Heard but Not Seen

When Spencer Tracy talked about the role he played in Judgment at Nuremberg, he referred to the lines he was able to speak as being the greatest privilege of his life. During my career I feel that I was immensely privileged to play 40 years of cello solos with the greatest ballet dancers and opera singers of the time, and to spend most of my days and nights intimately connected with some of the greatest music ever written.

About Auditions

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In preparation for my seminar at the Meadowmount School of Music this summer, I offer the following insights. ABOUT AUDITIONS 1. Question: Does…

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Introduction

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Through unguarded cracks silent layers of dust settle on bright dreams Mildred Morganstern (c.1980) I distinctly remember being around three…

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I. Separate Checks

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Right after I graduated from Juilliard I became the fourth of four cellists in Mantovani’s touring orchestra. During the 1950s and early 60s many…

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II. Fancy Free

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My 35-year tenure at the American Ballet Theatre began on a Tuesday evening in early January 1964, when I got a call from Erik Kessler, the…

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III. Sadist or Saint

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During my final year at Juilliard I had a cello student named David Fink (he later changed his name to Finch), who happened to be the stepson of…

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IV. A New Cello

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After spending many years in relative obscurity in New York (and on bus tours everywhere else), by the early 1960s the American Ballet Theatre had…

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V. The Divinity that Shapes our Ends

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In 1967 I auditioned for a seventeen-week-long American tour of the Royal Ballet, which featured Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Max Gershunoff,…

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VI. Gerald Beal to the Rescue

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Gerald Beal had been a famous child prodigy who toured the world under Columbia Artists Management with his identical twin brother Wilfred, playing…

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VII. Sarah and Floria

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During the New York run of the Royal Ballet Robert Gardner, the principal cellist of the New York City Opera, recommended me to be a finalist in an…

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VIII. My First Season at the Lyric Opera

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There were three weeks between the last performance of the 1968 American Ballet Theatre season and the first rehearsal of the Lyric Opera. The first…

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IX. Personal Transformation

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In June of 1969, thanks to the recommendation of Aaron Rosand, I was engaged by the Northern Virginia Music Center as artist-in-residence and a…

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X. Bolts of Leitners

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When Ferdinand Leitner came to the Lyric Opera to conduct Don Giovanni we became friends almost instantly. Like my teacher Leonard Shure, Leitner had…

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XI. Cash for a Guadagnini

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My friend Gil Solomon told me that Sam Eisenstein, a New York luthier, had some pre-World War I bridges, and he suggested I get one for Floria. I…

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XII. American Chamber Concerts

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I came into the 1968 American Ballet Theatre season playing way over my head, and attracting a lot of positive feedback from my colleagues after my…

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XIII. Channing Robbins and Leonard Rose

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After the American Chamber Trio made its Carnegie Recital Hall debut on April 5, 1975, June and I both decided to take lessons. It ended up being the…

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XIV. Dr. Albert Ellis

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One of the unfortunate side effects of my second Alice Tully Hall concert was a severe and debilitating case of tendonitis in my right arm. This…

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XIV. Dyslexia and Its Discontents

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Henry Winkler (“The Fonz” from Happy Days) was denigrated as being an underachiever as a child, and is one of many people who has had…

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XV. Die Meisterschleppers

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Eric Larsen was working as a staff pianist at the North Carolina School for the Arts when I first began playing with him, so our touring together…

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XVI. Unlimited Mileage

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Marek Janowski made his debut at the Lyric Opera with Lohengrin during the 1980 season. Once, at a reading rehearsal, Janowski took a good half hour…

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XVII. Making Gold out of Tin

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Marek Janowski made his debut at the Lyric Opera with Lohengrin during the 1980 season. Once, at a reading rehearsal, Janowski took a good half hour…

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