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John S. Edwards, the executive vice president and general...

CHICAGO -- John S. Edwards, the executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, died Friday at St. Joseph Hospital. He was 72.

Edwards, regarded as the 'dean of American symphony orchestra managers,' entered the hospital for tests on July 29 and suffered a stroke on Monday.

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Edwards came to the CSO from Pittsburgh in 1967, the ninth man to dominate the front office at Orchestra Hall.

Sir Georg Solti, CSO music director, praised Edwards as 'a person with infinite wisdom to whom I often turned. And his advice, not always what I wanted to hear, was in the long term always right.'

Edwards was born in July, 1912, in St. Louis. He studied English at the universities of North Carolina and Harvard and worked for a brief time as a reporter and music critic for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

He left the paper to join the publicity department of the St. Louis Symphony and in 1936 became assistant manager of the National Symphony.

Edwards returned to St. Louis three years later as manager of the Orchestra and held similar posts in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington.

A memorial service is planned for Sept. 24 at Orchestra Hall. His body will be cremated and the ashes placed in a family vault during a private service in St. Louis.

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