It is with our deepest sorrow to inform you that Howard Heitmeyer passed away last Sunday at the age of 97. He was a local legend among the guitar community in Southern California, especially known amongst guitarists for his arrangements and his regular performances at the Republic of Pie with the Leslie and Mark duo!
Howard had been close friends with Vince Macaluso (1941-2012) who was an old teacher of GSI’s president, David Collett. Howard Heitmeyer and Vince Macaluso performed many concerts together and had known each other since the 1960’s when they both met at Jose Oribe’s guitar shop in Inglewood, California. Howard was highly respected and associated with all of the guitar greats from Laurindo Almeida, Frederick Noad, to Howard Roberts, Tommy Tedesco, Jimmy Wyble, Barney Kessel and many others. Howard also performed in a duo with Joe Torres, another guitarist from Jose Oribe’s guitar shop. Joe was very keen on bossa nova and encouraged Howard to make his famous arrangement of Jobim’s The Girl from Ipanema. Howard had been active as a musician, teacher, and arranger for many decades. His vast legacy includes teaching the guitar to hundreds of people and creating hundreds of arrangements. David Leisner described Howard’s arrangements as “treasures” being “remarkable for their authenticity of style and harmony and for their playability”. Howard’s arrangements were often geared towards his students, therefore, they range in terms of their difficulty from easy to complex. Regardless of their complexity, all of them were always musically satisfying and beautifully utilized correct voice leading, use of distinct keys, and harmony from jazz/pop music genres. We’ll all miss Howard and we’ll remember his legacy and contributions to guitar music.
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