Clifford S. Tinder, Former Playbill Senior Vice-President, Dies at 66 | Playbill

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Obituaries Clifford S. Tinder, Former Playbill Senior Vice-President, Dies at 66

The writer, editor, and publishing executive was also an accomplished jazz musician.

Clifford S. Tinder, formerly the Senior Vice-President of Playbill, passed away August 16, 2022, in Sea Cliff, New York. He was 66.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, October 26, 1955, Mr. Tinder grew up in Roslyn, New York, and attended Bloomington's Indiana University.

Clifford S. Tinder Courtesy of Camille Tinder

It was during college when the avid fisherman and cook began his lengthy publishing career as a jazz writer for the Indiana Daily student newspaper. He not only wrote about musicians but also booked a diverse group of artists, including Weather Report, Chick Corea, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, whose final concert was one booked by the college student. Mr. Tinder was subsequently asked to write Mr. Kirk's obituary for the New York Times, and he was also responsible for bringing jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon back to the United States after living nearly two decades in Europe. At 19, the college student called Village Vanguard club owner Max Gordon and asked him if he would be willing to book Dexter Gordon for a week, the saxophonist's stipulation for coming back to the States. Max Gordon responded, "Are you kidding? I'll book him for a year."

Mr. Tinder graduated from Indiana University with a major in journalism and subsequently became a music critic, one whose writings were published in Rolling Stone, Musician Magazine, Downbeat, and Listen Magazine. He also interviewed a wide array of jazz musicians, bringing the life stories of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Johnny Copeland, Fred Hersch, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and more to readers around the globe.

Following his work as managing editor for the now-defunct Stagebill, Mr. Tinder was hired in 1998 by Playbill, where he worked for nearly two decades, eventually becoming Senior Vice President. Mr. Tinder worked to expand Playbill’s classical venues in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. He was the sole liaison between Playbill and all of the Classic Arts venues that the company serves. Mr. Tinder was also the Classic Arts editor-in-chief, overseeing all of the various magazines published by that division of Playbill.

Clifford S. Tinder and wife Patti Courtesy of Camille Tinder

In addition to his successes as a writer, editor, and publishing executive, Mr. Tinder was also an accomplished jazz musician, who played the saxophone in the 75-piece symphonic North Winds Symphonic Band. He also enjoyed playing jazz with his wife Patti, herself an accomplished pianist. 

"Over our almost 20 years together, Cliff and I worked closely together conspiring, creating, and delivering Playbills for all the Classic Arts venues in New York and across America," said Playbill CEO & President Philip S. Birsh. "Cliff was a man of many interests and talents. His main focus was his loves Patti and Camille. I am certain they knew it. I will miss Cliff. Our Playbill family will never be the same." (Read Birsh's complete remembrance here.)

Friends and co-workers remember the gifted Tinder, who was responsible for catapulting many careers in both the music and publishing worlds, as a kind soul who made everyone he came in contact with feel respected and cherished. A celebration of his life will be held in September in Sea Cliff.

Clifford S. Tinder is survived by wife Patti Tinder, their daughter Camille Tinder, father Cecil K. Tinder, and sister Cecily Schurhammer. 

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