Tim, Taimur, Zach and I are saddened to share news of the passing of our beloved friend and PRISM Quartet board member Robert Capanna on January 26th. We will miss him dearly, and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Cathryn, children Stephen, Mariel, and Cecelia, and to his entire family.
Bob was a giant in Philadelphia's music community. A recipient of the Koussevitzky Prize, he was a superb composer who brought artistic creativity to every facet of his work. In addition to writing for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Mendelssohn Quartet, and many other major ensembles and artists, he created three extraordinary works for PRISM. Bob also worked in philanthropy, serving as president of both the Presser Foundation and Musical Fund Society. Most recently, he was a director at Prudent Management Associates.
But Bob was most widely know for his brilliant and visionary leadership of Settlement Music School, where he was executive director from 1982–2009. He oversaw the exponential expansion of Settlement's student body with the addition of three new branches, and a deepening of the school's programs. He was especially committed to developing financial support for low-income children, ensuring that money was never a barrier to taking music lessons at Settlement.
Beginning in the 1980s, Settlement became a second home to PRISM, and an essential partner in presenting our performances and educational programs. In 2007, Bob joined PRISM's board of directors as chair. He was pivotal to the group's development as a professionally-staffed nonprofit organization, which transformed the scale and ambition of our work.
It's impossible to know how many lives Bob touched, but his impact was profound and undeniable. He was charismatic and had a wicked sense of humor, but above all I valued his humanity and kindness. He gave of himself fully and without hesitation to make all of us around him better artists and teachers, and most importantly, better human beings. PRISM is committed to honoring Bob's legacy and will continue to share his wonderful music with the world.
Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an eloquent obituary for Bob, which I invite you to read.
A visitation is set for Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Burial Co./Baldi Funeral Home, 1327-29 S. Broad St in Philadelphia. A memorial service will be at a later date.
Executive and Co-Artistic Director