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Composer and jazz musician Nic Gotham left eclectic legacy in Canada and Latvia

By John Terauds on July 28, 2013

gothamComposer Nic Gotham died in Toronto on Thursday, July 25 after a long struggle with cancer, and a day after a tribute concert organised for him at Gallery 345. He was 53.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

His enduring legacy in Canada will be the 1992 chamber opera Nigredo Hotel, with a libretto by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Its premiere was directed by his wife, Banuta Rubess.

Gotham, who was born in England, spent more than a decade in Latvia with his wife, son and daughter. There, he worked in and taught musical theatre as well as jazz.

The family returned to Toronto last year. Gotham had hoped to continue working, but spent most of his time battling cancer.

There will be a private funeral service on Monday, July 29 at St James’ Cemetery, followed by a potluck open house at the family home from 1 p.m. until the last guest leaves. You’ll find all the details here.

I only discovered last night that Gotham and Rubess had kept a blog of his adventures over the past few months. Called The Daily Nic, it is another example of how more and more people are willing to open up their most private, and sometimes most tortured, moments for all the share.

The Daily Nic served to remind me that, no matter who we are, or where we come from, or what we have or haven’t accomplished, nothing else really matters if we can’t share a breath and a heartbeat with those who are nearest and dearest to us.

Gotham has peppered his entries with powerful reminders of how the possessed artist can overcome incredible obstacles, like going out to record his final composition at Array Space on the night of Toronto’s big storm in early July.

The Daily Nic is fine reading, both morbid and life affirming. It is far more eloquent than an obituary — and there are even snippets of listening along the way. Check it out here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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