Great Neck Library Mourns The Passing Of Gabe Chieco


It is with heavy hearts that the Great Neck Library family mourns the passing on Nov. 19, of long-time friend and colleague Gabe Chieco, founding member of the library’s music advisory committee.

Gabe abundantly shared his love and insight for music, and had a genuine devotion to the music advisory committee, a group of Great Neck residents, all volunteers, who have expertise in various aspects of musical performance. A founding member, he gave countless hours of his time and energy to this long-standing committee set to celebrate 50 years this coming June with violinist/composer Colin Jacobsen and cellist/conductor Eric Jacobsen.

Upon Gabe’s return from Korea in 1953, he was anxious to become involved in community service. His passion for music led him to join Great Neck Community Concerts, for which he held various positions at one time or another, such as president and vice president of artist selection. Gabe’s keen sense of emerging opera talent resulted in the appearance of Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills and Kiri Te Kanawa before they became the reigning divas of their day.

In March of 1974 Joseph Keenan of Newsday wrote, “Gabriel Chieco scouts singers for the Great Neck Community Concerts Association. Because of his scouting reports, members of the Association are going to hear the hottest soprano (Kiri Te Kanawa) on the international circuit.”

It was in 1969 that Gabe’s 50-year association with the Great Neck Library began with the creation of the music advisory committee. The committee has continually presented musical programs of extraordinary high quality for the cultural enrichment of the Great Neck community.

The Great Neck Library has been proud of its association with Gabe Chieco, and is appreciative of the many years he shared his love and enthusiasm for music, knowledge and remarkable sense of humor. Gabe will be missed greatly, and remain in our thoughts always.

—Submitted by the Great Neck Library


  1. I had the pleasure of being the stage manager of Kiri Te Kanawa’s performance in Great Neck when I was a Senior at Great Neck South. It is one of the most memorable moments from my teen-age years, and it was the first time that I realized that I might like Opera. Over the years I’ve wondered how all the amazing talent I experienced came to our school’s stage (If I recollect correctly, I also recall being backstage with Pianists Claudio Arau and Raymond Lewenthal). Now I know. Sorry I was not able to thank this man while he was alive. I’m wondering if he also arranged all the amazing dance performances that were also at GNS. They were all amazing (Twyla Tharp, Batsheva, Louis Falco, Paul Taylor, Alwin Nikolais, Alvin Ailey,,,)

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