Lynda Roth, composer and performer and 25-year Laguna Beach resident, died June 2, 2012, at her home surrounded by her life partner Lisa Richter and several close friends. She is survived by her brothers Bill and Dennis and sister Keren Grass, and numerous family members and friends.
Roth was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., on June 8, 1952. She started studying piano at the age of 7, beginning a lifetime love of music. She graduated from Brandeis University in 1974 in Judaic studies.
Roth performed in various bands and later as a soloist throughout New England, New York, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. As music director for “Playboy’s Girls of Rock and Roll,” she toured Monte Carlo and Honolulu.
Roth was the last student of Lyle (Spud) Murphy, a Los Angeles jazz great. She was a prolific songwriter, recording a number of albums, including a joint venture with local jazz vocalist Karen Gallinger. In 1983, Roth’s album “Try” was the Billboard Magazine pick of the week.
In 1988, Roth earned an Emmy for the musical score “Dollars and Sense” written for PBS. In 1994, she opened Studio Laguna, and continued to record and compose for a number of television and corporate clients including “The Guiding Light,” ESPN, and The San Bernardino Museum.
As the musical director for Debbie Friedman, Roth performed with her at venues throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall in 1996 and 1997.
Roth was well known in Laguna for her generous spirit and open heart. She could always be counted on to volunteer her talents for fundraisers for non-profit organizations such as the AIDS Services Foundation and Laguna Art Museum.
Roth was a piano bar favorite throughout Laguna, including at the defunct Boom Boom Room, Little Shrimp, and Ron’s. She had a loyal following and always packed the house. She knew each fan’s favorite tune and would key up the melody as soon as she saw them walk into the lounge.
Several years ago, Roth founded The Muse Project, an innovative educational program to utilize the power of music to teach American history and literature. Roth composed choral works derived from original texts, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the book,
Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The work is simply astounding. Before becoming ill, Roth was only able to professionally record a handful of her nearly 40 compositions. If you would like to fulfill her legacy, you can send contributions to The Muse Project, 303 Broadway, Ste. 104-13, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. To learn more, visit themuseproject.org.
Roth’s partner would like to invite all who wish to celebrate Roth’s life to a memorial at Heisler Park on Sunday, June 17, at 8 a.m. in the amphitheater located near the lawn bowling green.