Roll Call Scribe’s Father Dies in Israel

Our deepest condolences to Roll Call‘s Shira Toeplitz, who lost her father this week. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Gideon Toeplitz died Sunday night in his sleep in Israel. He was born in Tel Aviv. He was 66.

Toeplitz ran the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1987 to 2003. During his employment, he signed on Marvin Hamlisch as conductor. Music was in his blood. His father, Uri, was a principle flutist in the Israeli Philharmonic. He, too, played flute and was skilled enough to substitute for his father. His godfather was pianist Rudolph Serkin.

While the exact cause of Toeplitz’s death is unknown, the obituary reports that he had Diabetes as well as a benign brain tumor in 2007. During his hospital stay he contracted a staph infection and fell into a coma. He recovered, however, and returned to attending orchestra concerts.

Remarks from and about Toeplitz’s daughters were added to the newspaper’s blog with the reporter profusely apologizing that they’d been trimmed from the obituary. See the remarks after the jump…

From the Pittsburg Post-Gazette Blog: While Mr. Toeplitz’s busy schedule kept him from hobbies, it didn’t keep him from spending time with his family and watching football with his daughters. “He had a rugged exterior, but he was a softie at heart,” said his daughter Ilana Ransom Toeplitz. “He would secretly hold my hand during symphony concerts when I was young.”

Toeplitz’s devotion to his daughter Shira Ransom Toeplitz was no less ardent. “He had worked for a while on getting a commission for a new work, but when it came, it was on the night of [his daughter] Shira’s fifth-grade play,” says Gail Ransom, to whom he was married from 1977 to 2004 . “At first he joked that, ‘They should talk to me before they schedule these things,’ but then he arranged for the work to be premiered in the second half and got to her play on time.”