David Darling
1941 - 2021
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Goshen - Grammy award winning cellist, David Darling peacefully passed away at his home on Friday, January 8, 2021. David was born in Elkhart, Indiana on March 4, 1941. He was a lifetime educator of music and improvisation, a prolific recording artist, performer and co-founder of Music for People Inc. He is survived by his daughter Jessica Darling and his daughter Bonnie Darling and his granddaughter Erin Shea and their family Lukas Peaslee Sr and Lukas Peaslee Jr. No funeral or memorial service is immediately planned. Celebrate David's life with donations to Music for People, Inc. at www.musicforpeople.org. Kindly visit www.thurstonrowefuneralhome.com to send the family an online condolence.

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jan. 11, 2021.
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48 entries
February 26, 2021
My family has known David for many years. We knew home when here and Paul Winter played music together.
I also felt that watching David play the cello was just amazing. It was like he was one with the cello he became part of the cello.
My mom Harriet Marrin played tennis with him at times. David played at my wedding Michele Marrin to Brian Osterman August 19 2005. So special to have him play that day.
My mom had said years before my wedding that when she passed away she would like David to play at her service.
December 2005 she passed away and I contacted David. He was honored that my family had asked him to play. A few days before her service Paul Winter contacted my family and ask to play at my moms service.
Then two of the most amazing and talented musicians were going to play at my moms service. David in my estimation never really needed any electricity to play the cello nor did Paul Winter need power to play any of his instruments. Good thing . There was no power the day of my moms service at Saint Michaels church in Litchfield Connecticut. David and Paul
needed no electricity for their music. They were the electricity for their music.
David was just such a marvelous person he would always stop and chat with me when I saw him anywhere. He was always full of life and had the best laugh. The music world has lost a wonderful musician and heaven will be full of wonderful music.
This entry was submitted by Michele Marrin
The Marrin family sends prayers to the Darling family.
Michele Marrin
Friend
February 26, 2021
David has been a favorite of mine since the early days of the Winter Consort. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform several times with them and was always amazed and thrilled at his virtuosity. As I write this, I'm listening to his music and mourning his loss and celebrating his life and contributions. We are poorer for his departure, but richer for his music. He will not be forgotten in my family.
Bruce Meisterman
Student
February 22, 2021
Grateful for your love and kindness, dear David. That helped get me through. For our times with Sol and Zephie. For your fun and inspiring self. For your cello greatness and your deep love for humanity like the ocean...that shines through in your music and makes the world a more exalted place. For Reminiscence and The Return of Desire. Be well. Much love.
Kelly McDowell
Friend
February 1, 2021
His music, Dark Wood above all, opened my ears for years. Many thanks from Italy. R.I.P.
Enrico Artifoni
Significant Other
January 31, 2021
His "Cycles" album was my introduction to ECM jazz, it was a greatest work and since then I followed all his albums. He is a great loss for music world. Rest in lights and blue, David. And thank you for the music.
Levent Varlik
Significant_other
January 30, 2021
I am saddened.
Bonnie and Jessica and Annie - I send love and prayers.
David and I shared many real moments together through many years.
Those moments live on in Spirit in my Being. I have used and continue to use those moments in all that I do since David and I met 30ish years ago at Immaculata.
David - your Spirit lives on in your music and those you taught.
Your Spirit lives on in all I have done and will do since our meeting.
You made a difference in my life.
We shared the inner circle in each other’s lives. I am grateful to have met and known you, my friend.
Rest In Music, David.
Love
Paul Butler
Friend
January 23, 2021
At a time in my life when I most needed compassion and consolation, I heard David's beautiful Eight String Religion. HIs beautiful music healed me and expanded my musical universe. Thank you, David.
rosalie
Acquaintance
January 21, 2021
Heart broken! Sending much love and healing energy to David's family and all who loved David so very much. I owe everything I do with my creative life in music/design/art making, and especially the way I teach (in my holistic cello studio=-cello/improv/composition/art/life lessons) to this inspiring teacher. "There are NO wrong Notes!" He said, over and over, when improvising. I took his words as a metaphor for art and life. He was bigger than life, an amazing cellist and the best teacher one could ever have. I wish to be like David when I grow up. :-)

David was a sorcerer and a magician. He changed so many lives through his beautiful music and his teaching. In his music improvisation classes, he did't get busy teaching musical chords nor music theory, but actually the essential lessons of 1. Surrendering- let life brings you the magic, by being a good listener ("silence is the gold",) AND the 2. Courage to Face the Unknown ("there are no wrong notes")... all while showing up in his easy going manner with his delightful humor, boyish laughs and many silly exercises to loosen us (newbies and burn out classically trained musicians) up. I am forever grateful to have known this amazing man. Love you to the moon and back David!
Chi Chen
Student
January 19, 2021
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January 18, 2021
David! He was the One!
His generosity of energy, spirit of joy, inclusive friendliness... enthusiasm for music ~~when we enjoyed workshops at Esalen ... all remain imprinted in our hearts forever.
Leon & Elizabeth Olson
Friend
January 18, 2021
It feels like yesterday: the first time I came to hear David Darling's hauntingly beautiful music from the album "Cello" in a record store in my native city Guangzhou, China, nearly two decades ago. Spellbound, I bought the Germany-made CD; and Mr Darling has since then expanded into my spiritual realm, becoming part of the landscape. When my Dad lay dying two years ago, I came to his bedside and played him some of David Darling's music. It helped soothe his mind. I have no doubt that the works of David Darling will play on in many, many corners of the world, enjoying the due immortality of a great artist. My condolences to Mr Darling's family and friends. May his soul dance in heavens, blessing everyone on earth.
Yuantao Zheng
January 16, 2021
Bonnie, Jessica and family, I'm so sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you during this time. It's hard saying farewell to my musical mentor and teacher. Like all great teachers, his work far transcended his subject and reached into the heart of all things. David found and celebrated the genius and inherent beauty of everyone he worked and played with. Here was a Grammy-winner who at a workshop, would sit in an ensemble and play a completely improvised piece of music with people who were timid, unsure and tentative. David's entire focus would be bringing out the music of the others in this group. He would share a flash of his musical brilliance to say, "it's OK to let yourself shine here", then lure them out with an irresistible groove, or an impish grin. Whatever small sound was offered in return was met with affirmation through imitating, celebrating, and in any way amplifying and uplifting it as if it was the greatest piece of musical genius he had ever heard. Because it truly was, and he showed us this. I sat in some of these ensembles and otherwise saw David perform this magic over and over again. He's still doing it - through those of us who carry his work onward and have, as he would say, made it our own. This just a small example of his very large and ever-evolving approach that was always grounded in affirmation and compassion, constantly peppered with humor, a little insanity, and the reminder to not take yourself too seriously. David showed us all that there are no wrong notes in all our endeavors and I take heart from the family of people left in his wake to make music and community together in this way. And I am inspired to carry on his work in a world that needs it now more than ever.
I'm privileged to be in the leadership of the community/organization that David founded. His life and his work has transformed mine and I will continue to do what I can to ensure that Music for People is a thriving legacy, bringing the beauty of David's work to the widest possible audience.
In Peace,
Todd
Todd Rogers
Student
January 16, 2021
My condolences to the family.
I came to know David Darling's beautifully soul stirring music through Chungliang and Tai Chi. You will always hear his Cello in the background as I teach class....
He will be greatly missed.
Judi Allen
Acquaintance
January 15, 2021
I have just found out that my mentor and friend of over forty years has passed. His inspiration has given me so much inner energy to continue my own path as a musician and drum luthier. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to listen to his musical and life’s wisdoms. I will never forget David.
Michael Carlito
Friend
January 14, 2021
David Darling was my musical mentor & more. It was his "SUPER POSITIVE CRITIQUE" of my 1st ever "3 minute solo", at his Music For Everyone workshop at the Omega Institute in 1988, that "lit my fire" and profoundly changed the course of my life!
I am forever grateful for his encouragement, generosity, humanity, humility, sense of humor, kindness, passion, playfulness, unforgettable inspiring virtuosity on his beloved cello and the gift of our Music For People community! You will be missed! My deepest condolences to Bonnie, Jessica, Erin and the rest of the family.
Ron Kravitz
Student
January 13, 2021
David was a friend. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed. I'm so grateful to have crossed paths with him, and for all of the truth and lessons that he passed to me just through our interactions. Perhaps knowing that he helped so many to express the music inside themselves, will uplift and ease the loss. There are no wrong notes when expressing yourself with music, heck you can even do that using just one solitary note if you play it with your heart. Thanks David for great soul you were.
Julius Biercott
Friend
January 13, 2021
To Bonnie, Jessica, Erin and family....my thoughts and prayers are with you always. David was a truly wonderful person. He blessed us with his healing music, his love for and belief in all humanity........especially that he showed us how to believe in ourselves....and everyone else followed Will miss him dearly. Hugs.
Jackie Bhuyan
Friend
January 12, 2021
David was a musical inspiration in many young musicians' lives, beginning at Elkhart High School and continuing for many years. I remember with gratitude his creation of the Young Artists League of Elkhart orchestra while he was in college and remember fondly the summers we students spent playing great music under his direction. David was a wonderful inspiration and teacher of improvisation, becoming well known over the years. Another fine memory I retain is his performance with the Paul Winter Consort at Oberlin's Finney Chaple in 1976. The evening was mind opening, and his workshop on improvisation the next day drew many students, whom he handled admirably, showing an early mastery of teaching. I have kept him in mind as an inspiration in my own music making from the Y.A.L.E. days, through his coaching of our student ensemble and into the present. What a wonderful musician and teacher, and what an empty space he has left with his passing. We will all miss him who were touched by his musical inspiration and humanity.
Serge Krauss
Friend
January 12, 2021
I’m so very saddened to hear that David has passed. My condolences to his family. Growing up in Elkhart County, David was a legend to many musicians.
Jim BOGER
January 12, 2021
I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for the impact David made on me from such a young age, through adolescence and into adulthood. My music wouldn't be what it is without the exposure to him. He and my father Dale Spurlock were long time friends and musical associates. I first met him when I was two! To say he impacted my life (in so many ways I'll never be able to fully share) is an understatement. He and the Paul Winter Consort did a residency in Columbus, In. back in the 70's my mother coordinated. A couple years later on a subsequent visit I went down in high school history for yelling at the 500 person student assembly for being disrespectful and an inappropriate audience! (Got alot of props from the teachers though! haha) He was a frequent visitor to our household throughout my childhood always leaving unforgettable memories, believe me! And no matter what time David would stop by (and it was often the middle of the night) my mother would wake us all up even on school nights so we could visit with him for a couple hrs. We visited the band in Connecticut at Paul WInter's recording farm and I brought David to town in 2000 for the national Indpls String Improv conference I produced. Was able to share with him around 2012 the free improvised meditation music brother Daryl and I were making undoubtedly influenced by our exposure to him and Paul's audio art.
Cathy Morris
January 12, 2021
IT is meaning a lot tot me. I love his music. Especially Cycles is so special with Collin Walcott. Thanks David for the music! Henk Jansen clarinetplayer and biologist from the Netherlands
Henk Jansen
Friend
January 12, 2021
Thank you David for the music and people you brought to Immaculata University with your Music for People Program over many years. Thank you for being open and generous, for welcoming our students, for recognizing the gift of music is for all people to engage in, trained or not. Thank you for bringing your philosophy of the human being as a musical being, for your humility, and for always putting spirit first. Now the Universe welcomes you to make more beautiful music on another plane.
Lillian Eyre
Student
January 11, 2021
the Whales brought us together AS did ,the clouds the wind, the oceans ,,the rain forests ,the pulse of the earth along with you dear family and the great profound artists... collaborators., Paul Winter, Barry Lopez , Art Baron. Glen Velez,, we made some beautiful work together from the Arctic, to the Amazon and then , Barbaro.,the great American race horse.... the luminous, undulating scores..they . live on and surround us ,.lift us to places of harmony and delight.. HOPE.. the pier in lower manhattan ..dancing on rough the wooden slabs..the huge photographs ..Ashes and Snow.. oh the list is long.. dear Annie, Richard,Bonnie and Jessica .kitty....Thank you for these great ,infinite joys.. thank you for the extraordinary library of music you leave behind. . footsteps to guide, heal and nurture .us.. forever true to your soul.. and our dear planet-- WE, EARTHWORKS, wIll dance on for you and the whales. the echo you leave in my heart... is clear as a bell .forever grateful..forever dazzling .
martita goshen
Family
January 11, 2021
First met David at a Music for People weekend in Grad school at Immaculata in the 90’s and attended a few after that. Am grateful for the opportunity to learn and play along side of him. I join with all who will miss him.
Scott Berdux
Acquaintance
January 11, 2021
Such a beautiful, magical soul! Thank you for the music, David - and for our brief, but life-changing encounters.
Kris Yvon Yenney
January 10, 2021
David Darling was so much more than a musician. He was a visionary and a healer in his own right! I am so fortunate to have known him having shared special moments of inspiration! In the late 90s we met and he was so supportive-he welcomed me in like an old friend when I was very ill. I recovered over the years--while we made music. I am doubly fortunate to have had a chance to work with him and record music in a number of situations on different occasions! It saddens me greatly to let him go but i know it is for the best! In mourning-I will be doing my best to release all the work i have done with him in the upcoming days, weeks and months... Anyone who knew this man of total grace and Integrity was blessed--I can only bow in gratefulness!!
Antonin friend & co-worker
Antonin
Coworker
January 10, 2021
Beautiful David, You have gone to the secret world, flown into the infinite, where all your beautiful sounds spring from, and I will never forget the privilege of singing with you in NYC, a Rumi collaboration/album, "There is Some Kiss We Want with Our Whole Lives" with Coleman Barks, Steve Gorn and Glen Velez in NYC in the late 90sin NYC. Improvising with you was an unforgettable blessing, joy, freedom and grace. You have blessed this Earth with your soul's music and we hear you forever in your unique sound; alongside your lifetime's service through 'Music for People'. Thankyou beyond words.....loving presence and gratitude for your remarkable being...Chloe Goodchild (UK)
Chloe Goodchild
Friend
January 10, 2021
David, your spirit is loosed and free to soar. We will grab on to that comet tail and ride along with you. Too much to say right now...all our love forever.
Bill Lauf Jr.
Friend
January 10, 2021
I first heard David when my then-girlfriend and I randomly, haphazardly stumbled into a free Paul Winter Consort performance in Von Der Meyden Hall at UCONN in spring of 1970. We were just tooling around, and walked into the building. David was on cello of course. Late in the show, Paul asked us all to throw our heads back, keep our eyes closed, and zone out with them as they began an improvisation - after explaining what an improvisation was. It was MAGIC. So this was my baptism into improvising myself.

Later, in 1980, I had the pleasure of directing David while producing Lui Collins' "Baptism of Fire". I recall there was one instance in which I wanted David to play a single note as a pedal for an extended time. Many musicians (with egos) would have recoiled at such a request; especially one as insanely gifted as David. Totally without ego, he nailed that single note for me and made it speak volumes; no hesitation, no reluctance, no ego, just dedicated himself selflessly toward what I asked for.

IN 1981, David created a gorgeous improvisation for Bill Lauf's and my concept album "Weight of the Rose". I remember walking into the booth David was in, and saying "what we want is to begin 2000 years ago, in the Middle East, in the key of B minor. In three minutes' time, I want you to paint New York city today at rush hour, having migrated to the key of G minor, and leave us in a rushing crescendo of street traffic." For David: no problem ! He laid an improv out in one take, and asked to bring it home to work with it. The next day, he laid down two additional tracks as counterpoint, also improvised, with his signature chanting. MORE MAGIC.

In 1983, we worked together again on my album "Images". What a lovely time - rehearsing on my front porch nestled in the forest in Starksboro, doing improv in the living room for pure fun, followed by two recorded live shows that included, yes, another improvised segue by David (the last recording ever made at the Philo barn). MAGIC, LIVE THIS TIME.

Thank you David, for all that magic; all that joy, for creating with me, for honoring my spirit. My heart aches for your loss. All my love to Jessica, Bonnie, and Anne.
Horace Williams
Friend
January 10, 2021
Around 1975 as a high school student, I attended a workshop with David where his encouragement played no small part in emboldening me and giving me the confidence to pursue improvisation as a path. My encounters with him in ensuing years were always positive and his encouragement continued. The memory of him makes me smile and his music continues to bring me pleasure.
Tim Wolf
Acquaintance
January 10, 2021
It's been long.time ago when i had a pleasure to be part of one of his class in Switzerland. Never i will forgot his way to teach and play. Rest in peace and keep.play cello over the sky!
Vincenzo Riccobene
January 10, 2021
He changed my life so much with his music that remains in my home, with the Music for People program. The training there was freedom, that my voice was needed even without musical education, that there were 'no wrong notes'. So much gratitude David, for it all. may you now rest and just listen to the music.
Verilee
Student
January 9, 2021
Outstanding Elkhart, Indiana, friend, high school tennis captain and first-chair orchestra cellist, PhD in cello performance, music educator, internationally known solo performer and recording artist.
Robert and Gail Martin
Classmate
January 9, 2021
David has been a musical inspiration to me for over 30 years. His work with Mickey Houlihan, Paul Winter and so many amazing artists guided me to music in the 1980s. I had the honor of playing duet shows with him as well as some collaborations with Coleman Barks as a trio which left me deeply touched and moved with who he was as a humble human Soul. I will always treasure his impact on my development as well as his lasting impact on music in this world.
Love,
Ty
Ty Burhoe
Friend
January 9, 2021
David - Soar as you have taught us so graciously. You will always be in my heart as my teacher and mentor and great friend. Do you remember when you asked me with that grin of yours .. ‘do you love that bass ... uhuh and a cluck ? ’. we both knew the answer. You opened up new opportunities for me that i never would of found on my own without you. Thank you for the bottom of my heart. Peace and Love.
Matt McCauley
Student
January 9, 2021
I had the pleasure and privilege to know, work and play with David from 1988-2000...He showed me how a free spirit, and working musician could age with grace and joy...Always grateful for the time we spent
Michael Moses
Friend
January 9, 2021
As a summer staffer at the Omega Institute in 1989 David gave me the permission and courage to make music not just play music. What a generous and beautiful soul is was.
Krista Weih
Student
January 9, 2021
Rest in peace David. I will miss your music and your good will.
Chuck Darling
Family
January 9, 2021
David was such a joy to know and inspiration during the years I worked at Omega Institute. Wishing all his loved ones peace at this time. Praying for his soaring spirit. Regards to Jessica who I met at Omega.
Robby Roiter
Friend
January 9, 2021
David was a compassionate, understanding and wonderful teacher, a lovely person and a creative and talented musician. May he rest in love and peace.

May his family be comforted and his name be as a blessing.
Pinna Joseph
Pinna Joseph
Student
January 9, 2021
I will always cherish my time with David. He was such a gentle and wise soul. Many beautiful unexpected musical moments in his presence.
Perchik
Student
January 9, 2021
David influenced so many people around the world to find their musical selves. He was courageous in his playfulness when teaching, allowing others to to unleash their inner child. He was my mentor and I appreciate all that he opened up in me .
My condolences to Bonnie and the rest of the family. May he rest in peace, or shake up things on the other side.
Lynn Miller
Coworker
January 9, 2021
David a phenomenal musician Wonderful CDs Wonderful concerts on Cello David had a Jazz band in Elkhart 1958-59 and played tennis So sorry for my friends passing Roderick Bentley Elkhart indiana
Roderick Bentley
Friend
January 9, 2021
David Darling gave me so much over the years - in his teachings about music improvisation and in his beliefs about the importance of everyone's voice in music. I am so grateful. Love to the family in this difficult time.
--Jan Hittle
Jan Hittle
January 9, 2021
A brilliant man- a musical genius and generous teacher. David leaves a deep and abiding legacy.
Amy Goldbas
Acquaintance
January 9, 2021
R.I.P. David Darling, a fine cellist and artist.
Jim Meneses
Acquaintance
January 9, 2021
David was a musical
father to me. He gave me the tools to become a teacher of what I most love to do in this life: sing as an improviser. I am forever grateful to him for the love and support I received from him as I stepped onto this path, one I am still on to this day. I will speak his name with gratitude as I open a new class series this week. He is now my musical
Ancestor and I will call in his spirit often. May the music of heaven be as heavenly as the music you made in life, David.
Deborah Mia Shelton
Student
January 9, 2021
I am shocked and saddened to hear of David’s passing. I had the good fortune to work with him and make music with him as part of the Music for People Staff. My deepest condolences to his family. The world is a better place because of David.
Arianna Rose
Coworker
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