Conductor and Composer Peter Black and Singing Teacher Lenora Black of Marin County, California  

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Sadly Lenora Black passed away on February 4, 2017.  If you wish, please read this obituary.  There is also a link at the bottom to this page to the Marin IJ and the audio version of this.


After a long illness, Lenora Black of Mill Valley passed away on February 4.  Her passion and profession was music.  A dramatic mezzo-soprano, oboist and pianist and music teacher at all levels, she was born into a musical family in Berkeley. Her mother Rose Friedman was a professional pianist and teacher. Her father Morris Friedman was an accomplished violinist, appliance dealer and champion tennis player. Her brother Bennett Friedman is a professional jazz saxophonist and teacher of Jazz studies at Santa Rosa Junior College.

She attended Berkeley High School and was soon in chorus and orchestra in a very rich artistic community. She went on to University of California, Berkeley, where she undertook a double major in music and French. By then she had decided that the oboe was her principal focus, and soon became first oboist of the 80-member University Orchestra,directed by the dynamic, inspiring Michael Senturia. Seated just behind the oboes in all orchestras is the bassoon section, where her future husband Peter Black was to play for seven years.  In spite of an intense rehearsal schedule, the two woodwind players found time to be married in 1968. They were to be married for 48 years, sharing a life as partners in the musical world: orchestral players, teachers, collaborators and performers of Peter’s compositions and Lenora’s lecture-concerts. Both of them soon changed instruments: Lenora evolved into a full-voiced mezzo-soprano, singing The Messiah and opera arias; Peter concentrated on the piano and composing. Her first voice teacher was the magical Welsh contralto Mary Groom Jones, master voice builder of generations of singers in the Bay Area. They worked and studied in Boston and returned to Marin County, where Peter’s family has lived for 160 years. They lived in Fairfax, Inverness and in Mill Valley for the last 30 years.

Lenora taught fourth grade at St. Patrick’s in Larkspur, high school in Weston , MA,  Adult evening voice classes at Tamalpais High School, where she established her reputation as a voice expert, and at the collegiate level, teacher of Music Appreciation at Santa Rosa Junior College, Petaluma campus.  She taught voice development privately at her studio in her home for forty years. She shared a website with her husband at., where the world can hear samples of her singing. Lenora also earned a degree in Registered Nursing from College of Marin in 1987 and practiced in San Francisco and Novato.

She is survived by her brother Bennett Friedman of Healdsburg, her uncle Arthur Friedman of Berkeley, her nephew Seth Friedman of San Francisco, her brother-in-law Alan Black of Daly City, her nephew Eric Black of San Francisco and her husband Peter of Mill Valley.

Lenora Black's Obituary