Hanley Daws, violinist, longtime associate concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, passionate collector of art and antiques, and beloved friend, father, and grandfather, died on October 7, 2021 in Stillwater, Minnesota. Hanley passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s after battling the disease for more than 4 years. He was 79 years old.
Hanley was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1942, and knew from an early age that music would be his life’s pursuit. He studied violin at the Juilliard School, the Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory, financially supporting himself through performances with the Cambridge Festival Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Wentworth by the Sea Sinfonietta, and as a member of the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler for nearly a decade. He joined the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1968, and served as associate concertmaster for more than 30 years. Hanley performed on over 40 SPCO recordings, including the Sound 80 Direct to Disc recording of Copland’s Appalachian Spring with conductor Dennis Russell Davies. The recording used the original score of just 13 instruments, and won the Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance in 1980. Having started his career literally and figuratively hungry, Hanley rarely turned down an opportunity to freelance. A regular at Paisley Park, Sound 80, and Jimmy Jam’s Flyte Tyme Studios, he recorded hundreds of television jingles and provided background tracks for artists including Janet Jackson, Gladys Knight, Patti Austin, and Johnny Gill.
Hanley was known to family and friends for his quick wit, encyclopedic knowledge of art and antiques, love of good food and a healthy pour, and his sharp sense of humor. A devoted fan of John Cleese, Monty Python, and Fawlty Towers, he never missed an opportunity to embarrass his children by demonstrating steps from The Ministry of Silly Walks while out in public. Hanley is survived by his children, David, Rebecca, and Leah; grandchildren, Madeline, Meredith, Quinn, and Amelia; and his first wife, Carolyn. Hanley is preceded in death by his wife, Linda Ragland.
The Daws family is grateful to the memory care staff of Oak Park Senior Living for treating Hanley with care and compassion during his journey with Alzheimer’s. If you would like to make a gift in remembrance, we encourage you to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago IL 60601