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William Crofut
Bill Crofut
January 25, 1999
Cancer
Age 64 
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OBITUARY 
        
       
NY TIMES 
Bill Crofut, 64, a Folk Singer, Banjo Player and Crossover Artist

               Bill Crofut, a singer, composer and master banjo player whose style often defied 
categorization, died on Jan. 25 at his home in Sandisfield, Mass.  He was 64.  

          The cause was cancer, said his wife, Susan.  

          Though he surfaced during the folk-music boom in the late 1950's, Crofut broke free of the mold through his penchant for experimentation, setting music to the poetry of Robert Penn Warren or transcribing for banjo the compositions of Vivaldi and Bartok.  

          Crofut, who was born in Cleveland, studied the French horn as a music and literature major at Allegheny College in the early 1950's. "I was doing O.K. until I met Pete Seeger," he said in a 1977 interview in The New York Times. Aware of Seeger's troubles with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Crofut was among the first to raise money for his defense, even though he admitted that he did not necessarily agree with him. Crofut's $300 contribution earned him an invitation to Seeger's home in Beacon, N.Y., and soon he was working as Seeger's "gofer" in exchange for a few minutes of banjo lessons at the end of each day.  

          His other major musical influences, he said, were the jazz clarinetist Tony Scott, whom he had met while teaching music in Japan, and the pianist Peter Lang, whom he had heard performing Mozart sonatas in Salzburg.  

          Crofut recorded more than 20 albums, first as half of a folk duo with the singer and guitarist Stephen Addiss, with whom he toured as part of the State Department's cultural exchange program, and later with the keyboard player Chris Brubeck and the classical guitarist Joel Brown.  

          His love of classical repertory led to collaborations with the baritone Benjamin Luxon and the harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper in the 1970's, and with the soprano Dawn Upshaw in recent years.  He also spent summers teaching a vocal master class at the Tanglewood Music Center. Crofut had recently finished recording "Simple Gifts for Children," a compilation of children's songs with Frederica von Stade and Ms. Upshaw.  

          In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Erika, of East Canaan, Conn.; Anni, of Cambridge, Mass., and Catherine, of Lee, Mass., and three grandchildren.  
    
 

 
 
 
 
       
 

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  Selected Discography:

Addiss and Crofut:

        Side Performer Appearance
        1., Addiss and Crofut: Columbia CS 9441
 
        2.Addiss and Crofut / Such Interesting People, Verve V6-8519
 
Benjamin Luxon/Bill Crofut:

SING FOLK SONGS AT TANGLEWOOD/SIMPLE GIFTS (1989)
Primary Artist

DANCE TO YOUR DADDY
Primary Artist

CROFUT CONSORT / BAIRD,JULIANNE / BARTOK / KODALY:

FOLK MUSIC OF BARTOK & KODALY ALBANY MUSIC DIST.   (1995)

Chris Brubeck & Bill Crofut:

BACH TO BRUBECK (Crofut Productions CR062)

RED, WHITE & BLUES (Albany Troy 085)
 
Frederica von Stade: ACROSS YOUR DREAMS (Telarc 80467)
 

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 Luxon, Benjamin; and Bill Crofut:
        Appearance as principal performer (from the folk music performer index)
        1.Carter, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.05b
        2.Cripple Creek, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.04b
        3.Foggy, (Foggy) Dew, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.03
        4.Four Loom Weaver, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.02a
        5.Fox, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.01
        6.Get Up and Go, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.03
        7.Girl I Left Behind (Me), Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.04a
        8.I Ride an Old Paint, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.05a
        9.I Will Give My Love an Apple, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut
          #B.05a
       10.Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut
          #A.06
       11.Lord of the Dance, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.06b
       12.October Winds, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.01
       13.Old Joe Clark(e), Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.04c
       14.Riddle Song, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.05b
       15.She Moved Through the Fair, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut
          #B.02a
       16.Shi Beg, Shi Mohr, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.02b
       17.Simple Gifts, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #B.06a
       18.Turtle Dove, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.04a
       19.Turtle Dove, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.04b
       20.Untitled Tune, Simple Gifts. British and American Folk Songs, Stolat SZM 0124 (1981), cut #A.02b