Musician Tamara Brooks, Wife of Bikel, Dies

By JTA

Published May 22, 2012.
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Tamara Brooks, a noted choral conductor, and the wife and musical partner of singer and actor Theodore Bikel, has died.

Brooks, a Julliard-trained pianist and conductor, suffered a heart attack on May 19. She was 70.

Brooks had a distinguished career as a conductor and educator who performed around the world.

Director of Choral Activities at the New England Conservatory (NEC) from 1982 to 2000, she had also served as president and head of the orchestral program of Philadelphia’s New School of Music. She was the founder and music director of Sequenza, a professional instrumental ensemble devoted to contemporary music.

Brooks and Bikel met when they worked on two shows about Jewish music for PBS in 1999 and 2000, according to the NEC web site. Brooks became Bikel’s professional as well as life partner, accompanying him on piano in frequent concert tours in the U.S. and overseas.

The couple married in 2008. In 2009, they celebrated Bikel’s 85th birthday with a gala concert at Carnegie Hall featuring other top artists from the folk and Jewish music world.


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