The Chicago area musical community has lost a dear friend and treasured colleague. Matt Mantell, violist, lost his battle with cancer on September 28.
Matt was one of the hardest working people you can imagine. He was Principal Viola in both the Elgin Symphony and Illinois Philharmonic, and Assistant Principal Viola of Chicago Sinfonietta. In the summer he taught at the Birch Creek Music Center in Door County, Wisconsin, and had tons of students both there and here. Many of them have gone on to great success, and all of them revered him greatly. Sometimes we were fortunate to have Matt join us at the opera, either in the pit or in the audience.
Matt, along with his wife Emily (cello), were long active in the Chicago musical scene. When I first moved to the area in 1991, they were some of the first musician friends I made here. And Matt loved fast cars. I occasionally rode to jobs with Matt in his Fiat, pictured below – and sometimes he gave rides to my daughter, almost certainly driving too fast. She loved it.
Last autumn the Lyric Opera Orchestra cello section welcomed a new member – Matt and Emily’s daughter Sonia Mantell. Now, a year later, we share in her loss and send our deepest sympathies to her and her mother.