Robert Scott Conant of Greenfield Center, New York, passed away in his home on the evening of December 27th, 2013 at the age of 85. He died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his loving family and cherished cats. He is survived by Nancy J. Conant, his wife of 54 years, daughter Elizabeth Scott Conant, son Andrew Frederick Conant and also his beloved ten year old grandson, Elihu Scott Conant-Haque, all of whom live in Greenfield Center, New York, as well as nephew David Conant of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; nephew Douglas Conant of Champaign, Illinois; grandnephews Matthew and Gregory Conant and sister-in-law, Jean Conant of Holiday, Florida. He is predeceased by his father, Frederick Banks Conant, mother Bessie (Scott) Conant, brother David and niece Susan.
Robert and Nancy Conant were married at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan on October 10th, 1959, Fr. David Gillespie presiding. Though seven years apart in age, Bob and Nancy shared the same birthday.
Robert Conant was born on January 6th, 1928 in Passaic, New Jersey. His father was a judge, his mother a talented pianist. He attended Choate, where on a school trip to Manhattan to hear a concert by the iconic harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, he was first inspired to dedicate himself to the study and performance of the harpsichord. Mr. Conant went on to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University, class of ’48 and ’56 respectively, where he would later teach as well as become curator of the Yale Instrument Collection. Mr. Conant made his professional debut at Town Hall in Manhattan in 1951. He later taught at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University under Rudolph Ganz, from which he retired in 1986.
Mr. Conant performed and recorded with many groups and individuals here and abroad including the American Bach Society, The Collegium Musicum, Robert Shaw Chorale, the Viola da Gamba Trio of Basel with August Wenzinger and Hannelore Mueller, the Alfred Deller Trio, Henryk Szeryng, Fritz Rikko, Paul Doktor, Janos Scholz, Renato Bonacini, Josef Marx and Kenneth Slowik.
Mr. Conant was a pioneer of the early music revival of the post World War II years, promoting the use of historically accurate instruments and tunings. Mr. Conant created the Foundation for Baroque Music in 1959, and began to host an annual concert series, The Festival of Baroque Music, the first several of which took place at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, and which later moved to its permanent home in The Studio in Greenfield Center, NY, an open-plan concert hall designed for its superb acoustics. The Festival of Baroque Music ran continuously for 52 years, concluding in July of 2011. In addition to his love for early music he was an avid supporter of twentieth century music and commissioned several new compositions for harpsichord. He received a Lifetime Award from Yale University as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Saratoga Arts Council. When appearing before an audience, Robert spoke with masterful eloquence as few can.
There will be no formal visitation; online remembrances may be made at http://www.burkefuneralhome.com. The family would like to express their deepest appreciation for the exceptional level of care given by hospice workers. In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations to The Community Hospice of Saratoga in Robert’s name.
Bob entertained friends and family with his great talent for hilarious, spot-on impersonations and will be remembered by everyone who knew him for his ever-present sense of humor, cheerful demeanor and endearing smile. Robert loved all things beautiful, sonorous and poetic, and he lives on through our enjoyment of great music and art.
Please note that the link to firstname.lastname@example.org may not bring up Robert’s page just yet, as there is still a bit of paperwork to complete before he’ll be represented on their site. Visit back soon and you should be able to leave a remembrance. Thank you all for your love and support.
8 thoughts on “Maestro’s Finale”
Liz, may you all find serenity and joy in the memories of your extraordinary father. Your writings about his final days have been moving and sad, yet a fittingly human way to make sense of his illness and how you and your family could help him through the journey. I send you through the miles both sympathy and strength, and I wish you all peace.
How are you today?
And how will you be tomorrow?
My sympathy to you and yours. May time and love heal your wounds.
May you have all peace and comfort through this whole new level of life. Sometimes things will not seem quite real, but the love you have will always be real. Just take it a moment at a time. You will be all right. The mixture of grief and relief that the suffering and uncertainty is over will often clash, but you can always hold on to your love. Your Dad was a great guy, and he could see that you turned out to be a great daughter. Peace for you in the new year.
May the peace that comes from memories of shared moments and a shared passion for music give you comfort…Your dad was certainly an extraordinary man who left an indelible mark on the music world. Thinking of you, Elihu,and your family…
thanks all for the love. on we all go…
We remember you so well. Through your dancing lessons with Trudl you introduced us to your Mom and Dad, and your brother.We remember your Dad telling us how when purchasing a new station wagon he had to make sure that it had adequate cargo space for his harpsichord. That wonderful instrument with which he made such beautiful music. We had some wonderful times together, but as we went our different ways, we became separated by time and space. How rewarding it is to discover what a strong and talented person you are. You were lucky to have your Dad as a father and he was lucky to have you as his daughter. May we all remember him with love and admiration, and may we renew our love and friendship with you, your family and your Mom in the near future.
Rosa & Herb Bromberg
A much too belated response… I am so touched by your message! And Mom was so happy to have heard from you too. Yes, that was a lovely time in all our lives… and yes, life has a way of throwing us all out into the world in different places and situations… Mom’s in the book, so please call her if you’d like – I know she’d love it. And if you’re ever in the mood for a drive, pay a visit to Saratoga and stop by for a visit! Thanks so much for reconnecting. xoxo E