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Another immense loss.


Kansas City lost one of its greatest visionaries the same day that the world lost Sir Charles Mackerras. While perhaps the latter will receive more international coverage, the loss of Richard Harriman will be no less deeply felt. He brought the world of classical music to the middle of America and provided a varied, superlative, world-class program that saw the recital debut of Luciano Pavarotti, countless appearances by Marilyn Horne, the Vienna Philharmonic, Russian Ballet companies, Baroque Orchestras, Wynton Marsallis, among a multitude of others, and graciously gave me my hometown recital debut.

He was a quiet, unassuming man who championed countless performers and somehow knew who the stars would be before any of them knew themselves. He personified the “young at heart” approach to living, and I’m convinced that music provided him the catalyst for that youthful energy. He was an example of serving a community, fulfilling a vocation, and thinking WAY outside the box!

In him, we have the perfect example of what dedication and imagination can bring to the world: in bringing more than 850 events to one city over the years, a single human being with a vision and the fortitude to follow it through, well, he changed the lives of the people of my hometown. He brought us beauty and introspection and laid the world at our feet. No need for passports and airfare – he graciously brought it all to us.

I owe Mr. Harriman a tremendous amount, and he will be sorely missed. What a great thought, however, to imagine he and Sir Charles getting to chat it up together over a nice cup of tea. How much richer those two gentlemen left the world.

Thank you.

5 Comments

  1. Chris said…

    If I recall correctly the Harriman Recital series was one of the first venues for Florez in the US. He was grateful and when he had to cancel a later repeat engagement he felt sufficiently obligated to make it up to them and, as soon as he could, gave a free recital there. (You might confirm details with him.)

  2. Klassikfan said…

    Hi Ms DiDonato,
    although these last two entries are very sad news indeed, it was a tremendous JOY(CE) to attend yesterday's "Barbiere" at La Scala. What a lively Rosina, what a VOICE, what a cast, and how much fun all of you on stage seemed to have! (And the best news at the stage door was your promise to perform in Munich in 2012! But before that I am looking forward to Salzburg in August.) Enjoy sunny Milano and its impressive opera house!

  3. Sarah said…

    I am more and more in awe of these people who have a dream and follow it through, bringing top-quality art to so many people through hard work and persistence. My life is so much richer because of them. Had I lots and lots of money I would give it to people like Mr. Harriman; I don't – but I try support efforts like this any way I can.

  4. Wolfgang said…

    Dear Joyce, this may not fit too well to the sad news in your post, but I just saw a news release that you will receive the Echo Classic Award for Singer of the Year in Germany (for the Rossini disc)!!! My heartfelt congratulations!!!! And as much as I like the idea of the two gentlemen having a cup of tea together, I think they might just as well enjoy a glass of champagne in your honour…..

  5. Klassikfan said…

    Congratulations indeed! The ECHO Classic Award is a much respected honour, and the award ceremony will be shown on TV in Germany. You have really deserved this prize so much – great!

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We need you to make us feel an integral PART of a shared existence through the communal, universal, forgiving language of music, of dance, of poetry and Art – so that we never lose sight of the fact that we are all in this together and that we are all deserving of a life that overflows with immense possibility, improbable beauty and relentless truth.

~ Joyce DiDonato