- A listing of the Principal Musicians of the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra with short biographical notes and
photographs, which is listed below on this webpage.
A Listing of Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Musicians
This page of the www.stokowski.org site seeks to list all the Principal, or
first-chair musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since its inception
in 1891. Also featured are the principal conductors or Music Directors
of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With each musician, I have tried to
reconstruct a short biography and to include a photograph of the musician.
Creation and Naming of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
In 1891, a group of Chicago businessmen invited Theodore Thomas to
direct a permanent symphony orchestra to be called the "Chicago
Orchestra". Thomas accepted, and the Orchestra was ready
for its first concert on October 16, 1891. Thomas campaigned
for a permanent hall for the Orchestra, saying that was a prerequisite
for an established, quality orchestra. Orchestra Hall, Chicago
as is was to be know, was nearly complete in early December, and Theodore
Thomas was able to conduct in the hall beginning December 14, 1904.
Unfortunately, this was only weeks before his death on January 5, 1905.
On April 11, 1905, in Theodore Thomas's honor, the "Chicago
Orchestra" was renamed the "Theodore Thomas Orchestra"
98. Frederick Stock, Thomas's assistant conductor took over,
and continued as conductor or Music Director for 37 seasons. On February
21, 1913, the Trustees of the orchestra, concerned that perhaps some other
group might take the name of the 'Chicago Orchestra', or Chicago Symphony'
voted to adopt the name of "Chicago Symphony Orchestra".
(note: to retain the honor to Theodore Thomas, the full name adopted was:
"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, founded by Theodore Thomas"
October 1891-April 1905 The Chicago Orchestra
April 1905-February 1913 The Theodore Thomas Orchestra
February 1913-today The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
1891-1905 Theodore Thomas (Christian Friedrich Theodore Thomas)
Theodore Thomas in his autobiography 37 states he
was born October 11, 1835 in "Esens, East Friesland by
the North Sea ", which is the extreme north of Germany
near the Dutch boarder. His father, Johann August Thomas
(about 1799-about 1860) was "Stadtpfeifer ", or
"town musician" of Esens and a violinist.
Theodore Thomas learned the violin under his father beginning
at about age 5. The Thomas family emigrated to the U.S.,
arriving July 1, 1846, when Theodore was age 10. Working as
a musician in New York, in 1848 Johann Thomas entered a marine band
in Norfolk, Virginia, with Theodore also engaged as a horn player
81. After traveling as an itinerant musician in the
South, in 1850, Thomas returned to New York City and for the next
decade, he played in many theater and music hall orchestras.
In this era, it was apparently usual for there to be a constant
turnover of groups and musicians within groups. In January,
1854, age 19, Thomas was elected a violinist musician of the New
York Philharmonic Society, but given the few Philharmonic concerts,
Thomas (like musicians for the next 100 years) played in a variety
of other groups to earn a living. At this time, he first
performed in string quartets 39 and joined the Mason
and Bergmann chamber music society. These same players
also performed in the various orchestras and opera groups, including
Ullmann’s Opera Company, where Thomas was Concertmaster. It
was with the Ullmann Opera group that Thomas had his first conducting
experiences. And in 1853-1854, Thomas played first violin in the
Louis Antoine Jullien orchestra as it toured the eastern US. In
his autobiography, Theodore Thomas wrote: "…In 1862, I concluded
to devote my energies to the cultivation of the public taste for
instrumental music…" 82. In fact, he devoted
himself to this objective for the remainder of his career. He
organized his Theodore Thomas Orchestra, with which he gave more than
100 concerts in each of the summers of 1866 and 1867 83.
Between the winter concerts and the more successful summer "music
garden" type concerts of the Summer Night Concerts, Thomas
broke-even financially, and built a following. 84.
However, even New York in that era did not have a musical life
sufficient for full-time employment. Consequently, in 1868-1869,
Thomas took his orchestra on tour to cities in the eastern US, in later
seasons expanding as far west as Chicago. In this, Thomas
demonstrated an energy, and business sense sufficient to keep his
orchestra employed and solvent. However, he personally
guaranteed all orchestra expenses, and he lost greatly from cancelled
concerts, for example, following the 1871 Chicago fire. At the
summer concerts of 1872, Thomas and his orchestra gave what he said
was the US premiere of the Ride of the Valkyries from Act 3 of
Die Walküre (which had been premiered in 1870)86.
Closing the 1873 season, Thomas and the orchestra were joined in New
York by the Handel & Haydn Society of Boston to give the Beethoven
Symphony no 9. In May, 1873, Thomas and his orchestra took part
in the first of the famous Cincinnati May Festivals. Thomas continued
conducting the Cincinnati May Festival concerts from 1873-1904
(he was succeeded by Frank Van der Stucken after Thomas's death in
1905 98). These years of the 1870s were an important
contribution by Theodore Thomas to the education of the US in the
greats works of the symphonic repertoire, previously unknown to
most people, even in major cities. His and his orchestra,
constant traveling across the eastern US was the way he could keep
the orchestra employed and solvent, since he had no subsidy.
Theodore Thomas was appointed conductor of the New York Philharmonic
Society in the 1877-1878 season, but the next year decided to take
over direction of the Cincinnati College of Music. However,
this Cincinnati engagement did not work out. Thomas then
returned to New York as conductor of the Philharmonic, which he
continued for a further twelve seasons 1879-1891. Another
long-term Thomas conducting responsibility was of the Brooklyn
Philharmonic Society 1862-1891. In 1891, a group of Chicago
businessmen invited Theodore Thomas to direct a permanent symphony
orchestra to be called the "Chicago Orchestra".
Thomas accepted, and the Orchestra was ready for its first concert
on October 16, 1891. The support for Thomas and the orchestra
grew until by the 1903-1904 season, Thomas campaigned for a permanent
hall for the Orchestra 85. The money raised, the
concert hall was designed by Daniel Burnham (1846-1912).
Meanwhile, beginning in about 1902, Theodore Thomas’s health began
to deteriorate 85. His wife, Rose Emily Fay wrote:
"…All through the summer of 1904 he was rapidly breaking down…
both heart and nerves were in bad condition…" 85.
By mid-December 1904, Orchestra Hall, Chicago was sufficiently
complete that Theodore Thomas was able to conduct his concerts there
beginning December 14, 1904. However, Theodore Thomas did not
survive long thereafter, and died on January 5, 1905, following a
brief illness which may have developed into pneumonia.
Following his passing, in Thomas's honor, the Chicago Orchestra
was renamed the "Theodore Thomas Orchestra".
Perhaps it is not exaggerated to say that no other musician did
more than Theodore Thomas to cultivate the seeds of US appreciation
of symphonic music from 1850 until 1900, from a time when there were
almost no symphonic groups in the US, until a flowering of orchestras,
including Theodore Thomas’ Chicago symphony.
The mini-biography above describes a young Theodore Thomas playing
for showman conductor Louis Antoine Jullien during his in
1853-1854, US tour. Actually, Jullien was also famous for his very
long name. This apparently came from his father's generosity
when he was playing violin with an orchestra in Aix-en-Provence,
France. He said that he would invite one of the orchestra musicians
to baptize his son. However, since all the musicians vied for this
honor, all 36 musician's names were used in the baptism of "Louis
George Maurice Adolphe Roche Albert Abel Antonio Alexandre Noë Jean Lucien
Daniel Eugène Joseph-le-brun Joseph-Barême..." (but this website
has limits of storage memory).
1905-1942 Frederick Stock (Friedrich August Stock)
Frederick Stock in 1910
Frederick Stock was born in Jülich, Germany, 30 km west of Cologne on November 11,
1872. As a youth, he studied with his Army bandmaster father. Stock
entered the Cologne Conservatoire (later the Hochschule für Musik Köln) in about
1886. He studied violin and composition, with Willem Mengelberg being one
of his classmates. Stock received his diploma from the Conservatoire in 1890,
and began his career as a violin in the Cologne Municipal Orchestra. In 1895,
Theodore Thomas, who each summer usually recruited musicians in Europe for his
orchestras, auditioned Frederick Stock and invited him to join the Chicago
Orchestra in the viola section. By 1899, Thomas had appointed Stock as
Assistant conductor of the Chicago Orchestra. Following the shock of the
death of Theodore Thomas on January 4, 1905, as Assistant conductor, Frederick
Stock assumed the conducting responsibilities of the Chicago Orchestra.
Stock's position as conductor was by no means secure. The Orchestra Trustees
had considered as Music Director Felix Mottl (said to be recommended by Theodore
Thomas as a possible successor 98 and who declined), Hans Richter
and Felix Weingartner. Then, on April 11, 1905, the Trustees appointed
Frederick Stock as conductor of the orchestra, which at the same time was
renamed "The Theodore Thomas Orchestra" 98.
Frederick Stock with the Chicago Symphony 1907
Stock achieved what is a difficult transition: to come up through the ranks of
the orchestra, yet be an effective and authoritative conductor. Stock
retained both the quality, and the broad repertoire of the Chicago Symphony, with
contemporary works being well represented. Frederick Stock's reputation then
among contemporary critics was often the faint praise of being among the best of
second-rank conductors. However, his surviving recordings, and the opinion
of many contemporary musicians say otherwise. Anne Mischakoff Heiles, in her
excellent book: Mischa Mischakoff, Journeys of a Concertmaster3 writes of Mischakoff's respect and admiration for Stock. She
also quotes Principal horn Philip Farkas (who played under most all the conductors
of the era in the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony) :
"[Stock was]...one of the great conductors of all time..." 98.
Musicians also seem to have appreciated that Stock devoted most rehearsal
time to new compositions, and rehearsed the core repertoire less, considering that
the orchestra already knew these well. Frederick Stock conducted the Chicago
Symphony for 37 seasons, a tenure surpassed in twentieth century leading orchestras
only by Eugene Ormandy's 44 seasons at Philadelphia. Frederick Stock died
September 20, 1942.
Désiré Defauw was born September 5, 1885 in Ghent, Belgium. Defauw
was trained as a violinist at the Ghent Conservatory. In 1900, at
age 15, he became solo violin of the the orchestra of the Winter
Concerts of Ghent. For three seasons, 1906-1909, Defauw was
Concertmaster of the New Symphony Orchestra of London, which orchestra
Leopold Stokowski conducted for his second ever orchestral concert.
While in London, Defauw organized the Allied Quartet of London, a
chamber orchestra which performed much contemporary music, such as Ravel
and Strauss. Defauw returned to Belgium in 1910, where he
organized two string quartets which performed during the 1910s. In
1922, Defauw organized the Société des Concerts Defauw,
which he conducted during the later 1920s. In 1922, Defauw
also became professor of violin at the Antwerp Conservatory, until 1925,
when Defauw became director of concerts of the Conservatoire royal de
Bruxelles. In this capacity, as well as conducting the
Conservatory orchestra, he taught conducting. In 1931, Defauw
organized l'Orchestre symphonique de Bruxelles,
which was reorganized in 1939 to form the National Orchestra of Belgium.
In June, 1940, overtaken by World War 2, he left Belgium for England.
Then in August, 1940, Defauw sailed to New York, and went on to Québec.
Following a successful concert with the NBC Symphony in 1939, Defauw had
been invited to conduct the orchestra of the Chalet du Mont-Royal August
29, 1940. This success in Québec lead to Defauw's Montreal engagement.
In 1940, Wilfrid Pelletier (1896-1982) was conductor in Montreal, but
the concert schedule and the employment for the musicians was sporadic.
In 1941, Désiré Defauw became the first permanent conductor of the
Société des concerts symphoniques de Montréal,
which was renamed in 1953 the l'Orchestre Symphonique de
Montréal 36. Defauw conducted in Montreal for
eleven seasons, 1941-1952. While conducting in Montreal, following
the illness and death of Frederick Stock, Defauw for four seasons also
conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1943-1947.
Désiré Defauw in 1943
the memoires of Chicago musicians of the period report that Chicago
Symphony morale was poor, in part because of lack of respect for
Defauw 63. Defauw became
a U.S. citizen during his Chicago term. After completing his
Chicago and Montreal responsibilities, Defauw returned to Belgium in
1953, where he was a guest conductor. Then 1954-1958, Defauw
conducted the Gary Symphony Orchestra in Indiana. He died in Gary,
Indiana July 25, 1960.
The gifted conductor Artur Rodzinski seems to have been the living
embodiment of the old cliché that "all conductors are
paranoid". This emotional condition also seems to
have increased as his success increased, rather than being
assuaged. Artur Rodzinski was born January 2, 1892 in
Split, Dalmatia 47 (where Franz von Suppé, 1819-1895,
was also born). Split (sometimes Spalato), was then part of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is now part of Croatia. Rodzinski's
parents, an army surgeon father and a pianist mother, soon returned
to Lvov, Poland, where Artur was raised 46. In 1917,
Rodzinski served in the Austrian Army during World War 1 and was
wounded. He then went to Vienna, earning a law degree, and
studying part-time, but not to a diploma level 47, at
the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts, (successor to
the Vienna Conservatory) with its Director, Joseph Marx (1882-1964)
and with Franz Schreker (1878-1934). Artur Rodzinski also
studied conducting with Franz Schalk (1863-1931), and piano with
Emil von Sauer (1862-1942) 46. Returning to Lvov,
in about 1920, Rodzinski was a cabaret pianist and local choral
director, where he also had opportunities to conduct 47.
His first professional opportunity was conducting the Lvov
Opera in late 1920 in a performance of Verdi's Ernani. In
1921, Rodzinski conducted the Warsaw Philharmonic and, due in part to his
availability, Rodzinski quickly became first conductor at the Warsaw
Opera 47. In 1925, Leopold Stokowski met Rodzinski
and invited him to Philadelphia to work with him, but without title.
In 1926, Rodzinski was a guest conductor with the Philadelphia
Orchestra, and later that year, Stokowski appointed Rodzinski as
Assistant Conductor in Philadelphia. During 1926-1929, Rodzinski
also taught conducting at the Curtis Institute, where his first wife
Ilse also taught piano. 1929-1933, Rodzinski was Music Director
of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was released in 1933, so
he could move to Cleveland. Rodzinski was succeeded in Los Angeles
by Otto Klemperer. Rodzinski then had a long, and somewhat stormy
run as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra, 1933-1943.
Artur Rodzinski in 1943
During Rodzinski's Cleveland years, critics found the Cleveland Orchestra improved
each year, although with associated turmoil. During his tenure, Rodzinski
replaced 130 musicians, and seemingly without any attempt to lessen the effect
on the community of each firing. In Cleveland, Rodzinski expanded
not only the orchestra, but also the repertoire. Through negotiation
in Moscow in the summer of 1935, Rodzinski gained the rights to the US
of Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. This became part
of a series of staged operas Rodzinski produced with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Rodzinski also began a series of successful Cleveland Orchestra
recordings with Columbia Records between December 1939 and February 1942,
some of which are still available on CD. In many ways, the Cleveland
Orchestra years may have been the most productive and successful period of
Rodzinski's career. Contemporary correspondence from Rodzinski during
the 1930s suggests, however, that his primary ambition was to become Chicago
Symphony Music Director. Rodzinski also developed a relationship with the
New York Philharmonic. 1934-1937, Rodzinski was a frequent guest conductor
in New York. In 1936 and 1937, when Rodzinski conducted at Vienna and
Salzburg, Toscanini was impressed by Rodzinski's rehearsal technique.
This relationship with Toscanini may have been aided by Rodzinski's speaking
Italian well. In 1937, at Arturo Toscanini's request, Rodzinski was
appointed to recruit and train the musicians into a cohesive new NBC Symphony
Orchestra 50. Rodzinski by then had developed a deserved
reputation as a orchestra builder; Rodzinski had an expert judgment as to
the best-performing musicians. After cultivating New York since 1934,
in December, 1942, Rodzinski became Music Director (a new title which had
not been given to his predecessors, including Toscanini) of the
New York Philharmonic succeeding John Barbirolli (Sir John from 1949).
In New York, Rodzinski continued to show
an openness to contemporary music. He was also well-received for his
clean and unmannered performances. At this same time,
when Frederick Stock died in 1942, the Chicago Symphony's first choice
as his successor was Artur Rodzinski. Correspondence indicates that
Rodzinski was interested. However, because Rodzinski was now
Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, he was not available.
In New York, Rodzinski continued to show a hot-headed side, writing scathing
letters to those whom he believed had slighted him 55.
This, as well as his famous revolver in his back pocket during conducting
added to his image as being not just difficult, but rather paranoid.
For his orchestras, this would develop into a conflicting choice between the
great musical inspirations engendered by Rodzinski's conducting, versus
the destructive tendencies of his conduct with the orchestra Boards and
with his musicians. During Rodzinski's New York years, Rodzinski
clashed with the orchestra (he tried to dismiss 14 musicians,
including five Principals in his first season) and with management.
There also were difficulties in re-negotiating Rodzinski's New York
contract.  In any case, Rodzinski's high-strung nature caused him
to resign from the New York Philharmonic in February, 1947, without
completing the 1946-1947 season 49. Bruno Walter stepped in to
fulfill Rodzinski's New York obligations. When Désiré Defauw departed
Chicago, Artur Rodzinski was immediately offered, and accepted the Music
Director position with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. So, later in
1947, and through the 1947-1948 season, Rodzinski was Music Director of
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. However, Rodzinski continued to
have clashes in Chicago with the Board and the orchestra, and his
contract was not renewed for the 1948-1949 season.
After Chicago, Rodzinski's career never again reached its earlier promise.
Leaving Chicago, Rodzinski became a traveling guest conductor,
but with progressively deteriorating health. In November, 1948,
he suffered a heart attack in London. Then, except for a 1949
Los Angeles engagement, Rodzinski cancelled all conducting until a
single 1949-1950 season as head of the Havana Symphony Orchestra. After
the Havana orchestra disbanded the next season, Rodzinski guest-conducted
in South America. In the three seasons 1951-1954, Rodzinski
performed frequently in Italy, including his 1951 debut at La Scala,
Milan 46. During 1955-1957, in spite of progressively
increasing health problems, Rodzinski performed extensively for
R.A.I. Italian radio. Rodzinski returned to the U.S. to
conduct Tristan und Isolde at the Chicago Lyric Opera, contrary to
his doctor's advice. After three performances at the Chicago
opera, Rodzinski had to withdraw, with his last concert being
on November 10, 1958. Rodzinski died on November 28, 1958 in
a Boston Hospital of heart failure 46.
Rafael Kubelik was born June 29, 1914 in Bychory, a Czech village about 50 km
east of Prague. Rafael was the sixth of 8 musical children of the famous
Bohemian violinist Jan Kubelik (1880-1940) and his wife Countess Marianne
Czáky-Szell. Rafael initially studied violin with his father, and also
piano with his uncle Frantisek Kubelik, with whom Rafael played the symphonic
classics four hands. Rafael Kubelik entered the Prague Conservatory in
1928, where he studied violin, piano, composition, and conducting, where he
graduated with his diploma in 1933. In 1935 and 1936, Rafael Kubelik
toured with his father, first in Europe and in 1936 in the US and Canada,
Jan playing the violin, and Rafael accompanying on piano, or conducting
Publicity for Jan and Rafael Kubelik touring the US in 1936
In 1936, Kubelik was appointed by Vaclav Talich to
Assistant Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. In 1937, when Talich
was unable to take the Czech Philharmonic on a UK tour, Kubelik substituted
for him92. Kubelik was Director of the Brno Opera House
from 1939-1941, and was chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic
1942-1948. In 1948, with the rise of a Communist authoritarian
regime, Kubelik left Czechoslovakia, vowing not to return until the end
of authoritarian rule. Kubelik settled first in England, where he
conducted, including at Glyndebourne. Rafael Kubelik was offered
conducting positions in the UK, including as a successor to Sir Adrian
Boult at the BBC Orchestra, but opted instead for the Chicago
Symphony. Kubelik was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony
for three seasons 1950-1953. His Music Directorship in Chicago
started badly when he attempted to replace replacing 22 of musicians
during the first season, which met vigorous opposition. Also,
during his Chicago term, Chicago Tribune music critic Claudia Cassidy
who was an unrelenting critic of Kubelik 89, among other
reasons it is said because of too heavy a diet of contemporary music.
Kubelik then returned to the UK, where he conducted both symphony and
opera. On October 6, 1954, Kubelik was named Music Director of
Covent Garden Opera, serving 1955-1958. 88. However, Kubelik's
time at the Covent Garden Opera was also stormy, with Sir Thomas Beecham,
among others, criticizing having a foreign Music Director of Covent
Garden. Although Kubelik remained, he did not renew his contract
in 1958. Although Kubelik had refused to conduct in Germany
following World War 2, he accepted to become Music Director of the
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1961. Kubelik remained in
Munich 1961-1980 producing also numerous recordings. Kubelik took
Swiss citizenship in 1967 90 In late 1971, Goran Gentele,
the new General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera asked Kubelík to
become Music Director, a newly created position, which even Arturo
Toscanini did not hold. Kubelik and Gentele had a good working
relationship, and Kubelík accepted, being named Music Director of the
Metropolitan Opera in 1972 91. However, Gentele died in an
automobile accident in Italy on July 18, 1972, which undermined Kubelík's
working conditions at the MET. Kubelik made his Metropolitan Opera
debut in October, 1973 with Les Troyens. However, he suffered
regular criticism as spending too much time in Europe, and of being a
weak administrator. Tensions at the MET continued, and in February
1974, five months after his debut, he resigned. James Levine
subsequently succeeded Kubelik 90. In later years,
Kubelik's health deteriorated, due to heart disease and arthritis,
which forced his retirement in 1985 92. However,
Rafael Kubelik did conduct on further occasions: he returned to
Czechoslovakia in 1990 to conduct "Ma Vlast" at the opening
of the first Prague Spring Festival after the Vaclav Havel "Velvet
Revolution". He also returned to Chicago on several occasions,
the last being on October 18, 1991, the commemorative Centennial concert
of the CSO, recreating the first Theodore Thomas concert of October 16,
1891. Kubelik conducted the Dvorak Hussika Overture at that
Centennial celebration. Rafael Kubelik died near Lucerne, Switzerland
on August 11, 1996.
Music Director 1953-1962, Musical Advisor 1962-1963
Fritz Reiner was born in Budapest, Hungary on December 19, 1888.
Reiner in Budapest intended to study law, at the urging of his father,
but in 1899, he entered the Franz Liszt Academy, where he studied piano
(including with Bela Bartok) and composition (Leo Weiner). Reiner
had his initial experiences as a répétiteur at the German Comic Opera at
Budapest in 1908. In 1910-1911, Reiner was conductor at the German
Opera House in Ljubljana (now in Slovenia) under Vaclav Talich (1883-1961).
In 1914, Reiner moved to Dresden, conducting at the Saxon Court Oper,
where he came into extended contact with Richard Strauss. In Dresden,
Reiner conducted the first performance of Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne
Schatten', immediately following its Vienna premieres in 1919. Reiner
left Dresden in 1921 and then emigrated to the U.S. in 1922 to become
conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, following his predecessors
Frank Van der Stucken (1895-1907), Leopold Stokowski (1909-1912), and
Eugène Ysaÿe (1918-1922). Fritz Reiner stayed in Cincinnati for eleven
seasons, from 1922-1933. By the 1925-1926 season, only 25 of the
original 92 musicians of the orchestra when Reiner arrived in 1922
were still with the Cincinnati Symphony. Reiner became a U.S. citizen in
1928. Beginning in 1931, Reiner was in charge of the conducting program at the
Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he continued until 1938. In
the 1938-1939 season, Reiner became Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony,
which he reorganized and improved, while firing dozens of musicians each
season. Reiner remained at Pittsburgh until the end of the 1947-1948
season, where he made a number of famous recordings for Columbia records.
During this period, he also made stylish recordings of baroque music including
the Bach Brandenburg Concerti with New York session musicians which demonstrated
his mastery, uncommon for the period, of baroque playing. In
both Pittsburgh and Chicago, Reiner also recorded a number of works
of Bela Bartok, and he was instrumental in convincing Serge Koussevitzky
to commission in 1943 Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. 1949-1953 and
as guest conductor later, Fritz Reiner was the principal among
a number of staff conductors at the MET, during the early regime of Rudolf
Bing, who became General Manager in 1950. While at the MET, Reiner conducted
a number of famous productions, including in 1949, the Strauss Salome with soprano
Ljuba Welitsch as Salome, and the U.S. premiere of Stravinsky's 'The Rake's Progress'
in 1951. In 1953, Reiner was named Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, a
post he maintained for nine seasons until the end of the 1961-1962 season.
Reiner then became Musical Advisor in Chicago for the 1962-1963 season. Even
though Georg Solti famously claimed that prior to his arrival in Chicago in 1969,
the Chicago Symphony was a 'provincial orchestra', in fact, through good selection
of musicians, demanding standards and in part through his ruthless elimination
of any musician who displeased him, Reiner build one of the great orchestras of
the world in Chicago. Reiner also built the orchestra's reputation by their
recordings for RCA Victor during the 1950s. It is said that Reiner and the
Orchestra recorded 122 different works. A complete discography of all of
Fritz Reiner's recordings (and not just with the Chicago Symphony) is
available by clicking on the link below.
Although many conductors have had the reputation of being a martinet,
Fritz Reiner does seem to have had a sadistic streak in his conduct,
and was famous for his hounding of the the musicians of weakest character in
his orchestras, and playing 'mind games' to manipulate his players. However,
strong characters, such as Ray Still (oboe) or Donald Peck (flute) generally did
not have problems with Reiner. In Chicago, Reiner also produced
many great recordings, too numerous to mention individually. These recordings
for Victor were also sonically at the leading edge of their time, and are still
highly regarded both for inspired performances, and rich, transparent sound.
In spite of being, perhaps a mean and unlovable as a person, Fritz Reiner as a conductor
was one of the greats of the Twentieth Century, with a command of musical idioms from
Bach, through Mozart, to the Romantics and Strauss, up to the music by his teacher,
Bartok. It could be argued that he had an appropriate period style and inspired
command of music from Bach to Kodaly, superior to his contemporaries, including
Toscanini. Perhaps the only surprising gap is that he seems not to have been one
of the great interpreters of Beethoven. Following a major heart
attack in October 7, 1960, Reiner did not conduct the Chicago Symphony
until late March, 1961 31. After the heart attack, Reiner
continued to conduct, although more cautiously, in Chicago, and preparing
a new MET production of Die Götterdämmerung. Finally, after April,
1963, Reiner withdrew to his long-time home, Rambleside in Connecticut.
Fritz Reiner died in New York City November 15, 1963.
Jean Martinon was born in Lyon, France January 10, 1910
He entered the Lyon Conservatoire at the age of 13, which prepared
him for the entrance competition for the Paris Conservatoire.
In 1926, Martinon succeeded in gaining admission in Paris, where
he studied violin with Jules Boucherit (1877-1962). Jean
Martinon also studied composition with Albert Roussel (1869-1937)
and Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931). His conducting instructors
were also famous musicians: Roger Désormière (1898-1963), at that
time conductor of Ballets russes, and Charles Munch, who soon
thereafter was to create, with Alfred Cortot L'Orchestre de
Paris (not the same as the 1967 orchestra of that name).
After graduation from the Paris Conservatoire, beginning in about
1936, Jean Martinon toured as a solo violin, seeking to build an
career, with moderate success. In 1939-1940, the war with
Germany began, and in 1940 Martinon was captured and interned in
a prisoner-of-war camp, where he composed a number of chamber and
choral works. Following the war, 1946-1948, Martinon was
an regular guest conductor of the London Philharmonic when
Eduard van Beinum was not conducting. Martinon also secured the
position of conductor of the Radio Eireann (Dublin) symphony, 1947-1950.
During this time, Jean Martinon composed his Symphony no 3 in 1948.
He was also guest conductor at the three leading Paris orchestras:
the Colonne Orchestra, the Pasdeloup, and l'Orchestre de la Société
des Concerts du Conservatoire, all in the late 1940s.
Martinon from 1951-1958 was music director of the Lamoureux
Orchestra, and was still composing. 1957-1959, Jean
Martinon was 'Music Advisor' of the Israel Philharmonic (prior
to 1997, the Philharmonic had no Music Directors). In 1963,
following the retirement of Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon was
appointed Music Director of the Chicago Symphony.
Martinon had conducted at Ravinia in the Summer of 1960,
and during the 1961-1962 Chicago season. While
at Chicago, the Orchestra commissioned Martinon's Symphony
no 4 'Altitudes', premiered in 1965. Martinon's tenure
in Chicago was stormy, with mixed reviews as to his
conducting. The Orchestra had simmering discontents,
following Fritz Reiner's arbitrary cancellation of the 1959
European tour, and the musicians dissatisfaction with union
labor negotiations. Also, Martinon following Fritz Reiner
might perhaps be compared with John Barbirolli (later Sir John)
following Arturo Toscanini at the NY Philharmonic - 'a hard act to
follow'. In any case, the increasing friction, a highly
charged political environment within the Orchestra and
the confrontation with Ray Still (
) leading to the unsuccessful attempt to dismiss Ray Still
from the Orchestra resulted in a divided and demoralized
Orchestra. This caused Jean Martinon to withdraw, with
, the assistant replacing Martinon over the 1968-1969 season.
After leaving Chicago, in 1968, Martinon succeeded Charles Munch
as Music Director of the newly created Orchestre national de
France, where he stayed for five seasons, 1968–1973.
1975-1976, Jean Martinon was Music Director of the Hague Residentie
Orchestra. During his active recording career, Martinon recorded
the virtually complete works of Ravel, of Debussy, and of Saint-Saëns,
with scholarly excavation of some unpublished works of each composer.
Consequent to his development of bone cancer, Jean Martinon
died in Paris on March 1, 1976 at the relatively young age of 66.
Irwin Hoffman was born in New York City on November 26, 1924.
He studied at the Juilliard School in the 1940s, and
also studied at the Berkshire Music Festival at that time.
Hoffman was conductor of the Vancouver Symphony from 1952-1964.
He was then engaged as Conductor of the Chicago Symphony in 1964.
Following the withdrawal of Jean Martinon, described above, Irwin
Hoffman was the "Acting Music Director" of the Chicago Symphony
during the 1969-1969 season. Hoffman then became the first
Music Director of the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony (later named the
Florida Orchestra), where he served for twenty seasons
1968-1988. 1987-2001, Irwin Hoffman was also Artistic
Director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica.
Irwin Hoffman then became Music Director of the National Symphony
Orchestra of Colombia in Bogota in 2000.
1969-1991 Sir Georg Solti
(Music Director Laureate 1991-1997)
photo: Chicago Tribune, n.d.
Georg Solti (after 1972 Sir Geoge) was born György Stern in Budapest
on October 21, 1912.
Solti stated that his father, Moricz Stern had changed the family name
to Solti seeking to avoid rising anti-Semitism. Solti began his
musical training on the piano, and in 1925 97 entered the
Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, where he studied composition
and conducting. After graduation for the conservatory, Georg Solti
began as a Répétiteur at the Budapest Opera 97.
In the mid-1930s, Solti began to obtain opportunities to conduct.
Solti in 1937 received a grant to study at the Salzburg Festival aiding
Toscanini with rehearsals, and being invited to return in 1938. This
led to Solti's debut (without a rehearsal) on March 11, 1938 at the Budapest
Opera conducting The Marriage of Figaro. This day coincided with
Hitler's Anschluss of Austria, and further conducting opportunities
in Budapest for Solti did not occur. In 1939, Solti left Hungary
for Switzerland. He then pursued his pianism and in 1942 won first
prize in the international piano competition in Geneva. The end of
World War 2 provided opportunities for conductors not tainted by Nazi
affiliations. In 1946, Georg Solti was appointed conductor of the
Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich in the US-controlled German sector.
Solti remained in this post through 1952, after which he moved to Frankfurt
as General Music Director 42. Georg Solti also began
recording. Solti's fifty year connection
with Decca produced some great recordings. Famous is the Wagner
Ring des Nibelungen cycle recorded 1958-1965. This Ring was
not only the first complete studio recording to be released, but its
combination of an outstanding cast, and the pioneering sonic sound stage
developed by John Culshaw (1924-1980) is now legendary. In 1960,
Solti seemed to be offered two attractive positions: Director of the Royal
Opera at Covent Garden, and Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
97. Solti was inclined to accept Los Angeles 97,
but meanwhile, Zubin Mehta was appointed. Georg Solti then became
Director of Covent Garden, where he remained 1961-1971. At Covent
Garden, Solti was seen by some critics as being autocratic (the "Prussian
of Covent Garden"), but also agreed that standards improved at the
Meanwhile, after the departure of Jean Martinon, the
Chicago Symphony had spent more than one year determining a successor as
Music Director. In 1969, Georg Solti agreed to become Music Director
of the Chicago Symphony. Solti also accepted other appointments, including
Music Director of l'Orchestre de Paris 1972-1975. However, this Paris
relationship was not considered successful, being stormy and confrontational
with the orchestra and the administration. More successful was a
relationship with the London Philharmonic, where he was Principal Conductor
1979-1983. In Chicago, Solti remained Music Director 1969-1991, and
conducted 999 concerts (his 1000th concert, scheduled for his 85th birthday
in October, 1997 did not take place because of Solti's death). Geoge
Solti recorded extensively with the Chicago Symphony for Decca, including
the complete Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler symphonies as well as Beethoven (twice)
the Beethoven concerti with Ashkenazy and two Wagner operas: Der fliegende
Hollander and Die Meistersinger. The recordings were well-received
and provided important income to the Chicago Symphony. Personally, I
found in concerts and in recordings, the Chicago Symphony became under Solti
too brassy and "in-your-face", lacking nuance and repose. However,
measured by record sales, it would seem this view was certainly not shared by
an important part of the public. He became Sir Georg Solti in 1972,
following his British naturalization. After Chicago, Sir George Solti
continued his active schedule of conducting and recording. His death
came suddenly from a heart-attack while vacationing in Antibes, France on
September 5, 1997.
Daniel Barenboim was born on November 15, 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
His parents were of Russian-Jewish descent who had left Russia subsequent to the
Pogroms of 1904. They were both musicians, and Daniel Barenboim studied
piano first with his mother and later his father. His parents were his
only formal piano teachers 140. In 1952, the Barenboim family
emigrated to Israel, in part because they believed it would be a favorable
climate for Daniel's progress in becoming a piano virtuoso. In 1954-1955,
Barenboim studied counterpoint and composition in Paris with
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979). After constant travel and performances,
in June, 1967, Daniel Barenboim married cellist Jacqueline du Pré.
Sadly, du Pré contracted multiple sclerosis in 1972. Daniel Barenboim
then restricted his musical activities to Europe so as to provide comfort
and support to his wife, who died in October 1987.
In the 1950s and 1960, as well as
concerts and chamber music, Daniel Barenboim was one of the most-recorded pianists,
recording integral sets of many of the classic composers (e.g. Mozart, Beethoven
and Brahms), primarily for EMI. In the 1960s, Barenboim began conducting on
an active basis, including a long collaboration with the English Chamber Orchestra.
In 1973, Barenboim made his opera conducting début at the Edinburgh Festival, performing
Don Giovanni, followed by a series of summers at the Bayreuth Festival.
Barenboim was particularly active in Paris, becoming Music Director of l'Orchestre de
Paris 1975-1989. In Paris, with the opening of the Opera de la Bastille, Barenboim
was named Artistic Director, only to be fired in January 1989 by Pierre Bergé in
another one of those opera house political scandals that the public so enjoys.
In 1991, consequent to the departure of Sir George Solti from Chicago, Daniel
Barenboim was appointed Music Director of the Chicago Symphony. He served in
Chicago for fifteen seasons, 1991-2006. Daniel Barenboim also continued his
active recording, now with the Chicago Symphony, primarily with Teldec - this at
a time when even the leading orchestras were making fewer recordings.
Although displaying supurb playing and sonics, Barenboim's Chicago recordings (for
me) generally lack the definitive insight and inspiration of the many great Chicago
conductors, particularly in the classic reperatoire he chose to record.
In the style of more and more Music Directors, Daniel Barenboim accepted a second
important post in parellel with Chicago: in 1992 he was named General Music Director
of the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin succeeding Otmar Suitner, a post he continues
today. Daniel Barenboim has also devoted his music to causes important to
him, including anti-discrimination in society, and to reconcilliation and to a
political co-existence of Israelis and Palestinians.
Riccardo Muti was born in Naples, Italy on born July 28, 1941.
Muti studied piano at the Conservatory 'San Pietro a Maiella', Naples
under Vincenzo Vitale (1908-1984). Later, Muti studied composition
and conduction under Bruno Bettinelli (1913-2004) and Antonino Votto
(1896-1985) at the Milan Conservatory. In 1967, Riccardo Muti
won the first ranking at the Guido Cantelli conducting competition
in Milan. Beginning 1968, and until 1980, Muti was Principal
Conductor and Director of the annual opera festival at the Maggio Musicale
Fiorentino. His growing prominence led to an invitation from
Herbert von Karajan in the Summer of 1971 for Muti to conduct at the
Salzburg Festival. Thereafter, Muti was a regular conductor of this
Festival. From 1972-1980, Muti was first Principal
Conductor, and then Music Director of the
Philharmonia Orchestra, London 85. On October 27, 1972,
Muti also made his first appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra,
invited by Eugene Ormandy who had heard Muti rehearsing in
Florence 89. Then, upon the retirement of
Eugene Ormandy, Music became Music Director of the Philadelphia
Orchestra 1980-1992. 1986-2005 Muti was Music Director of the
Teatro alla Scala, Milan. In the 1990s and 2000s, Riccardo Muti
was a regular conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and of the Vienna
Philharmonic. In fact, it was frequently rumored in 2002 that Muti
would become the Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic, following Claudio
Abbado, rather than Sir Simon Rattle who was appointed. Similar
speculation took place before Abbado's surprise Berlin appointment
in 1989 87. Muti has led the Vienna Philharmonic in
1996 on a Asian tour to to Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. Muti has
also conducted the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's concert at least 4
times. Opera politics around the world seem difficult, and apparently
also at La Scala, Milan. In March, 2005 the staff of La Scala voted
to call for Riccardo Muti's departure. This was after a long-time
rift between Muti and La Scala's administrative director 88.
Of course, this has been written about many times, so further
comment here is superfluous. After departing La Scala in 2005, Muti was a
regular guest conductor of virtually every leading world orchestra.
In May, 2008, the Chicago Symphony announced that Riccardo Muti would
become Music Director in the 2010-2011 season 86.
In late 2009 Muti was also appointed Music Director of Rome Opera.
Critical acclaim followed Riccardo Muti's appointment in Rome, and in
October, 1911 he was named "Honorary Director for Life" by
the Rome Opera. So, Riccardo Muti's history of leadership of many
of the world's greatest musical ensembles continues.
A joke concerning Muti: When Music Director of the Philadelphia
Orchestra, Riccardo Muti programmed a mixture of music, familiar and unfamiliar,
at least as rich as Stokowski or Ormandy. However, apparently some in
Philadelphia did not approve. A Philadelphia joke was that when in
2000 maestro Muti declined the offer to be Music Director of the New York
Philharmonic "...he deprived the Big Apple of a decade of the music of
Update: It seems the Martucci story continues: On the 2011 Chicago
Symphony European tour, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Caro wrote about
the Lucerne concert 109: "...when musicians arrived,
they found a curve ball in the schedule: Instead of the Verdi,
they’d be rehearsing a piece that
many (if not most) of them didn’t know: Giuseppe Martucci’s
Nocturne opus 70, no 1. Muti explained to the musicians
and guests...that Martucci was a superlative composer, conductor
and pianist of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries whose work
George Solti as Music Director typically conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
for 20 weeks each season. When Daniel Barenboim succeeded George Solti as
Chicago Symphony Music Director, and reduced his presence each season to 16 weeks,
there was significant furore. And yet, not only at the Chicago Symphony,
but at virtually all of the major orchestras, the Music Directors, in the words
of one of the Chicago Symphony musicians are "more like guest conductors
used to be" in their length of residence with the orchestra each season.
Note: Today, except for the concertmaster (sometimes called
the 'Leader' in Europe), the usual title for the first or
leading instrument of an orchestral section is 'Principal',
as in 'Principal Flute'.
However, in earlier years and in some orchestra sections, the first
chair musician may have been referred to as 'Solo', or 'First'.
In the profiles below, for consistency and clarity, I usually use the
title 'Principal', even if the title was not yet used at that time.
Listing of All Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians
As described above, there is also complete listing of all of the musicians
of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (not just Principals), since its inception
in 1891 is given on the page titled
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Musicians List.
This listing seeks to provide the names, instruments, titles
and dates of service of all known Chicago Symphony
Orchestra musicians. Please have a look, and in case of any corrections
of updates to these data, or any other information contained in this
please contact me, at the email address below.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
Max Bendix was born in March 28, 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. Max Bendix
had a long relationship with Theodore Thomas, joining the Thomas orchestra
at the Cincinnati May Festival in 1878, when Bendix was only 12 6.
In 1880, he became Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Orchestra under the conductor
Maratsek (a musician whom I have not been able to identify) 6.
In about 1883-1884, Bendix was Concertmaster of the
Germania Orchestra of Philadelphia.
In 1885-1886, still only 19, Bendix was a first violin in
as conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. Also in the 1885-1886 season,
Max Bendix was Concertmaster of the Arion Society of New York, a choral
and orchestral society at that time conducted by
Frank Van der Stucken.
In about 1886-1887, Max Bendix toured as Concertmaster with the
Theodore Thomas Orchestra 6. This was at least his second
professional collaboration with Theodore Thomas. Max Bendix spent the
year 1889 studying in Europe, and in 1890 again was Concertmaster of the
Thomas orchestra at the Cincinnati May Festive. Then, when in
the Autumn of 1891 Theodore Thomas created the first season of the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra (then called the "Chicago Orchestra"),
Thomas again selected Max Bendix as his Concertmaster. In
1893, Chicago organized the World's Columbian Exposition,
celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.
According to the Thomas biography written by Charles Edward Russell,
7, Theodore Thomas did not want to become Music Director
of the Exposition, given his bad experiences in Philadelphia in 1876,
but reluctantly accepted. The Thomas misgivings proved well-founded,
and after months of internecine politics at the Exposition, Thomas
finally resigned in August, 1893 7. It seems that
the Chicago Orchestra did continue to perform at the Exposition
after Theodore Thomas's resignation, but now under the leadership
of Max Bendix. It would seem that Theodore Thomas resented
this. In any case, Max Bendix had the reputation of being
a difficult and sensitive artist, and there were a series of
confrontations between the two men during Bendix's tenure with
the Chicago Orchestra, in spite of Thomas's efforts to mollify
Max Bendix. Finally, Max Bendix did not
return to the Chicago orchestra in the 1896-1897 season. The
New York Times on September 18, 1896, in an article apparently based
on the Bendix view, reported "...the breach between the old
friends [Theodore Thomas and Max Bendix], which began when Bendix
took charge of the orchestra when Thomas left it in a huff, during
the World's Fair, has gradually widened, and this year, Bendix was
not given a renewal of his contract. Arthur Mees of New York will be
assistant conductor in his place, and will be billed as such - an
honor Mr. Thomas never accorded to Bendix." In 1897-1898,
Max Bendix made a U.S. transcontinental tour with Eugène Ysaÿe
(1858-1931), violin, Henri Marteau (1874-1934), violin, Jean Gerardy
(1877-1929), cello, Aimé Lachaume (1877-1944), piano. Bendix was
also active in chamber music, forming in 1899 the Bendix String Quartet:
Max Bendix first,
Eugene Boegner second,
Ottokar Novacek viola,
Leo Schulz cello 141.
The turbulent career of Bendix also included extensive conducting.
He conducted the Saint Louis World's Fair orchestra in 1904. Bendix
became Concertmaster of the
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the 1904 -1905 season under
Van der Stucken.
Max Bendix also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera starting in
1905. In 1907, in yet another shift, Bendix went to the rival
Manhattan Opera Company as Concertmaster and assistant conductor, under
the Music Director Cleofonte Campanini (1860-1919), where he conducted the
Sunday night orchestral concerts. Max Bendix also conducted an orchestra
briefly in San Francisco. At the end of the San Francisco Symphony 1918-1919
season under Music Director Alfred Hertz, there was reported dissention by some
San Francisco Symphony musicians, who organized the 'People's Philharmonic
Orchestra' 70. They invited Nikolai Sokoloff (1886-1965) to
be their conductor. This group played during the summer of 1919, but
meanwhile, the San Francisco Orchestra directors raised money and hired new
musicians to replace the defectors. The People's Philharmonic Orchestra
tried to continue with Max Bendix as their conductor, presenting popular
concerts in San Francisco, but eventually failed 70. Max Bendix
died in Chicago December 6, 1945, age 79 after an eventful career, having played
a pioneering role in the development and expansion of US orchestras.
Ernst Wendel was born in Germany March
26, 1876. He was a violinist, conductor and violin teacher.
Ernst Wendel became Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony for one
season, 1896-1897 under Theodore Thomas. When the breach between
Theodore Thomas and Max Bendix reached the point where Bendix failed to
return to the Chicago Orchestra, Theodore Thomas recruited Ernst Wendel
from Germany. Ernst Wendel came to Chicago in October, 1896, age
only 21 to join the Orchestra. Ernst Wendel then returned to Germany,
where he was later most noted as
being conductor of the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1909 to
1935 (or to give the group its glorious full name: the State
Philharmonic Orchestra of the Free Hanseatic Town of Bremen)
32. He was also a violin teacher of Georg Kulenkampff
(1898-1948). In 1914, he was also conducting in Stuttgart, and
in 1925-1926, he conducted in Frankfurt at the Museum Concerts.
Ernst Wendel was apparently a Bruckner specialist, with a number of
performances, including the premiere of Bruckner Symphony no 9 in Russia
in 1913 9. According to Towards a Theory of Musical
Reproduction, Wendel was a solid conductor, but also cautious
and routine and did not transcend the limits
of a careful, traditional reading of the austro-germanic musical
literature 8. Ernst Wendel died in 1938.
Leopold Kramer was born in 1870 in Prague, then part of Austria.
He studied at the Prague Conservatory, and became upon graduation, in
about 1890 became Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra of Cologne,
Germany. Kramer was then Concertmaster of the Amsterdam
Concertgebouw 1892-1894. He was also at some time, perhaps
just before coming to Chicago Concertmaster at the Saint Petersburg
Philharmonic. In 1897, he came to Chicago to join Theodore Thomas's
Orchestra. In November, 1909, Kramer became angry at remarks
made by the conductor Frederick Stock, and impulsively quit the Orchestra.
He quickly regretted his action, but it was too late. Kramer
moved to the Chicago Grand Opera, and then became Concertmaster of the
New York Philharmonic for one season 1913-1914. Kramer returned
to Austria during the summer of 1914, and was apparently blocked from
returning to New York, because of the outbreak of World War 1.
He was therefore replaced at New York Philharmonic Concertmaster by Maximilian
Pilzer. Leopold Kramer then became Concertmaster of the Hamburg Municipal
Opera 3. Returning to New York City, Leopold Kramer was
Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for one season,
1922-1923. Established in New York City, Leopold Kramer taught
at the Institute for Musical Arts (later Juilliard) 1920-1924.
In 1924, Kramer returned to Prague to teach, where he lived at least
(Concertmaster November 1909-1910) violin 1896-1910
Ludwig Becker in 1910
Ludwig Becker was born July 23, 1873 in Kronenberg, Germany. 1887-1891,
he studied violin at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt under Hugo Heermann
(1844-1934) 11. In about 1894, Becker was Concertmaster at
the Kroll Opera, Berlin. Becker emigrated to the U.S., entering
October 1, 1896. Becker joined the Chicago Orchestra under Thomas for
the 1896-1897 season. From 1904, Becker was Assistant Concertmaster,
sitting at the first desk, next to Concertmaster
and performed as soloist for concerti with the Orchestra 1904-1909.
This was the generous practice in particular of Theodore Thomas, as
Russell wrote 12: "...I have not know of another
conductor that pursued so resolutely the practice of affording his
men a chance to appear as soloists..." After Leopold
Kramer suddenly resigned as Concertmaster in November, 1909,
Frederick Stock appointed Ludwig Becker as Concertmaster for the
remainder of the 1909-1910 season. The next season, 1910-1911,
Stock appointed Hans Letz concertmaster. Letz had been one of
the first violins beginning in the 1909-1910 season under Becker,
and when Letz was appointed Concertmaster the next year, perhaps it
was motive for Becker to resign. In any case, his season as
Concertmaster in 1909-1910 was his final year with the Chicago
Orchestra. Becker taught violin in Chicago prior to World War
2, including at the Columbia School of Music. 1919-1922, Ludwig Becker
was performing in the Chicago Trio with Carl Brueckner (CSO cellist
1893-1934), cello and Rudolph Reuter, piano. During 1916-1930,
Becker conducted the Tri-City Orchestra, which presented about 10
orchestral concerts per year in the Iowa-Illinois area (including
Rock Island, Moline and Davenport) 10. This orchestra
started out as one of the many May Festival type groups, popular in
the U.S. in that era, and grew into an orchestra with a winter,
spring season. Ludwig managed to keep the orchestra going
on an annual budget of $16,000. Despite occasional lost seasons,
this Orchestra still exists today, having been renamed the "the
Quad-City Symphony Orchestra" in 1985. Ludwig Becker and
his wife Alice also gave violin lessons in these communities
1910-1912 Hans (Jean) Letz
(Concertmaster 1910-1912, violin 1909-1910)
Hans Lens in 1913
Hans Letz was born on March 18, 1887 in Ittenheim, Alsace-Lorraine,
at that time part of Germany and later restored to France.
Sometimes Hans Letz listed his name also as "Jean" Letz,
conforming to the French law regarding names (Johannes = Jean) enforced
following the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France. He also studied
at the Berlin Royal Academy of Music with Joseph Joachim
(1831-1907). Hans Letz emigrated to the U.S. in June, 1908.
As noted above, in the 1910-1911 season, Stock appointed Hans Letz
Letz had been one of the first violins beginning in the 1909-1910
season under Becker, who had replaced Leopold Kramer. Hans Letz left
the Chicago orchestra at the end of the 1911-1912 season. Immediately
thereafter, in May, 1912 Hans Letz became second violin with the
, replacing Julius Roentgen, second violin 1907-1912, who returned to Rotterdam
Kneisel Quartet in 1912: From the left, Franz Kneisel, first, Willem
Louis Svecenski, viola, and Hans Letz, second violin.
Apparently, Letz was well suited to the string quartet, since a student
of Letz, Calvin Sieb, said that "...Letz had the conception of a
'light', 'chamber music' kind of sound". After Franz Kneisel
disbanded the Kneisel Quartet in 1917, Hans Lenz formed the Hans Lenz Quartet
that was active 1918-1925. During the 1910s, Letz was located in New
York City, where he also taught violin.
Beginning in 1918 and into the 1920s and 1930s, Letz lived first in
New York City, and then in Bergen County, New Jersey and taught at
the Institute of Musical Art (Juilliard) in New York. In the 1940s,
Letz taught at the Juilliard Graduate School of Music before the
Institute and the Graduate School combined in 1946. Letz
continued teaching at Juilliard into the mid-1950s. He won the
American String Teacher's Artist Award in 1964. Hans
Letz died in Bergen County, New Jersey in May 1969. He had been in
poor health during the last 5 years of his life.
1912-1921 Harry Weisbach
detail of photo Chicago Symphony Orchestra archives
Harry Weisbach was born in Odessa, then Russia, now in the Ukraine
on April 28, 1886. His family emigrated to the U.S. in 1891,
where Harry grew up in New York City. He studied violin under
Arnold Volpe (1869-1940) and at age 13, joined the Volpe Orchestra
of New York. It is interesting that
of the Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York and the Cleveland Orchestra
of the Philadelphia Orchestra also studied with Arnold Volpe.
In the summer of 1906, Harry Weisbach went to Brussels, Belgium
where he began study with Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), whom Weisbach had
met and auditioned with during a Ysaÿe US tour 3.
Weisbach then went to Berlin where he studied with Karl Halir (1859-1909)
at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated in
1908 17. Prior to going to Europe for further studied,
Weisbach had made his Carnegie Hall debut January
4, 1905, at age 18 playing the Bruch second Violin Concerto 18,
which received excellent reviews. After returning from Berlin, Harry
Weisbach joined the Chicago Symphony first violins in the 1909-1910
season. After three seasons of constant change in the Concertmaster
position of the Chicago Symphony with Leopold Kramer, succeeded by
Ludwig Becker succeeded by Hans Letz, in the 1912-1913 season, Frederick
Stock appointed Harry Weisbach as Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra. Weisbach continued in the Concertmaster chair for the
next 9 seasons 1912-1921. Harry Weisbach also expanded into
conducting, including at the Ravinia summer festival, where he conducted
in the 1920s. Weisbach in the 1930s lived the summers in Lenox,
Massachusetts, where he was active in summer music. His later years
were perhaps less successful, and by 1940, Harry Weisbach was separated
from his wife and did not have any leading appointments in the orchestral
world. With the onset of World War 2 and the departure of many
musicians to military service, Harry Weisbach returned to the Chicago
Symphony violin section for 4 additional seasons 1942-1946. However,
Harry Weisbach's health deteriorated, and he was not able to complete
the 1945-1946 Chicago season. Harry Weisbach died on
February 23, 1946 in Chicago after a prolonged illness.
Jacques (or Jakob) Gordon was born in Odessa, Russia in March 7, 1899.
He studied, as did his successor, Mischa Mischakoff at the
Imperial Conservatory in Saint Petersburg, where he graduated in
1912. His family then emigrated to the U.S. in 1914 to
New York. This led to his first U.S. tour in the
1914-1915 season. Gordon then became a violin student of
formerly of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Kneisel Quartet at
the Institute of Musical Art (later Juilliard) in New York 3.
Frederick Stock appointed Gordon Concertmaster in the 1921-1922
season, and he remained for nine seasons.
Jacques Gordon in the 1920s
Jacques Gordon was simultaneously active in chamber music and his
Gordon String Quartet was active until 1947, when Gordon disbanded
it due to his stroke. While in Chicago, the Gordon String
Quartet consisted of Jacques Gordon first, Edwin Edeler second,
viola and Nahoum Benditsky (later spelled Naoum
Benditzky) cello. The later Gordon String Quartet of the
late 1930s consisted of Jacques Gordon first, David Sackson second,
viola, Nahoum Benditsky cello, with
later succeeding Hahoum Benditsky.
Jacques Gordon was said to have a violin tone and personality better
suited to the collegial dynamics of a string quartet than for the
role of Concertmaster
of a large symphony orchestra. Jacques Gordon taught first in
the 1920s at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago,
and later at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. In
1930, Gordon established a summer music school in Falls Village,
Connecticut, but the depression brought this to an end. From
1936-1939, like other musicians such as
, Jacques Gordon was conducting the local
, and also the WPA supported
Hartford Symphony Orchestra 71. There is a famous
account of Jacques Gordon playing his Stradivarius on a Chicago street
corner at the beginning of the depression in 1930 to test the
attractiveness of his music to the Michigan Avenue public. He
is said to have collected $5.61 (the equivalent of more than $50 in
current money). The photo below was taken to recorded that event
In the 1941-1942 season,
Jacques Gordon joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in
Rochester, becoming a teaching colleague of Samuel Belov, former
Principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1943, Jacques
Gordon became head of the strings faculty at the Eastman School.
During the 1940s suffering from glaucoma and his vision deteriorated.
Then, in 1947, Gordon suffered a stroke. Jacques Gordon
died September 15, 1948, aged only 49.
Mischa Mischakoff and the Mischakoff Quartet in Chicago in 1933
left to right: Daniel Saidenberg cello, Mischa Mischakoff first, Milton Preves
viola Samuel Thaviu second
Mischa Mischakoff, born Mischa Fischberg in Proskurov, Ukraine (also the birth
Harry Glantz of the Philadelphia Orchestra
) on April 16,1895, and studied in at the Imperial Conservatory in Saint
Petersburg. Upon graduation, he was first violin in the Saint
Petersburg Philharmonic. He then joined the Bolshoi Theatre
Orchestra, before moving as concertmaster to the Warsaw Philharmonic.
He came to the U.S. in October, 1922 and became solo violin
in the New York Stadium concerts. In October, 1924, he became
Concertmaster of the New York Symphony. He joined the Philadelphia
Concertmaster in 1927.
He resigned from the Orchestra in 1929, described in
Mischakoff and Dubinsky Quit the Orchestra.
He then became concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony.
He was concertmaster of the NBC Symphony under Toscanini. Then
he joined the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, a summer orchestra in
up-state New York. Mischakoff moved to the Detroit Symphony
Mischa Mischakoff, one of the great twentieth century US Concertmasters
died in Southfield (suburban Detroit), Michigan February 1, 1981.
John Weicher was born in Chicago on March 29, 1904. His
father, John Weicher Sr. (1869-1939) was violinist from Cistá, then
in Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and today in
the Czech Republic. An orchestra violinist who emigrated to
Chicago in 1893, Weicher Sr. seems early to have
determined on a career as a violin virtuoso for
his son John Weicher Jr. Father and son started violin studies
at a young age. Then from 1912-1916, John Weicher Sr. took
John Jr. to study in Bohemia at the Prague Conservatory.
John Weicher Jr. at age 12 in Prague from a passport photograph summer 1916
By the summer of 1916, Europe, including the Austro-Hungarian Empire
was already engaged in war across the continent. So, that
summer of 1916, with war advancing and the US still a neutral power,
it was time to return to Chicago. Back in the USA, John
Weicher then studied in Chicago with Herbert Butler (1883- ), a
student of Joachim 20. In 1919, John Weicher joined
the Chicago Civic Orchestra, a youth training orchestra in 1919, its
first season of activity. In the 1921-1922 season, Weicher
joined the first violin section of the Cleveland
Orchestra, where he stayed for two seasons. In the 1923-1925
season, John Weicher was Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony
Orchestra for 2 seasons 133. In 1926-1927, John Weicher
returned to Europe for further violin studies, including with Carl
Flesch in Berlin 133. In 1929-1930, John
Weicher joined the Chicago Symphony sitting in second chair as
Assistant Concertmaster, next to Jacques Gordon, and later Concertmaster
Mischa Mischakoff. When Mischakoff left the Chicago Symphony in
July 1937 to join Toscanini's NBC Symphony as Concertmaster,
John Weicher succeeded Mischakoff as CSO Concertmaster. John Weicher
served the Chicago Symphony as Concertmaster for a further 23 seasons,
1937-1959 and 1962-1963. Weicher was also Principal Second violin
in Chicago 1959-1962 and again 1963-1969. During these latter years,
he was CSO Personnel Manager 1961-1968. During his 40 seasons with the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he played under Frederick Stock, Désiré
Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, and Jean
Martinon. Following the 1968-1969 season, which was destined to
be his last, John Weicher died in Chicago on July 25, 1969,
at age 65.
Sidney Harth was born in October, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio of
Polish parents. Although his parents do not seem to have been
musical, Sidney Harth began violin lessons at age 4. As a youth Sidney
Harth studied violin with Joseph Knitzer (1913-1967) at the Cleveland Institute
of Music. Harth graduated from the Institute in 1947 with honors.
Harth also studied with Joseph Fuchs (1899-1997), long-time Concertmaster
of the Cleveland Orchestra. In New York City, Sidney Harth pursued
his studied with
(1891-1970 who had been Concertmaster of the
San Francisco Symphony). In 1957, Harth came in second in the Wieniawshi
Violin Competition in Poland (second after the
now partially forgotten Soviet violinist Roza Fajn). During his career,
Harth was also Concertmaster and associate conductor of the Louisville
Orchestra, with his wife Teresa Testa Harth sitting next to him as Assistant
Concertmaster. In the 1959-1960 season, Fritz Reiner selected Harth to
become Concertmaster, moving John Weicher to be Principal of the second
violins of the Chicago Symphony. Harth remained Chicago Concertmaster
for three seasons, 1959-1962. While in Chicago, Sidney Harth's wife
Teresa was Principal Second violin of the Lyric Opera. Later,
Sidney Harth very actively took up conducting. He was Music Director
of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of
the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra in
Seattle, Principal Conductor of the Natal Symphony Orchestra in South
Africa. Sidney Harth was also an Associate Conductor of the Los
Angeles Philharmonic. He was also long-time Music Director of the
Shreveport Summer Music Festival in Louisiana.
Sidney Harth's teaching career was also
active, including while in Pittsburgh Carnegie Mellon University
and Duquesne University, and while in New York at Yale University,
the Mannes College of Music and the Hartt College of Music at the
University of Connecticut. Harth also taught at the University of
Texas - Houston. Sidney Harth died on February 15, 2011, at the
age of 85 after a full career at the top of his profession.
Steven Staryk was born in Toronto, Canada in 1932. In his younger years,
he studied at the Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto. He then
studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Staryk then
joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra violin section 1950–1952.
While in the Toronto Symphony, Staryk was subject to political controversies,
after which he resigned from the Orchestra. Staryk was active in violin
competitions, being second place winner in the International Competition
for Musical Performers - Geneva, 1956 (winner was Salvatore Accardo) and
again second in the Carl Flesch International Competition - London.
Then in 1956, Steven Staryk began an itinerant series of Concertmaster
positions, not staying long with any of his orchestras.
In the 1956-1957 season, Steven Staryk was appointed
Concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - London.
In 1960, Staryk was Concertmaster for the CBC Symphony Orchestra
recordings, conducted by Igor Stravinsky of Stravinsky's music.
Then, Steven Staryk was Concertmaster of the Concertgebouw
Orchestra 1960-1963 and of the Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra.
Beginning with the 1963-1964 season under Jean Martinon, the Chicago
Symphony began the practice of naming two Concertmasters, or
Co-Concertmasters. Steven Staryk was appointed Concertmaster with
He also was a personality who tended to comment openly as to his opinion
of his fellow musicians. Anne Mischakoff Heiles in her suburb book
America's Concertmasters3 writes: "...
Staryk was perhaps the most outspoken of major concertmasters...he criticized
the quality of players in the orchestra..." Staryk also did not get
along well with Music Director Jean Martinon. On departing the Chicago
Symphony, Staryk wrote: "...Some conditions exist in the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra with are not ideal for me. Therefore, I resign my position as
Concertmaster of the orchestra..." Steven Staryk returned to
Canada, to assume the Concertmaster post of the Toronto Symphony 1982-1986.
In his last season, Staryk was involved in three automobile accidents
which resulted in his retirement. He moved to Scottsdale, Arizona
in what seems to have been a contented retreat.
Sidney Weiss was born in Chicago on June 13, 1928. Sidney
Weiss met his wife Jeanne at the Chicago Musical College where
they both studied. They later went on to DePaul University in
Chicago. Sidney Weiss played in the first violin section of
the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell for ten seasons
1956-1966. After Chicago, Sidney Weiss and his pianist
wife Jeanne Weiss toured the US and Europe as a violin - piano
Sidney and Jeanne Weiss as a duo in the 1980s
They were based in England, and while in Europe,
Weiss was Concertmaster of the l'Orchestre National de 1'Opera
de Monte Carlo until 1979. In the 1979-1980 season,
Carlo Maria Guilini asked Sidney Weiss to come to Los Angeles
as Co-Concertmaster. Sidney Weiss was Concertmaster
of the Los Angels Philharmonic, selected by Carlo Maria Guilini, with
whom he had worked in Chicago. Sidney Weiss was Concertmaster
in Los Angeles for fifteen seasons 1979-1994. Guilini was
Music Director in Los Angeles 1978-1984, and Sidney Weiss continued
to serve under André Previn 1985-1989, and the first two seasons
of Esa-Pekka Salonen's tenure, retiring at the end of the 1993-1994
season. Sidney Weiss was something of a violin craftsman, and
it is said that he played a violin of his own construction.
1962-1986 Victor Aitay (violin with the Orchestra
1954-2003; Assistant Concertmaster
1954-1965, Associate Concertmaster 1965-1967, Concertmaster 1967-1986,
Concertmaster Emeritus 1986-2003)
Victor Aitay was born April 14, 1921 in Hungary. Like
, Victor Aitay had studied at the Franz
Liszt Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, beginning at age 7 after
studying with his father. On graduation, he was appointed
Concertmaster of the Budapest Philharmonic as well as the Royal
Opera In 1941, Aitay was arrested in placed in a Nazi forced
labor camp. Aitay later attributed to Raoul Wallenberg his
survival. Aitay escaped from the Nazi
labor camp in 1945 and arrived in Budapest disguised as a priest.
Wallenberg gave him sanctuary and a passport 21.
Aitay eventually left Hungary with wife, colleagues, and Janos Starker
to play as a string quartet in Vienna in 1946. In 1946, Victor Aitay
emigrated to the U.S., where he joined Fritz Reiner's Pittsburgh Symphony
for the 1947-1948 season. After one year in Pittsburgh, Aitay joined
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as an became a
became associate Concertmaster in the 1948-1949 season. Aitay
remained with the MET until the end or the 1953-1954 season.
Fritz Reiner had left the MET at the end of 1952-1953
to assume the Music Director position at the Chicago Symphony, and
a year later, invited Aitay, whom he admired, to
join the Chicago Symphony as Assistant Concertmaster for the
1954-1955 season. Aitay later became
first Associate Concertmaster in 1965, and then Concertmaster under
Jean Martinon in the 1967-1968 season. He was also active in
chamber music including the Chicago Symphony String Quartet:
Victor Aitay first,
Edgar Muenzer second,
Milton Preves viola,
Frank Miller cello.
1972-2006 Samuel Magad (Assistant Concertmaster 1966-72,
Concertmaster 1972-2007) Violin 1958-2007
Samuel Magad was born in Chicago in May 1932 and raised on the Chicago
West Side (traditionally thought of as poor and immigrant). He graduated
University, a student of Paul Stassevich who directed the DePaul
orchestra. At DePaul, Magad was Concertmaster of the orchestra as
he studied with Stassevich. Magad also played in the Chicago
Youth Symphony Orchestra, the training orchestra for young
musicians in Chicago. 1955-1958, Magad was with the U.S. Army
Band in Washington D.C. At an audition in 1958, Fritz Reiner hired
Samuel Magad as a first violin, but instructed him to obtain a better
violin. Magad advanced to Assistant Concertmaster under Jean
Martinon in 1965. Seven seasons later, in 1972-1973, George
Solit selected Samuel Magad as co-Concertmaster. During his
tenure at the Chicago Symphony, Magad taught a number of students
at Northwestern University. Magad was also later active as a
conductor. Samuel Magad become the Music Director of the
Northbrook Symphony in suburban Chicago.
Rubén González was born in Viale, Argentina, 200 km north of
Buenos Aires on May 4, 1939. Anne Mischakoff Heiles
in her fascinating book America's Concertmasters3
writes of González's training: "...González studied with
Osvaldo Pessina in Buenos Aires, Salomon Baron in France, and
Riccardo Bregola in Italy...". Rubén González won the
First Prize, Violin at the International Music Competition
Maria Canals in Barcelona in 1965. In Italy, González played
with I Virtuosi di Roma. Returning to Argentina, Rubén González
began a series of rising orchestral positions, beginning with the
orchestra of Teatro Colón and the Orquesta Nacional de Argentina.
He then relocated to Germany where he was Concertmaster of the North
German Radio Orchestra in Hamburg. In the 1970s, Rubén González
became Associate Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Rubén González was selected by Sergiu Comissiona as Concertmaster of the
Houston Symphony 1981-1986. While in Houston, he also taught at
Rice University. Then, in the 1986-1987 season, Rubén González
won the competition to become Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony
under George Solti. Rubén González also had a close musical
relationship with Chicago Music Director Daniel Barenboim.
Rubén González served as Concertmaster for ten seasons 1986-1996.
At the end of this period, Rubén González seems to have sought a
change of musical path and resigned from the Chicago Symphony.
He devoted himself to exploration of philosophy, as well as to
aiding younger musicians. A lover of the tango of his
native Argentina, Rubén González has also composed a number of
works in the tango style.
Robert Chen (Chen Murong) was born in Taiwan in about 1970.
His family moved to the Los Angeles area when Robert was ten years old,
where he pursued his studies, including participating in the Jascha Heifetz
master classes. Robert Chen studied at the Juilliard School,
earning both his BMus and MMus degrees. Robert Chen won the
Hannover International Violin Competition in 1994. Robert Chen won
the competition to become Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony under
Daniel Barenboim in the 1999-2000 season. For more than a decade,
he has continued the historic tradition of Concertmaster of this
great orchestra. Robert Chen has also been active in summer
music festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival -
New Mexico, La Jolla Chamber Music Festival - California, and the
Schloss Moritzburg Festival - Germany. In Chicago, Robert Chen
has given a number of important premieres, including the
Augusta Read Thomas (1964- ) Astral Canticle in 2006.
Chen also performed the Chicago premiere of the Elliot Carter
Violin Concerto in 2003. Robert Chen teaches at
Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Principal Cellos of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1891-1918 Karl Bruno Steindel
Chicago Symphony Orchestra string section Principals circa 1909
Section Principals: Carl Hillmann second violin, Bruno Steindel cello,
Franz Esser viola, Leopold Kramer Concertmaster
Bruno Steindel was born in Zwickau (50 km south of Leipzig), Germany
on August 29, 1866. He came from a musical family,
with his father Albin Steindel being Director of Music in his town
of Zwickau 53. Bruno Steindel initially studied
violin, and then switched to cello under his father.
H. Max Steindel
was also a cellist, who served
40 seasons 1912-1942 as Principal cello of the Saint Louis Symphony
under Max Zach 52. From about 1886-1891,
Bruno Steindel was Principal cello of the Berlin Philharmonic
53. Theodore Thomas heard Steindel in Berlin
and convinced him to come to Chicago in September, 1891 for the
initial season of the Chicago Orchestra. Bruno Steindel
was Principal cello in Chicago for 27 seasons under Theodore
Thomas and then Frederick Stock. Bruno Steindel also
toured in the 1910s with chamber groups. Bruno Steindel
resigned from the Chicago Symphony in 1918. According to
a New York Times article 51, Bruno Steindel had been
accused of being pro-German, during this emotionally-heightened
period of the U.S. entering World War 1 against Germany.
The article states that Steindel's wife, Matilda (who had been
in a mental institution in Wisconsin), committed
suicide subsequent to Bruno Steindel's resignation. After the
Chicago Symphony, Steindel was Principal cello of the Chicago Grand
Opera for one season. During the touring of the Chicago Symphony,
Bruno Steindel suffered a loss when his Carlo Bergonzi cello was destroyed
in a railway accident in March, 1895 108. Bruno Steindel
later played an Amati cello. In the 1920s, Steindel toured with
the Aolian Trio, lead by Richard Czerwonky (1886-), Concertmaster of
the Minneapolis Symphony 1910-1918, and Moses (or Moissaye)
Boguslawaski (1887-1944), piano 54. Bruno Steindel
died in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 1949.
Hans Letz Quartet 1921: Hans Letz first, Horace Britt cello,
Edward Kreiner viola, Edwin Bachmann second
Horace Britt was born on June 18, 1881, in Antwerp, Belgium.
Britt was a child prodigy, and grew up in Paris with his brother
Roger (violin) and his sister Gaëtane (harp), under the supervision
of their parents Ernst and Maria Britt. When Horace Britt
was 6, his mother began his training in solfège. He therefore
learned to sight read before he took up an instrument. Horace
studied cello, and his brother Roger Britt, the violin.
Horace Britt returned to Antwerp to study cello Gustav Faes to
prepare him for the Paris Conservatoire entrance examination
30. In November, 1892, at the age of 11, Horace
Britt won entrance to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied
with Jules Delsart 1892-1895. Britt won the Conservatoire
cello Premiere prix in 1895, at age 14, the youngest winner to that
time 30 (his record was broken the next year by 13 year
old Paul Bazelaire). Horace Britt was cello solo with the
Lamoureux Orchestra in 1897, and with the Colonne Orchestra in
1898. Britt made his American debut with the Chicago
Symphony (then the Theodore Thomas Orchestra) in 1907. At that
time, Britt was Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony 1905-1907.
Horace Britt's brother Roger was a first violin with the Philadelphia
Orchestra 1918-1924. After Chicago, Horace Britt became Principal
cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra for one season, 1907-1908.
In the 1910s, Britt became Principal cello of the Metropolitan Opera
Orchestra. Horace Britt in the early 1920s was cello with the
Hans Letz Quartet:
Hans Letz first, Edwin Bachmann second (later of
Toscanini's NBC Symphony), Edward Kreiner, viola (also later of
Toscanini's NBC Symphony),
cello. In 1924-1925 season, Horace Britt became
Principal cello with the Minneapolis Symphony, under Henri Verbrugghen.
During the 1925-1926 season, Horace Britt taught at the Curtis
Institute in Philadelphia. Horace Britt in the late 1920s
performed with the Elman String Quartet: Mischa Elman first,
Adolf Bak second,
Karl Rissland viola,
cello. The Elman Quartet also recorded
for Victor records in 1927, and in the same year, was the first
cellist to be recorded on a sound movie. In the 1940s, Horace Britt
formed the Britt Trio. From 1947-1950, Britt was
visiting Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and then joined
the faculty. Britt continued at University of Texas 1950-1963,
when he retired as Professor Emeritus, Horace
Britt died in Austin, Texas on February 3, 1971, age 89.
Theodore du Moulin playing with the Great Lakes Quartet during
World War 1
Theodore du Moulin was born on May 13, 1888 in Chicago, Illinois,
son of George du Moulin (1856-1929), an orchestra musician and music teacher
who had emigrated from France in 1883.
George du Moulin
(1895- ) was also a violinist in the Theodore Thomas Chicago
Orchestra for eleven seasons, 1891-1902.
Theodore du Moulin's wife, Rose Lyon was also a professional
musician and soloist in Chicago Orchestra.
Theodore du Moulin was a cellist with the
Orchestra for 11 seasons, 1912-1923, and Principal for the 1918-1919
season. In 1913, Theodore du Moulin was active in the Zukowski
Trio in Chicago, Alexander Zukowski, violin, Mae Doelling, piano, and
Theodore du Moulin, cello. During World War 1, with
Hermann Felber Jr.
second violin (who also played
with the Philadelphia Orchestra 1912-1918), Robert Dolejsi viola,
Theodore du Moulin cello founded the Great Lakes Quartet in which he played
during his World War 1 service. Heran Felber Jr. father,
Hermann Felber Sr.
was a longtime cellist and
also trumpet player with the Chicago Orchestra 1900-1933. This quartet
continued under the title Chicago String Quartet in the 1920s, with
replacing du Moulin as cello. Another active
string quartet involved others of the du Moulin family:
the Du Moulin String Quartet:
George du Moulin
Benjamin Paley second,
George Dasch viola,
Theodore Du Moulin cello in the 1920s. Interestingly,
Robert Dolejsi (1892- )
, Chicago born, and Vienna Conservatory
trained made a successful career playing light music with his
"Dolejsi Bohemian Orchestra" made of female musicians
in Bohemian dress. In the 1940s, Theodore du Moulin played in
the staff orchestra of Chicago radio WLS, one of the major Chicago
radio stations organized by Sears, Roebuck, and conducted by his
Chicago Symphony friend Hermann Felber Jr. Theodore du Moulin
died in Chicago on September 26, 1978, age 90.
Joseph Malkin was born in Odessa, Russia (now the Ukraine) September 25,
1879. His first cello teacher starting in 1892 was Ladislas
Alois (circa 1842-circa 1914).
In 1895, Malkin entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied
under Henri Rabaud (1873-1949), and received his Premiere prix in
cello in 1898. In the Autumn of 1898, Joseph Malkin toured
European countries with his violinist brother Jacques 27.
He made his debut in Berlin in 1899, and performed there in
1899-1900. He was also Principal cello of the Berlin
Philharmonic 1902-1908, and during this time played cello with the
Witek trio, with
Anton Witek, later Concertmaster of the Boston Symphony
and at that time Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 1908, he left Berlin and joined the Brussels Quartet, and
also toured Europe, seeking to establish a soloist career.
Malkin made his American debut in 1909. Malkin was back
in Germany at the outset of World War 1 in 1914, and Saleski says
that it was Malkin's friendship with Chief of the German General
Staff General Helmuth von Moltke (1848-1916), that allowed Malkin to
gain an exit visa to go to Boston 27. He
joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Principal cello 1914-1919,
and played as Principal cello in the Chicago Symphony 1919-1922.
In Chicago, he formed a trio with his brothers. In 1924-1925,
Malkin toured accompanying Metropolitan Opera soprano Geraldine
Farrar. 1925-1927, Joseph Malkin was Principal cello with the New
York Symphony under Walter Damrosch. In 1933, the family
founded the Malkin Conservatory of Music in Boston. Schoenberg
taught at the Conservatory for one year (1933-1934) immediately upon
his emigration to the United States. The Malkin Conservatory
closed in 1943, and Joseph Malkin in the 1943-1944 season joined the New
York Philharmonic for six seasons, retiring at the end of the 1948-1949
season. Joseph Malkin died in 1969.
Alfred Wallenstein in 1920 on his way to Leipzig to study with
Alfred Wallenstein was born in Chicago on October 7, 1898.
His father, Vienna-born Franz Wallenstein (1856-1934) with wife
Anna had emigrated to the US from Austria in 1878. In 1905,
the family had moved to the then-small Los Angeles.
Alfred Wallenstein's orchestral career started early and
grew quickly. In the 1916-1917 season, he joined the
cello section of the San Francisco Symphony where under
Alfred Hertz. In the summer of 1918, Wallenstein
toured South America with the Pavlowa Ballet Company.
Wallenstein then moved south to the Los Angeles Philharmonic
in its inaugural season of 1919-1920. In 1920, Alfred
Wallenstein went to Germany to study with Julius Klengel
(1859-1933) at the Leipzig Conservatory. The photo
above is his passport photo from that voyage. In the
1922-1923 season, Fredrick Stock appointed Alfred
Wallenstein as Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony.
Wallenstein was in the first cello chair for seven seasons,
1922-1929. He left in 1929 to become Principal cello
of the New York Philharmonic under Arturo Toscanini.
Toscanini encouraged Wallenstein's conducting and in 1931,
Wallenstein conducted an NBC broadcast. In 1932, Alfred
Wallenstein began to conduct the Hollywood Bowl in summers.
After the New York Philharmonic in 1933, Alfred Wallenstein
began conducting his Sinfonietta on radio station WOR in New
York City, and became that stations Music Director in 1935.
He later led his Symphony of Strings on the radio.
Alfred Wallenstein was appointed Music Director of
the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 1943-1944 season.
He succeed Otto Klemperer who was Music Director 1933-1939,
but who departed due to health reasons. The Los Angeles
Philharmonic Music Director position remained open for four seasons
until Wallenstein was appointed. Alfred Wallenstein remained
Music Director for thirteen seasons 1943-1956.
After returning to New York City, Alfred Wallenstein taught
conducting at the Juilliard School. Wallenstein died in
New York City on February 8, 1983.
1929-1930 Francisco Ennio Bolognini
Ennio Bolognini in 1928
Ennio Bolognini was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 7, 1893.
Bolognini studied first with his father, Egidio Bolognini who was a
cellist at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Bolognini then
studied at the Saint Cecelia Conservatory in Buenos Aires with
José García Jacot (1855-1912), said also to have taught Pablo Casals
when Jacot was still in Spain. In the family's musical tradition,
Ennio's brother Remo Egidio Bolognini was a violinist, playing not
only in the Chicago Symphony 1927-1929, but also with Toscanini
in the New York Philharmonic 1931-1935, the NBC Symphony
1937-1954 and the Baltimore Symphony Assistant Concertmaster
in the 1950s. His brother Astorre Bolognini
was a violist with the Houston Symphony In 1923, Ennio Bolognini
emigrated to the U.S. Following his brother Remo Bolognini to
the Chicago Symphony, Ennio Bolognini was appointed Principal
Cello of the Chicago Symphony by Frederick Stock in the 1929-1930
season. After leaving the CSO, in the 1930s through the 1950s,
Bolognini was a touring cello soloist. His solo career,
however seems never to have reached the first rank. Bolognini's
solo engagements were uniformly with regional orchestras and
chamber groups, and primarily in the middle-western states.
In the 1930s, Ennio Bolognini also regularly performed on radio,
from the L'Aiglon Building in Chicago with the Ennio Bolognini
Orchestra, also sometimes billed as Ennio Bolognini's Gypsy
Concert Orchestra. He was also a member of the Russian Trio,
Herman Felber Jr.
violin (also of the Chicago Symphony),
Nina Mesirow-Minchin piano, Ennio Bolognini
cello, a group which had originally been founded by in Chicago by
Michael Wilkomirski. In 1951, Ennio Bolognini moved to
Las Vegas, Nevada where he lived until his death in 1979.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Bolognini played primarily in the orchestra
at Caesar's Palace Hotel, including for entertainers such as
Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams and Harry Belafonte. Musicians
were attracted to the Las Vegas casinos, since the pay was higher
than even the leading symphony orchestras, and the employment was
year-around at a time when no US symphony orchestra other than
the Boston Symphony offered 52 week employment. While in
Las Vegas, Ennio Bolognini helped found the Las Vegas
Philharmonic Orchestra. Ennio Bolognini seems to
have been a flamboyant personality, involved in numerous
activities. In press reports, he was said to have been
an Argentine welterweight boxing champion, and an early aviator in
Argentina. Ennio Bolognini died in Las Vegas,
Nevada in July, 1979.
Daniel Saidenberg was born in Winnipeg, Canada on October 12, 1906.
His father, Albert Saidenberg (1869-1956), by profession a piano tuner,
and his mother Luba Saidenberg were of Russian Jewish heritage.
The Saidenberg family, including his brother Theodore Saidenberg, who
was a pianist, moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1907, later to relocate to
suburban New York City. As a child, Daniel Saidenberg showed early
talent as a cellist. He and his brother Theodore played in local movie
halls. Daniel then won the competition for admittance to the
Paris Conservatoire, where he studied 1919-1921 with André Hekking
(1866-1925), who also taught Pierre Fournier and who was brother of
, Principal cello of the Boston Symphony.
Daniel Saidenberg won his Prix in about the 1921 Concour at
the Conservatoire. Daniel Saidenberg then returned to the US,
studying 1925-1930 at the Institute of Musical Art (later Juilliard)
in New York City.
In 1927, Daniel Saidenberg won the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation prize for
cello 69. Saidenberg was in the cello section of the
Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski 1925-1929 while he
was also studying at Juilliard two hours away in New York City.
Beginning in the 1930-1931 season, Daniel Saidenberg was appointed
Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony by Frederick Stock.
Saidenberg was Principal cello in Chicago for eight seasons
1930-1937. During that period, he taught cello at the Chicago
Musical College. He also was a member of the
Mischakoff Quartet in Chicago starting in 1933:
Mischa Mischakoff first,
Samuel Thaviu second,
Milton Preves viola,
Daniel Saidenberg cello.
Daniel Saidenberg and the Mischakoff Quartet in Chicago in 1933
left to right: Daniel Saidenberg cello, Mischa Mischakoff first, Milton Preves
viola Samuel Thaviu second
In 1934, Daniel Saidenberg married Eleanore Block,
an heiress, and their financial independence allowed them to move to New York
City. During this period, Daniel Saidenberg began his first efforts in
mastering conducting. He was a guest conductor, and formed the Saidenberg
Little Symphony just prior to World War 2. He also did radio
conducting; in 1940, Saidenberg was conductor of the Alka Seltzer
Radio Hour on NBC radio. Then, beginning 1946, Daniel Saidenberg
founded and was conductor of the the Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.
Daniel and Eleanore Saidenberg became art collectors in the 1940s, and
opened an art gallery in Mew York in 1950, representing, among others
Picasso 68. Daniel Saidenberg died on May 18, 1997
in New York City.
Edmund Kurtz was born in St Petersburg, Russia December 29, 1908 (he was
not related to the conductor Ephrem Kurtz, also from Saint
Petersburg). With the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Kurtz
family emigrated to Germany, and Edmund at age 9 began cello
lessons. He was sufficiently precocious that four years later,
at age 13, Julius Klengel (1859-1933), one of the most famous cello
teachers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century accepted
Kurtz as a student in Leipzig. Kurtz made his debut in Rome at
age 16 in 1924 in Rome. 1924-1925 he toured Europe, and in
1926-27 he was Principal cello of the Bremen Opera Orchestra.
1927-1930 he toured with the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
He also made recordings with Polydor beginning in 1927. 1931-1936,
he was Principal cello of the Prague German Opera, then conducted by
George Szell. In 1936, he toured with a trio made up of
himself and the in a trio whose other members were the Nathan
'Tossy' Spivakovsky (1907-1998 and later Concertmaster of the
Cleveland Orchestra) and his pianist brother Jascha Spivakovsky
(1896-1970). This tour resulted in an offer to become
Concertmaster with the Chicago Symphony beginning with the
1936-1937 season. After leaving the Chicago Symphony after the
1943-1944 season, Kurtz pursued a solo career, performing in 1945
the Dvorak concerto with Toscanini. In his later years, Kurtz
made a second career
preparing and publishing new editions works of the cello repertoire,
notably including the Bach Suites. Edmund Kurtz died in London
August 19, 2004.
Dudley Powers about 1953, photo: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Dudley Powers was born June 25, 1911 in Moorhead, Minnesota. His
father taught at the College of Science and Technology at Central
Michigan Normal School (later CMU). With his brothers Harold
(second violin) and Arthur (viola), and his sister Dorothy
(first violin), Dudley Powers formed a String Quartet, which toured
in Michigan, and as far as New York state. Powers studied at
Juilliard from 1925-1929, after which he studied with Emanuel
Feuermann (1902-1942) in Switzerland. Dudley Powers joined the cello
section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 1933-1934 season
under Frederick Stock. In 1944 under Désiré Defauw, Powers advanced
to Principal cello, where he remained until the end of the 1952-1953
season. Dudley Powers taught cello at Northwestern University
1955-1979, where he became Chairman of the Strings
Department in the 1960s. He was also, beginning in 1958
long-time conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Greater
Chicago. Also starting in 1958, he was conductor of the Racine
Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra 16. Dudley Powers
died, age 92 on February 23, 2004 in Bradenton, Florida.
János Starker was born July 5, 1924 in Budapest, Hungary. He studied
at the Budapest Franz Liszt Academy of Music and joined the Budapest
Opera Orchestra and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. In
1948, after a year in Paris, he became Principal cello of the Dallas
Symphony selected by the Dallas conductor Antal Dorati. When Dorati
left Dallas at the end of the the 1948-1949 season for Minneapolis, he
invited Janos Starker to join him in Minneapolis, which Starker
accepted. However, Fritz Reiner at the MET invited Starker to
visit him, which ended up with Starker being hired as Principal
cello for the 1949-1950 season.
János Starker at extreme right with Fritz Reiner conducting circa 1950 at the Metropolitan Opera
Starker gave in his resignation
to the MET Orchestra for the end of the 1952-1953 season. However,
Fritz Reiner also left the Metropolitan for the Chicago Symphony
end of 1952-1953 and Reiner took Starker with him to became
Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony, beginning in 1953-1954.
Janos Starker remained with the Chicago Symphony until he resigned to
begin a new career as cello soloist in 1958.
One curious item in the chronology of the Principal cello position of the
Chicago Symphony is the listing of the well-known Chicago-born cellist Paul Olefsky
as 'Principal cello' of the CSO in 1956. Following training at the Curtis
Institute, two and one half seasons as Principal cello of the Philadelphia Orchestra,
and service in the US Navy Band during the Korean War, by 1953, Paul Olefsky was
back in Detroit at the symphony. He was the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Principal cello. Then, in the Chicago Symphony musicians' roster 1,
Paul Olefsky is listed in 1956 as being 'Principal cello' of the Chicago Symphony,
only for 1956, rather than for 1956-1957, as is usual in the roster listings for
each season. Olefsky seems not to have served with the Chicago Symphony
for the entire 1956-1957 season, if he did in fact take the Principal chair.
By February, 1957, Paul Olefsky is again listed in
newspaper reviews as Principal cello of the Detroit Symphony 76.
Paul Olefsky was born in Chicago on January 4, 1926.
His father, Maxim, born in Russia, was also an orchestra musician and a pianist.
Maxim Olefsky (1899-1989) conducted the radio orchestras of NBC and ABC in Chicago
78. Paul Olefsky studied at the Curtis Institute with Gregor
Piatigorsky (1903-1976). Olefsky graduated from Curtis in 1947. In 1948,
at age 22, Paul Olefsky became the youngest Principal cellist in the history of the
Philadelphia Orchestra up to that time. During the 1950-1951 season, in
December, 1950, Paul Olefsky left the Philadelphia Orchestra to play in the
US Navy band during the Korean War 76. Following this
service, Paul Olefsky became Principal cellist in the newly reorganized
Detroit Symphony under Paul Paray. In June 1953 at the Michael Memorial
Music Competition in Chicago, cellist Paul Olefsky won first place, with Van
Cliburn placing second 79. This was a competition, no longer
active, for various instruments, rather than for piano or for strings.
By 1954, Paul Olefsky was back in Detroit as Principal cello, serving with
Detroit Concertmaster Mischa Mischakoff. In 1956, as noted above, Paul
Olefsky is listed as being 'Principal cello' in the Chicago Symphony roster
1. Whether he served in Chicago or not, by February, 1957,
Paul Olefsky was listed in reviews as 'Principal cello of the Detroit Symphony'
77. After the Detroit Symphony, Paul Olefsky seems to have
left orchestral life. He taught in New York at the Julliard School.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Olefsky's performing career as a cellist was primarily
devoted to chamber music. At this time, Paul Olefsky was also active in conducting,
which he had done previously on several occasions throughout his career. Later,
Olefsky became Professor of Music at the University of Texas, Austin, from which he has
now retired. In 1989, Paul Olefsky married the cellist Hai Zheng.
Mihaly Virizlay was born on November 2, 1931 in Budapest, Hungary.
After his early studies, Mihaly Virizlay or "Misi" gained
admission to the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest.
There he studied with, among others an also young
. At the Franz Liszt Academy,
Mihaly Virizlay gained his Artist's Diploma in 1955.
The next year, Mihaly Virizlay left Hungary in 1956,
following the Soviet invasion of Budapest. Fritz Reiner
appointed Mihaly Virizlay Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony
in the 1958-1959 season. Among Chicago recordings with Reiner,
Virizlay may be heard in particular in the long cello solo in the
William Tell Overture recorded for RCA Victor on
November 22, 1958. After Chicago, Mihaly Virizlay was
appointed Associate Principal cello of the Pittsburgh Symphony
sitting with Principal cello Theo Salzman (1907-1982), under
Music Director William Steinberg. Mihaly Virizlay also
toured with his pianist wife Agi Rado in a cello-piano duo
105. Mihaly Virizlay was named Principal
cello of the Baltimore Symphony in the 1962-1963 season.
He suffered a stroke in 2002 after the conclusion of a
Baltimore Symphony concert 106, but he continued
to perform with the orchestra, serving a total of 42 seasons,
1962- 2004. Mihaly Virizlay was also a composer and he
premiered his Cello Concerto with David Zinman and the
Baltimore Symphony 1987. While in Baltimore, beginning
in 1964 Mihaly Virizlay taught at the Peabody
Conservatory, and is fondly remembered by his many students.
Mihaly Virizlay also taught during summers at the
Shawnigan Lake School in British Columbia.
Mihaly Virizlay died in Princeton, New Jersey on
October 13, 2008.
Frank Miller born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 5, 1912. After
study in Baltimore, Frank Miller gained admission to the Curtis Institute,
studying with the great Felix Salmond (1888-1952). Miller graduated
from Curtis in the Class of 1933. Leopold Stokowski, as was sometimes
his practice in the early 1930s selected Frank Miller to play in the
Philadelphia Orchestra even prior to his graduation, playing in cello section
in the 1930-1931 season. Frank Miller remained in the Philadelphia
Orchestra for five seasons 1930-1935. In Philadelphia, Eugene Ormandy
in his last season in Minneapolis prior to coming to the
Philadelphia Orchestra heard Frank Miller. Ormandy selected him to be
the Minneapolis Symphony Principal cello in the 1935-1936 season, where he
stayed for two years. Then, in 1938, Frank Miller was selected, first
probably by Artur Rodzinski and then auditioned by Arturo Toscanini,
to become Principal cello of the newly-formed
NBC Symphony. Frank Miller was Arturo Toscanini's Principal cello
for fifteen seasons 1938-1953. When Toscanini retired from the
NBC Symphony, Frank Miller turned to conducting, becoming the Music
Director of the Florida Symphony in Orlando 1954-1959. He had
previously conducted concerts of the Minneapolis Symphony.
In the 1959-1960 season, following the departure of Janos Starker,
Fritz Reiner selected Miller to be Principal
cello of the Chicago Symphony. Frank Miller took a year's
sabbatical from Chicago to become Associate Conductor again with the
Minneapolis Symphony. Miller then returned to the Chicago Symphony
as Principal cello under an ailing Fritz Reiner in the 1961-1962
season. In that same 1961-1962 season, Frank Miller was
appointed Music Director of the Evanston Symphony located in a
Chicago suburb. Frank Miller remained Principal cello of the
Chicago Symphony for a total of twenty-five seasons under Jean Martinon
and Georg Solti, retiring at the end of the 1984-1985 season.
Also in chamber music, Frank Miller led the Chicago Symphony
String Quartet for 35 years:
Victor Aitay first,
Edgar Muenzer second,
Milton Preves viola,
Frank Miller cello.
Frank Miller's affections for the works of Gilbert and Sullivan
was expressed through his direction of the Savoy-Aires in
suburban Chicago. Frank Miller died outside Chicago in
Skokie, Illinois on January 6, 1986 after more than fifty years as
Principal cello of several famous orchestras, and his parallel career
Robert Antonio LaMarchina (or La Marchina)
Robert LaMarchina with his cellist father Antonio LaMarchina
A musician perhaps less remembered today, Robert LaMarchina was a famous child
prodigy, and a highly regarded cellist. Robert LaMarchina was born in
New York City on September 3, 1928, son of an Argentine father, Antonio LaMarchina
and Brazilian mother. The family soon moved to Saint Louis, where
Antonio LaMarchina (1891-1974) was a cellist with the Saint Louis Symphony.
After his mother left the family, Roberts's childhood in Saint Louis was generally
unhappy, and his father was demanding in Robert's cello development.
Robert LaMarchina made his debut at age 8 with the Little Symphony in Saint
Louis. In 1939, he won entry into the Paris Conservatoire, but could
not attend due to World War 2. Instead, he studied with French cellist
Maurice Maréchal (1892-1964) and during summers in Los Angeles with Russian
cellist Alexander Borisoff (1900-1983), Principal cello of the Los Angeles
Philharmonic. LaMarchina entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied
with Emanuel Feuermann and Gregor Piatigorsky. Robert LaMarchina
graduated from Curtis in 1943, and auditioned and was accepted into Toscanini's
NBC Symphony cello section. He was only 15 years old.
In the 1946-1947 season, age 18, LaMarchina was appointed Principal
cello of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Alfred Wallenstein,
himself a cellist. LaMarchina remained in Los Angeles for three
seasons, 1946-1949. Drafted into the US Army in 1949 just before
the Korean War, LaMarchina was in the Tokyo headquarters of General
MacArthur. There, he had to learn the horn in order to play
with the post band. While in Tokyo, he taught cello at the
Ueno Music School. While in Tokyo, he had his first experiences
in conducting. After the Army, LaMarchina returned to the
Los Angeles Philharmonic, and also played in Hollywood studios.
Beginning in 1955, LaMarchina was conductor of the Los Angeles
Young Musicians Foundation orchestra (which is still active).
In the 1960-1961 season, Fritz Reiner appointed Robert LaMarchina
Principal cello of the Chicago Symphony while Frank Miller was on
leave to become Associate Conductor with the Minneapolis Symphony.
It is said that as Principal cello, both Mihaly Virizlay
in 1958-1959 and Robert LaMarchina
in 1960-1961 were hired by Reiner as a filler for the availability of
Frank Miller - Virizlay prior to Frank Miller's arrival in 1959-1960 and
LaMarchina for the 1960-1961 season while Miller was on leave.
Robert LaMarchina again returned to conducting, in 1962 with the
National Symphony of Washington replacing an ill Charles Munch.
He subsequently guest-conducted the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago
Symphony, and the Saint Louis Symphony. During the 1965-1966 season,
he became a conductor of Metropolitan Opera National Company
(the MET touring). Robert LaMarchina in became conductor of the
Honolulu Symphony in the 1967-1968 season. Robert LaMarchina was
conductor or Music Director of the Honolulu Symphony for twelve seasons,
1967-1979. LaMarchina's career declined in later years, perhaps
because he had gained a reputation as being difficult to work with
and personally abrasive. Robert LaMarchina's later years were
somewhat lonely, and he died in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 30, 2003,
John Sharp was born in Waco, Texas on December 9, 1958. At age 13, John Sharp began
study with Lev Aronson (1912-1988), the teacher also of Lynn Harrell and Ralph Kirshbaum.
After high school, John Sharp went to nearby Dallas, where he studied for one year at Southern
Methodist University. The next year, John Sharp entered the Juilliard school, where he studied
with Lynn Harrell, and earned a Masters degree in music. While in New York, Sharp was Principal
cello of the New York String Orchestra under conductor Alexander Schneider. John Sharp was
also a cellist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Then, for three seasons, John Sharp was
Principal cello for the Cincinnati Symphony under Michael Gielen 1983-1986. The year 1986 was
an important and intensive period for John Sharp as a musician. While at Cincinnati,
John Sharp auditioned for the Chicago Symphony, and won the Principal cello position under Daniel
Barenboim. After the conclusion of the Cincinnati 1985-1986 season, and just before going to
Chicago, John Sharp won Third Prize the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in June,
1986. John Sharp then joined the Chicago Symphony in July, 1986. John Sharp's wife is
Liba Shacht, also a Juilliard graduate, is a violinist with the Chicago Lyric Opera. A
distinctive characteristic of the playing of John Sharp, is his continuously enthusiastic
response to the music, strong after three decades of professional performances.
Principal Violas of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1891-1892 August Wigger
August Wigger was born in Germany
1892-1897 August Junker
August Junker (or sometimes "Yunker" perhaps to ensure the
correct pronunciation) was born in Cologne, Germany, then in Prussia
on November 8, 1870. He graduated from the Cologne Conservatory
of Music before 1870. Junker studied with Joseph Joachim
(1831-1907) in Berlin. Junker played viola with the Berlin
Philharmonic in the 1880s, during its initial seasons 136.
August Junker emigrated to the U.S. in November,
1890 to New York City. He became a U.S. citizen in September,
1897. Although August Junker is listed as solo viola only
beginning with the 1892-1893 season, he is listed as a viola soloist
with the orchestra in the Chicago Orchestra program notes for
the 1891-1892 season, as well as in the 1894-1895 program
notes. After leaving the Theodore Thomas
Orchestra at the end of the 1896-1897 season, Junker
departed for Japan. He left New York in September, 1899,
traveling via Europe, and reached Japan in December, 1899.
August Junker taught at the Ueno (Tokyo) Music School from 1899-1912,
where he taught "orchestral performance" for 13 years,
according to Hikari Kobayashi. Most of the teachers there were
of German origin, such as Raphael von Koebel (1848-1923).
Kobayashi states "...August Junker from the list
above is said to have highly improved the performance level of the
orchestra through his strict teaching..." 22.
August Junker also was active when the "Teikoku Gekijō (Imperial
Theater), opened in March 1911 with a resident philharmonic
orchestra directed by August Junker..." 23
Junker also tried his hand at an opera in Japan: "...In
February 1912, the opera Yuya, based on the noh drama and composed
by August Junker, was offered. It was not a success... 23
August Junker continued to be active in teaching of Japanese
orchestral training over the next 30 years. Being of German origin,
although perhaps still a U.S. National, he was welcome as an ally in
wartime Japan. In 1941 he was conductor of the Shochiku
Symphony Orchestra, organized by the Shochiku Grand Kabuki Theater
in Tokyo 24. August Junker died in Japan 1944
during the height of the War, but I have not seen the cause.
Fritz Keller was violist for one season, 1897-1898 with the Chicago
Orchestra, or Theodore Thomas Orchestra as it was then called.
Following the season end, Keller also played with the orchestra as
violinist at the Trans- Mississippi and International
Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska in June and July, 1898.
1898-1926 Franz Esser
(Principal Viola 1898-1926; Principal Second
Violin 1926-39) Violin/Viola 1892-1945
Franz Esser in 1941
Franz Esser was born in Germany in April, 1869.
Harry Weisbach and
Otto Rohrborn with whom Esser later played in the
Chicago String Quartet, Franz Esser studied with Joseph Joachim (1831-1907)
at the Berlin Akademische Hochschule für Musik. Franz Esser emigrated
to the U.S. in 1892 at age 22, when he joined Theodore Thomas's
Chicago Orchestra as a violinist. Theodore Thomas had the practice of
traveling Europe, and in particular Germany and Vienna in the 1880s and
1890s to recruit musicians for his orchestras, and perhaps Franz Esser was
one of these recruits. Franz Esser was with the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra for (at the time) a record 53 seasons. Franz Esser was first
in the viola section of the Chicago Orchestra (as it was then called)
1892-1898. The next season, Franz Esser was advanced to the Principal
viola chair, replacing Fritz Keller, who had lasted as Principal for only
one season. Franz Esser was Principal viola for twenty-eight seasons,
1898-1926. Franz Esser then became Principal Second violin 1926-1939.
At age 70, Franz Esser moved back in the second violin ranks, serving a further
six seasons 1939-1945. He also was viola in the Chicago String Quartet
(CSO second violin 1893-1934)
Franz Esser viola and
(CSO cellist 1893-1934). Franz Esser retired from
the Chicago Symphony at the end of the 1944-1945 season at age 76, a tribute
to his long career. Franz Esser died in Chicago in 1950, age 81.
Clarence Evans was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota April 16, 1888. As a
youth, he studied violin and viola in Duluth, Minnesota.
One of his first positions was as Principal viola of the San Francisco
Symphony under Alfred Hertz. Clarence Evans was Principal viola
in San Francisco for three seasons, 1914-1917. While in San Francisco,
Clarence Evans was also active in a quartet of San Francisco musicians
comprising Louis Ford first, Emil Rossett second, Clarence Evans viola
and Victor de Gomez cello97. Clarence Evans continued
active in string quartets during his career. In the 1917-1918
season, Clarence Evans was a founding member of the Berkshire String
Quartet, based in New York City and funded by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
(1864-1953). Composition of the Berkshire
String Quartet (1916-1941) was:
Hugo Kortschak first, Serge Kotlarsky second,
Emmeran Stoeber cello. Click on thumbnail
below to see the Berkshire String Quartet in 1918:
In 1919-1920, Clarence Evans played in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
under Ossip Gabrilowitsch (1878-1936). The next season,
1920-1921, Clarence Evans joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
viola section, where he remained for 27 seasons.
Evans became Principal viola in the
1926-1927 season and continued until the end of the 1938-1939
season. He remained with the orchestra another 11 seasons, retiring
at the end of the 1946-1947 season. After conducting amateur orchestras
in the Chicago area in the early 1930s, in 1936, Evans conducted at least
one broadcast concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from the Grant
Park summer music festival. From 1936-1946, Clarence
Evans was Assistant Conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the
training orchestra for young orchestra players. In later years
Clarence Evans apparently became heavy in build according to press
accounts; he died after 1969. His wife Louise, also a musician
greatly outlived Clarence, dying in 1994 age 98.
Milton Preves was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 18, 1909.
After studying locally in Cleveland, Milton Preves entered the
University of Chicago. While still a student in 1931, he
played viola in the Little Symphony of Chicago, an orchestra for
student musicians, and predecessor to the Civic Orchestra of Chicago
training orchestra. This led to Preves joining the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra in the 1934-1935 season under Frederick Stock.
In the 1939-1940 season, Frederick Stock decided to make a change
in the viola section, and Clarence Evans moved from the Principal
viola position to the second chair, which we would call today
Assistant Principal viola. Milton Preves was Principal viola
of the Chicago Symphony for 47 seasons, 1939-1986, bringing his
total service in the Chicago Symphony to 52 seasons (!).
Milton Preves was also active in chamber music, first in the
Mischakoff Quartet starting in 1933:
Mischa Mischakoff first,
Samuel Thaviu second,
Milton Preves viola,
Daniel Saidenberg cello. Later, Preves was
viola in the Chicago Symphony String Quartet:
Victor Aitay first,
Edgar Muenzer second,
Milton Preves viola,
Frank Miller cello. Milton Preves
also expanded into conducting, being director of several
Chicago area groups, including the Oak Park-River Forest Symphony
1955-1963 from which he resigned in 1963 after a controversy
consequent to his invitation to soloist Carol Anderson - later
Carol Anderson Neff (1939- ), a black violinist 118.
Carol Anderson with Milton Preves 1963
Preves was also Music Director
of the North Side Symphony for 26 years, and was conductor of
the Wheaton Symphony - Illinois, and the Gary Symphony -
Indiana. Milton Preves retired from the Chicago
Symphony in 1986 and died on June 11, 2000 in suburban
Chicago, age 91 after a full and varied musical career.
1986-present Charles Robert Pikler Viola 1978-Principal 1986-present
Charles Pikler was born in Los Angeles, California on September
5, 1951. He studied first with his musical parents, and
then studied at the Tanglewood Young Artist Program, and the
Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He pursued his
musical studies at the University of Connecticut.
Interestingly, Charles Pikler also studied mathematics
at the University of Minnesota graduating
with honors. He began his orchestral career with the
Minnesota Orchestra 1971-1973, and with the Cleveland Orchestra
1973-1976. He then went to the Rotterdam Philharmonic
under Edo de Waart 1976-1978. Charles Pikler then joined
the Chicago Symphony violin section under Georg Solti in
the 1978-1979 season. Eight seasons later, Solti named
Charles Pikler as Principal viola to succeed the legendary
Milton Preves in the 1986-1987 season. In Chicago,
Charles Pikler has a number of other musical activities, both
symphony and in chamber music. He performs with the Sinfonia
Orchestra of Chicago, the Ars Viva Orchestra - Chicago, and the
Chicago Opera Theater Orchestra. In suburban Illinois settings,
he performs with the Northbrook Symphony, and the River Cities
Philharmonic (100 km SW of Chicago). Charles Pikler is
also Concertmaster of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest
in suburban Chicago, which Milton Preves had previously conducted.
Charles Pikler is interested in contemporary music. He gave
the premiere of the Frank Beezhold (1915-1989) Viola Concerto
in 1990 (which had been composed and dedicated for him) with the
Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Pikler also recorded the
transcription of this work for viola and piano. In recording,
Charles Pikler has recorded the chamber music of Easley Blackwood
(1933- ) with the composer for Cedille Records. Active in
teaching at Northwestern University, Charles Pikler also the
founder and Music Director of I-Solisti, a chamber orchestra
which is part of the Midwest Young Artists Festival. Charles
Pikler continues the more than a century tradition of excellence
of the Chicago Symphony viola section, where Frederick Stock once
Félix Bour was born in Belgium in 1850, making him one of the earlier-
born Chicago musicians; Theodore Thomas having been born in 1835, and
Principal timpani William Loewe having been born in 1834. After
preparation in Belgium, Félix Bour gained entrance to the Paris
Conservatoire. He won his Premiere prix at the Conservatoire
in the 1870 Concour. Félix Bour
was invited to join the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, based in New
York City in 1885 by Theodore Thomas 99, and remained with
Thomas' orchestras, including Chicago thereafter 136.
Félix Bour's arrival created an immediate impact, as a critic noted:
"...The most marked change in tonal quality [of the Thomas orchestra]
was in the wood-wind choir, and this was caused by the introduction of
a new oboe player, a Belgian, M. Felix Bour, who brought into the
wood quartet the characteristic French oboe tone. His coming caused a
considerable commotion, first because his engagement by Mr. Thomas was
in defiance of the laws of the Musical Mutual Protective Union, and
second because hasty and indiscrete champions of Mr. Thomas urged the
superiority of M. Bour's tone over that of Mr. Joseph Eller [of the
New York Philharmonic]..." 137.
Prior to emigrating to New York, Félix Bour also played in the Paris Opera
in the 1880s 136. While based in New York City, Félix Bour
also played in the summer of 1889 in the band of the Italian bandmaster
Alessandro Liberati (1847-1927). Bour played for Liberati
in the summers of 1889-1891. In 1891, Félix Bour was one of the
Principal musicians brought by Theodore Thomas to join the newly organized
Chicago Symphony. Bour was Principal oboe 1891-1893, and then
in the second chair (Assistant Principal oboe in today's terms) 1903-1907.
Friedrick Starke was born in Germany in June, 1858. He came to
the U.S. in 1893 to join Theodore Thomas's Chicago symphony.
In Chicago, his name was often respelled as 'Frederich' Starke.
Starke was Principal Oboe 1893-1904, and then upon Alfred Barthel
moving to the first chair, Starke became Principal English horn
1904-13, until retiring from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
at the end of the 1912-1913 season. Starke made a wind
arrangement of the Egmont Overture for 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2
Horns, 2 Bassoons and Contrabassoon, which is still played
Alfred Barthel was born in the east of France on March 29, 1871. In
preparation for the competition to enter the Paris Conservatoire,
Barthel studied oboe at the Dijon Conservatoire.
In about 1886, Alfred Barthel won the competition for admission
to Paris Conservatoire. There, Barthel
was a pupil of the famed teacher Georges Gillet (1854-1920).
Barthel won the second oboe prize of the Conservatoire in 1890, and then
the Premiere prix in 1891, when he graduated. In the next years,
Alfred Barthel played with the Lamoureux Orchestra and the Colonne
Orchestra. During the 1897-1903 seasons, Alfred Barthel was
Principal oboe of l'Orchestre de L’Opéra-Comique 41 and of
l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire 3.
Alfred Barthel joined Theodore Thomas's Chicago Orchestra in the 1903-1904
season, where he was in the third chair oboe, behind Frederick Starke and
Felix Bour 40. Alfred Barthel returned to France at the
end of the 1903-1904 season, intending to remain 3, but finally
after negotiations, Alfred Barthel returned to Chicago to became Principal
oboe of the the next season 1904-1905. Alfred Barthel remained
Principal oboe for twenty-five seasons, 1904-1929. When Alfred
Barthel became Principal oboe, Frederick Starke moved to English horn
Alfred Barthel playing English horn
After Alfred Barthel retired from
the Chicago Symphony at the end of the 1928-1929 season, he was
active in chamber music, sometimes with his wife playing
piano. Barthel also organized a music school
in Chicago 1929-1930, but which failed due to the onset of the economic
depression. Barthel then moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he
was Professor of Oboe in the 1930s and 1940s. Barthel died in 1957.
Florian Mueller was born in Bay, Michigan June 15, 1904. His
father, Adolf was a tailor, born in Germany, but his mother,
Theresa, also born in Michigan was a music teacher. Florian Mueller
was oboe with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under Eugene
Goossens in the late 1920s, and with the Sousa Band in 1929 26.
Mueller was with the CSO for 27 seasons. He began as second chair
(Assistant Principal oboe in today's terms) 1927-1931.
Then, in the 1931-1932 season, Frederick Stock selected Florian
Mueller as Principal oboe. Meller retained the Principal oboe
position for 23 seasons, under conductors Frederick Stock,
Artur Rodzinsky, Rafael Kubelik and Fritz Reiner until the end of
1953-1954. All his career, Florian Mueller was active in woodwind
chamber groups. Mueller was a member of the Chicago Woodwind Quartet:
Florian Mueller oboe,
Ernest Leigl, flute,
Robert Lindemann, clarinet, and
Hugo Fox, bassoon during the 1930s.
Florian Mueller was responsible for the
transcription of most of the music for this quartet. Florian
Mueller also wrote Five Symphonic Etudes for Orchestra,
which was played by the Chicago Symphony in February, and May 1942
27. Mueller also wrote several works for concert band,
of which his Concert Overture in G, which were counterpoint
variations on a theme by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), seems to have been
the most frequently performed. Mueller joined the University of
Michigan music faculty in 1954 after retiring from the orchestra.
There he organized the University of Michigan Woodwind Quintet, with
Nelsen Haunenstein, oboe, Clyde Carpenter, French horn, Albert
Luconi, clarinet, and Lewis Cooper, bassoon 25.
Cooper and Luconi were former members of the Detroit Symphony
Orchestra 26. Florian Mueller died in
retirement in Saint Petersburg, Florida in March 1983.
Ray Still was born in Elwood, Indiana on March 12, 1920. As a child,
he moved to Iowa until age 11, and then in 1931 to California, where his
family sought a better life during the economic depression. At age
14 in Los Angeles, Ray Still began study of the clarinet, which he continued
to play throughout his life. He also ushered without pay at the Los
Angeles Philharmonic in order to hear the music. In later years,
Still said it was the playing of the great Belgian oboe player, Henri B.
de Busscher (1884-1975) who had been Principal oboe of the Queen's Hall
Orchestra under Sir Henry Wood, and of the New York Symphony under
Walter Damrosch that convinced Ray Still to take up the oboe.
Henri de Busscher was Principal oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
for 28 seasons, 1920-1948, after which he played for Hollywood studios.
Ray Still studied with the Naples Italy-born musician, Philip
Memoli (1874-1957), Le Busscher's second chair partner of the Los Angeles
Philharmonic, who play for the Orchestra for 13 seasons. Still said
that Memoli and Le Busscher both favored a long, singing style of oboe
playing. Still played with the local WPA orchestra and other local
training orchestras. At age 19, Ray Still was second oboe with
the Kansas City Philharmonic 1939-1941. After leaving the Army in
June, 1946, Ray Still entered Juilliard. Still studied with his
oboe hero, Robert Bloom, who taught Still for free since Bloom was not
then teaching at Juilliard, and Still had no money. After graduation
for Juilliard, Ray Still became Principal oboe of the Buffalo Philharmonic
under William Steinberg or two seasons, 1947-1949. 1949-1953, Still
was Principal oboe with the Baltimore Symphony, also teaching at the Peabody
Institute. Still auditioned for the second oboe position of the Chicago
Symphony where Fritz Reiner had just become Music Director. He was
hesitant to accept a second seat, but decided to go to Chicago, since he had
won a competition for the New York Philharmonic under Dimitri Mitropoulos for
the next season. Instead in 1954, Reiner offered Still the Principal
oboe position of the Chicago Symphony, where he stayed for more 49 seasons.
Ray Still making reeds in Chicago
However, all was not always smooth sailing. Ray Still and Reiner's successor
Jean Martinon did not get along. Also, Still was an organizer of the
musicians and elected an orchestra negotiating representative. It is
also said that Still, a strong personality, did not call Martinon
"maestro". In any case, Martinon tried to fire Still in
1967 42. Still fought back and after eight months of
arbitration, he was restored with seniority. However, the relationship
continued to be difficult until George Solti replaced Jean Martinon in
1969. After 50 seasons, Ray Still retired from the Chicago Symphony
at the end of the 1992-1993 season. During his Chicago tenure, Ray Still
taught several next generations of oboe players at Northwestern
University. His musical heritage is also preserved in a series of
memorable Chicago Symphony recordings.
Alex Klein was born in Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil on January
5, 1965. His studies began early and at age only eleven, he joined
a leading chamber group the Camerata Antigua. Klein pursued
his studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Ohio, where he gained a
BMus and his Artist's Diploma. He was selected as Principal oboe
of the Chicago Symphony under Daniel Barenboim in the 1995-1996 season
at age 30. While in Chicago, Alex Klein won a Grammy in 2002 as
Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra for his recording
of the Richard Strauss Oboe Concerto, performing with Daniel
Barenboim with the Chicago Symphony. Unfortunately, at this period
of growth and achievement, in the summer experienced the effects of
focal dystonia, a motor-neural difficulty which effects muscle and
refex control. This was the condition which sidetracked the
piano virtuoso Leon Fleisher for a number of years. In 2004,
Alex Klein took the difficult decision to resign from the Chicago
Symphony in order to seek to restore his health. Since this
decision, Alex Klein has turned his energies to teaching and mentoring,
including among others at his alma mater, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
He is also Artistic Director of the São Paulo International Chamber
Music Festival, the Oferenda Musical.
Eugene Izotov was born in Moscow in 1973. He began oboe
study early at 6 years old at the Gnesin Academy of Music
in Moscow. In about 1994, Izotov studied at
Boston University with
(1921-2006) of the Boston Symphony, and also studied at Tanglewood
in the summer of 1995. Izotof was Principal oboe of the Kansas
City Symphony in the 1995-1996 season. In the next year, he was
appointed Associate Principal oboe of the San Francisco Orchestra
1996-2001. In 2001, Eugene Izotof won First Prize in the
Fernand Gillet-Hugo Fox Oboe Competition. In the 2002-2003
season, Izotof became Principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,
where he stayed for three seasons. In the 2005-2006, Izotof
became Principal oboe of the Chicago Symphony under Daniel
Barenboim. While at San Francisco, Izotof taught oboe at the
San Francisco Conservatory, and while at the MET, he taught at
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Bassoon Section 1972
(l to r) Willard Elliot, Principal, John Raitt, Assistant Principal, Wilbur
H. Simpson, Second, and Burl Lane, Contrabassoon
Principal Bassoons of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1891-1893 Hugo E. Litke
Hugo Litke was born in Hamburg, Germany on September 14, 1863.
Theodore Thomas traveled in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria
each summer, recruiting musicians and collecting new music.
Thomas engaged Hugo Litke to come to the US for the initial two seasons
of Thomas's Chicago Orchestra as it was then called.
Hugo Litke was Principal bassoon in Chicago 1891-1893.
Hugo Litke's brother,
was also a bassoon player and joined Hugo Litke as a substitute
bassoon with the Chicago Symphony. In 1894, Hugo Litke
relocated to New York City. Then, in the 1894-1895 season,
Hugo Litke joined the Boston Symphony under Emil Paur as Principal
bassoon. Paul Litke soon joined his brother in Boston in
1896-1897, playing bassoon and contrabassoon. Hugo Litke
remained Principal bassoon in Boston 1894-1901. During that
period, the Boston Symphony bassoon section comprised Hugo Litke
and Paul Litke with the long-time (1886-1906) BSO Second bassoon
Frederick Hermann Guenzel
. While in Boston, Hugo Litke was
also active in the
Georges Longy Club, a wind chamber music group
organized by Georges Longy.
Hugo Litke also played chamber music with the Kneisel Quartet.
At the end of the 1900-1901 season, Hugo and Paul Litke
left the Boston Symphony, now under the direction of
Wilhelm Gericke. Seven seasons later, Hugo Litke again
returned to Boston for the 1907-1908 season, sitting in the
Second bassoon chair, next to Principal bassoon Peter Sadony.
Oskar Modess, with wife Anna, sons Walter and Edgar in 1922
Oskar Modess was born in Mittweida (between Leipzig and Dresden),
Germany on January 12, 1868. He was recruited by Theodore Thomas to the
Chicago Orchestra and emigrated to the U.S. in April, 1893. Modess
was Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony 1893-1895. He was then
selected by Fritz Scheel as the first Principal bassoon of the newly formed
Philadelphia Orchestra in the 1900-1901 season. Modess left the
Philadelphia Orchestra after one season and went to New York City, where
he played in New York concerts. Oskar Modess joined the John Philip
Sousa Band in 1910-1911 and went on their 1911 around-the-world tour to
England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Modess produced
a widely used bassoon teaching chart in 1916. In the 1920s and 1930s,
Oskar Modess played oboe in New York City theater and hotel orchestras.
Max Bachmann was born in Germany in 1874. In 1897, Max
Bachmann composed an Albani Caprice Polka for violin and piano, in
honor of the Canadian soprano Emma Albani, and Bachmann may have
toured with Albani on her transcontinental tour of Canada in 1896.
Max Bachmann was appointed Principal bassoon of the Chicago Orchestra
in the 1897-1898 season when he was 23. Bachmann remained for
two seasons 1897-1899. The strength of the wind players was
demonstrated during the first playing by the sympony of the Mozart
Sinfonia Concertante of February 24, 1899 with his fellow
, clarinet and
Leopold de Maré
, horn, conducted by Theodore Thomas. After Chicago, Bachmann
moved to New York City, where he was a concert musician from 1902
until at least 1910. In 1902 and 1903, he apparently conducted
a group called the "New England Lady's Orchestra" made up
of women amateurs from the Boston area, which played at the summer
concerts popular in that era.
Paul Karl Ludwig Kruse (Principal Bassoon 1899-1908, 1909-1916;
Principal Contrabassoon 1916-23)
Paul Kruse was born in Schwerin in the Mecklenburg area of north
Germany near Lubeck on September 1, 1861. In Mecklenburg,
Kruse studied bassoon and contrabassoon with Martin Zuhr.
Kruse then became Principal bassoon in a series of orchestras:
Hamburg - Germany, and in the Netherlands in Utrecht, Rotterdam,
and Amsterdam. Paul Kruse
emigrated to the U.S. in 1899 to join Theodore
Thomas's orchestra. Paul Kruse was likely one of Theodore Thomas'
recruits during his annual summer visits to Europe.
Kruse was solo or Principal bassoon for nine seasons from 1899-1908, into
the directorship of Frederick Stock. Paul Kruse returned to the
Chicago orchestra in the 1909-1910 season again as Principal 1909-1916.
Then, with the appointment of Walter Guetter as Principal bassoon, Paul
Kruse became Contrabassoon in Chicago for an additional seven seasons,
1916-1923. At that time, the Chicago bassoon section consisted of
Walter Guetter Principal bassoon, Hjalmar Rabe second bassoon, William
Krieglstein third bassoon, and Paul Kruse contrabassoon. Paul Kruse
also trained his two sons,
William H. E. Kruse and Paul Kruse, Jr. as
bassoonists. William H. E. Kruse played bassoon under Leopold
Stokowski in the Philadelphia Orchstra 1920-1921. Paul Kruse
retired from the Chicago Symphony at the the end of the 1922-1923 season,
due to ill health. Paul Kruse died in Chicago on July 5, 1923,
Walter Guetter was born in Philadelphia
on April 17, 1895, where his parents had emigrated from Germany in
1892. His father Julius was a violin maker. Walter went to Berlin at
the age of 15 to study bassoon for four years with his uncle, Adolf
Guetter. Adolf Guetter had played Principal bassoon with the Boston
Symphony under Artur Nikisch from 1891-1894. On Walter's return to
the U.S. in early 1915, he briefly played with the Philadelphia
Orchestra, but after auditioning during the Summer of 1915, he
entered the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the 1915-1916 season.
The next two seasons, 1916-1918 he became Principal oboe of the
Chicago Symphony, and then after a year off for World War 1, returned
to Chicago as Principal for 1919-1922. In the 1922-1923 season,
he returned to his native Philadelphia as
Principal oboe with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
This formed, as a result, the Orchestra's famous group of Walter
Guetter bassoon, Marcel Tabuteau, oboe, and William Kincaid, flute,
the three of whom played together for the next 15 years. Walter
Guetter was sickly all during the 1930s, and according to an
interview with Sol Schoenbach, Guetter took off on season in the
mid-1930s, when he was replaced by
Ferdinand Del Negro.
experience the magic of Walter Guetter's artistry, listen to the
1929 Sacre du Printemps or the November, 1935 Stravinsky Firebird.
On May 1, 1937, Walter Guetter, who had been in frail health for a
number of years, died of cancer aged only 42.
1918-1919 Hjalmar Franz Rabe
served the orchestra 1895-1945
Hjalmar Rabe was born in Norway on January 30, 1872. He
studied violin in Norway, and then, in Germany in the late 1880s took
up the bassoon. Hjalmar Rabe came to the U.S. in 1894, and
joined the Theodore Thomas orchestra in the 1895-1896 season as a
violinist. He also played bassoon and contrabassoon, and soon
played primarily in the Chicago Symphony bassoon section.
Rabe became a U.S. citizen in 1900. In the 1918-1919 season,
while Walter Guetter was away due to World War 1 service, Hjalmar Rabe
was appointed Principal bassoon. The next season, when
Walter Guetter returned, Hjalmar Rabe returned to the second chair
bassoon position, and also to contrabassoon. In his last
season, 1944-1945, Hjalmar Rabe was named Principal Contrabassoon
of the orchestra. Rabe's 49 seasons with the Chicago Symphony
was the longest service of any Chicago Symphony musician (so far).
During this time, Hjalmar Rabe taught at the Mendelssohn Conservatory
in Chicago. As well as teaching bassoon,
Hjalmar Rabe continued to teach the violin. He
retired from the Chicago Symphony at the end of the 1944-1945 season
at age 73. He died August 3, 1958 at age 86. His obituary
said that Hjalmar Rabe practiced both the violin and the bassoon
every day until the illness that preceded his death 31.
Hugo Fox in 1924, early in his Chicago Symphony career
Hugo Fox was born in Sidney, Indiana, a rural area in the north of Indiana,
120km southeast of Chicago on February 3, 1897. Interestingly, although
he traveled widely, Hugo Fox spent most of his life either in Chicago, or in
the town of South Whitley, Indiana, 5 km from his birthplace.
By 1916-1917, Hugo Fox was studying bassoon with Adolf Weiss, at that
time a bassoon of the Chicago Symphony. By the early 1920s,
Hugo Fox was studying with Walter Guetter, his distinguished predecessor
as Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony. In 1922, at age 25,
following the departure of Walter Guetter for the Philadelphia Orchestra,
Hugo Fox was appointed Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony by
Frederick Stock. Sitting in the second bassoon chair was
Hjalmar Rabe, a former CSO Principal bassoon during the one season when
Guetter was active in World War 1. Hugo Fox was Principal
bassoon of the Chicago Symphony for twenty-seven seasons, retiring
at the end of the 1948-1949 season While in Chicago, Hugo Fox
also taught at Northwestern University. Following his retirement,
in 1949, Hugo Fox founded the Fox Bassoon Company to produce
bassoons. The success of this enterprise can be measured by its
production. Its first commercial bassoon was produced in 1951
and by 1960, it was producing 63 in a year. By 1983, Fox production
was of "...700 instruments ranging in price from $2,000 to more
than $7,000..." 123. Hugo Fox died in
South Whitley, Indiana on December 29, 1969, but his legacy, including
the Fox company's manufacture of bassoons, contrabassoons and oboes
Sherman Walt was born in Virginia, Minnesota August 22, 1923 of Russian
Jewish parents, Benjamin and Pearl Walt. When Sherman Walt was a
teen-ager, Dmitri Mitropoulos, then conductor of the Minneapolis
Symphony told Benjamin and Pearl "This boy has to play the
bassoon." Walt was admitted to the Curtis
Institute in about 1939, and Mitropoulos sent Walt a monthly
allowance. At Curtis, Sherman Walt studied under Ferdinand Del Negro and Marcel Tabuteau.
in about 1942, Sherman Walt entered the U.S. Army where he won a Bronze Star for valor,
participating from the Normandy landings until the Army's entry into
Germany. Upon discharge, Sherman Walt joined the bassoon section of the Chicago
Symphony in the 1946-1947 season. Sherman Walt became Principal bassoon
of the Chicago Symphony for two seasons, 1949-1951. In the 1953-1954 season, based in part
on a recommendation by George Szell, Sherman Walt joined the Boston Symphony
under Charles Munch as Principal bassoon. Walt taught bassoon at Boston University and the
New England Conservatory. Sherman Walt retired from the Boston Symphony at the
end of the 1988-1989 season in May, 1989. Sherman Walt died just months after retiring,
hit by an automobile in suburban Boston on October 26,1989.
Leonard Sharrow was born in New York City August 4, 1915, the son of
Saul Sharrow, violinist with the New York Symphony and the New York
Philharmonic. Sharrow studied the violin, but by age 16,
became interested in the bassoon. At age 19, he went to
Juilliard, where he graduated in 1935. From 1935-1937, he
was bassoon with the National Symphony of Washington DC. In 1937,
he joined the newly formed NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini and later became its
Principal bassoon. He left the NBC in 1941, drafted into the
U.S. Army. In the 1946-1947 season, Sharrow joined the
Detroit Symphony. In 1947, Sharrow was invited to return to
the NBC Symphony as Principal bassoon. He stayed with the NBC
Symphony until 1951, when he became Principal bassoon of the Chicago
, remaining until the end of the
1963-1964 season. He then became music professor at Indiana
University for 13 years. While at IU, he also spent his
summers at the Aspen Music Festival. In 1977, Sharrow then
returned to the symphonic world, becoming Co-Principal bassoon of
the Pittsburgh Symphony, where he stayed until 1987. Sharrow then
returned to Indiana University. In 1999, Sharrow moved to
Cincinnati, Ohio to be near his son, where he died of leukemia in
August 9, 2004, just before his 89th birthday.
Willard Elliot was born on July 18, 1926 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Willard Elliot was
interested in music at an early age, taking piano lessons like most children,
but concentrating on the training. Elliot moved on to clarinet before
his teenage years, and then became fascinated by the bassoon. This he
started at age 14 in 1940. Willard Elliot studied initially at North
Texas State University, north of Fort Worth. He was then accepted into the
Eastman School of Music, where he earned his BMus and MMus in 1945 in performance
and composition. Following Eastman, Elliot joined the Houston Symphony
1945-1948, and then moved to Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He played in
Dallas for 11 seasons about 1953-1964. In 1964, Elliot won the audition with
Jean Martinon to become Principal bassoon with the Chicago Symphony, succeeding
Leonard Sharrow. During his 33 seasons with the Chicago Symphony, Willard
Elliot gained the reputation of the "consummate professional", always
prepared and never ruffled, regardless of conditions. Of course, his gifts
as a bassoonist were at the rank necessary for a Principal wind of one of the
most famous wind sections of the world's orchestras As an active composer,
his Elegy for Orchestra was co-winner of the Koussevitzky Foundation Award
in 1961, and his Bassoon Concerto was performed by the Chicago Symphony.
After retiring from the Chicago Symphony, Willard Elliot moved to Ft. Worth to
teach music at Texas Christian University. Willard Elliot died there on
June 7, 2000, at age 73.
1997-present David McGill
David McGill was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1963. He began clarinet
studies at age 11, but soon switched to the bassoon. David McGill
David studied with Jane Orzel, then Principal bassoon of the Tulsa
Philharmonic. When Jane Orzel relocated to California, David McGill
auditioned for the Principal bassoon position in Tulsa, which he won.
He joined the Tulsa Philharmonic in his senior year of high school,
1980-1981. David McGill then entered the Curtis Institute,
where he graduated in the Class of1985. After Curtis, he held a
series of Principal bassoon positions. First, for three seasons,
David McGill was Principal bassoon of the Toronto Symphony 1985-1988
under Sir Andrew Davis (1975–1988). Then, David McGill was then
appointed Principal bassoon of the Cleveland Orchestra 1988-1997
under Christoph von Dohnányi. Third, and until today, David McGill
was appointed Principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony in the
autumn of 1996, succeeding the legendary Willard Elliot. McGill
took up the first chair in Chicago beginning in September 1997.
One of the famous bassoons of the world, in 2001, David McGill won a
Grammy Award as Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra for
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra recording of the Richard Strauss
Wind Concerti with Barenboim. In 1994, McGill played the
world premiere of the Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz (1917-2007)
work Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra which was
written for David McGill. During the 2003-2004 season, McGill
took sabbatical leave from the CSO, during which season he taught
at Indiana University. As well as teaching, David McGill
has written on performance, including Sound in Motion:
A Performer’s Guide to Greater Musical Expression
published by Indiana University Press. You can read of
this book at the link
click to see David McGill's book Sound in Motion
Principal Flutes of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1891-1895 Vigo Andersen
Vigo Anderson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1852
to the flute teacher Christian Joachim Anderson
(1816-1899) and Caroline Fredrikke Andkjaer (1825-1898). He
was brother of the famous flute soloist and composer Karl Joachim
Andersen (1847-1909). Both Joachim Andersen and Vigo
Anderson played flute with the Danish Royal Orchestra in the 1870s,
and with the Berlin Philharmonic in the early 1880s, just after the
founding of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1882. It is interesting
that Joachim Andersen was also the teacher of
Ary van Leeuwen
(1875-1953) who was selected by Mahler for the Vienna State Opera,
and later played Principal flute with the Philadelphia Orchestra
and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Vigo Anderson left
Denmark on a one year leave of absence during the
1889-1890 season, and went to the U.S. In fact, he left behind
his wife, children and debts. He never returned to Denmark.
Vigo Anderson first performed in the Twenty-second Regiment Band in
New York in 1890, and then joined the Chicago Orchestra under
Theodore Thomas in its initial 1891-1892 season 15.
Vigo Anderson remained solo flute until 1895. Andersen committed a
dramatic suicide on January 29, 1895, when he invited 20 friends to
a celebration. When Vigo arrived, he immediately shot himself,
with his motivation not stated 14, but perhaps related to
his leaving behind his wife and children, indebted in Denmark.
Certainly a sad and dramatic end.
January 1895-end of 1894-1895 season
Edwin S. Timmons
Edwin Timmons played both flute and saxophone in the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra from 1893-1895 under Theodore Thomas. Timmons took over
as Principal flute in January, 1895 following the suicide of Vigo Anderson
and finished out the 1894-1895 season. Following this season as
Principal flute, Timmons left the Orchestra, perhaps not being offered a
continuation of his contract as Principal flute.
Adolph Buchheim was born in the state of Hessen (Frankfurt area) Germany in
1858 and joined the Theodore Thomas orchestra for one season,
1895-1896. Buchheim also played flute at the Ohio summer music
festival of 1897 28. He seems to have returned to
Alfred Quensel was born
April 25, 1869 in Weida, Germany, about 60 km south of Leipzig.
Quensel was solo flute with the Berlin Philharmonic under Arthur
Nikisch from 1893-1896. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1896 to
join the Chicago Symphony, probably at the request of Theodore Thomas,
who toured Europe each summer scouting new musicians for his orchestra.
The Flutist By Emil Medicus said that Quensel used a wood flute
with a gold head-joint 13. In the 1926-1927 season, Alfred was
a flute soloist in concerts in the Chicago area. Probably about 1930,
Alfred Quensel seems to have returned to Germany 64. Quensel's
daughter and wife Ottilie both died in Illinois. Ottilie may have returned to
the U.S. following Alfred's death to live with her daughter. Alfred Quensel died
in Germany in 1947.
1906-1907 ? Otto Carl Friedrich Stoeckert (or Stöckert)
Otto Stoeckert is listed in the Chicago Symphony rosters as
"Principal flute 1907-1907" which suggests only a partial season. A
Chicago Symphony roster for the 1906-1907 season also lists Stoeckert as Principal
flute. However, at this time Otto Stoeckert was Principal flute of the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra 1906-1913. If he was named Principal in Chicago, this seems to
have been only briefly.
Otto Stoeckert was born in Germany in 1863. He emigrated
to the U.S. in 1884, and settled in New York City. Stoeckert
played in numerous concert groups in New York City during the 1890s.
Otto Stoeckert became Principal flute in the
Seidl Orchestra that conductor
organized in 1897, which likely would have continued except for the
event of Seidl's sudden death in 1898. Otto Stoeckert was
Principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at least from 1905
until 1913. As did most other musicians of
this era, Stoeckert played in summer festival orchestras in the
1910s. Stoeckert is also listed by the
Chicago Symphony archives as being Principal flute with the Chicago
Symphony in 1907, apparently for less than a full season.
Stoeckert also seems to have been a Principal flute with the New York
Symphony, which in the early MET years was the house orchestra of
the Metropolitan Opera Philharmonic. Otto Stoeckert died in
Brooklyn, New York on March 23, 1913 at the end of the 1912-1913 season,
age only 50.
Theodore Yeschke was born
January 26, 1886 in Germany. In January, 1912, Yeschke appears
in New York newspapers as escaping from a hotel fire with his
instrument. In 1918, he was a theater musician in New York
City. In the 1921-1922 season, Yeschke was solo flute for the
Detroit Symphony under Ossip Gabrilowitsch. From 1930 at least
until 1939, Yeschke was a radio musician in Chicago.
Ernst (or Ernest) Liegl was born May 3, 1900 in Austria. He emigrated to the US
with his family in 1906. His teachers, primarily in New York City,
included some of the best of the era: Leonardo De Lorenzo, Georges Barrère
and Marcel Moyse 64. In the early 1920s, Ernst Liegl toured with
the John Philip Sousa Band. Ernst Liegl was piccolo for the Minneapolis
Symphony Orchestra under Emil Oberhoffer 1920-1928. Liegl was then appointed
Principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra beginning in the
1928-1929 season under Frederick Stock.
Liegl continued as Principal flute of the CSO for twenty seasons, 1924-1944 under conductors
Stock and Désiré Defauw. He left the Chicago Symphony in 1944 to play for nine years
in the orchestra of radio station WGN, Chicago. The advantage of radio station
orchestras was year-around employment, which neither the Chicago Symphony nor the other
leading US orchestras would offer until the 1960s. Following the departure of
Julius Baker, Ernst Liegl then decided to return to the Chicago Symphony as
Principal flute for four additional seasons, 1953-1957. Liegl was dismissed
by Fritz Reiner at the end of the 1956-1957 season, seemingly in one of
Reiner's periodic cycle of firings. Liegl taught flute at Northwestern
University for many years. Ernst Liegl died on July 14, 1993 in
Evanston, Illinois, where he had lived for nearly 50 years.
Harvey Noack was in the flute section of the CSO 1943-1946 and was Principal
1946-1951 René Rateau
René Rateau was born in Le Creusot, in the Burgundy region of eastern
France on April 12, 1909. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire under
Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941), winning Premiere prix in the 1928 Concour.
After the Paris Conservatoire, René Rateau played flute in the Paris Opera
Orchestra. In September, 1938, René Rateau came to Boston to join the
Boston Symphony for the 1938-1939 season. He then returned to Paris in
the summer of 1939. It is not clear if he planned to return to Boston
the next season, or if the German invasion of France interfered with his
return. In any case, Rateau played flute with l'Orchestre national
de la radiodiffusion, Paris during World War 2. At the war's end,
René Rateau returned to the US, becoming Principal flute of the Minnesota
Symphony 1945-1946. The next season, René Rateau was appointed
Principal flute of the Chicago Symphony by Désiré Defauw. He remained
Principal during the season that Artur Rodzinski was Music Director.
At the end of the 1950-1951 season, the new Chicago Music Director Rafael
Kubelik replaced three CSO Principals, in what was locally called the
":Saturday night massacre": Ignatius Gennusa, Principal clarinet,
Sherman Walt, Principal bassoon, and René Rateau, Principal flute.
René Rateau returned to Paris, Iggy Gennusa went on to the Baltimore
Symphony, and Sherman Walt went on to his legendary career with the
Boston Symphony. As well as teaching, it seems that René Rateau
returned to l'Orchestre national de la radiodiffusion as Principal
flute. The advantage of the French radio orchestra was its
Julius Baker was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 23, 1915 of a family
of Russian-Jewish heritage. He began flute lessons with his Russian
emigrant father, who unfortunately died while Julius was an adolescent.
Baker then studied in Cleveland with August Caputo and Robert Morris, Cleveland
Orchestra flute 1942-1947. Julius Baker entered the Curtis Institute,
where he studied primarily with William Kincaid, also taking classes with
Marcel Tabuteau. Baker graduated from the Curtis Institute in the class
of 1937. He then joined the Cleveland Orchestra under Artur Rodzinski
as second flute, sitting next to Principal flute Maurice Sharp, 1937-1941.
Julius Baker then moved to the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner
as Principal flute for two seasons, 1941-1943 prior to entering the military
during the war. After World War 2, Julius Baker became Principal
flute with the CBS radio Symphony Orchestra in New York City (which had the
advantage of year-around employment). During this time, he joined the
Bach Aria Group, of which he was one of the founding members, and with whom
Baker continued to perform for eighteen years. When the CBS orchestra
was disbanded, Julius Baker moved to the Chicago Symphony as Principal flute
under Rafael Kubelik in the 1951-1952 season. When Fritz Reiner became
Music Director of the CSO in the 1953-1954 season, Julius Baker left the
Chicago Symphony and returned to New York City. Julius Baker became
Principal flute of the New York Philharmonic in the 1965-1966 season.
His distinguished flute career continued with the New York Philharmonic for
eighteen seasons, through the 1982-1983 season. Julius Baker taught
at both his alma mater, Curtis, and at the Julliard School from 1954 to 2003.
Julius Baker died in New York City on August 6, 2003.
1957-1999 Donald Peck
(Assistant Principal 1957, Principal 1958-99)
Cover of Donald Peck's fascinating 2007 memoire 'The Right Place,
The Right Time' Indiana University Press 62
Donald Peck was born in January, 1930 in Seattle, Washington. Peck
grew up in Yakima, Washington (150 km southeast of Seattle) where his
first flute teacher was Lois Schaefer (1924- ) who was later Principal flute
with the New York City Opera 62 and Assistant Principal flute of
the Boston Symphony 1965-1990. (Incidentally, Lois Schaefer was also
sister of Boston Symphony cellist Winifred Schaefer, married to Samuel Mayes,
both playing both in the Boston Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.)
Donald Peck gained experience as an orchestral flute in the Seattle Youth
Symphony and as a teen he played in the Seattle Symphony with his teacher,
Frank Horsfall 59. Peck won a competition to enter
the Curtis Institute, studying with William Kincaid. After
graduation from Curtis in 1952 62. Because of the Korean
War, Peck spent three years in the U.S. Marine Band. Then, for two
seasons, 1955-1957, Donald Peck was principal flute of the
Kansas City Philharmonic. In the summer of 1957, after leaving
Kansas City, and prior to joining the Chicago Symphony, Peck was
Principal flute of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra 61.
In the 1957-1958 season, Fritz Reiner selected Donald Peck as assistant
Principal flute, in the chair next to Principal Ernest Liegl.
Peck seems to have gotten along well with Fritz Reiner after Reiner
challenged Peck, and Peck succeeded. Reiner seemed to have a pattern
of mentally torturing the weaker personalities of the Chicago Symphony, but
he left alone strong musicians who would fight back, such as Donald Peck and
Ray Still. During much of his Chicago career, Donald Peck taught at
DePaul University, and later at Roosevelt University, as well as numerous
master classes in the U.S. and internationally. His distinguished career
with the Chicago Symphony ended at the completion of the 1998-1999 season.
Mathieu Dufour was born in Paris, France in 1972 58.
Dufour began his flute studies at age 8 with Madeleine Chassang at
the Conservatoire National de Région de Paris. He also studied at
the Lyon Conservatoire, where he graduated with the Premiere prix. At
the 1993 Jean-Pierre Rampal Flute Competition, Dufour won Second Grand
Prize 57. He also won in the August, 1997 Kobe International
Flute Competition, gaining second prize 59. In 1993, Mathieu
Dufour became a Lauréat of the Cziffra Foundation 58, founded to
encourage young musical talent. For three seasons, 1992-1995, Mathieu
Dufour was Principal flute of l'Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.
During 1995-1999 Dufour was Principal flute of l’Orchestre de l’Opéra National
de Paris. In 1999, Mathieu Dufour was selected to succeed Donald Peck as
the twelfth Principal flute of the Chicago Symphony since its inception.
In 2009, Esa-Pekka Salonen invited Dufour to be the Principal flute during the
Los Angeles Philharmonic's Asia tour. Dufour also played in the Los Angeles
regular season beginning September 2009. Dufour took an unpaid leave
of absence from Chicago to do this. In the 2009-2010 season, while
accepting the Los Angeles role, Dufour agreed to play all the Chicago Symphony
subscription concerts and tours in the 2009-2010 season conducted by Bernard
Haitink, Pierre Boulez and Riccardo Muti 56. This included the
premiere of the Marc-André Dalbavie Flute Concerto with Pierre Boulez
and the Chicago Symphony in January, 2010. The Chicago continuity
indicated Mathieu Dufour's continued interest to play in Chicago
56. The circumstances of Dufour's trial with the Los
Angeles Philharmonic, and his subsequent return to Chicago 80
seemed to have provided some excitement for those who enjoy a good controversy!
Principal Clarinets of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
1891-1921 Joseph Schreurs
Joseph Schreurs was born in Brussels, Belgium of Dutch parents in
April 1863. He studied at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique
- Brussels 136. Schreurs came to the U.S. in 1885 to
join Theodore Thomas's New York-based orchestra 99, at
the invitation of Theodore Thomas who traveled to Europe each summer,
recruiting talent. In 1891, Joseph Schreurs was one of the
Principal musicians brought by Theodore Thomas to join the newly
organized Chicago Symphony. Schreurs become Principal
clarinet in the 1891-1892 season, with Anton Quitsow as his Eb
clarinet and Carl Meyer as bass clarinet. Schreurs was Principal
clarinet with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under all its names:
the Chicago Orchestra, the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, and the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 30 years until his relatively early
death, aged 58. He died in Chicago on July, 1921, leaving his
43 year old wife, Emilia and four children.
Carl Meyer was born in Berlin Germany in October, 1866. In Berlin,
Carl Meyer played in the Bilse'sche Kapelle), also known as
the "Bilse Orchestra" which indirectly led to the formation
of the Berlin Philharmonic when Bilse's musicians broke away from
his ensemble in 1882. Carl Meyer also played in the orchestra
of the Royal Opera House, Berlin (Königliches Oper)
122. Carl Meyer emigrated to the U.S. in 1890,
perhaps at the invitation of Theodore Thomas. In any case,
Theodore Thomas selected Carl Meyer as his bass clarinet for
the initial Chicago season 1891-1892. Carl Meyer
continued in this position until the 1921-1922 season when,
following the sudden and unexpected death of
Frederick Stock selected Carl Meyer as Principal clarinet of the
Chicago Symphony. The next season, with the selection of
Joseph Siniscalchi as Principal clarinet, Carl Meyer went, perhaps
to the Eb clarinet position, but in any case returning to bass
clarinet until he retired from the orchestra at the end of the
1930-1931 season at age 64.
Giuseppe (later Joseph) Siniscalchi was born in March 12, 1882 in Quindici,
Salerno south of Naples, Italy. In Naples, Siniscalachi studied with
Gaetano Labanchi at the ancient San Pietro a Majella Conservatory.
Gaetano Labanchi was a famous teacher, and student of Ernesto Cavallini,
both of whom played the clarinet with the reed above, so perhaps Siniscalchi
also played this style, at least initially. In 1902, Giuseppe Siniscalchi
emigrated to the U.S. He played clarinet with the Chicago Grand
Opera Company in the 1910s under Cleofonte Campanini (1860-1919), who may
have recruited Siniscalchi. Joseph Siniscalchi (as he was now billed)
joined the Clarinet section of Chicago Symphony in the 1921-1922
season under Frederick Stock.
In that era, Italian-trained clarinetist were considered the finest orchestral
players. Siniscalchi became Principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony in
the next season, 1922-1923, but only for that season. After he was
succeeded in the orchestra by Robert Lindemann, Joseph Siniscalchi
remained in Chicago as an active music teacher, both in Chicago and
in Detroit 121. Joseph Siniscalachi died in Chicago
on September 1, 1950 at age 68.
Robert Lindemann was born in Paderborn, Germany in modern-day
North Rhine-Westphalia on January 28, 1884. He studied
first with his father Eduard Lindemann. Robert Lindemann
emigrated to the U.S. at age 27 in September, 1911. He moved
first to Minnesota, where in about 1911-1913, he was appointed Principal
clarinet with the Saint Paul Symphony Orchestra 130
(which later merged with the Minneapolis Symphony). Then,
in the 1913-1914 season Robert Lindemann moved to Philadelphia,
where he was appointed Principal clarinet of the Philadelphia
Orchestra, following the abrupt dismissal of Fritz Dieterichs
by the new Principal conductor, Leopold Stokowski. Robert
Lindemann remained Principal clarinet for four seasons 1913-1917.
It seems likely that Stokowski again dismissed his Principal
clarinet, and Lindemann did not return to Philadelphia in 1917-1918.
Robert Lindemann then moved to New York, where he was appointed
Principal clarinet of the New York Symphony in 1918-1923 under
conductor Walter Damrosch. Robert Lindemann was then appointed
Principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony by Frederick Stock in the
1923-1924 season. Robert Lindemann then had a long service with
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1923-1949, a 26 year term.
Lindemann had survived not only Frederick Stock, but also Désiré Defauw,
and Artur Rodzinski, so he must have been able. He was succeeded
during the term of Rafael Kubelik by Mitchell Lurie (who only lasted one
season under Kubelik). During his first season in
Chicago, Rafael Kubelik tried to replace 22 of the orchestra's musicians,
so perhaps it was not surprising that he retired Robert Lindemann who
was age 65. In Chicago, Robert Lindemann also played in the
Chicago Woodwind Quintet in the 1930s. Robert Lindemann died
in Everett, Washington in October, 1975, age 91, after a rich and
varied career consistently at the top of his profession.
Mitchell Lurie was born in Brooklyn, New York City on March 9,
1922. His family moved to California, where his father
Abraham Lurie (1894-1981), a Lithuanian émigré had a grocery store.
Mitchell Lurie grew up in Los Angeles. Early in his
career, Mitchell Lurie was Principal clarinet with the Pittsburgh
Symphony under Fritz Reiner. Rafael Kubelik became Music Director
of the Chicago Symphony in the 1950-1951 season, during which he
tried to replace 22 of the orchestra's musicians, of which the long-term
Principal clarinet Robert Lindemann was one. In the 1949-1950
season, Kubelik appointed Mitchell Lurie as Principal clarinet of the
Chicago Symphony, only the fifth Principal clarinet since 1891.
However, Mitchell Lurie also did not last under Kubelik and was not
rehired for the next season in 1950-1951. Mitchell Lurie then
moved back to California, to the Los Angeles area where he became an
active musician in the Hollywood studios. Films in which Lurie
was a featured player included The Apartment, Dr. Zhivago,
and Mary Poppins. Lurie joined the faculty at the
University of Southern California in 1952 and taught clarinet and
woodwind chamber music there into the 2000s. In California,
Mitchell Lurie expanded into the design and manufacture of reeds,
ligatures and mouthpieces for clarinets. Mitchell
Lurie died in Los Angeles on November 24, 2008.
Ignatius Gennusa was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 26,
1920. He studied first with his Italian-born amateur musician father
Joseph Gennusa Sr. (1889-1987), an amateur musician and
bandsman in Philadelphia. Ignatius Gennusa gained admission
to the Curtis Institute in 1942, but his time there was limited by
World War 2, and he was officially graduated in the Class of 1943.
During the war, Gennusa served in the Philadelphia Navy Yard
Band, along with colleagues such as Philadelphia Orchestra Principal
Anthony Gigliotti, and later on the aircraft carrier USS
Randolph. After the war, Ignatius Gennusa was Principal clarinet of
the orchestra of the Radio City Music Hall, an attractive position, since it
gave year-around employment, which even Chicago, New York or Philadelphia
did not offer at that time. However, it was also a heavy work load,
with multiple shows each day. Ignatius Gennusa was then Principal
clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC. This was
a less attractive post, low in salary, season, and prestige. After
the heavy musician turnover in Chicago under Rafael Kubelik, and Kubelik's
dismissal of Mitchell Lurie (among others), contemporary accounts suggest
that Kubelik was looking for a "stop gap" in some positions.
It was thought that the appointment of Ignatius Gennusa was one of these, and
that his season as Principal clarinet in Chicago was to be limited to one
season. Perhaps Gennusa was also aware of this, since in the next
season, 1951-1952, Ignatius Gennusa became Principal clarinet of the
Baltimore Symphony. This turned out to be a favorable move for him,
and he served for 21 seasons, 1951-1972 in the first chair in Baltimore,
retiring under Music Director Sergiu Comissiona. While in Baltimore,
Ignatius Gennusa taught at the Peabody Conservatory, where he continued
until 1993, age 73. Ignatius Gennusa was well-known also for the
range of clarinet mouthpieces he developed and commercialized.
Ignatius "Iggy" Gennusa died in Bethesda, Maryland on
May 17, 2003, both respected and liked by his colleagues and
Clark Brody was born on June 9, 1914 in Lansing, Michigan. As a student,
Clark Brody attended the Interlochen Music Camp. His primary teacher as
a student was Marius Fossenkemper (1902-1999), Principal clarinet of the Detroit
Symphony 101. Clark Brody then studied at Michigan State University
1932-1934, where he played clarinet in the band. His father,
Clark Brody Sr. (1879-1961) was state Agricultural Commissioner and on the
governing board of the Michigan State University, which of course would
have influenced Clark Brody's choice. Clark Brody then went on to
the University of Rochester, BMus in about 1936. Clark Brody was
Principal clarinet of the CBS Radio Orchestra in New York City in the
1940s, which gave him 52 week employment. While in New York,
Clark Brody also studied with the great
Daniel Bonade. Clark Brody then won
the audition for the Chicago Symphony Principal clarinet chair under
Music Director Raphael Kubelik. Brody followed a succession of Principal
clarinets in Chicago following the retirement of Robert Lindemann.
His was a successful choice, "surviving" five Music Directors,
including Rafael Kubelik and Fritz Reiner, the bane of many musicians'
careers. Clark Brody retired under Sir George Solti (knighted in
1972) at the end of the 1977-1978 season. While in Chicago, Clark Brody
also performed with the Chicago Symphony Wind Octet and the Chicago Symphony
Chamber Group. After retiring, Clark Brody was a music Professor at
Northwestern from 1972-1995. Clark Brody has continued active also
since his retirement from Northwestern University.
1978-2008 <Larry Combs
(Assistant Principal clarinet 1974-78, Principal clarinet 1978-2008)
Larry Combs in 1981
Larry Combs was born in Charleston, West Virginia on December 31, 1939.
While still a High School student, at age only 16, Larry Combs became Principal
clarinet with the Charleston Symphony (now the West Virginia Symphony).
The next year in 1957, Larry Combs began study at the Eastman School of Music
with the great orchestral clarinetist
Stanley Hasty (1920-2011). After
graduating from the Eastman School, Larry Combs played Third clarinet/bass
clarinet with the New Orleans Symphony. While in the US Army,
Larry Combs was assigned to the United States Military Academy Band at
West Point, New York. This allowed Combs also to travel to New York City
to continue his studies with Leon Russianoff. After the Army,
Larry Combs returned to the New Orleans Symphony, followed by his
appointment as Principal clarinet in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra,
starting in the 1968-1969 season. In summers, he also played
with the Santa Fe Opera. Combs remained in Montreal for six
seasons. Then, Larry Combs joined the Chicago Symphony in the
1974-1975 season as Assistant Principal clarinet, sitting in the
second chair next to Clark Brody. Combs remained in this
position for four seasons, until Clark Brody retired.
Then, in the 1978-1979 season, under George Solti, Larry
Combs advanced to the Principal clarinet position.
Larry Combs married another Chicago Symphony musician,
Gail Marie Williams
, for twenty seasons a Chicago Symphony
horn player. Gail Williams was Chicago Fourth horn from
December, 1978-1984, and then advanced to Associate Principal
horn 1984-1998. At the end of the 2007-2008 season,
Larry Combs retired from the Chicago Symphony.
After retirement, Larry Combs continues to teach at
DePaul University in Chicago.
2008-2011 Interim period for the Principal clarinet chair and
John Bruce Yeh
Following Larry Combs's retirement from the Principal clarinet position,
the Chicago Symphony pursued a search for a new candidate for this
high profile position. The search, complicated, and with innumerable
rumors about auditions continued during the next three seasons.
During this period, John Bruce Yeh and his colleagues Gregory Smith and
J. Lawrie Bloom continued their excellent service to the Chicago Symphony
and to their many fans.
John Bruce Yeh was born in Washington, D.C. in 1958.
He studied at the Juilliard School graduating with a BMus in 1980.
Yeh joined the Chicago Symphony under as Bass clarinet in the 1977-1978
season under Daniel Barenboim. Yeh remained as Bass clarinet
for two seasons 1977-1979, and then was
advanced to Assistant Principal clarinet in 1979-1980. When
the Principal clarinet chair was open following the retirement of
Larry Combs, John Yeh was asked to assume the first chair as
Acting Principal clarinet, which he did for three seasons, with
distinction. Yeh also performed the American premiere,
in 1998, of the Elliott Carter Clarinet Concerto
with Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphony. Upon the
appointment of Stephen Williamson to the Principal position,
John Bruce Yeh reverted to his former chair of Assistant
Stephen R. Williamson - Principal
Stephen Williamson was born on December 8, 1969.
He studied at the Eastman School of Music, where
he earned his Performer’s Certificate and BMus. Then, at
the Juilliard School, he went on to his MMus. Stephen
Williamson was also a Fulbright scholar, studying at the
Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. He became Principal
clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in December,
2003-2004. Seiji Ozawa also appointed Stephen Williamson
Principal clarinet of the Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra.
Stephen Williamson also teaches at Columbia University and at
the Mannes College of Music in New York City. Williamson
also has been active in the MET Chamber Ensemble, making great
music with James Levine. By the summer of 2011, there were
numerous reports that Chicago had offered the Principal clarinet
position to Stephen Williamson. In August, 2011, the Chicago
Symphony confirmed that Stephen Williamson had accepted appointment
as Principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony. Stephen
Williamson joined the Chicago Symphony under Riccardo Muti on
their European Tour, August 22 to September 7, 2011. The
Principal clarinet chair of the Chicago Symphony had been open
for three seasons, and since the appointment, both the Chicago public
and Stephen Williamson's colleagues have been happy with this
continuation of the excellence of the Chicago woodwind section.
Front row: Daniel Gingrich horn, Thomas Howell horn, Frank Brouk horn,
Richard Oldberg third horn, Norman Schweikert horn, Dale Clevenger
Principal horn (Jay Friedman Principal trombone is off-camera)
Back row: Philip Smith trumpet, William Scarlett trumpet, Charles Geyer
trumpet, Adolph Herseth Principal trumpet, Jim Gilbertson Assistant
Principal trombone, Frank Cristafulli second trombone,
Edward Kleinhammer bass trombone, Arnold Jacobs tuba
Principal Horns of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Hermann Dutschke was born in Obercunnersdorf, east of Dresden,
Germany on July 17, 1854. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1891 to
joint the Theodore Thomas orchestra in Chicago. After four seasons
as solo horn in Chicago 1891-1895, Dutschke relocated to New York
City, where he became a U.S. citizen in 1901. Dutschke was a
musician in New York City during the 1910s, including in chamber
music concerts. He was active in
the Aschenbroedel Verein in New York in the 1900s, including
conducting chamber groups. The Aschenbroedel Verein was a
private club of professional orchestral musicians.
(Leopoldus Echhentus de Maré) (Principal 1896-1922) horn 1891-1922
Leopold de Maré in 1908
Leopold de Maré was born in 1862 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
He played in the Amsterdam Concergebouw orchestra in its early
years in the late 1880s. He also played for a season
in the newly formed Berlin Philharmonic orchestra.
de Maré emigrated to the US in 1891 to join Theodore Thomas's Chicago
Orchestra. de Maré became a US citizen in Chicago
in 1899. Leopold de Maré was a horn with the Chicago Symphony
Orchestra for 31 seasons. After the first five seasons, in 1896
he became Principal horn which he continued until his retirement at age
60 at the end of the 1921-1922 season. As most orchestra musicians
of the era, Leopold de Maré played summer festivals, including the Ann Arbor
May Festival in May/June in several summers, including 1908. de Maré
also played at the second Berkshire Music Festival in Massachusetts in the
summers of 1919. Leopold de Maré died in Chicago on January 24, 1934
of a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been ill over the New Year holidays.
Wendell Hoss was born in Wichita, Kansas November 20, 1892.
His parents were both teachers, but his father, G. W. Hoss
(1840-before 1910) was 24 years older than his mother May Engstrom
Hoss (1861-1946), and he died by the time Wendell was 17 years old.
Wendell Hoss first performed with the Chicago orchestra in 1916 as an
extra, and then played with the Chicago Symphony in the summer of 1918 at
the Ravinia Festival. He also played in the orchestra of the
Olympic Theater orchestra in Chicago 174. In 1919-1920,
Wendell Hoss was a horn player in the Los Angeles Philharmonic in its founding
season. In the 1921-1922 season under Nikolai Sokoloff, Wendell Hoss
was the fourth Principal horn of the Cleveland Orchestra in the first four
seasons. Wendell Hoss also lasted only one season; however the
reason for his departure may have been salary, since except for a few
four or five players, Cleveland musicians of this era had relatively
low salaries and one year contracts. Wendell Hoss them moved to
the much higher-paying Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Principal horn in
the 1922-1923 season. However, Hoss left the Chicago Symphony
because of the dismissal of his mentor Leopold de Maré who had been
Chicago Principal horn for 26 seasons. Thereafter, Wendell Hoss
was Principal horn of the Rochester Philharmonic 1924-1930, and also
freelanced in New York City. Hoss then returned to the Cleveland
Orchestra as Principal horn for a further three seasons 1930-1933.
Wendell Hoss relocated to California in 1933. He worked at Hollywood
studios continuously, except for one season in Pittsburg. Hoss
was Principal horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner in the
1940-1941 season. Moving back to California, Wendell Hoss next
spent eighteen years in the 1950s and 1960s in the Walt Disney studio
recording orchestra and many other Hollywood studio orchestras.
He taught at the Eastman School while in Rochester and the University
of Wisconsin. In California, he taught at the University of Southern
California, Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West, San Diego
State College and the California Institute for the Arts 30.
Wendell Hoss was also one of the founders of the Los Angeles Horn Club
and of the International Horn Society. Wendell Hoss died in
San Diego, California April 15, 1980 active in playing through
the 1970s after and after a full career of performing
1923-1927 William Phillip Frank
(Principal 1923-1927) horn 1901-1932 the year of his death.
Born January 1, 1876 in Allentown, Pennsylvania of German parents,
William Frank first went to work for He first worked for Frank Holton &
Co in Wisconsin, where he learned the specialty of high quality
manufacture of brass instruments. In 1910, William Frank
established his own brass instrument manufacturing business in Chicago.
The William Frank and Company became a
well-known manufacturer of brass instruments, including French horns, trumpets,
trombones and later other instruments such as Saxophones. William
Frank died in Chicago in 1932.
thanks to Susan Del Monte and Mimi La Marca for this photograph
Pellegrino Lecce was born in the Abruzzo region of Italy on July 24,
1894. Lecce came to the United States in 1913. The next year, Lecce
was in the Mancini Opera Compnay tour of South America summer of 1914 and
1915. Pellegrino Lecce was also Principal horn of the
Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York
1915-1917. From 1919-1927, Pellegrino Lecce
was was Principal horn with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under
conductor Rudolph Ganz (1877-1972). In 1927, both Pellegrino
Lecce and Rudolph Ganz left Saint Louis for Chicago, where Ganz joined
the Chicago Musical College, later becoming President of the school
and remaining there until 1958. Pelligrino Lecce became Principal
horn with the Chicago Symphony orchestra in the 1927-1928 season.
Lecce held the Principal horn position in the Chicago Symphony for nine
seasons, 1927-1936. After leaving the Chicago Symphony,
Pellegrino Lecce was horn with the NBC radio Staff Orchestra in
Chicago 72, which had the advantage of being a
52 week employment position during the Depression, not the case
with even the Chicago Symphony. In 1942-1946 during World War
2 when so many musicians were in the Army, Pellegrino Lecce returned
to Saint Louis. He was fourth horn of the Saint Louis Symphony,
replacing Vincent Rapini, while Rapini was performing war service.
Following World War 2, Pellegrino Lecce seems to have moved to Los
Angeles, since he played in the MGM studios, including for the 1946
film Till the Clouds Roll By about Jerome Kern 127.
In the late 1940s, Pellegrino Lecce moved back to New York City, where
he was third French horn with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
While in Chicago, Pellegrino Lecce also coached
Philip Farkas and
Frank Brouk, both later Principal horns of the Chicago Symphony
while working with the Chicago Civic Orchestra,
the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony. It seems that
Pellegrino Lecce's last years were not prosperous: Milan Yancich
recounts that Lecce became a night watchman in a factory 72.
Pellegrino died in Saint Louis sometime after 1978.
Philip Farkas born March 5, 1914 in Chicago of parents of Czechoslovak
origin. Farkas described his family as not being not particularly
musical, but he took piano lessons 67. Then, in the school
band, Farkas initially took up the tuba. In a famous Farkas story, one
day, boarding the street car with his large tuba, the conductor complained
that the tuba took up too much space, leading Farkas to change to the horn.
He started horn study at about age 14, and was initially self-taught.
As a student, he was first horn in the Chicago Civic Orchestra,
the training orchestra for the Chicago Symphony. Farkas described his early
horn education: '...One day, while going past Carl Geyer's workshop, I heard some
incredibly beautiful sounds coming out the door. Upon investigating, I found that
it was Louis Dufrasne trying out a new Geyer horn [Louis Victor Dufrasne.
born in Belgium in 1878, was Principal horn of the Chicago Opera Company].
At that exact moment, I determined two things; I would some day own a Geyer
horn and I would have Mr. Dufrasne as my teacher. I started with Mr. Dufrasne
right away, but it took quite a few months before Carl Geyer determined whether
or not I was qualified to own one of his beautiful horns. But in the end, I got
my Geyer horn and played it for about 23 years...'67.
Louis Dufrasne, teacher of Philip Farkas, Helen Kotas and Frank Brouk
Louis Dufrasne was also the teacher of two other CSO Principal horns: Helen Kotas Hirsh and
Frank Brouk. In 1932 at age 18, and still in High School Philip Farkas auditioned and
gained the Principal horn position with the newly-formed Kansas City Philharmonic.
Extraordinary though this was, Farkas later said humorously that he had thought at the
time '...you studied an instrument for three or four years and then went out and procured
a symphony job...'67. Farkas remained at the Kansas City Philharmonic
for three years 1933-1936. In the 1936-1937 season, Philip Farkas became Principal
horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Frederick Stock, replacing Pellegrino Lecce.
At age 22, Farkas was at the time the youngest member of the Chicago Symphony.
Philip Farkas remained with Chicago as Principal
horn until 1941. Then, invited by Arthur Rodzinski, Philip Farkas
moved to Cleveland, where 1941-1945, he was Principal horn
with the Cleveland Orchestra. Farkas then had a succession of
several key orchestral posts. First, in Boston, according to some
listings, and according to Farkas 67, he was Co-Principal horn
of the Boston Symphony with Willem Valkenier in the 1945-1946 season
under Serge Koussevitzky. Then, at George Szell's
request (specified in his contract according to Donald Rosenberg),
Philip Farkas returned to Cleveland for the 1946-1947 season during
George Szell's first season as Music Director. The next year
for the 1947-1948 season, Farkas returned to Chicago as Principal horn,
where he remained for 12 seasons, 1947-1960. Then, in 1960, at
what would seem the height of his career, Farkas was offered to teach at
Indiana University. Philip Farkas explained his thinking in accepting
this key teaching position: '...having heard all too many players continue
playing beyond their prime, I had an abhorrence of doing the same and have
always felt that I would rather quit several years too soon than ten minutes
too late...' 67. So, Philip Farkas departed the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra to become Professor of Music at Indiana University,
staying twenty-four year 1960-1984. During this time, Farkas, an avid
amateur flyer, also taught for sixteen summers at the Aspen Music Festival
in Colorado. Philip Farkas died on December 21, 1992 in Bloomington,
Indiana, location of Indiana University, his longest serving position.
1941-1947 Helen Kotas (Helen Kotas Hirsch)
(Principal 1941-1947) horn 1940-1948
Helen Kotas was born June 7, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois. Like Philip Farkas
and Frank Brouk, Helen Kotas studied horn with Chicago teacher Louis Dufrasne.
As with numerous other Chicago Symphony musicians, Helen Kotas also played in the
Chicago Civic Orchestra as a student. In 1940, Helen Kotas was selected by Leopold
Stokowski as first horn in his All-American Youth Orchestra, which toured South America in
the summer of 1940. Also in about 1940, after a difficult audition with
Fritz Reiner, Helen Kotas was hired as third horn in the horn section of the Pittsburgh
Symphony 75. The next season, 1941-1942, Helen Kotas was selected by
Frederick Stock as Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony, replacing Philip Farkas, who
had moved to Cleveland. With this appointment, Helen Kotas was one of the first
women, or the first woman to be appointed as a section Principal of a major US orchestra
harp positions to which women were often appointed even in the early years of the
twentieth century). This distinction was claimed for other pioneers, such as
Doriot Anthony Dwyer
, Boston Symphony Principal flute in 1952, but is retained by
Helen Kotas. Kotas remained Principal horn for seven seasons, 1941-1947.
In the 1947-1948 season, Artur Rodzinski wanted Philip Farkas to return to Chicago as
Principal trumpet. Therefore, in the 1947-1948, season, Rodzinski told Helen Kotas
to move to the Associate Principal horn chair, a position she refused.
Rodzinski then required Helen Kotas to sit out the 1947-1948 season, while still
drawing her salary. Helen Kotas then moved to the Chicago Lyric Opera as Principal
horn. Also, and during summers she was
Principal horn of the Grant Park Symphony concerts. Helen Kotas also returned to
university to gain her Master's degree in psychology. About this time, she married
a Chicago physician, Dr. Edwin Hirsch. Sadly, Helen Kotas was struck by a car on
October 27, 2000, on her way to a reunion of former CSO musicians. She subsequently
died of her injuries on December 15, 2000, age 84, greatly respected and admired.
Christopher Leuba was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1929.
Leuba was relatively late in starting French horn study in his senior year of High
School (about age 17). Leuba studied horn with Aubrey Brain (1893-1955)
and Philip Farkas (1914-1992). Chris Leuba joined the Minneapolis Symphony,
where he was advanced to Principal horn. Upon the departure of Philip Farkas to
teach at Indiana University, Fritz Reiner, nearing the end of his Music Directorship
appointed Christopher Leuba as Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony.
After leaving Chicago, Christopher Leuba taught at the University of Washington
for eleven years, 1968-1979. Christopher Leuba for 23 seasons was Principal horn of
the Portland Opera in Oregon.
Frank Brouk was born in Chicago on July 27, 1913, son of parents who had
emigrated from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Bohemia,
now part of the Czech Republic. Frank Brouk first took up the
trombone, followed by the French horn while at Harrison High School
in Chicago. His early teacher was Frank Kryl, also a horn player
from Bohemia and a well-known teacher in the Chicago area. As a
teen in the early 1930s, Frank Brouk played in local dance bands, using
both French horn and trombone. He also played with the Civic Orchestra
of Chicago, the Chicago-area training orchestra supervised by CSO musicians,
and studied horn with Louis Dufrasne (brother of Chicago bass Gaston Dufrasne)
who also was horn teacher of Philip Farkas, Helen Kotas, and Clyde
Miller. Frank Brouk was then Principal horn in the Indianapolis
Symphony under Fabian Sevitsky, although Brouk did not move from Chicago,
but rather commuted during the week. In 1941-1942, Frank Brouk
joined the Rochester Symphony under Howard Hansen. With the US entry
into World War 2, Frank Brouk entered the US Army in 1942. Following
discharge in 1946, Frank Brouk was Principal horn of the Grant Park Symphony
summer season, succeeding Philip Farkas. In the 1946-1947 season,
Frank Brouk joined the Cleveland Orchestra horn section under the
newly-appointed Music Director George Szell. The next season,
1947-1948, Szell appointed Frank Brouk as Principal horn of the Cleveland
Orchestra, a position he retained for four seasons, 1946-1950.
Frank Brouk then returned to Chicago to play in the staff orchestra
of radio station WGN. Like
, Frank Brouk was attracted
to radio orchestra work by the year-around employment and security not
found in any US orchestra of the era other than the Boston Symphony.
In the 1950s, Frank Brouk was Principal horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Also in the 1950s, Brouk was joint owner of the Carl Geyer horn
store in Chicago. Then, in the last season of Fritz Reiner's
direction, 1961-1962, Frank Brouk joined the Chicago Symphony horn section,
after repeated requests by Reiner that Frank Brouk audition for
the Orchestra 73. The next season, 1962-1963, Frank Brouk
was appointed Principal horn of the Chicago Symphony by Jean Martinon.
Frank Brouk was Principal horn 1962-1963 and 1965-1966, and remained in the
Chicago Symphony horn section through the end of the 1977-1978 season.
Frank Brouk taught in Chicago at Roosevelt University from 1958-1965, and at
Northwestern University 1965-1974, where he was appointed Professor of Horn.
Frank Brouk played Greyer horns during the first part of his career, switching
later to Schmidt models. After retirement, Frank Brouk moved to Arizona,
where he died in Mesa Arizona on February 21, 2004, age 91.
Clarendon Van Norman was born in Illinois in about 1932 and grew up in
Galesburg, Illinois. Prior to the Chicago Symphony,
Clarendon Van Norman was Co-Principal horn in
the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. While in New York City,
Clarendon Van Norman also taught at the Manhattan School of Music.
Clarendon Van Norman was named Principal horn of the Chicago
Symphony in the 1963-1964 season,
the first season of the new Music Director Jean Martinon.
He remained in the Principal position for two seasons 1963-1965, and
was succeeded by Dale Clevenger. After Chicago, he organized the
Clarion Wind Quintet: Philip Dunigan flute, Stephen Adelstein oboe,
Robert Listokin clarinet, Mark Popkin bassoon and Clarendon Van Norman
horn 107, which was mainly based in New York City.
The Clarion Wind Quintet was also resident
at the North Carolina School of the Arts in the later 1960s.
In 1965, Clarendon Van Norman also gained his PhD. in Education from
Columbia University, supporting his work in music education.
While in New York City, Clarendon Van Norman taught at the
Manhattan School of Music. He has been also a collector of materials
about Abraham Lincoln, which in 2010 he donated to the Library of
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dale Clevenger was born in Tennessee on July 2, 1940 and grew up in
Chattanooga. He studied at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh. In the 1960s, Clevenger was in the American
Symphony Orchestra horn section under Leopold Stokowski. While in New
York, Clevenger also was a sessions musician and played in Broadway shows.
He had also been Principal horn of the Kansas
City Philharmonic. Dale Clevenger became Principal horn of the Chicago
Symphony Orchestra in February 1966, appointed by Jean Martinon. As well
as being one of the world's great orchestra horns for more than 45 seasons, Dale
Clevenger enjoys the stimulation of also playing jazz. He has been active in
"EARS" a band of musicians, including from the Chicago Symphony
playing jazz of all eras. Clevenger has also been active as a conductor
being Music Director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra (Illinois) for fourteen
years 1981-1995. In November, 2003, Dale Clevenger performed the
of the John Williams Concerto for Horn and Orchestra, with the composer
Clevenger's horn-playing wife, Alice Render, is a frequent extra with the Chicago
Symphony horn section.
Quick Navigation: Click Below to Jump to Principal Musician Sections
left to right: Reynold Schilke, Arnold Jacobs, Hugh Cowden, Frank Crisafulli, Bud Herseth
Principal Trumpets of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The trumpet section of the Chicago Orchestra 1891-1898 was divided into
the first two chairs being cornet players and the second desk being
two trumpets. During this period, the "Solo Cornet" was
the Principal of the trumpet section, followed by the second chair
cornet being what we might now refer to as "Assistant Principal".
The first chair trumpet was third in the section seating, followed by the
remaining trumpet in the fourth position. Beginning in the 1898-1899
season, all the section musicians were listed at trumpets. During
this period, Christian Rodenkirchen is listed here as Principal trumpet,
indicating that he was section head during his tenure, and I use the
title "Principal trumpet" for all his successors in the leadership
1891-1902 Christian Hubert Rodenkirchen
Christian Rodenkirchen was born in Hennef, 30 km south of
Cologne, Germany on February 19, 1858. Rodenkirchen played
cornet in a regimental band in Cologne in 1883 34.
He also played cornet and trumpet in the Cologne Municipal Orchestra, in
which Frederick Stock also played. Christian Rodenkirchen
then emigrated to the US, and seems to have settled first in the Chicago
area. During his constantly changing career Rodenkirchen was
first trumpet of a number of
leading American Orchestras from 1891 to 1915. In 1890, he
was a member of a mid-west touring orchestra, the Aamold Concert
Company, conducted by August Aamold (1863-after 1930). Rodenkirchen
joined the trumpet section at the founding of the Chicago Symphony
in the 1891-1892 season as first cornet. Rodenkirchen was first
cornet and then Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony for eleven
seasons, 1891-1902. Note that in this era, the Principal of the
section was Principal cornet, and the third chair of the section was
Principal trumpet, so Rodenkirchen was section Principal.
Rodenkirchen then seems to have had a falling-out with
Theodore Thomas, and Rodenkirchen's contract for the next season was not
renewed. Rodenkirchen then became Principal trumpet of the New
York Symphony during the 1903-1904 season under Walter Damrosch.
The next season, Rodenkirchen became Principal Trumpet of the
Metropolitan Opera for the 1904-1905 season. Continuing his
peripatetic career journey, Christian Rodenkirchen then joined the
New York Philharmonic as first trumpet from 1905-1907.
In New York in 1907, Rodenkirchen married his second wife, Mary
McNally, 20 years younger.
Christian Rodenkirchen with wife Mary McNally in about 1910
He moved to the Philadelphia Orchestra
for two seasons as Principal trumpet under Karl Pohlig 1907-1909.
Rodenkirchen then returned to the New York Philharmonic (it would seem
as first trumpet) from 1909-1911 during the years of Gustav Mahler as
Music Director 34. Rodenkirchen then returned to the
Philadelphia Orchestra as second trumpet from 1911 until his early
death on February 6, 1915, just days before his 57th birthday.
Because of his early death, Christian Rodenkirchen did not finish the
Philadelphia Orchestra 1914-1915 season, ending his restless career.
Christian Rodenkirchen, through his many students was, like Max Schlossberg
(1873-1936), an early creator of what became to be considered an American
school of trumpet playing 95.
Paul Steffens was a member of the Helsinki Orchestral Society
trumpet section 1900-1902 95.
1903-1907 Paul August Handke
Paul Handke was born in Vienna, Austria November 23, 1867,
where he also studied. At age 24, Paul Handke was trumpet at the
Munich Hofoper for five seasons 1894-1899. At that time, he studied
with his orchestra colleague Albert Meichelt Sr. (1850-1914) 129,
who was also later his father-in-law. Handke was first trumpet in
the Vienna Hofoper Orchestra and in the related Vienna Philharmonic
in the 1899-1900 season 108 when Gustav Mahler
was Vienna's conductor. Paul Handke emigrated to the U.S. in 1901,
perhaps invited by Fritz Scheel to join the Philadelphia
Orchestra. At that time, Handke also
brought with him his hand transcriptions of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto
in E flat major composed in 1796. Handke joined the Philadelphia
Orchestra in the 1901-1902 season, and became Principal the following
season 1902-1903. At this time, Handke also played in the Spring
Bethlehem Bach Festival one hour outside Philadelphia.
He played in the Cincinnati May Festival in 1903. Paul
Handke then joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Theodore
Thomas in the 1903-1904 season. Handke was Principal trumpet
in Chicago 1903-1907. Following the death of Theodore Thomas
and the accession of Frederick Stock, Stock decided to appoint
Otto Schubert as Chicago Principal trumpet in 1907-1908.
Paul Handke then moved to the second trumpet position where he
served for five additional seasons from 1907-1912. During the
period 1912-1916, Paul Handke was a musician in Chicago playing
among other groups as a substitute with the Chicago Opera Company
129. In the 1916-1917 season, Paul Handke rejoined
the Chicago Symphony as Librarian and trumpet. From 1926-1933,
Paul Handke was also second Cornet, the fifth chair position in the
Chicago Symphony trumpet section. He retired from the orchestra
at the end of the 1942-1943 season just before his 76th birthday.
During the Chicago Symphony years, Paul Handke also performed outside the
Chicago Symphony. Prior to World War 1, Handke
played summer season tours with the Ballmann Symphonic Band under
Martin Ballmann. By 1920
Handke was also a part-time theater musician in Chicago, and
played with various entertainment groups. Paul Handke's
service in Chicago, although not continuous, covered 36 seasons.
Paul Handke died in Chicago on February 14, 1944.
Otto Schubert was born in Germany in 1888. He and his
French-Swiss wife Emma came to Chicago in 1907 to join the
Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock.
According to Emile of the Netherlands posting in the
www.trumpetherald.com site, Otto Schubert was Principal
trumpet of the symphony orchestra of Basel - Switzerland from
1899 - 1901. Also that Otto Schubert had a successful
period as a trumpet soloist in Amsterdam, where he traveled
as part of a German travelling opera-company. This would
be in the early years of the first decade of the 1900s.
Otto Schubert emigrated to Chicago in 1907, perhaps at the
invitation of Frederick Stock, who visited Europe each summer.
Otto Schubert succeeded Paul Hanke, who moved to the second
chair. (note: at this time, the first four positions were
titled: first or solo cornet, second cornet, first trumpet and
second trumpet. The Principal of the section was the first
cornet, the position Otto Schubert assumed, with Paul Handke
becoming second cornet, a position we would term today "
Otto Schubert was Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony
for four seasons 1907-1911. Following his last season with
the Chicago Symphony 1910-1911, Otto Schubert died young in
1912, still not yet 30 years old.
Jacob Borodkin born in Minsk, then in Russia and now the
capital of Belarus in May 1886. His family emigrated to
New York City in two waves in 1891 and 1893 when Jacob
was a child. His was a musical family and father Max Borodkin
was also a musician. At age 21, Jacob Borodkin was named
Principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic in the 1907-1908
season under conductor Wassily Safonoff (1852-1918). The
next season 1908-1909, Borodkin was second trumpet in the orchestra of
the Metropolitan Opera under Gustav Mahler who made his New York
debut January 1,1908 and also Arturo Toscanini who joined the MET in
1908-1909. In 1910-1911, Jacob Borodkin relocated to Chicago,
where he was Second trumpet of the orchestra of the Chicago Grand
Opera. Then in the 1911-1912 season, Jacob Borodkin was appointed
as Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock.
However, his tenure limited by illness. In January 1912, because of
this illness Frederick Stock appointed John Hartl to finish out the
1911-1912 season as Principal trumpet 143. However,
Tom Crown in his definitive article on the CSO trumpet section in
the International Trumpet Guild Journal of June, 2011 provides another
reason for Jacob Borodkin's replacement. He wrote:
"...[Borodkin] played a
French Besson B-flat piston valve trumpet, which would have had a
much brighter, more brilliant tone than the traditional German
rotary-valve trumpets played in the orchestra since 1891..."
129. Contemporary critics objected to Barodkin's
tone as being "too penetrating" to blend with the section.
In any case, January-March 1912, John Hartl performed in the Principal
trumpet chair of the Chicago Symphony. The next season, 1912-1913,
Jacob Borodkin remained in Chicago by returning to the Chicago Grand
Opera as Second trumpet for that 1912-1913 season. Then, after
Chicago, most of Borodkin's career was in New York City.
He was active in bands, including the Alessandro Liberati Band and
the Arthur Pryor Band. While in New York, Borodkin was also a
teacher of Harry Glantz. In the 1930s, "Jake"
Borodkin also was a lead trumpet in the orchestra of the
Radio City Music Hall, which had the advantage of year-around
employment, not the case in any US symphony orchestra of that
era. Jacob Borodkin died in Brooklyn, New York on
February 21, 1954 after a varied and generally successful career.
John Hartl, or sometimes given as Johann Hart'l was born in
the state of Niederösterreich, Austria, about 100 km west of Vienna
on August 2, 1878. Hartl emigrated to the US in 1909.
When Jacob Borodkin became ill, or was otherwise replaced by
Frederick Stock, as described above, in January 1912 129,143,
John Hartl was appointed Principal trumpet to complete the 1911-1912
season. This seems to have been only an interim appointment. In
the next season, 1912-1913, Edward Llewellyn was named Principal trumpet
of the Chicago Symphony, and John Hartl moved to the second trumpet
position. John Hartl served the Chicago Symphony for three
additional seasons, 1912-1915. In 1915-1916, John Hartl moved to the
Saint Louis Symphony in the second trumpet position. Then,
John Hartl was appointed Principal trumpet of the Minneapolis Symphony
from 1917 to about 1921. In 1921, John Hartl moved back
to the Saint Louis Symphony. John Hartl was in the trumpet
section of the Saint Louis Symphony for a further 21 seasons,
serving from 1921-1942. John Hartl died in Saint Louis in
Edward Llewellyn was born in Missouri January 11, 1879 of an Welsh
musician father, James D. Llewellyn (1854-1920) and Illinois musician
mother, Anna Llewellyn. After emigrating to the US in 1869,
father James Llewellyn played cornet in Saint Louis where Edward
was born. The family moved to Chicago in 1885. In 1890,
Edward began to study the cornet with his father, and also studied
piano, violin, and harmony at Chicago Music College, a successor of
which Rudolph Ganz later became President. In 1893, father and
son played in the orchestra of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition
Fair. Edward Llewellyn also played in the Chicago Marine Band
1895-1899, and in which later became solo trumpet 1900-1904
35. He played, again with his father, at the
Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York in 1901. After
this, Edward Llewellyn became solo cornet with the U.S.
Marine Band in Washington 1905-1906. During two seasons,
1908-1910, Edward Llewellyn became Principal trumpet of the Pittsburgh
Symphony Orchestra under Emil Paur (1855-1932). In the 1911-1912
season, he was appointed Principal trumpet of the Minneapolis Symphony
under Emil Oberhoffer 132. Edward Llewellyn joined
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 1912-1913 season.
During the summers, Edward Llewellyn was solo trumpet for the
Rochester (Wisconsin) Municipal Band 1908-1912.
Edward B. Llewellyn remained with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
for 23 seasons, first as Principal trumpet 1912-1933. In 1933,
Llewellyn apparently suffered an embouchure problem which required
the sudden appointment of
Elden Benge as Principal trumpet of the
Chicago Symphony. Edward Llewellyn then became
Personnel Manager, succeeding
Albert Ulrich Sr.. Llewellyn remained
Personnel manager 1933-1936. During his Chicago years, Edward
Llewellyn was an active teacher. For example,
Renold Schilke (1910–1982) was one of his
notable students. In the 1920s, Llewellyn gave his name to the
Holton Llewellyn Trumpet which has a large bore, which he
preferred. In the 1925-1926 season, Edward Llewellyn as Personnel
Manager of the Chicago Symphony. Edward Llewellyn died in an
automobile accident in Texas just before the 1936-1937 season
on September 26, 1936 131,
when pipes fell off a truck in front of his car and penetrated his
windshield. He died at the relatively young age of 57.
Elden Benge was born in Winterset, Iowa December 12, 1904. He is said
to be self-taught in trumpet playing as a youth, later studying with William Eby,
a teacher based in Kansas City. In his early career, Eldon Benge played in
silent movie houses and dance halls. Then at age 24, Eldon Benge was
selected by Ossip Gabrilowitsch as Principal trumpet of the Detroit Symphony.
Benge was Principal trumpet in Detroit for five season 1928-1933. Then,
in 1933, Edward Llewellyn apparently suffered an embouchure problem which
required his sudden replacement. Elden Benge then moved from Detroit
to succeed Edward Llewellyn as Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony.
Elden Benge was Principal trumpet in Chicago for six seasons 1933-1939.
Then, Benge moved to Chicago radio station WGN where he played in the staff
orchestra which had the advantage of year-around employment
(not yet the case with the Chicago Symphony, or any other US symphony
other than Boston). Also in the 1930s, Benge began experimenting
in trumpet construction. In 1937, he sold selling his first
hand-manufactured trumpets to fellow musicians.
From 1937-1953, Elden Benge continued to manufacture his trumpets in Chicago. Then i
n 1952, for health reasons, Elden Benge relocated to Burbank, California where he
continued trumpet manufacture until his death in 1960. It is said that in California,
Elden Benge was a close friend of Hollywood star John Wayne.
Renold Schilke was born June 30, 1910 in Green Bay, Wisconsin into
a musical family. At age only 11, Renold Schilke was a cornet player in
the Band of the Frank Holton Company (band instrument maker) in
Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Schilke later said that being at the Frank Holton
plant as a youth,'...the old German workmen at the plant insisted that
'if you play the instrument, you should know how to make it...', and
with their help, Schilke made his first instrument at age eleven
45. In 1927, Schilke went to Belgium, to study at the
Brussels Conservatory, during which time he also examined the manufacture
of the factory originally created by brass instrument manufacturer
Victor-Charles Mahillon (1841-1924). Returning to the U.S., Renold
Schilke studied with Edward Llewellyn, CSO Principal trumpet. In the
1936-1937 season, on the death of Edward Llewellyn, Renold Schilke joined the
Chicago Symphony as second trumpet, sitting next to Elden Benge.
The Chicago Symphony trumpet section then was: Eldon Benge Principal,
Renold Schilke second, Edward Masacek third (or Third/Assistant Principal
trumpet to use today's titles), and Frank Holz fourth trumpet. Elden
Benge and Renold Schilke were also neighbors, and as Elden Benge worked
to develop and improved trumpet model, Renold Schilke helped. Schilke
worked with Benge, providing the tooling and craftsmanship necessary to
craft Benge's experiments. After Eldon Benge left the Chicago Symphony
at the end of the 1938-1939 season, Renold Schilke succeeded him as
Principal trumpet. Schilke performed as Principal in the 1939-1941
seasons, Renold Schilke after which he joined the US Army following Pearl
Harbor, and Sydney Baker succeeded him for one season. In the
1942-1943 season, Renold Schilke took up the Second trumpet position,
under Gerald Huffman, Principal. From 1943-1950, Renold Schilke
was in the position we would today call Third/Assistant Principal trumpet.
Also during the 1940s, Renold Schilke continued with the
development and manufacture of trumpets with his neighbor Eldon Benge.
Schilke also left the Chicago Symphony at the end of the 1950-1951 season
in which he was fourth trumpet, but continued to play with the
Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra from 1954-1964.
After the CSO, Renold Schilke continued to develop instrument manufacture
and distribution, forming Schilke Music Products, Inc.
Schilke was a great innovator in trumpet design, according to his
colleagues. Schilke later became a consultant to Yamaha of Japan
as Yamaha sought to develop superior instruments. Early Yamaha
trumpets are said to have had clear Schilke design influences.
After Renold Schilke's death, the Schilke family sold the instrument
company to Andrew Naumann, a baroque trumpet maker. Renold
Schilke died in September, 1982 in West Chicago, Illinois after a
fill and innovative career.
1941-1942, 1946-1948 Sydney Baker (Sidney Beckerman)
Sidney Beckerman was born on July 25, 1921 in New York City into a
musical family. He was related to the musical Fishberg family, his
mother being Rebecca Fishberg (1892-1985). Interestingly,
Rebecca Fishberg's father, Isaac Beckerman Fishberg (1848-1949) was originally
a Beckerman, until he adopted the Fishberg name. Isaac Beckerman Fishberg
was brother to Boruch Beckerman, grandfather to Sidney Beckerman-Sydney Baker
66.  So, Sidney Beckerman-Sydney Baker was related to the musical
Fishbergs on both sides of his family. (Note that
were both Fishbergs, and Mischa Mischakoff's grandfather was indeed
Solomon Beckerman, father of Isaac Beckerman Fishberg 67 - hopefully
not too confusing.) In 1939, Sidney Beckerman changed his name to
Sydney Baker 65, his name used hereafter. Sydney's father,
Harry Beckerman (1891-1985) was a clarinet and saxophone musician who played
saxophone as an extra in the New York Philharmonic 65. In the
1930s, Sydney gained a NY Philharmonic scholarship, allowing him to study with
Max Schlossberg. Sydney than gain entrance to the Juilliard School,
where he studied trumpet 1936-1940 with
two legendary teachers: Ernest Williams and
William Vacchiano. In April, 1940, Sydney Baker joined Stokowski's
newly-formed All-American Youth Orchestra and toured with them
in South American. In the 1940-1941 season, Sydney Baker was Principal
trumpet in the Civic Orchestra or Chicago, the training orchestra of the
Chicago Symphony. The next season, in 1941, aged only 19, Sydney Baker
was appointed Principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony by Frederick Stock.
Baker was Principal trumpet for one season, 1941-1942 before his war service
with the US Army Air Force. In January, 1946 returning from the army,
Sydney Baker again joined the Chicago Symphony as Principal trumpet for two seasons,
1946-1948. In 1948, Sydney Baker moved to New York City where he played
in the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. This had the advantage of
year-around employment, unlike either the Chicago Symphony or the New York
Philharmonic in that era. Baker also was an extra musician
with the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera and played with the Goldman
Band. Sydney Baker also was a regular musician in Broadway orchestras.
Baker played in the Broadway shows Paint Your Wagon, Kismet, and the
entire Broadway run of My Fair Lady65. At the time,
My Fair Lady achieved a new Broadway record, playing from March 15, 1956
to September 29, 1962 after 2,717 performances. Sydney Baker also recorded
the music for the MGM movie The Hollow Men. In New York City,
Sydney Baker taught at the LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts from 1966
until his retirement in 1989. Sydney Baker died in New York City on
June 8, 2010, at the age of 88 after a full career.
Gerald Huffman was born in Hamilton County, Indiana in on January
3, 1903. Gerald Huffman studied first in Indiana with his music
teacher father Isaac Newton Huffman (1883-1963). Then, as a teen,
Huffman studied at the Dana Institute of
Music in Warren, Ohio. He also studied with Herbert L. Clarke
in Ontario, Canada. Huffman had an extensive band career.
In World War 1, Huffman played in the
129th Infantry Band in Illinois. He also played with the US
Navy band. Gerald Huffman played trumpet in the John Philip Sousa
Band 1925-1930. In the late 1930s, Gerald Huffman was bandmaster
of the Kable Brothers Band, a private band in Illinois 44.
Huffman joined the Chicago Symphony trumpet section in the
1939-1940 season. Huffman was advanced to Prinicpal trumpet
during 1942-1946, during World War 2. Following the war,
Gerald Huffman was then second trumpet 1946-1950,
and third trumpet of the Chicago Symphony 1950-1951.
Later, after his orchestral career, Gerald Huffman ran a variety
store in Denton, Maryland 1951-1959 143, and then worked
in a warehouse 44, showing the vulnerability of
following a musician's career. Gerald Huffman then retired to
Texas, where he died in Fulton, Texas December 19, 1981.
Adolph 'Bud' Herseth was born on July 25, 1921 in Lake Park, Minnesota.
His father was, Adolf Sylvester Herseth, senior, was Minnesota-born of Norwegian
parents, who was a music teacher. Herseth's mother was North Dakota-born
Carah Herseth, also of Norwegian heritage. Bud Herseth grew up in rural
northern Minnesota. His first music teacher, other than his father was James
Greco, when Herseth went to the Minnesota state high school band camp in the Summer
of 1937, held at the University of Minnesota 43. He also studied with
Ernest Williams. Bud Herseth graduated from with a mathematics degree from
Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. During World War 2, Herseth was a musician
in the US Navy band. After the War, Bud Herseth studied at the New England
Conservatory with Boston Symphony trumpet players Marcel LaFosse (second trumpet
1926-1958, and uncle and teacher of BSO trumpet André Côme) and Georges Mager
(BSO Principal trumpet 1919-1950). After graduation from the New England
Conservatory in 1948, Bud Herseth auditioned and won appointment as Principal
trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Artur Rodzinski, an astute 'picker'
of musicians. Bud Herseth remained Principal trumpet in Chicago for an
unprecedented 53 seasons 1948-2001. Bud Herseth was then named Emeritus
Principal trumpet 2001-2004.
Craig Morris was born in July 8, 1968 Odessa, Texas, west Texas near Midland, but
grew up in San Antonio. His was a musical family, his father Cecil Morris
being a band director and tuba player. He studied with Raymond Crisara at the
University of Texas, Austin. Morris earned his Master degree in music in 1991
at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Glenn Fischthal, Principal
Trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony. Morris then returned to Texas for further
study. Returning to San Francisco, Craig Morris was Associate Principal trumpet
of the San Francisco Symphony for three seasons, 1998-2001. In 2001, Craig Morris
won the audition to succeed Adolph Herseth as Principal trumpet of the Chicago
Symphony. Craig Morris left the orchestra after two seasons as Principal
trumpet. He was active in Sacramento, California, as Principal Trumpet of
the Sacramento Symphony. Morris also during his career toured with Dallas Brass,
a quintet. Craig Morris then devoted his time to teaching, becoming Professor
of Trumpet at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music.
Mark Ridenour was born in Kentucky in 1959. He studied at Asbury College
(now Asbury University) in Wilmore, Kentucky, earning his BA. While still
at Asbury, Ridenour was appointed third trumpet of the Lexington Philharmonic
in about 1980. Ridenour then went on to the University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music, still playing in the Lexington Philharmonic.
He also added the Dayton (Ohio) Philharmonic to his activities. Dayton is
about 60 miles north of Cincinnati, and Lexington is about 80 miles south.
Ridenour gained his MMus at Cincinnati and completed 2 years of the doctoral
program. After Cincinnati, Mark Ridenour joined the trumpet section of
the Memphis Symphony (Tennessee). He was then appointed Principal trumpet
of the Florida Orchestra (Tampa) 1990-1994. Ridenour joined the Chicago
Symphony as Assistant Principal trumpet in the 1994-1995 season. After
Craig Morris left the Chicago Symphony, Mark Ridenour served as Principal trumpet
for two seasons, 2003-2005. After Chris Martin joined the Chicago Symphony,
the trumpet section consisted of Chris Martin, Principal Trumpet, Mark Ridenour,
Assistant Principal, John Hagstrom, third and Tage Larsen fourth trumpet.
With this lineup, the Chicago Symphony continued the strong tradition of its brass
Chris Martin was born in Marietta, Georgia in 1975. He comes from a musical
family, his father, Freddy Martin being a band director, his mother Lynda Martin
sings in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, and his brother Michael Martin was just
named Fourth/Utility trumpet of the Boston Symphony in the 2010-2011 season.
Chris Martin studied at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned a BMus in 1997.
Both Christopher Martin and his brother Michael Martin have been auditioned by numerous
orchestras. On graduation from Eastman, Chris Martin was offered the Principal
Trumpet position with the Buffalo Philharmonic. At the same time, Martin
won the audition for Philadelphia Orchestra Associate Principal trumpet position,
in which he served for three seasons, 1997-2000. In early 2001, Christopher
Martin joined the Atlanta Symphony as Principal trumpet. Martin served in his
home town of Atlanta for nearly five season, early 2001-2005. During 2005, Chris
Martin performed regularly with the Chicago Symphony, including at the Ravinia Festival,
before being appointed Principal horn in the Adolph Herseth Chair for the 2005-2006 season,
where he continues to serve, fulfilling the rich tradition of the Chicago brass section.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Trombones and Tuba
Chicago Symphony 'Low Brass' in 2004
left to right: Jay Friedman, Michael Mulcahy, Pete Elefson, Jeff Taylor,
Charlie Vernon, Gene Pokorny tuba
The term "Low Brass" reminds me of Brighton, England. We
lived in the south of England for 4 years, not far from Brighton, the
English seaside resort. For more than 150 years, Brighton has had
a park in the center of town, called the "Pleasure Gardens",
which was divided by a small stream into the "Upper Pleasure Garden"
and the "Lower Pleasure Garden". It seems that some felt that
"Lower Pleasure Garden" was suggestive of certain undesirable
activities, so it was decided to call them simply the
"Upper Pleasure Garden" and the "Pleasure Garden".
Perhaps the same doubts could be expressed about the
"Low Brass Players" (small joke).
1940-June, 1985 Edward Marck Kleinhammer Bass trombone
Edward Kleinhammer was born in Illinois in 1919. Kleinhammer
was selected by Leopold Stokowski to play in the All-American Youth
Symphony in their 1940 South America tour. Later, during World
War 2, when Edward Kleinhammer was in the US Army, Elmer Janes
temporarily took the bass trombone position 1942-1945. Edward
Kleinhammer then returned to the Chicago Symphony for a further
fourty seasons retiring at the end of 1984-1985.
1891-1895 Anders Christian August Helleberg
tuba and bass trombone
August Helleberg was born on March 7, 1861 in Aalborg in the north
of the mainland of Denmark. He studied brass instruments
first in Aalborg with his musician father Christen Helleberg Pedersen.
In 1878, Helleberg moved from Norway, where his family had
relocated, to New York City, where Helleberg sought to earn a living
as a musician. He soon developed a leading reputation as a tuba
player. When Theodore Thomas became conductor of the New York
Philharmonic in 1879, he soon hired Helleberg as tubas of the
orchestra. Also, when Theodore Thomas moved to Chicago in 1891
to create the Chicago Orchestra, as it was then called, he took
August Helleberg with him as Principal tuba and bass trombone.
August Helleberg remained in Chicago for five seasons 1891-1895.
He later played in the John Philip Sousa Band 1898-1903 and in the
Goldman Band. In New York, he also played in the Metropolitan
Opera Orchestra. August Helleberg's older brother John or
Johannes (1856-after 1910) was also tuba player in the Sousa Band,
as was his son August Helleberg, Jr. 1892-1978. Based in
New York City, August Helleberg was recognized as one of the leading
tuba musicians of the US, well into the 1920s. In his later
years, Helleberg musical instrument store in North Arlington,
New Jersey, west of New York City. August Helleberg died
on November 17, 1936 in Newark, New Jersey.
Visit interesting website www.voigtarnsted.dk to read more about the
August Helleburg 114.
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