John Bavicchi

Professor Emeritus John Bavicchi of Newton, MA, former Composition Department faculty member, died in his sleep on December 9, 2012. He was 90.

Bavicchi initially studied engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University. But after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he began studying composition at New England Conservatory and, later, at Harvard with Walter Piston. Bavicchi joined the Berklee faculty in 1964 and, together with William Maloof, established the Composition Department.

Bavicchi—a classical musician to the core—likened his Berklee experience to a square peg fitting into a round hole. He took joy in sharing classical music with his jazz and classical students and said, “I never tried to wean anyone away from another style of music. My role at the school was to let the students know that there were other kinds of music out there beside pop and jazz.” Bavicchi was friends with celebrated jazz musicians Gerry Mulligan and Art Farmer, and a number of Berklee’s jazz students took his classes. Many later joined the Berklee faculty.

Bavicchi conducted and composed for a variety of Boston-area orchestras and ensembles. He wrote hundreds of works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instruments, and chorus. His compositions were firmly rooted in 20th-century techniques. He cited composers Paul Hindemith and Béla Bartók as influential on his writing as well as Romantic-era composer Robert Schumann.

Bavicchi was also an avid New England Patriots fan, held season tickets, and attended every home game for years. He is survived by his partner, Beverly Lewis, and his daughter, Janet.

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