Benjamin Bunch

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bemnamin Bunch, classical guitarist from Basel, Switzerland, died July 8, 2015 in Basel, of cancer.

He was born July 17, 1947 in Statesville, the sixth of eight children of Charles L. Bunch Sr. and Katherine Frost Bunch. Following a self-guided tour of Europe with a friend after high school, he graduated from the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, majoring in organ music and later the classical guitar under the tutelage of Jesus Silva. After studying with the masters in Europe, he was professor of classical guitar at the Musik Akadamie in Basel for more than 30 years, and performed on stage, radio and TV on four continents. He was invited to speak at the First World Symposium on Heitor Villa-Lobos in Paris and later in Sao Paulo, while touring in South America. He was among the group invited to the reburial of Andre Segovia in Spain. As a young musician, he had master classes with Segovia. Mr. Bunch transcribed and arranged hundreds of musical works for the classical guitar. His recent life was centered around daughter Alycia May, who at age 7, under her parents’ guidance, is an accomplished violinist, singer and dancer. In 2000, he was the featured artist for the Lakeland (Florida)  Imperial Symphony Orchestra. He was born on  a farm in Statesville and enjoyed that life with seven siblings until moving to Brevard and later to Mocksville. He lived in Lakeland breifly in the early 1970s before moving to Europe. He came to Lakeland often to visit his mother, Katherine Bunch, now 100, and has many friends there.

Survivors: his wife, Krisztina Wajsza Bunch, concert pianist, daughter, Alycia May, and step-daughter, Anthea of Basel; brothers, Charles L. Bunch Jr. (Maxine) of Statesville, David Bunch (Jean) of Lakeland, Austin W. Bunch (Marion) of Atlanta, Ga.; sisters, Linda Best of Brevard, Anne Toopes (James) of Gainesville, Ga., and Jane Atherton (Mark) of Bellingham, Wash.

He was preceded in death by: his father;  brother, William D. “Bill” Bunch of Lakeland (Benjamin and Bill were featured musicians at annual family gatherings.).