The Oregon Ballet Theatre family was deeply grieved to learn of the passing of John Van Buren in January.

John was a steadfast and generous supporter of OBT. He lived his life in music, as a composer, a professor of music theory and history, and a performance coach, who also loved ballet as one of the musical arts. Though he was born in Portland, attending Lincoln High School and Reed College, he spent most of his life in Germany composing and teaching, returning to Portland nearly every year as long as he was able to visit family and enjoy the rich culture of our region. He was especially devoted to the development of young musicians, supporting the Portland Youth Philharmonic and MetroArts as sponsor of the Van Buren Concerto Concert, as well as the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. His generosity was congruent with his life’s work.

John was an aficionado of fine food and wine, and the personification of a gentleman—cultured, courteous, and well-educated. Time spent with John was guaranteed to be filled with far-reaching, intellectually stimulating, unabashedly beautiful conversation. “John was a great man,” wrote OBT’s second Artistic Director Christopher Stowell, “and a true lover of and believer in the arts.” We miss John, and offer our condolences to his family and loved ones.

— Linda Besant

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