I was shocked and saddened to learn yesterday of the sudden, unexpected passing last weekend of Robert Hilferty—a keen arts journalist, astute critic, admired colleague, dazzling raconteur and gregarious bon vivant. Although he hadn't written for TONY in some time, Robert was an important contributor to this magazine's early success; among the other publications whose pages he enlivened were Stagebill, The Advocate, Gramophone and Opera News.
More recently, Robert served as an on-screen interviewer for Muse, Bloomberg TV's now-defunct arts program, for which he interrogated the likes of Renée Fleming and Philip Roth. Here's a clip of Robert in action, interviewing cyberpunk author William Gibson on Muse:
Current TONY contributor David R. Adler got to know Robert during a visit to the Fés Festival of World Sacred Music last summer, and shares his thoughts (and a few choice video clips) on his blog, Lerterland. I can relate to what David says in his post; I, too, got to know Robert better during my own trip to the Fés Festival in 2006, and I'll never forget any part of the experience—even if I wasn't treated to any dance episodes like those that David describes.
You can read some of Robert's most recent writing on his blog, The Hilferty Harangue, appropriately subtitled "Rants, Raves and Revelations Across the Arts." He was one of a kind…and he'll be missed.
Postscript: Michael Petrelis has posted more details of Robert Hilferty's life—including his important work as a documentary filmmaker and AIDS activist—and of his sad passing on his blog, The Petrelis Files.
[Posted this morning on The Volume]