Sir Charles Mackerras
Sir Charles Mackerras, 84, a renowned conductor acknowledged as the leading exponent of Leos Janacek's operas, died of cancer Wednesday in London, according to the management firm Askonas Holt.
In Britain, Mackerras was associated with Sadler's Wells Opera — later English National Opera — and the Royal Opera, and was principal conductor of Welsh National Opera and the BBC Concert Orchestra.
At various times he also held conducting posts in Germany, Australia, the Czech Republic, the U.S., Austria and France, and he made many highly regarded recordings.
The conductor did pioneering work on historic performance practices. An early result was his 1959 recording of Handel's "Water Music," which challenged the then-conventional lush performances by using the forces Handel had in mind, including 24 oboes.
"We got every wind player in London to come for one session, in the middle of the night, and have a go at it," Mackerras recalled.
He brought the insights of the authentic performance movement to his conducting, notably in his work on Mozart's music and music of the baroque. In 1966, he added ornamentation to the score of "The Marriage of Figaro" at Sadler's Wells, re-creating his understanding of performance practice in Mozart's time.
Born in Schenectady, N.Y., to Australian parents, Mackerras grew up in Australia and studied oboe, piano and composition at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. In 1973, he conducted the opening performance at the Sydney Opera House.
Polish priest of Solidarity movement
Henryk Jankowski, 73, a Polish priest who gained prominence in the 1980s by supporting Lech Walesa's Solidarity social movement but who later saw his reputation marred by anti-Semitism and suspicions of pedophilia, died Monday in Gdansk, Poland. He had diabetes for years.
Jankowski, the parish priest for the St. Brygida Church in Gdansk, came to prominence when he celebrated Masses for shipyard workers striking under Walesa's leadership — resistance that paved the way for Communism's eventual demise. Along the way he won the nickname "Solidarity's chaplain," but he was one of many priests who waded into dangerous waters to support Solidarity's struggle for freedom against repressive — and atheist — Communist rule.
Jankowski's reputation took a battering in the years after Communism's collapse because of anti-Semitic remarks.
He was also investigated on allegations that he sexually abused a minor, though he was never convicted. He insisted he was innocent but called the accusations a slander campaign orchestrated by "Jews and Judeo-Communists."
In 1997, Jankowski was barred by Roman Catholic authorities from giving sermons for one year after repeated anti-Semitic remarks. During one homily, for instance, he said that members of "the Jewish minority cannot be tolerated in the Polish government."
Grammy-winning Brazilian jazz musician
Paulo Moura, 77, a Brazilian jazz great and Latin Grammy winner, died late Monday at the Sao Vicente clinic in Rio de Janeiro, where he was receiving treatment for lymphoma, said a clinic spokeswoman.
The clarinet player, famed for his versatility and his virtuosity, played Brazilian folk music, jazz and classical orchestral music.
He won a Latin Grammy in 2000 for the best Brazilian roots album.
In 1962, he played with Sergio Mendes' group at the historic Bossa Nova night at Carnegie Hall that helped launched the genre's mass appeal.
— Times staff and wire reportsCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times