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I could be behind the curve (I was away and purposefully out of touch for a few days), but I just heard on the radio that David Diamond passed away.

Mr. Diamond was always very supportive of my music (which consistently surprised me!) and was always kind to me personally. To be honest, I always really liked him, most probably because I never studied with him privately. Those who did seemed to be of diverse opinions on his teaching and personal style, ranging from heartfelt devotion, to anger and bitterness (and everything in between). I always though of him as quite the character (did he wear makeup? it seemed like he did), which always knocks someone up a few notches in my book.

Sometime during my first year at Juilliard, I wrote an odd little piece: a theatrical vocal ensemble work for a choreographer, which used Yiddish texts and the wildest of aleatoric nonsense. I didn’t even know that Mr. Diamond heard the piece, but ever since that performance, when I would bump into him in the halls, he would noisely hoot and holler in Yiddish in an energetic approximation of my score … which, considering the source of this aural humor, never failed to crack me up.

I’m very glad that people like Gerard Schwarz took the time and energy to honor him with recordings and performances while he was ALIVE. I’m sure that eased Mr. Diamond into well-deserved satisfaction in his last years.

It is likely too early to comment on these things, and so I apologize in advance if this is in poor taste, but there used to be a (probably apocryphal) rumor that Mr. Diamond wrote a book of memoirs, which were to be published upon his death. If this is true, considering who this man worked with, spoke with, studied with, ate with, and slept with, it is likely to be the best dishy read of the decade…

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