DEATHS

Gustavo Noguera, Beethoven devotee, dies

 

ebrecher@miamiherald.com

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.

Read more Music & Nightlife stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category