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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Obituary: Glen Roven (1958-2018)

The composer, conductor, producer and arranger died today.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Glen Roven. Publicity photo by Ahron R. Foster
© 2018 Roven Records.
If you work in this business long enough, you meet some extraordinary people. Some of them even  become your friends. That said, I am shocked and saddened to write this afternoon that Glen Roven has died. The composer, producer and conductor had just turned 60 years old. The cause of death is not known at press time.

Glen was a composer, producer, record company executive, conductor and arranger. His achievements included winning two Emmys, conducting inaugural concerts for both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, and appearing with fellow composer Mark Shaiman in the hit comedy Broadcast News. (They're the two guys who play the "new news theme" and shout "Big finish!" Glen does all the talking! (Watch the clip here.)

A hard worker with an indomitable musical spirit, Glen first came to the spotlight with the Mickey Rooney-Ann Miller musical Sugar Babies. He was the show's music director at just 19 years old. His most recent work was in the genre of the symphony. He had just completed work on his Second Symphony and was starting his Third.

Glen was also the owner and producer of Roven Records, the New York based label that released records like "Diva on Detour", a session of jazz standards recorded by soprano Patricia Racette on a hot afternoon in Hell's Kitchen. (Superconductor was there on that memorable occasion.)

Ms. Racette was also featured (alongside opera stars Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee and Nathan Gunn) on "The Hillary Speeches", a work created to be performed live on the Internet opposite the inauguration of Donald J. Trump.

Other notable Roven creations included a violin concerto based on the choildren's book The Runaway Bunny, and an arrangement for soprano and orchestra of the children's book Goodnight Moon. He was also the composer entrusted with creating Bounce: The Basketball Opera, a unique work integrating art and sport.

On another note, Glen was a personal friend of mine, and an occasional and valued concert companion for performances reviewed by Superconductor at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Most notable of these was the 2016 premiere of the recent Metropolitan Opera production of Tristan und Isolde. Last season, he returned the favor, inviting me to a dress rehearsal of Parsifal at the Met.

He will be missed. A funeral is scheduled for Friday 11am. A musical tribute will be scheduled for later this year.

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