Queer Places:
Saint Marys Catholic Cemetery Bitumen, Clinton County, Pennsylvania, USA, Plot 1.15.4

John Antos Bobanick (February 1, 1950 - February 11, 1991) was a gifted pianist who pursued composition throughout his life. He created several songs and an engaging piano solo. His work in landscape design was another outlet for his compositional talents.[1]

John was born in a small town in Pennsylvania, the youngest of five children. At an early age he became interested in music but didn't take formal piano lessons until he was twelve years old. He continued studying piano through his high school years. He attended Pennsylvania State University where he studied piano under the direction of Earl Wild. After completing his degree he moved to California, again studying with Earl Wild.

He lived for two years in the Washington, DC area and worked as a rehearsal accompanist for the Washington School of Ballet before moving to New York. There he accompanied various ballet studios, and became one of the most sought-after ballet accompanists in New York and Los Angeles, working with Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Robert Denvers, David Howard, Richard Thomas and School of American Ballet.

John then returned to California for a number of years and continued to work at composing music while supporting himself by doing catering and playing piano at night spots in Beverly Hills. In the mid-1980s he was employed at the Pallette, an upscale restaurant frequented by the Hollywood set. He also started a landscaping company and designed several gardens in Beverly Hills.

In July of 1989, he became ill and was admitted to a hospital in California where he was diagnosed with AIDS. He traveled to Maryland to attend the wedding of his niece and remained in the area, staying with his sister while recuperating from his illness. He returned to California after several months feeling quite healthy and with plans to complete several compositions on which he worked feverishly, hoping to leave a musical legacy.

In the fall of 1990 he came back to Maryland to complete a large landscaping project. At this point it was apparent that his health was declining. He did return to New York and lived with a friend, and tried to get some of his work published. Unfortunately, his illness made it difficult for him to complete anything.

Always close to his family, John visited them in Maryland for Thanksgiving. Even though he was in poor health he insisted on taking the train to New York to attend the 75th birthday concert of his mentor Earl Wild on November 26, 1990 at Carnegie Hall. During his stay in New York, his illness progressed and in December 1990 he was admitted to Bellevue Hospital, where he died two months later.

John's music, while not substantial in quantity, is the work of a passionate man and a talented musician. The two songs for which he wrote both words and music are vivid depictions of the pain of love. His piano solo, An August Afternoon, is grand and freewheeling. According to a friend, it was a sketch for a ballet. Also left behind in his archive are many sketch books and a collection of notes and exercises from an arranging class that he took late in life. They reveal a determination to create and to advance in the music industry.

John Bobanick died of AIDS in New York at the age of 41 on February 11, 1991. —Mary Marsh/Sue Ross/Joseph Dalton

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  1. ^ //www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/music/catalogue/bobanick.html