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Obits for Bernard Coutaz, Barry Hannah, A. Zapata Portillo

Novelist Barry Hannah, shown in 1991 at his home in Oxford, Miss.
Novelist Barry Hannah, shown in 1991 at his home in Oxford, Miss. (Robert Jordan/associated Press)
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bernard Coutaz Classical Music Producer

Bernard Coutaz, 87, who founded the respected independent classical record label Harmonia Mundi and ran it for five decades, died Feb. 26 outside his home in the southern city of Arles, France, after a heart attack.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said Mr. Coutaz "remained faithful to his first loves, notably early and baroque music" and praised him as a "daring spirit, staunchly dedicated to preserving the future of records throughout the entire world."

Mr. Coutaz, who founded the label in 1958, remained attached to compact discs, eschewing digital audio files, and made a point of reinvesting the company's profits into production. The company's shareholders do not earn dividends.

Harmonia Mundi works regularly with about 40 artists, among them Belgian conductors Rene Jacobs and Philippe Herreweghe, French pianist Alain Planes, German baritone Matthias Goerne and German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl.

Barry Hannah Southern Novelist

Barry Hannah, 67, a Mississippi-born author whose fiction was laced with dark humor and populated by hard-drinking Southerners, died March 1 at his home in Oxford, Miss. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Hannah's first novel, "Geronimo Rex," was published in 1972 and received the William Faulkner Prize for writing. His 1996 short story collection, "High Lonesome," also received strong reviews.

He taught writing at the University of Mississippi for more than 25 years. He also worked as writer in residence at the University of Iowa, the University of Montana at Missoula and Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2003, Mr. Hannah was given the PEN/Malamud Award, which recognizes excellence in the art of short fiction.

Ana Maria Zapata Portillo Daughter of Mexican Revolutionary

Ana Maria Zapata Portillo, 94, the last surviving child of Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata, died Feb. 28 in Cuautla, the town in the central state of Morelos where she lived most of her life. She had kidney failure.

Spokesman Ivan Meneses said Mrs. Zapata was one of three children recognized by Emiliano Zapata, who led his peasant army in a fight for land rights before he was killed in an ambush April 10, 1919. Zapata's two other children were Diego and Mateo.

Ana Maria Zapata had worked for the Morelos state government and served as a lawmaker in the state legislature.

-- From News Services

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