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German-born composer and big band leader James Last has died in Florida on June 9 at the age of 86.

James Last’s manager said he died at his home “peacefully and in the presence of his family”.

He sold millions of records with his trademark “happy music”.

James Last appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in the spring as part of a farewell tour he announced after becoming seriously ill last year.James Last dead at 86

The illness, which took a “life-threatening” turn last September, apparently forced James last to face the fact that “a man full of plans, needs to not just slow down but give up his life on tour altogether”.

James Last said the tour would give him the opportunity to bid farewell to his fans.

“The main thing is that my fans have the best concerts of their lives and we will make this our <<happiest>> concert yet,” he said when he announced the tour in February.

James Last started his music career in the 1960s, making instrumental recordings as James Last and His Orchestra – a big band with additional strings and a choir.

Over his career James Last produced 75 hit albums in Britain alone, and at his peak, was creating two albums a month.


Famous German composer Hans Werner Henze has died at the age of 86, his publisher Schott Music has said.

“Hans Werner Henze, one of the most versatile and influential composers of our time has died,” Schott said in a statement on its website.

Hans Werner Henze died in Dresden on Saturday, it said.

One of the most influential composers of the late 20th century, Hans Werner Henze wrote 10 symphonies and was especially known for his works for music theatre.

He was noted for his many operas and ballets, and for a commitment to political art, which informs much of his work.

German composer Hans Werner Henze has died at the age of 86

German composer Hans Werner Henze has died at the age of 86

Born on 1 July 1926 in Guetersloh, Germany, the son of a schoolteacher, Hans Werner Henze was initially educated at schools with a socialist outlook.

But, following the Nazi Party’s ascent to power in 1933, Hans Werner Henze lived a dual life. While dutifully studying the official curriculum at school, he also played chamber music at a partly Jewish family house and there steeped himself in proscribed literature.

Hans Werner Henze’s father was killed on the Eastern Front and Hans was conscripted into the army in 1944, ending the war in a British prisoner-of-war camp. His experiences left Hans Werner Henze with a lifelong hatred of fascism.

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