Spoleto Festival music director dies at 56

Geoff Nuttall, 56, died, according to festival spokesperson Jenny Ouellette. He was undergoing...
Geoff Nuttall, 56, died, according to festival spokesperson Jenny Ouellette. He was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.(Spoleto Festival)
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:30 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:26 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The director of chamber music at the Spoleto Festival died at his home in California Wednesday, officials confirmed.

Geoff Nuttall, 56, died, according to festival spokesperson Jenny Ouellette. He was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Nuttall hosted the festival’s chamber music concerts at the historic Dock Street Theatre since 2010.

“This is a loss not just for Spoleto Festival USA, but for music lovers around the world,” Spoleto Festival USA General Director and CEO Mena Mark Hanna said. “...He didn’t care if people were clapping between movements; he didn’t care that people wore shorts and sandals to performances; he didn’t care for the rigid social formalities that govern classical music performance. All he cared about was the communitarian, cathartic power of music. And because of that, he changed chamber music in America.”

As the director, he curated 33 annual concerts and performed on many as a violinist and founding member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Spoleto’s quartet-in-residence, for more than 25 years, a news release stated.

Nuttall is survived by his wife, violinist Livia Sohn, their children Jack and Ellis, as well as his mother and sister.