is compiled from material thoughtfully submitted by Donald MacCourt, bassoonist-colleague of Mr. Carmen and by Sol Schoenbach. Don collected articles and information about Mr. Carmen and requested permission for me to reprint them in this newsletter. I asked Mr. Schoenbach to contribute an article, which is self-explanatory. No words adequately describe our sense of loss and sorrow at the passing of this unique man and superlative musician.)

Elias Carmen, outstanding bassoonist of his generation, died on December 21, 1973, as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident at his home in West Nyack, New York. He was currently playing principal bassoon with the New York City Ballet and was an associate professor of music at Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut).

As a very young child he played the violin, but soon switched to the bassoon and received a Philharmonic scholarship. At the same time he played with the National Orchestral Society under the direction of Leon Barzin.

His professional life flourished immediately, and while still in his teens he was given first chair with the Minneapolis Symphony under Eugene Ormandy. This was followed by a period with the Cleveland Orchestra; the original production of "Porgy and Bess" under Alexander Smallens; the Longines Symphonette, with Howard Barlow and Alfred Wallenstein; and as a guest artist with the Budapest String Quartet at the (Washington) Library of Congress.

In addition, he played with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and with Martha Graham. He was a member of the N.B.C. Symphony when it was under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. And when the Casals Festival of Puerto Rico was formed, Mr. Carmen played every summer's performance until his death. He also performed on occasion with the Marlboro Festival Orchestra and at the Saratoga Festival.

Elias Carmen's teaching influence was far-reaching. His own teacher had been the famed Simon Kovar. For several years Mr. Carmen traveled to Montreal, Canada, where he taught at the Conservatoire du Musique de la Province de Quebec. In addition to Yale University in the U.S., he taught at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He also spent a year in Puerto Rico teaching and developing new talent there. Many of his former students are outstanding performers today.

His family includes his wife, Ann, three children, Katie, Robert, and Alice, two brothers, Nathaniel Carmen and Captain M. Carmen, U.S.N.; and two sisters, Mrs. Clara Freeman and Mrs. Ivan Kempner.

(Note. The above is from a biography prepared by Mrs. Kempner. Ed.)


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