GREAT BARRINGTON -- Simon Wainrib's life was full of high notes.
After escaping with his family from Nazi Germany, Wainrib moved around Europe before moving to New York, then finally, the Berkshires, where he founded the Berkshire Bach Society.
Wainrib died Sunday at his retirement home in Framingham. He was 90.
A service will be held today at 1 p.m. at Birches Roy Funeral Home, 35 South St., in Great Barrington. A reception will be held at Barrington Brewery, 420 Stockbridge Road, following the burial ceremony.
"He had been interested [in music] from when he was a small child," said Paula Hatch, the executive director for Berkshire Bach Society. "He discovered [Johann Sebastian] Bach at a young age and became enthralled with his baroque contemporaries."
The Berkshire Bach Society celebrates the composer's music by hosting numerous concerts throughout the region.
Born in 1922, Wainrib's love for Baroque music started when he was a child in Germany, his family and friends said. He spent the first 20 years of his life one step ahead of the Nazi party, traveling through France, Spain and London. Wainrib's story about growing up in war-torn Europe is documented in his memoir, "Escapes."
Along with his wife, Eva, the Wainribs settled into the Berkshires in the early 1980s after dividing their time between here and New York. Eva Wainrib was unavailable for comment.
In the Wainrib household, "music was huge," daughter Diana Wainrib
"We used to go to sleep with the piano playing and wake up to the piano playing," she said. "He had an ear for music."
It was in 1990 that Wainrib formed the Berkshire Bach Society. Ken Cooper, the current music director for Berkshire Bach Society, was one of the first people Wainrib approached with his idea.
"He found me after a concert I was doing in Spencertown," Cooper said. "He said, ‘I'm forming a Bach society, would you like to join?' I said, ‘Count me in.' "
Through the Berkshire Bach Society, Wainrib taught Bach for elderhostels and served as the music critic for the Berkshire Record. He stepped away from the society due to health issues.
"He stayed active for as long as we could," Hatch said, "but when illness required him to step back, he followed everything we did. He remained tied to us."
Members of the Berkshire Bach Society performed a private concert for Wainrib in his Framingham retirement home for his 90th birthday last November.
The May 4 choral concert at First Congregational Church on Main Street in Great Barrington has been renamed the Simon Wainrib Memorial Concert. For more information, visit berkshirebach.org.
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