Conant, Robert Scott GREENFIELD CENTER Robert Scott Conant passed away in his home on the evening of December 27, 2013 at the age of 85. He died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his loving family and cherished cats. He is survived by Nancy J. Conant, his wife of 54 years; daughter, Elizabeth Scott Conant; son, Andrew Frederick Conant and also his beloved ten year old grandson, Elihu Scott Conant-Haque, all of whom live in Greenfield Center, as well as nephew, David Conant of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; nephew, Douglas Conant of Champaign, Ill.; grandnephews, Matthew and Gregory Conant and sister-in-law, Jean Conant of Holiday, Fla. He is predeceased by his father, Frederick Banks Conant; mother, Bessie (Scott) Conant; brother, David and niece, Susan. Robert and Nancy Conant were married at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan on October 10, 1959, Fr. David Gillespie presiding. Though seven years apart in age, Bob and Nancy shared the same birthday. Robert Conant was born on January 6, 1928 in Passaic, N.J. His father was a judge, his mother a talented pianist. He attended Choate, where on a school trip to Manhattan to hear a concert by the iconic harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, he was first inspired to dedicate himself to the study and performance of the harpsichord. Mr. Conant went on to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University, class of '48 and '56 respectively, where he would later teach as well as become curator of the Yale Instrument Collection. Mr. Conant made his professional debut at Town Hall in Manhattan in 1951. He later taught at Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University under Rudolph Ganz, from which he retired in 1986. Mr. Conant performed and recorded with many groups and individuals here and abroad including the American Bach Society, The Collegium Musicum, Robert Shaw Chorale, the Viola da Gamba Trio of Basel with August Wenzinger and Hannelore Mueller, the Alfred Deller Trio, Henryk Szeryng, Fritz Rikko, Paul Doktor, Janos Scholz, Renato Bonacini, Josef Marx and Kenneth Slowik. Mr. Conant was a pioneer of the early music revival of the post World War II years, promoting the use of historically accurate instruments and tunings. Mr. Conant created the Foundation for Baroque Music in 1959, and began to host an annual concert series, The Festival of Baroque Music, the first several of which took place at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake and which later moved to its permanent home in The Studio in Greenfield Center, an open-plan concert hall designed for its superb acoustics. The Festival of Baroque Music ran continuously for 52 years, concluding in July of 2011. In addition to his love for early music he was an avid supporter of twentieth century music and commissioned several new compositions for harpsichord. He received a Lifetime Award from Yale University as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Saratoga Arts Council. When appearing before an audience, Robert spoke with masterful eloquence as few can. Bob entertained friends and family with his great talent for hilarious, spot-on impersonations and will be remembered by everyone who knew him for his ever-present sense of humor, cheerful demeanor and endearing smile. Robert loved all things beautiful, sonorous and poetic, and he lives on through our enjoyment of great music and art. The family would like to express their deepest appreciation for the exceptional level of care given by hospice workers. In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations to The Community Hospice of Saratoga, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 in Robert's name. There will be no formal visitation. Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes of 628 North Broadway. Online remembrances may be made at burkefuneralhome.com.
William J. Burke & Sons - Saratoga Springs
628 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Published in Albany Times Union on Dec. 31, 2013