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Lee Erwin
(190?-2000)

It is with great sadness that I bring you the news that master organist and silent film accompanist Lee Erwin passed away this past Thursday, September 21st. He was 93 years old. I met Lee in 1981 when I was starting to play for films at NYU, while he was the house organist at the Carnegie Hall Cinema. He was a major part of the first wave of reinterest in silents that happened in the 1960s and 1970s. He continued to travel and perform until April of last year, when he injured his hip. He was a mentor, friend and an inspiration to me over the past 19 years.

Wednesday, September 27, 2000: I attended Lee Erwin’s funeral this morning. There were a handful of organist friends and colleagues, such as Dick Hyman and Jeff Barker, as well as Lee’s brother John who played the organ at the service . . . a medley of pieces associated with Lee, including his ‘theme,’ Gershwin’s “But Not For Me.”

Here is a link to the 3 minute piece on NPR about Lee that aired [26 September 2000] (you’ll need a RealAudio Player to hear it). — Ben Model
 
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