Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho: 'Just devastated to learn Oswald Russell, Jamaican pianist, composer...has passed on.'

[Oswald Russell (Photo provided by William Chapman Nyaho)]

Oswald Russell (1933-2012) remembered by his friend and student William Chapman Nyaho:
Oswald was wonderful gentleman whom I studied with when I was in Geneva at the Conservatoire. I took private lessons from him as well as Improvisation. I later on had the honour of writing the entry on him in the International Dictionary of Black Composers published by CBMR.

Oswald Russell's recitals typically consisted of a wide range of styles and would include a brilliant improvisation. I was always struck by the 'freshness' of his interpretations.  One would almost feel the composer (whether it be Beethoven, Schumann, Ginastera, whomever) had just written the work for him and the ink was still drying..... I don't know how else to put it! It was just glorious!

He was a huge favourite among the Genevois, packing the halls for his recitals or concerti.

I put a little statement on my Facebook page...
Just devastated to learn my music mentor, my hero, my teacher and friend, on

whose shoulders I stand.. Oswald Russell, Jamaican pianist, composer,

improviser extraordinaire has passed on. He believed in me before I could. I am

so grateful for what he did for me!  May his music live on!

[Dr. William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is featured at His performance website is and he has a Facebook Page.]

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