Celebrating the Life of Edward A. Bezursik
Saturday, October 3, 2020
7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
4:00 p.m. Pacific Time
The service will take place over Zoom and you may join by RSVP'ing below.
There will be an option to join using just a telephone, a computer, or with the Zoom application.
Edward A. Bezursik, of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, passed away on August 12, 2020 at Northern Westchester Hospital holding his loving wife’s hand after a long 5-year battle with cancer. He was 68 years old. Ed is survived by Domna Candido, his wife of 45 years, their loving Yorkies Toby and Cassie, his mother Alberta D. Czarnecki Bezursik (currently of Trumbull, CT, previously of Sparta, NJ), his sister Ellen Shevella (Charlottesville, VA), and a large circle of extended family, in-laws, nieces, great-nieces, a great-nephew, cousins, longtime friends and colleagues. He is predeceased by his father Edward A. Bezursik, Sr.
Ed was a composer, a musician, an athlete, and a marketing executive in the piano manufacturing and direct marketing industries, an avid sports fan and a lover of the arts and literature. His interests were deep, widely varied and eclectic, and he applied himself to them with a passion, intelligence, creativity and curiosity that allowed him to express his own unique personality through whatever he pursued, whether it was related to music, fitness, his professional endeavors or his meditation practice. To really know Ed was to know the sincerity of his inner seeking. But what made Ed special was that most everyone who knew him experienced his laid back, understated personality, and one that was coupled with authenticity, kindness and a lightness of spirit, and his upbeat, playful quick wit and unique sense of humor that endeared him to so many and formed the basis for his relationships with those he loved, those he mentored, and that was reflected in the many longtime friendships he cherished.
Ed was passionate about baseball and hockey and a lifelong fan of his beloved NY Mets, a loyal fan of the NJ Devils, and an enthusiastic fan of UConn basketball all the way. He enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm by going to games with friends, attending post-season games, posing with the Stanley Cup Trophy on tour, or having the honor of getting his own hockey-themed caricature drawn by a good friend who is a world-renowned artist. Ed had an uncanny ability to retain facts about things of interest to him, which were definitely sports and music, and was always thrilled to talk with people who shared his interests, particularly if they were also fans of “his teams” or favorite sports, the runners or cyclists he admired or his favorite musical groups or artists, which were many. He forged bonds with and loved to go to concerts with friends who were interested in the same artists he enjoyed. Even when he was going through his cancer treatments, his eyes would light up if someone on the medical staff mentioned these topics or had a similar interest, as he would always find the energy to engage in those discussions!
Being around Ed meant that one could just as easily hear Bach, Mahler, Bowie or Beck, as they would Rev. Gary Davis, Brad Paisley, Jake Shimabukuro, Deadmau5 or Stockhausen. He could just as knowledgeably talk about the latest baseball or hockey games as he could golf, cycling or running events, and was as comfortable discussing literature and Zen, as quoting from favorite characters in iconic movies (yes, including “the Dude”), SNL skits or his own funny lines that have long since become legendary among family and friends. Humor, certainly, was a daily mainstay for Ed. And, so was peace. In looking through photos from throughout the years, it is so interesting to see how many there are in which Ed appears making his trademark peace gesture!
Ed was born in Hartford, CT and primarily grew up in Sparta, NJ. He had an early interest in music, took piano lessons, played baseball (catcher), went to hockey camp (goalie), and excelled at high school cross country and track at Sparta High School, Class of 1969, where he was one of the top three cross country runners who won a number of records for their school. In high school and early college, Ed was in several rock bands Finnegan Davis, Resurrection and Desert Thunder, and some of the members of those groups have been his close friends throughout his life.
In the summer between high school and college, Ed and several of his friends bought tickets to a music festival in New York. That festival was Woodstock. Ed was close enough to the stage that, as it turned out, he appeared in the photo included in a two-page spread in the 1969 LIFE magazine special coverage of Woodstock … and the LIFE magazine cover of the Woodstock 20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition … and in a two-page spread of the LIFE magazine Woodstock 35th Anniversary Commemorative Edition … and a full wall, life-size photo at the Bethel Woods Museum Woodstock exhibit! To a few people Ed has met, he is the “LIFE magazine Woodstock guy”. But, to be with Ed while he was visiting the Bethel Woods Museum exhibit, or at Richie Havens’ performance at his Woodstock 40th Anniversary Concert at Bethel Woods when he met Richie Havens afterward is to understand the immense impact Woodstock had on Ed during his life.
In 1969, Ed entered UConn as a pre-med student. He loved UConn, and many of the friends he made there are important relationships that continue to this day. After his first year, Ed decided to switch his major to music, and with his characteristic determination, he fastidiously applied his previous music knowledge and skills, with some additional lessons to learn the pipe organ with complete foot pedals (something he had not attempted previously). He auditioned for the UConn Department of Music playing a Bach Organ Prelude and Fugue, and was admitted to the Music Department as a music major in 1970, majoring in theory and composition and taking piano lessons and other instruments.
While at UConn, in 1972, Ed met Domna Candido, when she arrived as a classical piano major. They married in 1975 when they were both doing their graduate work in music in New York, he at Queens College and she at Juilliard School of Music. Throughout the years, they not only shared interests such as their music, but they shared love, were best friends, he always knew how to make her laugh, and they had a very special, deep connection.
Ed graduated from UConn in 1974 with his B.Mus. in Music Theory and Composition, and received his M.A. in Musicology from Queens College, CUNY, in 1977, where he taught undergraduate ear training, harmony and Edward Downes’ music appreciation course as an Adjunct Lecturer. In 1980, Ed completed his Doctoral Studies in Music Composition at Columbia University, and developed curriculum and conducted undergraduate courses in ear training and counterpoint at Columbia University and Barnard College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. Ed had the privilege of studying composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt, Germany, Jack Beeson, Bulent Arel, Charles Whittenberg, Avo Somer and Hugo Weisgall, for whom he was also the copyist and assistant preparing the scores and parts for several of Weisgall’s operas and an oratorio for performance by the New York City Opera and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Throughout this time, Ed developed a passion for microtonal theory and wrote his Master’s Thesis entitled “The Development of 31-
tone Equal Temperament: An Historical and Philosophical Perspective from the Ancients to Huygens (1661)”. These compositional influences can also be seen in works such as his Sinfonietta, Organ Variations, Sonata for Two Violins, songs Baroque Variations for Guitar and Periphrasis (1978). In 1995, Ed also received his MBA Degree in Marketing and International Business from New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business
While at Columbia University, with exposure to the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, Ed gained familiarity and interest in synthesizers and electronic music and, subsequently, became involved with live improvisatory electronic music having collaborated with other composers including C. Bryon Rulon and First AVenue Ensemble, Mark Styles and Andrew Schlesinger. Although there were a number of intervening years when Ed focused his career primarily on the piano industry, he kept his synthesizers and instruments close by to work on new ideas and inspiration.
Since 2000, Ed has been composing and engaging in sound design under his Three Birches Publishing. Most recently his works have focused on “post genre” works for electronics and mixed ensembles including live installations, and employing a variety of electronic instruments including analogue and digital synthesizers, guitars effects and Ableton Live. Ed’s interest in traditional instruments did not wane, however, and he also started to focus on fingerstyle guitar playing, which led him to start playing fingerstyle on the ukulele, as well, which turned out to be his favorite instrument to play. He liked that it was small enough that he could take it anywhere … and he often did. He even used a small electric ukulele with head phones to pass the time during a required hospital stay!
Between the 1990’s and 2016, Ed was a marketing executive with Steinway & Sons, New York (as Director of Institutional Sales, developing the first B2B Institutional Sales program for Steinway), Chandos Records, Ltd., New York (as U.S. General Manager for this British classical independent record label), and Yamaha Corporation of America, Buena Park, CA (as Piano Marketing Manager for YCA’s U.S. marketing programs for Yamaha and Bosendorfer acoustic pianos). During this time, he had a long relationship with the National Association of Music Manufacturers (NAMM) where he was a member of its Classical Music Committee (starting in 1994), with the National Piano Foundation (NPF) where he was Vice President from 1987-1991, and with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He also worked in direct marketing with ALC, Infogroup and Andrea Rubin Marketing.
Throughout the years Ed’s interest in cross country running expanded into longer distances. He joined the Flushing Meadow Track Club (was Vice President from 1976-79) and started training for the first 5-borough NYC Marathon. His training for this often meant telling his wife that he was“ just going out for a run”, and 15-20 miles later after running to another NYC borough and back, he was done! Ed wound up doing several NYC Marathons after that (with a best time of 2:43:28), as well as the Boston Marathon and others.
After a training injury prevented him from putting in the number of miles needed to train for his next marathon bringing on the angst felt by athletes in those situations (and upon a suggestion from his wife that maybe it might be best to vary his fitness schedule and just take it easy with some casual bike riding, jogging and swimming at the local YMCA), Ed with his signature determination quickly got into serious cycling and swimming. Soon thereafter, he was training for and participating in a number of triathlons. He expanded into rollerblading and also participated in some pick up adult hockey games (but, this time, not as goalie!).
Years later, when Ed and Domna discovered the Adirondacks and both found great refuge at Lake Placid, Ed’s adventurous spirit took him in the direction of hiking, and he couldn’t resist the challenge of hiking up a number of the Adirondack High Peaks. Running and hiking also became Ed’s way of exploring when he traveled on business or for pleasure, whether it was in the Northeast, California, Texas, Santa Fe, Taos, Tonto National Forest, or Europe.
Observing wildlife in its natural habitat was something very special to Ed and he never missed the opportunity to document sightings of wildlife, as well as of some amazing vistas, with photos for friends and family who could not be on the trails with him, such as the photo at the top of this Tribute page that he took showing Lake Placid from a mountain trail. The more domesticated, although sometimes very wild, pet life at home over the years always included several cats and/or small dogs (and at one point, an Eclectus parrot), who Ed loved dearly, mostly because of how loving and wonderful they were, but in no small part because they were always so cooperative in assisting him in his attempts to generate laughter at home.
It is difficult to find all the words to adequately describe all that is “Ed”. What is indescribable and admirable is the way he handled adversity and the biggest challenge of his life, i.e., his stage 4 cancer diagnosis 5 years ago. He didn’t sink into depression or denial. With the utmost trust in his doctors, Ed courageously went forward with his numerous treatments and weathered the side effects. But he did so with the mindset of a survivor, even though he knew there was no cure for him. Each day he stayed in the present with a sense of hope. He did not lose his sense of humor. He did not dwell on the negative or talk to family and friends about many of the details of his medical experience, not because he was in denial, but because he strongly believed that time was better spent talking about “things of interest to the living”. And, he looked at how he could live his days with quality.
Until very recently, and to the extent possible within the parameters of his fatigue and side effects, Ed hiked to his ability, read a lot, worked on his music, played guitar and ukulele (even though tendons in both hands had been damaged from earlier chemo treatments) and traveled with Domna by easy, small cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, Vienna to Budapest on the Danube, Rome to Venice, New England and Canada, experiencing beautiful natural resources, attending many concerts, and enjoying the music in the historical surroundings of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt and in antiquities, and happily eating his way through every trip, grateful to have had the opportunity for the experiences.
Now, there are not enough words to express how much Ed is loved and how very much he will be missed. What is certain for all who knew him well is that he had a spirit that cannot be forgotten, and that a part of him will continue to live on in all of us. Peace, Ed. Love you!
With gratitude and appreciation:
Domna and Ed would like to thank Dr. William K. Oh (Chief, Div. of Hematology & Medical Oncology, Dep. Dir., The Tisch Cancer Institute, Prof. of Medicine & Urology); Ezra M. Greenspan (Prof. in Clinical Cancer Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai) and his entire team under whose amazing and compassionate care Ed was able to experience 5 additional years of life; Dr. Mark Bilsky (Neurosurgeon, Chief, Spine Tumor Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) for his brilliant surgical and interpersonal skills; Dr. Scott Zeitlin (Urologist, UCLA) for quickly getting Ed the urgent diagnostic testing and preliminary treatment when he needed it most; and Dr. Alan Coffino (Dept. Chair, Nephrology) for saving Ed’s life when his kidney failed, and the Palliative Care Team and Medical and Nursing Staff for easing his pain and providing comfort care at this most difficult time, all at Northern Westchester Hospital; and there were countless others.
Please visit the Guest Book below and leave a tribute to Ed. We would love to hear your memories, see your pictures, and read your kind words.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either of the following:
1) For the prostate cancer research efforts of Ed’s oncologist, Dr. William Oh, at Mount Sinai:
To give online: please visit http://giving.mountsinai.org (click “Donate Now,” select “Direct my gift to”, click “Other” from the dropdown list, and type “Dr. Oh – prostate cancer” in the designation field, then indicate the memorial gift in Ed’s name).
To give by check: designate that donation is made in Ed’s memory and make check payable to “Mount Sinai Health System” with “Oh-prostate” in the memo line and send to:
Attn: Lucille Schindler
Office of Development
Mount Sinai Health System
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1049
New York, NY 10029
2) Prostate Cancer Foundation - http://cure.pcf.org
This gallery is a tribute to Ed from his family and friends.
Click on pictures 1-3 to visit Ed's SoundCloud library; click on pictures 4-31 to enlarge.
Some of Ed's favorite music has also been included.