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Culture notes: Theater, dance artists discuss ‘Hamlet’; long-time Atlanta Symphony musician dies

Theater, dance artists discuss ‘Hamlet’

With “Hamlet” on the boards at Georgia Shakespeare through Oct. 27 and to be performed by Atlanta Ballet in April, the two arts institutions have decided to share notes on the tragedy with audiences following the 2 p.m. performance for the next three Sundays. The free 5 p.m. talks include: play director Richard Garner and choreographer Stephen Mills on Oct. 13; actor Joe Knezevich and dancer John Welker, both of whom portray Hamlet, on Oct. 20; and Kendall Simpson discussing his score for the play and Philip Glass’ score for the dance on Oct. 27. $15-$40. Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-504-1473, HOWARD POUSNER

Atlanta Symphony bassist dies
Retired Atlanta Symphony Orchestra principal bass player Ralph Jones died Wednesday after a courageous fight with cancer. The ASO posted the following statement:

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our beloved friend, colleague, and Principal Bass Ralph Jones, who has passed away following a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Ralph has been a part of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra family for more than 40 years and will be missed immensely. He joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1970 and served as Principal Bass from 1977 until his recent retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Ralph maintained a busy teaching studio and was active in the ASO Talent Development Program and outreach programs. Many of his students were accepted into schools such as The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. He gave master classes at a number of universities, including Northwestern University, Indiana University, the University of Georgia, and the Manhattan School of Music. Ralph has also taught privately and played Principal Bass at the Chautauqua Institute. At ASO Family Concerts in 1994, he was the soloist for Jack and the Beanstalk, a double-bass concerto by Jon Deak.

A frequent guest artist of the Georgian Chambers Players, Ralph performed the Rossini Duo for cello and bass with ASO Principal Cellist Christopher Rex. Most recently he performed in a chamber version of Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel. Both performances were at Spivey Hall.

Born in Decatur, Illinois, Ralph graduated from the University of Tulsa. His teachers were Henry Loew, Principal Bass with the Saint Louis Symphony; Lew Norton, bassist with the New York Philharmonic; Anthony Bianco, Principal Bass with the Pittsburgh Symphony; and Paul Rainier-Zepperitz, Principal Bass with the Berlin Philharmonic. He played on a bass made in 1740 by Domenicus Busan.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Gloria (Associate Principal Bass of the ASO), and their children, Christopher and Shelley. His impact on the ASO will endure for years to come.

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