CHRISTOPHER GILLESPIE

Obituary
  • "So, well, err, this is so stupidly long over due but as I..."
    - Emma Gillespie
  • " Chris once served as organist at my church and became a..."
    - Clint Padgitt
  • "Though we never met, I so admired Chris's talent and loved..."
    - Jacqueline Connor
  • "Chris was both ethereal and down-to-earth at once. He..."
    - Laura Svienty
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GILLESPIE--Christopher John, age 52, passed away tragically on December 15, 2017, after collapsing suddenly at home from a ruptured aorta. He is survived by his wife, Patricia and their son, Andre. Mr. Gillespie was born in Munich, Germany in 1965 to a Dutch father and Tanzanian mother. He was awarded a scholarship at age 16 to the Music Academy for Organ and Sacred Music. He served in the German Air Force and worked locally as a musician in and around Munich. Chasing his love of American music, Mr. Gillespie arrived in New York City in the late 1980s and began freelancing in various New York clubs and venues. Beginning in 2002, and for the past 16 years, Chris is best remembered for his regular appearances playing and entertaining five nights a week at the Carlyle Hotel Bemelmans Bar, alternating between the early show on solo piano and the late show with his trio. In addition to his year-round residency at Bemelmans Bar, Mr. Gillespie was a highly sought after performer for weddings, tributes, and other special events in New York City; around the U.S; and internationally in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. He was well known in the music world as a composer and performer, entertaining both his regular audience and a wide range of celebrities, dignitaries, and heads of state. Mr. Gillespie was a generous contributor as a performer at numerous charity fundraisers, and school functions, and he was a youth educator and choral director. For the past 10 years, Mr. Gillespie served as Director of Liturgical Music Education and the Children's Choir at Our Lady of Good Counsel and more recently as the Musical Director for the Steuben Day (German-American) Parade. Mr. Gillespie recorded and released several jazz albums, most notably "Chris Gillespie Live at the Carlyle" and "Portraits of Porter." An enthusiastic runner, Mr. Gillespie completed four consecutive New York City marathons and was frequently seen jogging in Central Park. He was also an accomplished tennis player and skier. Funeral Services were held at Our Lady of Good Counsel on December 21, and a tribute was hosted by the Carlyle Hotel on February 27. Friends, clients, and family came from the city and all over the U. S. and the world to pay their respects and celebrate Chris's life and work. Memorial donations may be made to benefit Sing for Hope, online at:

singforhope.org/the-chris- gillespie-memorial-fund-at-sing-for-hope

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 18, 2018