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Rosario Mazzeo

Mr. Mazzeo was also a prolific and well-regarded photographer, and he counted among his friends Edward and Brett Weston and Ansel Adams. Mazzeo’s photographs were exhibited in numerous galleries and museums around the country.

Ornithology was another keen interest of his. For some years he served as Trustee of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He was an indefatigable hiker and especially enjoyed climbing volcanos: Mauna Loa, and Mounts Etna, Vesuvius, Fuji, Paricutin and Hekla.

Mazzeo was an avid collector of vintage clarinets, and he amassed a collection of over 70 instruments, illustrating the development of clarinet mechanisms. This collection now resides at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

He also collected modern and historic cameras, bird literature, and a large collection of solo and chamber music for the clarinet, which was donated to the University of California Santa Cruz.

For many years he wrote The Clarinet Masterclass Series for the Selmer Bandwagon, and he later wrote a more extended series of articles, called “Mazzeo Musings” for The Clarinet, the journal of the International Clarinet Society. He is the author of “The Clarinet, Excellence and Artistry” (1981, Alfred Publishing Co., 1990, Dorn Publications).

Unfortunately, space does not allow mention of all the gifted players who studied with Mazzeo. However, a few of them include Felix Viscuglia, who succeeded him as bass clarinetist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Sherman Friedland, principal of the Milwaukee Orchestra, Larry Mentzer, principal of San Antonio Symphony, and David Breeden, principal of San Francisco Symphony. Benny Goodman coached with Mazzeo before a performance with the New York Philharmonic. In later years, Sheryl Renk, principal, and Frank Renk, bass clarinet, both with the San Diego Symphony, Mark Brandenburg, principal of San Jose Opera, Mariam Adam of the Imani Quintet, Beth Custer and Ben Goldberg, chamber players in the San Francisco area, and Jurg Fehr and Elizabeth Ganter from Zurich, Switzerland.

He died in Carmel, CA on July 19, 1997.