Gustavo Noguera, Beethoven devotee, dies

Gustavo Alberto Noguera Delgado believed he was prenatally programmed to love Ludwig van Beethoven.

He once told a reporter that his mother asked the midwife to play a record of the 18th Century German composer’s immortal “Ninth Symphony” during his birth — in Santa Marta, Colombia, on Oct. 2, 1946.

Noguera, who came to the United States as a young man, dedicated his life to his musical idol. He established the Beethoven Society in Miami, persuaded the city to designate Beethoven Promenade at the Brickell Metro Station, and rename a stretch of Southwest Ninth Street “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Street.’’

When trains enter the Brickell station, the first four iconic notes of the “Ninth Symphony” sound.

He drove around town in an old Volkswagen van called the Ludwig VAN Beethoven van.

About three years ago, Noguera moved into an efficiency apartment at the Somerville Residence, part of the Camillus House system. Camillus spokesman Sam Gil said his body was found there on April 1.

Noguera was 66, and apparently died of natural causes.

Cousin Gladys Delgado of Atlanta said he was an only child who was an infant when his father died. He was raised by grandparents in Bogota, never married or had children, and once worked as a journalist.

Through the society, Noguera promoted performances of Beethoven’s music.

His most ambitious effort: The 2009 “Beethoven 609 Concert’’ at First Presbyterian Church of Miami. He gave it that title because it was to begin at 6:09 p.m. on June 9 — 6/09 — at the church, 609 Brickell Ave.

Sanford L. Ziff, philanthropist and Sunglass Hut founder, became Noguera’s adviser, helping him with living expenses and Beethoven Society functions, which Noguera arranged.

He called Noguera “a kind and gentle soul’’ who “was in his own world. He was all Beethoven. That’s all we ever discussed.’’

Delgado said she hoped someone would continue to oversee the programs her cousin envisioned.

Ziff said he would not let the Beethoven Society disintegrate.

A Mass for Noguera will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Cathedral of Saint Mary, 7525 NW Second Ave. The remains were cremated.

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