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Choral singer collapses and dies before Disney Hall rehearsal

Arts and CultureEric Garcetti

A 42-year-old member of a choral group from Philadelphia died late Monday morning while warming up for a noon rehearsal at Walt Disney Concert Hall — the first time a performer has died at the venue since its 2003 opening.

Jeff Dinsmore and seven other members of the Crossing chamber choir had arrived early for the session at Choral Hall, a rehearsal room at Disney Hall, when Dinsmore was taken ill, said Lisa Bellamore, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A fire department spokesman said he was pronounced dead after emergency responders arrived.

Dinsmore apparently died from natural causes, a spokeswoman for the county coroner’s office said. An autopsy will be conducted later this week.

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It was not immediately known whether the death will lead to the cancellation or postponement of Friday’s scheduled West Coast premiere of “De Materie,” a 1980s work by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen that’s part of the orchestra’s current Minimalist Jukebox series, said Bellamore.

The decision will be reached jointly by the orchestra, the Crossing  and the other performers, she said. The Phil’s website lists tenor Alex Richardson, soprano Susan Narucki, actress Marlies Heuer and cabaret performer Meow Meow as soloists for the 108-minute piece, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said the emergency call came at 11:01 a.m. “The person was beyond our help,” he said.

Humphrey said trained volunteers from Mayor Eric Garcetti's Crisis Response Team were summoned to help others at the scene cope with the emotional aftermath of the death.

The Crossing formed in 2005 and specializes in new music. The Disney Hall performance involved a portion of the 24-member group.

Corrected: An earlier version of this post attributed to Bellamore the fact that Dinsmore was pronounced dead after emergency responders arrived at Disney Hall. That line has been updated, with attribution to the fire department.

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