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Odd Deaths of the Music World I

When it comes to death, there are quite a few odd ways to meet your maker. From intriguing accidents to unbelievable bad luck, the following musicians and composers mentioned in this article have passed away under strange circumstances.

Charles-Henri Valentin Alkan (1813 to 1888)

As one of the most prominent piano virtuosos of his time, Alkan (born Charlies-Henri Morhange) showed extreme promise as a child. His talent led to being admitted to the Paris Conservatoire when he was only 6 years old. During his time there, he won many awards as a youth. He also created bonds with other musical and literary giants, such as Chopin, Liszt, George Sand, and Victor Hugo. He had gained quite a reputation for being a genius on the ivory keys. All of the music he composed was for the piano.

However, there was another side to the musician. He was well known for being quite eccentric and hypersensitive. When he was in the prime of his performing career, he became a recluse when significant events happened in his life. For starters, he did not receive the position of becoming the head of the piano department at the Conservatoire. Secondly, Chopin died. He no longer performed and had little to do with society life. While in seclusion, he spent time studying the Bible and Talmud.

When he died, people believed that it was from being crushed to death by the weight of books from a tall shelf that fell on him as he reached up high to grab a copy of the Talmud. However, a contemporary letter from his concierge has discredited this theory. He wrote that he had found Alkan in his kitchen. He was moaning under a coat rack, and looked like he could have possibly suffered a stroke or heart attack. He may have even fainted. He died later that night at the age of 74.

Johnny Ace (1929 to 1954)

In the R&B world of music, Johnny Ace was active from 1949 to 1954. The musician was performing in Houston, Texas on Christmas Day in 1954. During a break in the set, he started to play with a .22 caliber revolver , something the band members often did for fun. Some say that he was playing Russian roulette during the break, but others claim that he was bragging that the gun wasn’t loaded when it really was. He had also been drinking at the time. Those around him warned to be careful while he handled the gun.

Simon Barere (1896 to 1951)

Barere was a Russian concert pianist who was known for his speed and finger dexterity when he played the keys. Unfortunately, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage while playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor at Carnegie Hall. At first, he collapsed and then died backstage shortly after.