Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bay Area Musicians Mourn Tragic Death of Bassoonist

Bay Area Musicians Mourn Tragic Death of Bassoonist
By Rufus Olivier Jr.

The San Francisco Bay Area music community recently lost one of their own when bassoonist David Bartolotta died tragically in a car accident on June 13th while visiting a friend in North Carolina. He was 61 years old.

David was a member of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for over 30 years and formerly held the position of music librarian there for over 10 years. David frequently performed with the San Francisco Opera, played with various chamber groups and recorded in the studios of George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch. He graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and honorably served a stint in the U.S. Navy.

But David’s life was filled with more than music. His friends and colleagues were awed by the incredible, impromptu feasts that David was so eager to prepare in between music services. The aroma of his favorite ingredient, garlic, often signaled to others that a magical Bartolotta creation would soon delight the palate. Friends remarked that David was a perfect candidate to host a cooking show on network television; because his wit, humor and timing were uncanny.

Although David was not technically a chef, his ties with top Bay Area chefs were unique. They consulted David for advice about the flavors, texture and safety of specific mushrooms being considered for their own culinary creations. David was a mushroom expert and beloved member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco; and he was routinely contacted by law enforcement authorities when local mushroom poisonings occurred. He was passionate about mushrooms – especially foraging for them and exploring new ways to enjoy them in his own cooking.

As a musician, ‘chef’, mushroom expert, military veteran and friend, David will be fondly remembered by many as a man who spent his life in the limelight, but who allowed that light to shine brilliantly for others.