The world’s longest serving orchestra musician died during a performance, in Atlanta


Her death happened in the last couple of minutes of the final song, when the symphony was performing a pops concert called Broadway’s Golden Age. Her colleagues and many other people remembered her personality. “She seemed to be made of bass resin and barbed wire, she was unstoppable,” bassist Michael Kurth, who was playing next to Little when she collapsed. Jane Little was on chemotherapy for multiple myeloma. She weighed 98 pounds and had already said she would retire at the end of the season. She was a widow with no children and the orchestra was her real family.

When she was a teenager she wanted to be a ballerina. Little took a fall last August, cracked a vertebra and was so weak and in such pain she could only practice for minutes at a time during her recovery. During her activity she played under four orchestra music directors and many guest conductors including Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Pierre Monte, Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli and James Levine.


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