Michael Dunford from Renaissance Passes Away

Michael Dunford, musical composer and guitarist of the progressive rock
band Renaissance passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. He had just
returned home from the first leg of the band’s North American tour and
suffered a massive Instantaneous Cerebral Hemorrhage while dining at his
home in Surrey, England Monday night. He was rushed to hospital where
doctors declared his condition irreversible and terminal. He passed away
at 11:06 pm GMT, surrounded by his family without having regained

The fairly reclusive and soft-spoken composer, a mainstay in the world of
progressive rock, was born, raised and educated in Surrey. His first job
was selling clothing in a local shop followed by a stint as an airside
driver at Heathrow Airport which enabled him to form a “skiffle” group
which lead to his first rock band called Nashville Teens in the early
1960s. Nashville Teens reached #6 on U.K. singles charts with their
version of Tobacco Road. On leaving them, he formed several other bands
such as The Pentad and The Plebes. One night he went to see the original
band Renaissance perform locally and ended up joining them in the early
1970s. The original band members were Jim McCarty, Louis Cennamo, John
Hawken, Keith Relf and Jane Relf.

Dunford and vocalist Annie Haslam first took Renaissance’s reins from
former Yardbirds members, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty in 1971 and soon had
established the group as a world class recording and touring act, selling
out venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in
London. They would go on to release over a dozen albums before eventually
parting ways in the mid-1980s. However, they would continue to write new
material together and in 2001 reunited the band to record a new studio
album, tour the following year, and release a live album. After another
sabbatical, the refreshed line-up was introduced to the world and captured
for posterity on “Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories
Live 2011.”

Earlier this fall, Dunford and the band completed recording their first
new studio album in twelve years. “Grandine il Vento” was recorded at
Studio X in Ridgewood NJ, USA. All the music on the new album except for
one track was composed and arranged by Dunford and features him on
acoustic guitars and backing vocals.

Michael Dunford is survived by his wife Clare, two sons William (13) and
Oliver (10), and sister Judy Kendall. Services will be held at Woking
Crematorium at a date to be announced.


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