Paul Salamunovich Dies
GRAMMY-nominated conductor Paul Salamunovich died April 3 following complications from West Nile virus. He was 86. A native of Southern California, Salamunovich performed in a boys choir at St. James Elementary School in Redondo Beach, Calif. After graduating high school he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and, upon his discharge in 1946, joined the Los Angeles Concert Youth Chorus (later named the Roger Wagner Chorale after Salamunovich's mentor). Salamunovich served as Wagner's assistant conductor until 1977, and eventually returned to the group as its music director in 1991. While his other work included performing as part of male jazz quarters alongside bandleaders such as Stan Kenton, and singing for movies and TV shows (including leading the chorus that recorded 1964's folk-song collection Walt Disney Presents It's A Small World), Salamunovich was widely regarded for his leadership of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1991–2001. In 1998 he earned a GRAMMY for Best Choral Performance for the group's recording of Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna.