Unlike a lot of people in Boston I can’t claim I knew Tom well. I’m sure that the couple of times we met didn’t make an impression on him at all, as a matter of fact. But he was a bit of a legend in his own time and, unlike a lot of far less talented people I’ve met, he wasn’t a legend in his own mind. That much was clear the moment you met him, he didn’t buy into the “Artist as Asshole” phenomenon.
I hate that particular phenomenon.
Regular readers will remember that not long ago I posted in this space about a benefit for Tom. The link to that post is here. Teri had told me recently that Tom was being moved into hospice care. That’s never good. People generally go into hospice care in order to peacefully move from this world into the next, not to return to the bloom of full health. Tom had apparently been given about 6 months, maybe less, as a prognosis.
The Early Music community here in Boston has been collectively holding its breath while Tom’s illness has been unfolding. He was not only a well respected performer here, he was also a teacher and friend to many. He was also just unfailingly nice.
Tom died on Saturday. And though I didn’t know him nearly as well as many, I still grieve for those who loved him, especially his lovely wife Lilli, the community of which he was a linchpin, and the rest of us who were touched by his presence.
There is a lovely post about his life here. I encourage you to read it. I do not know the author, I found the post by happenstance, but it is beautifully done.
“Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 5, Scene 2
Rest in Peace, Tom.