Tuesday, February 05, 2013

R.I.P. George Koumantaros

George circa 1974
I just learned of the death of longtime Santa Fe musician George Koumantaros.

I first met George back in the late 70s or early 80s when I fancied myself as a local musician. (I wrote funny songs. George was a damned musician!) He always was friendly and supportive. Used to see him at the old TAC Club all the time.

I recall seeing him at a workshop given by David Amram at the old Armory for the Arts back around 1980. I was covering it for the Santa Fe Reporter. George was there and he was so enthusiastic it helped me appreciate how cool it was that Amram was conducting a workshop in Santa Fe.

R.I.P. George. And thanks to J.D. Haring, another SF musician active here under the name Malix during those years, for posting this video and to Marcia Stehr for alerting me to George's passing.

Here's what Malaix wrote:

Friday night my dear old friend George Koumantaros came to me in a dream. We talked for what seemed to be a long time and I remember feeling good about our meeting. Then, when I awoke Saturday morning, I was overcome by inexplicable sadness... had no idea why... until this morning when I read the post by George's son Theo Horsdal about his father's passing. Now I understand why George came to me in the dream and why I felt the overwhelming sadness Saturday morning.. Here's one of my favorite George Koumantaros tunes. R.I.P my dear old friend!


  1. George was very kind to me back in the days of the Toronto production of the musical 'Hair'. He was the musical director and led all kinds of little 'encounter' sessions to loosen up the cast. Many of which I took part in. My girlfriend at the time, Lynda Squires, landed a role and I hung around the production so much that I saw it 86 times and spent a month at the Royal York Hotel wreaking hippie havoc as guests of 'Hair's' authors, Gerome Ragni and James Rado. I was in Toronto a lot because my band, Christmas, was recording at the time. All in all, a splendid time, and warm memories of George Koumantaros. www.bobbryden.com

  2. Richard Keelan12:20 PM

    my heart's been a little heavy of late upon hearing
    of the passing of a musical compadre and co-conspirator,
    George Koumantaros ( aka George Taros, aka GT Muchluck),
    larger-than-life piano man, music and theatre director, and
    purveyor of the 'juice' of a life well-lived.
    George came from NYC to Toronto around '69 or '70 to be
    the musical director of the Toronto production of 'HAIR',
    and ended up staying around to establish the THOG Theatre
    Company, and their lunatic fringe got tangled up with our
    lunatic fringe in Perth County Conspiracy (does not exist) we all ended up among the first musical and theatrical performers at the
    now much-revered Bathurst Street Church theatre space
    here in Toronto. the Conspiracy recorded our second
    Columbia album there (Alive), and George was playing
    piano with us on that record. i particularly liked his
    piano on my song ' People Are Out of Tune '.

    George lived in Santa Fe, NM for the last 25 or 30 years,
    and i know he was well-known and well-liked in the
    arts community in that fine city. i know this because
    i spent two weeks at his house while on my epic trek
    across the continent over 1999-2000, and he took me
    around town for some music, hooked me up for an
    open mic at some cool joint. we hung out, played music,
    cooked food, and had a great time.
    he was involved in the arts there, and took me with him
    to a gig as his percussionist at an isolated middle school
    50 miles up into the high plain country north of the city.
    he played piano for a lovely dancer on hiatus from the
    National Ballet who conducted a class in dance/movement
    to a gym full of native and latino kids who lived in fairly
    abject poverty in a pretty bleak little town . . . and these
    kids were beautifully full of enthusiam and energy.
    it was a really uplifting experience, playing perc with
    George's bouncy improvs on the keys and watching
    those kids . . .
    i confirmed what i heard via the grapevine by googling
    George, and found this post - - thank you Mr Terrell.

    George was the second of what i think of as my 'great
    Greek experiences' in the music business; the first having
    been the late Ted Lucas in my Detroit days with Spikedrivers
    and Misty Wizards. both were formidible musicians of
    fantastic talent, sometimes dazzling, sometimes infuriating,
    often generous, occasionally unfathomable . . . but hey,
    ...'ts all Greek to to me . . . ! heh ....
    Rest in Peace, George.
    RICHARD KEELAN aka poppa K

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