We are saddened to share news of the passing of Ronald Zecher de Kant, Emeritus Professor of Clarinet at CCM. Born in Lancaster, PA, on Oct. 30, 1931, de Kant passed away in Cincinnati on June 22, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Brenda Mitchell of Cincinnati, daughter Monique (Niki) of Vancouver, BC, and cousin Barrie Zecher (wife Leoma) of Lititz, PA.
De Kant was professor of clarinet at CCM from 1987 until his retirement in 2004. During his tenure at CCM, he also served as chair of woodwinds and brass from 1989-2004. Many of his former students have held positions in major Canadian and US orchestras and military bands.
De Kant received the Artist Diploma from Juilliard in 1953, where he studied with Daniel Bonade. Following Juilliard, during his military service, he taught for two years at the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington, DC. He then performed as principal clarinet for a year in Toronto with Canada’s National Ballet Orchestra. He was principal clarinet with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra from 1956-65, then principal clarinet of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 1965-80. He was also principal clarinet of the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra 1967-83 and performed with the Santa Fe Opera 1970-72. An active chamber musician, at various times he was a member of the New Orleans Woodwind Quintet, the Vancouver Woodwind Quintet, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, and the Cassenti Players. He was a soloist with both the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra. Recordings as clarinet soloist include the Mozart Quintet with the Purcell String Quartet and the Copland Clarinet Concerto with the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to his time as a CCM faculty member, De Kant taught at the university level concurrently with his orchestral appointments in both New Orleans and Vancouver. He also taught part-time at the University of British Columbia from 1965-80, then full-time until 1983. From 1977-84 he coached woodwinds at the Banff Centre for the Arts, where he premiered the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Oscar Morawetz. He was professor of clarinet at Arizona State University 1983-87. He taught clarinet at Louisiana State University during the 2004-05 academic year.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Professor de Kant’s family and friends during this time. You can share your memories of Ronald de Kant online at www.neidhardyoungfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Ronald-De-Kant. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.