In Wednesday’s (5/15) New York Times, Paul Vitello writes, “John LaMontaine, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer whose works were performed widely and included the orchestral music for John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration, died on April 29 at his home in Hollywood, Calif. He was 93. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, said a nephew, Peter Coster. Mr. LaMontaine’s music was lyrical and for the most part traditional, with a neo-Romantic streak reflected in his embrace of poetry, American themes and the natural landscape. … [In 1957] he received his first wide acclaim with a work he had written a decade earlier, ‘Songs of the Rose of Sharon,’ a song cycle for soprano and orchestra based on the Song of Solomon, which was performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, with the soprano Leontyne Price as soloist. In 1958 he completed his First Piano Concerto, which the Pulitzer jury cited for ‘true originality’ in awarding him the 1959 prize for music. The music Mr. LaMontaine wrote for the Kennedy inauguration in 1961, ‘Overture: From Sea to Shining Sea,’ performed by the National Symphony, was the first commissioned specifically for a presidential inauguration.”

Posted May 15, 2013