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Obituaries in the News

August 2, 2003

BOSTON (AP) _ Howard ``Louie Bluie″ Armstrong, a string-band fiddler who took his act across the country, mastering genres from bluegrass to jazz, died Wednesday from complications after a heart attack. He was 94.

Armstrong taught himself to play at the age of 9 on a fiddle that his father, a blast furnace operator, made for him in their hometown of LaFollette, Tenn. Over his lifetime, Armstrong took up 20 instruments _ including the mandolin, violin, viola and banjo.

Armstrong’s recordings, released by Vocalion Records, included ``Vine Street Drag″ and ``Knox County Stomp.″

A composer, instrumentalist and singer, Armstrong performed across the country. Two PBS documentary films, Terry Zwigoff’s ``Louie Bluie″ in 1985 and Leah Mahan’s ``Sweet Old Song″ in 2002, chronicled parts of his life and work.

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Walter Taussig

NEW YORK (AP) _ Walter Taussig, a conductor and vocal coach who worked with such opera greats as Placido Domingo and Birgit Nilsson, died Thursday. He was 95.

Taussig, who liked to start from scratch when preparing singers for a role, coached Nilsson for ``Elektra″ and Domingo for ``Parsifal.″

Born in Vienna, Taussig studied with the composer Franz Schmidt and the conductor Robert Heger at the Music Academy in Vienna. His training included harmony, composition, piano and oboe.

Taussig was a conductor and coach at theaters throughout Europe before conducting the Havana Philharmonic and working at the Montreal Opera, the Chicago Opera and the San Francisco Opera.

He joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1949 as an assistant chorus master and went on to become an associate conductor.

Taussig was also an assistant conductor at the Salzburg Festival for 18 years and worked as a coach for the record company Deutsche Grammophon.

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Guy Thys

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Guy Thys, who coached Belgium to the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup, died Friday following a long illness, the Belgian soccer federation said. He was 80.

Thys took over as coach of the Belgian national team in 1976. While he was coach, Belgium made the finals of the 1980 European Championships and the second round of the World Cup twice, in addition to the team’s semifinal appearance in 1986.

The 1982 team that made the second round of the World Cup was the first Belgium squad to advance past the first round.

He retired as coach in 1991 but continued to work for the soccer federation as a public relations official and a coaching official.

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