John Celentano

Interviewee: Celentano, John
Interviewer: Watanabe, Ruth T.
Duration: 94 minutes
Date: 1986-11-12


Biographical note: John Celentano, distinguished professor emeritus of chamber music, received his bachelor’s degree with Performer’s Certificate from Eastman in 1937, and his master’s degree in 1941. He also studied in Milan and New York City. Born in Montreal in 1912, Mr. Celentano served in the United States Army and Air Force from 1942 to 1944. During the next two years, he studied violin with Raphael Bronstein in New York before joining the violin and chamber music faculty of Eastman in 1946. As a chamber musician, he has performed with Gabor Rejto, Andre de Ribaupierre, Luigi Silva, Francis Tursi, Joseph Mariano, Andor Toth, Arthur Loesser, Max Landow, and George Finckel. Mr. Celentano performed as a participating artist with the Cleveland Quartet during its residency at Eastman. He was founder and first violinist of the Modern Art String Quartet (1948-1953) and founder of the Festivals of Modern American Chamber Music at Woodstock, N.Y. He was second violinist of the Eastman String Quartet, which, during the Eisenhower presidency, became the first teaching ensemble to tour for the U.S. State Department. The quartet gave concerts, workshops, and lectures in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Mr. Celentano participated in the Alaskan June Music Festival as concertmaster, chamber musician, and soloist with conductor Robert Shaw in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He has been director of the chamber music department at Eastman and conductor of the Eastman Baroque Sinfonia. Well-known for his chamber music career, he also is a highly regarded orchestral musician, having served as concertmaster of the Eastman-Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Rochester’s Opera Under the Stars, and as associate concertmaster of the RPO for many years. Mr. Celentano also has been a performer-speaker at national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), and the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). His articles have appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, theUniversity of Rochester Review, ASTA Magazine, The School Musician, The Strad, and Orchestra News. From 1958 until 1964, he served as radio and TV commentator for the Evening at Eastman chamber music broadcast series. During the 1960s, he also narrated and performed in chamber music presentations on Rochester Area Educational Television. Mr. Celentano remains active in the Eastman community, and coaches chamber groups regularly. (Text courtesy of the Eastman School of Music)

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Ruth Watanabe: This is the Eastman School of Music oral history. This is Ruth Watanabe and I’m interviewing this morning, John Celentano. [1] This morning happens to be the 12th of November, 1986. Good morning, John. It’s very nice of you to come in to be interviewed for our history. First of all, I would like to ask you when you came to the Eastman School and why did you come to the Eastman School?

John Celentano: I assume you mean when I came to the Eastman School—

RW: As a student.

JC: - as a prospective student?

RW: Yes.

JC: Well let’s see. I think it was 1930, but I was offered a scholarship. Full scholarship at the time because I was Concert Master of the high school orchestra under Van Hoesen [2] and so being the so called top boy of the organization was almost automatic that I’d be offered it. I turned it down because I wanted to do a lot of things on my own and my family felt that I should give myself sometime between graduation and going to professional music school at the time.

However, because of the fact that 1930 was not such a good year, economically speaking—

RW: It was a very bad year actually.

JC: I also had the problem of contributing to the family income and this is another reason why I didn’t take the scholarship. However, I was in the school in the sense that I would participate since I could play the viola. Dr. Hanson [3] wanted to someone to fill up some desks so I did that. The big thing in 1930 was that there was an opening in the philharmonic. One opening in the viola section. I’d been playing for the Hochstein School of Music [4] and Sam Belov [5] was the conductor.

I went to him and told him about the economic situation in the family. He said, “Well there is this opening.” Of course I had played the viola since I was 12 years old too. He said—I said, “Well would you coach me in it.” A couple of times he did. Well I did get the opening and that of course kept me from getting to the school until 1932. Then I studied. I went to Woodstock summers and studied there before I came back. [6]

RW: Were you on the west end of Rochester?

JC: Pardon me.

RW: Were you an original Rochester person?

JC: No. I was born in Montreal.

RW: Oh you were.

JC: I was a Canadian citizen—

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: - for, well until almost—until I was 17 I guess. I was naturalized with my father.

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: We were here—actually I was brought to the Eastman School of Music when it first opened in 1922 or ’23 I think.

RW: What’d you have?

JC: My mother took me here.

RW: Oh, your mother took you here. Yes, I see.

JC: Then she also took me to the theater. It was a no no for those in our particular environment to even go to the Eastman theaters or school that was supposed to be the height of the social element in Rochester. However, that’s where I heard Fritz Kreisler and that’s where I saw my first real symphony orchestra as a child. I think I had visions of somehow participating eventually. It wasn’t until 1930, I think ’32 that I actually went to the school as a student.

RW: Actually your mother at least must have been very forward looking. She really knew what the score was.

JC: Yes. Well she was the one that, I think supported me in a sense. Well of the—

RW: Was your family musical?

JC: My father played the clarinet and he also loved the percussion drum and he used to play with Italian bands here. But being brought up in Italy, he was taught that music was supposed to be a—

RW: A pastime?

JC: Yes, more or less, and something that you should know and do, but always learn a trade.

RW: Oh, yes.

JC: He was taught to be a tailor and he could make women’s clothes, men’s clothes, anything you wish he could make it. [7] When he came to this country there was no problem earning a living because he had this very fine—

RW: He has this skill.

JC: - skill to do that. That’s how we managed to survive in America. In Montreal he had a fine job. When he got to Rochester it was a little different because there was more competition. He was a fairly young man. He’s only, I think, barely 20 years older than I.

RW: Is that so.

JC: It was—father relationship was rather tenuous there. It was more like a big brother—

RW: Big brother.

JC: - kind of thing. He was musical. I think that’s—but my mother was brought up in different circles in Italy and she was very much aware of the so called better things in life. She lived with a family that had music and went to concerts. That kind of thing. We always used to have a joke about it. Father was the talented one. Mother was the more cultured.

RW: Well that’s a good combination. Yes. Well before you came to Eastman School you were already playing the viola. Now with whom did you study?

JC: Well here in Rochester I studied with a man who was from La Scala. A very very fine musician. His name was Eduardo Barbieri. [8] He had a long career, very successful. He was an excellent pianist. A fine vocal culture conductor and a very good violinist. In fact I think he was the first to broadcast the program-- at least in Rochester—called “The Golden Violin.” [9]

RW: Oh, really.

JC: In those days all the Kreisler things. Very very—what I consider a fine musician in the European sense. Of course, the Venice school and the Italian school, these are the things that we were brought up on. Kreisler [10] and Heifetz [11] was something you couldn’t quite appreciate ’cause he played so fast they said in those days. Kreisler certainly and Mischa Elman. He was my teacher and actually the years when I didn’t go to school when I should have gone. I studied with him and he gave me some basics of theory and piano at the same time. He actually gave me a sense of style that didn’t quite jive later on with the other styles that I was doing.

RW: Yes, but all the same you did have a concept of style.

JC: Yes. Well he told me at 14 I played fairly well, but he said at 14 I should make up my mind whether I was going to be a professional or whether I was going to go on and be either a doctor, or a lawyer, or a fireman or something like it.

RW: Whatever.

JC: He left it practically up to me and my family.

RW: You mean you got a job with the Rochester Philharmonic before you entered Eastman School?

JC: Yes. I was the youngest member of the orchestra then.

RW: I believe it. How old were you then?

JC: Well I wasn’t quite 17 yet.

RW: My goodness.

JC: I played the viola and Sam sat me in the second stand. I’ll never forget it. ’Cause I was fired almost in the very first moment. My first conductor was Fritz Reiner. [12]

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: We played the Sibelius En Saga [13] and of course I was clean shaven. I barely had enough to shave. I was going through the motions. I sat on the second stand and he saw me right away. He stopped the orchestra and later on told Sam to get rid of me because he said this is not an orchestra with kinder, not for kids. Sam said, “Go, you sit behind Van Niel,” [14] who was fix feet two.

RW: Yes. I remember Ben.

JC: I sat behind him. I was in the third or fourth stand. Reiner couldn’t see me, but he made you work. He was very looking over always to see if I were there. It was interesting because when Molinari [15] had came, two weeks later, he had the same reaction, but being Italian he didn’t bother me except for one thing. He said, “Come and see me at intermission.” I went to see him and he said to me “Ragazzino,”--little boy--“You’re going to get trouble.” I said, “Why Maestro, why should I have trouble?” He said, “Because you’re very young and you’re the first one that the conductor will look at.” I said, “But I can play.” He said, “Oh I know you can play.”

RW: Yes and given time you would get older.

JC: Yeah, I might. Yes. He said, “Where’s your mustache?” I said, “No, I shaved like mad for weeks.” Eventually something grew and that helped a lot. I did sit—after Reiner left I sat in the front and then they were on—we had a whole pile of guest conductors that first season that I joined. Goossens came into for a little while. [16] I sat in both places depending on the temperament of the conductor. I would move from two to four. That was my introduction to professional orchestra playing.

RW: Oh, my goodness. Now when you came to the Eastman School with whom did you study?

JC: Well I had the—I was so much interested in quartets. I had my own quartet since I was 12 years old. Before I came to the school even out here I met him at the­—Gerry Kunz. [17] Gerry Kunz way back then.

RW: Yeah. Yeah.

JC: He coached us even though we weren’t in school when we were younger, before I came of age to go to school. Then when they did—our quartet—he was the first one that I coached with in terms of chamber music. I studied viola with Sam for a while. My first teacher was Gustave Tinlot [18] when I came to the school.

RW: Oh, you studied with him.

JC: I studied with the Frenchman, we used to call him.

RW: Yes. What was he like?

JC: Well curious he was a spindly very weak, physically weak looking man.

RW: Yes. I never met him. I have only—I only recognize him from his photographs. He was very slender.

JC: He was a very—he was an excellent concert master.

RW: Was he.

JC: Very good concert master. He had a big sound. He wasn’t—now of course with the—even then I didn’t get along with him because you see I had already been in contact with other musicians from the metropolitan area being in Woodstock during the summers. I heard players who were not the same. I heard the so called Russian school and the people from the school of musical arts-- school. It’s still a musical in New York. Their playing was different. It was much more refined and warm and very—something so expressive there.

RW: Did you feel that Tinlot was a rather cool musician?

JC: Well I felt he wasn’t very—he was efficient.

RW: I see.

JC: He was efficient, but I’ll never forget one time he was giving me a lesson and I didn’t practice very much I must admit because I was interested in chamber music. I was coaching my own peers and at the same time I had my own quartet—

RW: Yes.

JC: - that sort of thing. He was trying to show me how to do something. I think it was the slow movement to the Beethoven concerto. He played so loud. He had a very French fiddle I’d have to say. He kept saying you should play this way. He said, “Your intonation.” I said to him, “Mr. Tinlot I can’t play with you because you play so loud I can’t hear myself so I really can’t play.” He did—I think he was good. He had phobias. He hated Russian music.

RW: Did he really?

JC: I don’t think he respected the Italian compositions that were around at that time. This was in 19, well it must have been 1932, ’33, ’34. I studied with him four or five years. I won’t say that our relationships were—our relation was unpleasant. I do think that I probably was at fault because I had been on the outside for two or three years before I came here and I’d been exposed to other styles and other kinds of approaches. I wouldn’t say he was a great teacher, even a good teacher. He knew the repertoire. His idea of teaching was the teacher and the student. You could knock him out though if you came in and prepared your lesson and memorized it. Oh, he’s swoon all over the place. That was—

RW: That was one of the criteria. I mean your lessons memorized.

JC: Come in.

RW: Really prepared so to speak.

JC: Prepared. In a certain sense if you could outplay him that would be okay, which is a rather one sided way of teaching.

RW: Why do you think Tinlot was hired here?

JC: Well he came from Minneapolis.

RW: Yeah. Was he an outstanding musician?

JC: He was an outstanding orchestra—orchestra player.

RW: I see.

JC: He and Guidi [19] shared the concert mastership of the New York Orchestra and then Damrosch [20] came along and the orchestra was split and Guidi stayed on as concert master and I think what happened was that Gustave Tinlot had to seek another job because he didn’t have the concert mastership of an orchestra.

RW: I see.

JC: He went to Minneapolis. That’s the story I heard in those days. I knew Guidi because he was a—I didn’t know him personally then. I met him because he was a friend of Barbieri and then he went to St. Louis. St. Louis later on. Where he became concertmaster of the St. Louis symphony. [21] He was—and I played in the orchestra later on with—in the violin section. My teacher was the concertmaster.

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: He got along fairly well until Iturbi came. [22] Then the story was that—

RW: There was a difference in temperament.

JC: - Iturbi was­—well, Iturbi played piano for Tinlot’s orchestra in Paris years ago. He used to play these little café like settings.

RW: Oh, is that so.

JC: Tinlot couldn’t stand taking the beat. He always used to complain of a terrific draft. There was an audible draft in the auditorium. One day it got so bad that he quit. He stayed on as a teacher. He died I think.

RW: He must have died. [23]

JC: When I came back from the Army­—that must have been ’42.

RW: He might have died around ’40 because I think that was—I think in ’41 was when Jack Gordon came. [24]

JC: Yeah. Well I know he was ill with angina for quite a while.

RW: Oh, was he.

JC: I visited him—in fact I was married. It must have been 1940 or ’41 that we went to see him. He had a house Culver Road and we went to see him. [25] He was in bed. I brought him some wine of course. He was—I had good memories of him in a sense. I think he tried. For me, he was not the teacher I had hoped.

RW: Well when did you graduate then?

JC: Well let’s see. That’s a mute part too. I think it’s ’36 or ’37. I think it’s ’37 because I dropped out another year.

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: I came in and out. I was in for two years and then I dropped a year and came back and then I actually got through. Even got a masters I think sometime in 1940—’41. In the meantime I joined the Civic Orchestra, of course, until I was drafted. I was in the orchestra from 1937, I think, until 1941. Then I went into the Army and then to the Air Force in 1942. In the meantime I was playing the radio here and I was playing the opera that we had. [26] It was a full life. Basically I was interested in chamber music all the time.

RW: I see.

JC: I spent most of my time doing that. We had the first Eastman string quartet of students, not grads, who played with us in New York City at the McMillan Auditorium. [27]

RW: Oh, McMillan at the Columbia University.

JC: Columbia University. We played there.

RW: Well who were the people in your quartet when you started here?

JC: Ooh, well the first one. ’Cause the first quartet I played in. See I was taught that I couldn’t play the first violin until I played viola and second violin. That was from my old teacher, Barbieri. They said to—he used to play. I played the musical quartet. He played first violin and I played second. Then we had other students that he chose. Then eventually I got to play viola. Then I got those two things done after a few years and he said, “I think you could play first now.”

RW: I see.

JC: When they had the first quartet here coached with Gerry Kunz. That’s the first year I came into this school. I’m trying to remember. The first violin became later on a member of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. I can’t think of his name. I played the viola. I think Frank may have played second violin and the cellist—I had the programs at home, but I never—I haven’t looked at them in so many years.

RW: Oh, yes.

JC: That was the beginning in school.

RW: I see.

JC: When I came here the first thing I did was coach my colleagues.

RW: Ah, yes. Your classmates.

JC: My friends in the chamber music. That’s always been more or less my approach. Although in 1946 when I came back. I was in New York for almost two years when I got out of the Army in ’44. Dr. Hanson called up for me to be in the auditorium on the convocation. I was here and my mother was very very very ill with tuberculosis. She just had what they call a rib section and that kind of thing.

I had been in New York almost—yes I’d been in New York two years. Was doing alright, jobbing, studying. When I went to the auditorium, he announced me on the stand. I had no previous knowledge. No previous knowledge. Absolutely no knowledge whatsoever that was going to happen, as a violin teacher.

RW: As a violin teacher at the school.

JC: At the school.

RW: Dr. Hanson was always doing things like that. He announced to me one day that I was gonna be the librarian.

JC: Yeah. That just—just like that, yeah. He decided. It was interesting.

RW: He was one man who could make up his mind.

JC: He could. He—I didn’t get a contract from him for two years.

RW: Oh, I never had a contract from him either.

JC: Every time I’d go in I’d say—well the second year. I didn’t mind the first year because I didn’t think I’d stay here. My mother did get over the operation and she lived. Actually lived another 14 years after that, which was really

RW: That’s marvelous.

JC: She was an invalid of course, but she did live. Of course, when I stayed after she got on my tail to get back into the orchestra. I didn’t wanna do that because I had some associations in New York. The thing about New York City was pleasant for me and pleasant for my wife because she was used to a big city. We had two years of traipsing around the various area—airfields. It wasn’t such a good thing for her, but she liked—she didn’t mind staying in Rochester much. However, he convinced me to at least play the first season and then we’ll talk about it later. Of course, when things like that happen you find yourself her for the rest of your life.

RW: Yes. I know.

JC: That’s just about what happened. The idea of the chamber music was interesting because of Luigi Silva [28] was here with the Gordon Quartet.

RW: Yes. I remember with the Gordon . . .

JC: Then when I came back even in ’46, Luigi would go out on tour or leave and I think it was ’46 or ’47 he said to me, “John why don’t you check my students over while I’m away.” ’Cause he was the whole biff. I did that. Do you remember Julia Wilkinson [29] at all?

RW: I did not know her. I believe she was before my time.

JC: Probably, yes.

RW: Wasn’t she here in the 30’s.

JC: Yes, but anyway Julie was in my—was in the Eastman Quartet [30] with me at the time and she went down to Chapel Hill.

RW: Oh, did she?

JC: Eventually. After that. What happened was, Dr. Hanson came back and I was doing substitution for Luigi. He and Luigi were having a little difficulty about money. Luigi wanted more money, more time to concertize. All that kind of thing. I was doing more and more of the coaching. He called me—Dr. Hanson called me into the office and I went there and Mrs. Hanson was there too. I wondered why he was going to—he wanted to talk to me. She said to me, “Well we know about you.” I said, “You know about pieces.” “We know about you and chamber music.” I said, “Well that’s nice. I’m happy.” Since I was just teaching violin. See they had no way of knowing.

RW: Oh, yeah. I remember you were only teaching violin.

JC: That’s right.

RW: Then the chamber music came a little later.

JC: Just when it came out and she said, “Julia Wilkinson told us all about you. How you coach most of the student quartets while you were still a student yourself.”

RW: She must have been a colleague of yours in the 30’s.

JC: Yes. Yes. That’s how it started. When I went into talk to her, Dr. Hanson said, “Now look I can pick up violin teachers a dime a dozen, but I can’t get someone who wants to do it.”

RW: A chamber music person.

JC: I was the first—he always used to call me “the first professor of chamber music in the country.” There was no—there were—chamber music at that time I came in was something that you got together and the teacher would meet with you. Usually the cello teacher would coach them or you might play for the violin teacher. There was no set up. What I tried to do in the years that I was here, was approach the whole experience in two ways. One through reading of the material so that by the time you get through four years of chamber music you might have read through 50, 60, maybe 70 works.

RW: Yes.

JC: You would have performed at least 12 maybe. That was my idea and to open it up to those people who weren’t just the hot shots cuz it did. I remember Sandor Vas [31] used to use me to play violin because I was a chamber musician addict. You couldn’t get into Vas’s class unless he passed you.

RW: Unless he passed you.

JC: I tried to get away from that and give the kids all a chance. I had set it up so that there was a certain schedule of reading material, performance material, at the various level. I was quite pleased with what we did the years that I was here because from what I’ve heard and seen in the rest of the country later on. The reputation was that if you wanted a good background in chamber music Eastman’s the place.

RW: Yes. I—in the 30’s I did not know of any school of music actually. Although I didn’t know as many schools of music as I do now within my limited knowledge of schools of music they did not have chamber music.

JC: No. It was a catcher’s catch can.

RW: Yes. I went to USC in the 30’s [32] and the violin teacher did have ensemble classes, but they were not really what you would call chamber music. He would take the pianist and we would play violins then piano sonatas with him. Actually to get a string quartet up there or a woodwind quartet or whatever it was really not done.

JC: That used to be an achievement in all of these colleges.

RW: Yes, really it was.

JC: Well I did the same thing when I went to Florida last year. I tried to introduce some kind of cohesion. Some kind of direction in the chamber museum, but it really lacked the vote cuz their not used to that. Besides that what happens is that there’s responsibility when you do it that way. The responsibility is not only meeting your classes, but having some kind of basic approach to the experience.

RW: Yes, that’s right.

JC: This is what the teachers didn’t want to do that because that took time and that took away from other things.

RW: How many teachers do you think are actually that interested in playing chamber music? I know that there are more teachers now who are interested and who participate.

JC: Well that whole area has changed you know.

RW: Yes.

JC: I mean you look now and you thumb through anything and you can find 40 string quarters more or less professional of young people. I think there’s a great deal—the only reservation I had is that the motivation is not so much the teaching of the repertoire to the student, but the performance of it. Everybody wants to be a performer. Like everything else, the colleges practically surfeit. As time goes on I don’t know how the—to support—financially support that kind of activity at college campus with a cultural value. Usually what happens is that the—once they get a position on the faculty then they wanna tour. They don’t wanna stay there. They play 60 concerts in three continents. It’s—I feel now is that it’s almost come full circle as it were.

RW: Yes.

JC: Through the paradigm which my function seemed to be not only to write about it, but to give everyone at least that experience. Regardless of their capacity to become performers to the point where now all these little outstanding people join to become professional and to earn a living to avoid the orchestral situation, to avoid the pedagogical career. That doesn’t mean to say or to deplore the fact that there are some very fine young people that play very very very well.

RW: Yes. That’s true, but let’s consider the European tradition. In Europe, you certainly read about family chamber music ensembles or for instance, Sibelius played the violin and he had—there was a family, a quartet, or Mendelssohn played—

JC: And Schubert. Yeah.

RW: - or Schubert played and so on. Apparently that was built into the musical culture of Europe much earlier than it was here or do you have?

JC: Yes. I think so. Well I think the whole approach to the professionalism is different in our country because, first of all, we developed pedagogues, super developed teachers from our own environment. We pay allegiance, of course, we’re tied. The musical umbilical cord is still there between the European tradition and ourselves.

RW: The European tradition and ours, yes.

JC: It got to the point where we, in some respects, we developed the finest teachers in the world, right here in this country. Once we did that, the last two or three generations, we developed students that are first rate. We don’t have to take a back seat to anybody. Perhaps, from the standpoint of pedagogy, we missed the boat in one respect: that with our emphasis on professionalism we missed the emphasis on the cultural aspect. So that you could become to a certain extent music in the family. You could become a lawyer, carpenter, whatever and still make music simply because the joy of making music. In the western sense, let us say.

RW: Yes. Yes.

JC: In the European sense, so you could have the Venice attitude, not only of piano and everyone, but string instruments, and you gather a doctor, a lawyer. We have amateur groups in this country who are—some of them are quite capable of playing.

RW: Yes, of course.

JC: That, I think, perhaps that’s another thing that I tried to do in a small way is to be available to amateur groups during the years that I was very active so that I could speak to them. Not so much about the fact that they loved music. They do.

RW: Yes, of course.

JC: The proficiency and demonstrating that love comes from technical understanding of your instrument. The better you can play and more charming is the experience. I do think perhaps that the out of sheer survival we’ll have to come back to that. We may have to teach and have people become proficient. Not simply because they’re going to be professionals, but because perhaps they would like that to be part of their—

RW: Part of their own culture.

JC: - own culture and their own way of enjoying life beyond the usual. Amassing them a fortune or an outstanding career in other fields. That, I think, perhaps may be the way we’ll have to go anyway. We can’t produce all the musicians we are producing and staff all the orchestras and all the quartets.

RW: There aren’t enough positions to go around—

JC: And the financial situation.

RW: - and anyway why do we want that many orchestras or that many whatever?

JC: That’s true.

RW: That’s true.

JC: If you educate ‘em you have to give them that illusion and that’s—

RW: Well, some people—some people crave an education because they want to make a living or to amass a fortune. There are other people who seek an education because results of that education are going to let them live a happier or fuller life. My father always told me that he wanted me to go to college because he wanted me to be happy. He never said we want you to have a career or we want you to become wealthy and famous. I mean that was never never mentioned.

JC: No.

RW: I don’t know that it was mentioned between my mother and father. I doubt it very much. I was always told that you got your education because results of that education made for a better life.

JC: Well that’s true.

RW: They never defined a better life as having material goods or—

JC: Three cars and two summer houses.

RW: --yes, or having lots and lots of friends or having a good time. That apparently was not what they meant at all.

JC: Well, that reminds me of the so-called “watershed” in my own existence of becoming a musician. I never thought of the financial rewards. I mean there—to me that wasn’t—

RW: It didn’t matter did it?

JC: No, because when I was 14 I had to decide. Alright, what happened at the time that I had to decide I’d become to earn some extra money I was setting up pins for a bowling hall. I’d go there at six at night and work until eight. I’d make money I could pay for my lessons that way. I remember I was 14. The position hadn’t been done yet, but upstairs there was a pool room.

Sometimes when bowlers were stacked I’d go up there and I’d watch them. I got to be a pretty good pool player. So much so that there was this period of three months in which I took the money that was supposed to go to a lesson. I didn’t go to a lesson. I went up to the pool room and gambled playing pool. I liked pool. I was pretty good, so I really liked it. My teacher came over to see my mother. I hadn’t been to my lesson in three weeks.

RW: He wanted to know what happened.

JC: She noticed I’m in town that didn’t cause it. I went to listen he said, “Hasn’t been to a lesson in a month.” Of course, I was there and they looked at me. He suggested that we talk about it and then it was taken down. My mother suggested that I not play the violin for a month. Not play it. Just go on do your—

RW: Do your thing.

JC: - go do your thing. They took the violin and locked it in a closet. Well the first week wasn’t so bad. The second week I didn’t know. Well by the third week I got very upset.

RW: Upset, yes.

JC: I was very upset. I didn’t know what to do. The upshot of it was that the fourth week I said, “Yes. I want my violin back.” I stopped going to the pool. It wasn’t the—

RW: Thus ended one great career as a pool player.

JC: Who knows? Who knows? Maybe. The only time the pool things stood me in good stint was when we were touring with Bradford Gowen [33] in Alaska many years later—’69, I think. [34] We were doing concerts for arts council. One night after a concert they took us to a very, very splendid home and it had this beautiful billiard room. Someone said, of course the sun was shining, it was midnight—

RW: Yes, it was in Alaska.

JC: That skill did some back. I got a reputation at that point in Alaska as a shark, but I’m not really. I had a great time. We played until three o’clock in the morning. Three to four. The sun was still bright. We had a great time, but that skill came back because I think they appreciated that more than they did the concert in many respects. I made friends from musicians in that day.

RW: Well, yes, of course. Everything adds to something.

JC: I think to be a musician is like being a writer. You become one because you can’t stand the thought of being anything else.

RW: No, you really—it becomes a part of your life. You just simply cannot live without it. When artists say they cannot live without painting or a poet says he cannot live without poetry or whatever. Musicians say they cannot live without music. People who do not have inclinations in that direction cannot understand this.

JC: No. It’s incomprehensible. ’Cause they can’t wait to get away from their job.

RW: They don’t understand why music becomes the breath of life. They just simply don’t understand it. They’re thinking “nonsense!” Music may not put three square meals in front of you every day.

JC: That doesn’t occur to you though.

RW: It doesn’t occur to you why you should have to have three meals a day.

JC: As long as you have enough energy to go to the next session—

RW: Yes, that’s right.

JC: - or for your practice.

RW: That’s right.

JC: A time for your practice. It’s a—I’ve always—

RW: How do you explain that to students?

JC: Well I just wrote a letter to the Pistolesis. I don’t know whether you remember them. They were here Sara and Don. [35] They’re in Montreal. Sara’s in the Montreal Symphony. They had chamber music there. I mentioned the fact that to me, even at this time in life, I do some things and people, friends might say, “Well why do you do that? You’ve done it all haven’t you?” I say, “No.” You know why? Because I may have done it all and my colleagues may have done it all, but those who come to us and those we meet are just beginning to do it.

RW: Yes. Exactly.

JC: It’s a renew.

RW: Exactly.

JC: It’s a renewal. That’s what keeps it. If you work, to me, it isn’t music alone now. Music is a conveyance by which we fuse not only the generations, but humankind. You could take two or three people who you don’t know at all. Young—particularly for me the younger people and if they’re interested in music there’s no question about it. Within a few minutes—

RW: There was a bond.

JC: - we’re speaking and we may have nothing else in common in terms of height, weight, and background, but that—that’s what keeps me doing in a small way, in a little way, the thing I’ve always been doing because I miss that contact. I miss that wonderful brightness in the eyes of the people who are just beginning to come aware why they’re in music.

RW: Right. Why they’re in music.

JC: There’s nothing—I don’t think there’s any other thing except perhaps in teaching, in the general sense, if you get that in teaching that’s what keeps you as a teacher. Regardless whether you’re a painter, or a lecturer, or musicologist, or scientist. Doesn’t matter. It’s that—I could never get into a room and practice ten hours a day to play concerts, but I could get in a room and teach ten hours.

RW: Yes. Yes, indeed.

JC: It’s—I think communication probably is the things that keeps most of us going. If you do it through performance that’s fine too. I don’t mean to say that’s lesser, it isn’t. That’s fine, but to do that you must have a gift beyond the gift of say—beyond the capacity of adequate or even excellent performer. You must be beyond that.

RW: Beyond that.

JC: So that you’re maybe one out of a thousand and then you are giving to the public something distinct and unique. In teaching you can do not only the same thing, but it remains personal to the student.

RW: How do you think—how do you think that the talent level of the students whom we have at the Eastman School affected your teaching? Would you have enjoyed it as much if you had been at another institution—?

JC: At the times that I was in—

RW: - yes, at which the students may not have had as much talent?

JC: Well I was—I understand what you mean. Well I found the—I taught before, naturally. I’d been in Iowa. I’d been in Vermont and I did some teaching in New York City. New York City for me had, at the time, had the—and the Curtis Institute. [36] Those were the two things. Of course, there’s some Europeans. I was supposed to go to the Santa di Cecilia in Rome [37] when I was 15. My teacher Barbieri said “why should you go there? The best teachers are here.” Actually, and he was right. A boy 15 years old all by himself in a different country was something.

RW: In a different country was something else, right.

JC: I felt that when I was here at the school what was great was that there was a kind of hierarchy of talent with excellent, and then good, and then not—well, mediocre talent, but good intelligence. I felt I could teach and I could teach at the many levels, which was a wonderful change of pace. Many times the so called mediocre talent would eventually from three to four years rise.

RW: Loft them into something else.

JC: Yes. They’d rise and many times the very etalented student would be usually lazy or wait like the hair and the tortoise for the last two days to learn something. It was a—I must say this though. Because of that it gives you great scope—or at least it gave us and at various times. A great scope to develop whatever talents we had in the area of communications.

Because not only did you communicate with the instruments. You had to communicate on some level either through body language, through actual articulation, vocabulary. It was because of these different levels of talent, it was always the capacity which unified everybody and that was a decent intelligence. It was the comprehension was there. You never had to be worried about misunderstood.

Now these other places you go to and where I’ve taught, particularly in workshops and summer times. I found that you get maybe two or three outstanding talents. Then the other is almost basically beginning things, which you could never hope to develop to the point of giving them as much as you were capable of giving if they could develop to that point. Now I think the talent is, from a standpoint of numerically talented, they seem to be more talented today. I think because the instruction is better generally throughout the country.

RW: Oh yes. Teaching is much better these days.

JC: That’s right. Exactly. There’s been so much analysis, in terms of not only the mechanics, in terms of psychology. In terms also of the availability of people who do things very well. There’s the taping and there’s so many wonderful things that we can have and then the opportunity to play.

RW: That’s right.

JC: The opportunity to gain scholarships. The opportunity to gain support. These are things that in my day as a student there weren’t very many opportunities.

RW: No and we were—when we were students in the 1930’s whoever thought a student orchestra shipping over to Europe to play a concert or go on tour or which one of us would play an ordinary garden variety college students. We didn’t get to go to Europe on full rides.

JC: That’s right.

RW: We did not have—no matter what school you attended. There was no opportunity for a junior year in Europe or anything like that.

JC: No matter what discipline.

RW: No matter what discipline it was.

JC: This is remarkable now.

RW: Science, or literature, or art, or whatever. When I graduated from college I was very surprised that actually three of my classmates, and I went to USC and that’s a large university, were able to go to Europe to study. Just three of them.

JC: Imagine that.

RW: Now we have here at the Eastman School what barely 700 students and six or seven students are flying off on full rides.

JC: That’s every year.

RW: Yes, and that’s every year. Look at all of the students who have had their junior year abroad or the—you talk to an ordinary student here at the Eastman School and you say, “Now how many of you have actually been in Europe?” Half the people in the class will raise their hands. They had been. I look at these students and I know for a fact that most of them are on scholarship, but they have managed to go to Europe.

JC: I think one of the biggest thrills that I had as a member of the faculty was that at the Eisenhower Program we were the Eastman Quartet. [38] Now there was a professional quartet, the Joseph Knitzer [39]

RW: Yes. I remember.

JC: - Tursi— [40]

RW: Tursi and—

JC: - Georges Miquelle [41]

RW: Miquelle.

JC: - and myself. Well we were sent overseas through that in 1960. Not as a career quartet. This is what was interesting. Cuz we were not a career quartet. We were just four people put together. As they used to say it was a motley crew to being with. We had some good parties.

RW: There are lots of different personalities I must say.

JC: Anyway we went as a teaching quartet to various parts of Africa and then the Middle East. [42] Where was it—we were­—well we went to France first, of course, and Yugoslavia, Greece, all around Turkey. That whole bit. We were gone for almost ten weeks. The interesting part of it was that well not only did we play concerts and I have the reviews and flags and stuff that we got. They were very well received from the standpoint of playing. The biggest thing was that we, as individuals, would speak before and after. Almost like an indirectness kind of thing. We were in Alexandria, which by the way turned out to be an Italian town in the 1960’s, and they didn’t hesitate to say, “How come you’re our American quartet. First violin is a Jew, you’re an Italian, and then I think Francis wasn’t with us because Frank Bundra [43] came with us.”

RW: Oh yeah, Bundra came.

JC: He says “He’s a Czechoslovakia and Georges Miquelle’s a Frenchman.” I said, “Yeah you have the essence of the American. That’s why we are American.” They couldn’t understand that. I said, “You’re a European quartet, but we’re not. You’d pinch me and I won’t say anything in Italian because I’m upset.” I say, “Ouch, which is in American.” Now Joe may say, “Oye Vey”

RW: That’s right.

JC: It’s not quite the—

RW: It’s not quite the same.

JC: - same. They did not—they didn’t quite understand. That’s true that our students have such tremendous opportunities today. The only thing that I think I find lacking is in the experience, musical experience, of the student coming from high school to the Eastman School or any other—

RW: Or any other school.

JC: - any other school. Is that we in our views have the opportunities to do all kinds of musical activities. All kinds. Pit work, radio—

RW: Yes. Yes.

JC: - all kinds, weddings, for all the various—now the kids call those things gigs now. The gigs at high school level are very very very very limited I think. We come with boys and girls who have played Beethoven, Handel, Mozart, and maybe some of the musical shows, but they’ve never play for a Jewish wedding, Polish wedding. They never got out of that. They come to the school and they have very little sense of style simply because they’ve only played the so called high school repertoire, which is basically a classical.

RW: The interview is going so well and it’s been so much fun that we just did not become aware of the passage of time and I know that we got cut off by the end of the tape. I wonder if we could resume the interview. I’d like to know about the specific years that your career at Eastman spanned. You became a faculty member in ’46?

JC: That’s right.

RW: And then?

JC: Well it was interesting in a way that my so called retirement was prolonged by the new director when he came in, Dr. Freeman, about three—and the string department while they looked for a successor. [44]

RW: Oh, yes.

JC: That stretched out until it got to be about three to four years even after my friend, Abe, came in [45] I still did some coaching and then I became—what do they call it? An advisor, advisee that kind of thing. I retired in the sense—let me see. Seventy, ’80, maybe ’80, ’81, ’82. I had nothing to do I think from ’80 or ’81 with the chamber music anymore. That went to my colleagues of the Cleveland Quartet and Abe took over as my position of chair of the string department—

RW: Of the string department. Mm-hmm.

JC: - and head of the chamber music activities. Then after that I was asked to do some teaching for the continuing education department.

RW: Oh, were you. Okay.

JC: That’s—that’s when that happened. At that point I had a student that began to study with me—I think it was ’90, he’s been with me eight years now. Almost going on nine. David Higgleman. He was a very very talented student. I thought “well just for his sake I should stay on,” but I had a few other students.

Really I could say I was retired from the Eastman School of Music, in terms of the artist faculty probably ’80, 1980 I would say. Eighty or ’81. [46] Something in there. The rest of the time I’ve been teaching in the summer times where and teaching during the winter—a very small. Sometimes four or five, maybe six students privately. I do no chamber music coaching now unless I’m asked to listen to some groups, which I’ve done from time to time.

RW: What do you think of the—with the chamber music program here now with regard to such string quarters as the Chester and the Meliora and so on?

JC: Well I’ll tell you what’s—one thing’s very exciting since the—naturally since the Clevelander’s came, which by the way if I may be modest enough to say that I was very instrumental in getting them here along with Bob.

RW: Mm-hmm. Certainly.

JC: The reason being that they are, in terms of chronology—in terms of their age—

RW: Age, their age. Uh-huh.

JC: - closer to the students.

RW: Yes. Uh-huh.

JC: Someone like me or a quartet of older people who may be just as fine as interpreters and performers. That plus the fact that they had contacts all over the country and all over the world—

RW: Yes. Yes.

JC: - and this reputation. I do think that the standard of the proficiency of the students coming in has, let’s say, risen. In other words their getting numerically more, better students, more talented students. That’s been a plus and of course having the group here from the standpoint of street chamber music is no question about it. It’s a fine thing for the school. They are good teachers too and they are nice people too. All of that is a plus.

RW: They are very very very fine people.

JC: Mine reservation, again, because I’m thinking now more not as a performer but as a teacher, as a pedagogue. Is that the strengths of the program before, which may not be necessary now, I don’t believe that, but it might be so. The weakness comes I think in that only the very best students get, not the attention as much as let’s say the opportunity to develop.

RW: Yeah.

JC: Maybe in our profession that’s the only way it should be. However, that’s a conservatory attitude you see. Which is good. Which is good.

RW: Yeah. That is a conservatory attitude, but as we was speaking before, aren’t we wondering about what market there is out there and it is absolutely the duty of a school, like the Eastman School, to produce the very best kind of product.

JC: Well we should be—

RW: We should be right up there.

JC: We should be also flexible enough to take care of different capacities that the students may have.

RW: Yeah, true. True, but for a quartet like the Cleveland and all of their members are extremely busy performing themselves, and in teaching, and recording, and all that sort of thing. If they had to deal with more than “x” number of quartets during any academic year their time would be so diluted—

JC: Yes.

RW: - that perhaps their effectiveness would not remain at a high level.

JC: Oh, there’s no question.

RW: Then when the chamber music program that Abe had here and that you had here deals not only with all grades of students, but it does not exclude the appreciation of a quartet like the Meliora, or the Chester, [47] or whatever the case might be.

JC: There’s a Cavani now too. [48]

RW: There’s a Cavani now. Each one of the quartets is an entirely different entity and has characteristics of its own.

JC: Well I think too, see we’re all not prized, but we’re all let’s say surrounded by an environment, which conditions our responses. For instance, my approach over the period of years, I think it’s still viable today. However, and the way our environment works, you’ve got to have—you’ve got to have attractions.

RW: That’s right.

JC: You’ve got to have them not only in the faculty now, and I said this all the time of course. ’Cause I used to tour for the university and in my little groups and giving speeches.

RW: Yes.

JC: The—you’ve got to have these attractions and the way you have your attractions by showing off your best foot.

RW: Your best students.

JC: Yes.

RW: Of course.

JC: You’re not going to show off. My only feeling is how many of the students going through the school now are going to come out after they graduate and go with some—with an exposure to the participating experience in chamber music. In addition to those few that come out almost as professionals.

RW: Yes. I see what you mean. Yes. I see what you mean.

JC: I think this is where the quartet and I differ to a certain extent. Because their idea—and in a certain way I understand. Our students should be of the caliber that when we leave for two or three weeks or we come back after two weeks they don’t need this all the time. Well, of course, that’s fine, but what about those that do?

Now when I was head of the chamber music scheduling and all that. My biggest difficulty came that all the students wanted to be coached by Katz [49] or by Don [50] or Pete [51]--

RW: Or whomever.

JC: - whomever. You see they can’t because you can’t load them up with that kind of coaching.

RW: No you can’t.

JC: I’ll tell you another thing, which is very important to my mind and that is this. That if you are a soloist and you’re playing all these concertos, if you’re trying to teach them to people who can hardly play it does something to you. I know that when I teach and amateur, let us say, the basics or even a student who’s just beginning. I begin to wonder how I do things and that’s almost an annihilating experience. Therefore, I can understand why the members of a quartet would rather not coach quartets, but teach privately.

RW: Yes. I can understand that. Yeah.

JC: See and so that’s what’s happened. Our—although they’ve done a very nice—very good job of having their influence felt in group activities. They get—which is what I thought in the first place. The very best way to show and to give of their experience as quartets—

RW: As quartets.

JC: - is performance.

RW: Yes.

JC: Also takes them away from over analyzing to the extent that may disturb their point of view toward a certain composition that they’re in the process of recording or doing. That’s okay. However, who picks up the—who picks that up? Where will the others come in? I don’t disagree with the fact that you know polish the best apples. There’s no question about that. Also, watch that the work doesn’t get into the others that you don’t polish.

RW: Doesn’t get in and upset the others. That’s right.

JC: This is the thing I feel. I might have just a hesitation about the depth of the experience for all people considered. The fact that they do turn out first class people. They are not only motivated that way, but their approach depends on having first class people to begin with.

RW: That’s right.

JC: Not developing it as much as having them there already.

RW: Yes, having them there already.

JC: You don’t develop people who can’t play.

RW: Actually the Cavanis, the Melioras, and the Chesters--all of those people in those three quartets were very well trained and had experience. They are—they have been on their way for a long time.

JC: You can go on and say there’s the Emerson Quartet. [52] There’s all of these other quartets I could name. There’s even now the Chamber Music America. They have foundations that give them money. This is all great. This is all wonderful. Except that I think they there’d have to be—there’s an element introduced there that perhaps they should be in a sense also cultural ambassadors, not—

RW: Not stars.

JC: - not stars. If they’re gonna make it [fading voice 00:11:20] they’re gonna make recordings, tourings, and all. That’s fine, but our culture can’t support a hundred quartets.

RW: Don’t you think that music is in danger of the same fate that has overtaken the movies for example? Remember when we were young—oh, not that far. Can we remember that far back? Clear back in the dark ages.

JC: It takes effort. It takes effort.

RW: It takes a certain amount of effort. Alright say that when we were in high school or when we were in college the number of cinema stars was fairly limited.

JC: Mm-hmm.

RW: Each one of the stars had in herself or himself a certain personality, not just a flash in the pant personality, but traits that went along with that particular person with whom you associated beauty or grace or comedy or villainy or whatever the case might be. So that when we went to a movie we came away with a sense that this movie involved certain distinct personalities.

JC: It’s unique.

RW: With whom—yes. Each personality was unique and each personality was someone with whom you would identify certain characteristics. These days if you go to a move do you actually have that feeling of kinship with the person who takes a star role?

JC: No. No. I know what’s you’re getting at.

RW: Now don’t you think that that is going to—and I think—now it isn’t only I who have this feeling. I have talked with students and they’re saying, “I watched such and such a show on TV. Did you see it?” Well I don’t watch much TV so I might say, “no I haven’t” or “yes I have” as the case might be. The student begins to discuss this movie with me. If the student has been particularly perceptive that student will say somewhere in the conversation, “You know that was a real good movie, but you really can’t distinguish one star from another these days.”

JC: That’s right.

nterviewer: They’ll say, “I know the names of so many stars, but they’re new ones all the time.” Naturally there are new ones all the time because there are new people being born every day.

JC: Yeah, of course what do you expect?

RW: What is the fate of music if it goes the same way as the cinema?

JC: Well, you know, there are two things about that which I’ve come to absorb and make not a pronouncement as much as a reaction. And that is, because of that feature, there’s this kind of sameness. There’s a kind of déjà vu every time I hear a quartet or a soloist or as you say an actor. They could, but for the faces may vary and even they’re indistinguishable.

RW: These days, yes.

JC: That I hear this quartet. I hear that quartet. I hear this soloist. I hear that soloist. Very few of them have really a personal unique kind—not only of sound, but what they say is all level. Everybody plays well. Everybody has good sounds, but it’s very rare when you say this is a unique thing. I can hear that. As a result we have first class, but not very exciting personalities. This is what your . . . hear about the performers.

RW: Yes. You have a tremendous amount of virtuosity.

JC: No question about it.

RW: Is virtuosity the only thing that we are striving for?

JC: No. Well this is one of the things that I get—they call me in sometimes to hear some of the students, individual students. The biggest thing that I react to is this feeling of meticulous awareness of the composition in terms of correct articulation, intonation, and a certain discipline about it, which is very good and usually quite fast, I mean peppy.

It’s good, but I work with them five or six minutes and then they begin to get some joy out of what they’re doing because they do not—the inner person doesn’t complete. They have all these mechanics, but nothing comes through. Now it’s not anybody’s fault in a sense. I think it’s our times. ’Cause you mentioned the TV. You mentioned all this—these things which are done perfectly. Your computers, your mathematical precision, which can be enhanced by our technology, and of course it’s part of our time.

The same thing with the music today. I really—I really am sympathetic with people who say, “Dammit I don’t wanna hear Beethoven’s 9th again. I’ve had it.” Then I hear some of this jazz that’s being done today. Some of even the rock stuff. No wonder they don’t wanna hear Beethoven’s 9th. Five minutes of that you’re like this or else you’re shutting the door and running. It has a positive effect. However, people tell me “well that’s terrible music, it’s bad, it’s actually immoral.” I say, “now wait. Our great intellect is all through our history has been a fight and mixing between the aristocratic and”—

RW: The not so aristocratic.

JC: See, it’s always been that way.

RW: That’s right.

JC: All art is that way; it’s influenced by the crudity of something which comes from the inner psyche of humanity. You can’t blame these people for being successful. These hillbilly singers making 30 million dollars by selling records and it’s stupendous. I don’t understand that. Where a man who gives his whole life and plays or conducts or writes our music today doesn’t get anywhere near it. But there’s a reason for it.

I think they’re probably going to influence our creative artists in the next 40 or 50 years and then that will swing back and they’ll create the—influence the so-called “popular music.” We’re just in another period of mixed transitions. To understand the fact that we’ve been living 100 maybe 150 years behind the times. Someone said—I can’t remember who he was. He said in terms of religious thought and artistic comprehension, the general public is anywhere from one to two centuries behind. How you can change that I don’t know.

RW: No, nothing’s going to change that—

JC: We’re appreciating things that were written 100 years ago, 150. It’s different for us to appreciate what’s going on right now. However, the vitality of what’s going on right now outside of what we call western classical music is stupendous. It really is. When that gets to us—Gershwin did it in a sense. [53]

RW: Certainly Gershwin did it and he was in some ways ahead of his times.

JC: That’s right.

RW: Bártok did it and in many ways he was ahead of his time. [54] My goodness you could get contemporaries of Bártok condemned his music and yet we appreciate it.

JC: Well appreciates for him has come sooner generally historically in the past. Only some of the critics probably were aware of it and maybe of Beethoven in his time. Wagner too. That kind of thing. We at least appreciate Bártok today.

RW: Well, Bártok was, in addition to being very original in his own thinking, had such a well ordered mind.

JC: Well he was an intellect.

RW: There’s an intellectual power there and an ability there. Well there was the same kind of power and ability in Beethoven. Certainly Beethoven did not lack for people who appreciated him even in his lifetime.

JC: No, but you know what I—

RW: Neither did Brahms. Neither did a lot of the people who may consider it to be first rate. What I’m afraid of is that we are going to produce a lot of people like Franz Liszt [55] who certainly was above average in his ability to produce music. It wasn’t only that he was such a virtuoso pianist. He did a lot of forward looking things in his compositions. His luster has faded now.

JC: Well the times. The times have changed.

RW: The times have changed. That’s very true. On the other hand the music of some of the other people, his contemporaries have not changed. We appreciate Berlioz as much now as we ever did.

JC: Yes, maybe more.

RW: Maybe more. Pianists appreciate Chopin as much as they ever did. Yet during their respective lifetimes Liszt was the one who got the top billing.

JC: Well, it’s hard to make pronouncements.

RW: It’s hard to make pronouncements that’s true.

JC: Well my feeling about all of that is I don’t get excited about it because historically I’ve had a smattering of some approach to the history of the development of music. I find that this is an interaction all the time.

RW: That’s right.

JC: We’re going to have a lot of—I think there’s tremendous things coming up. For instance, it’s going to be possible pretty soon to bypass the instrumentalist completely and the composer write his own orchestra on the new instruments that are coming up, which give not only a pretty good facsimile of the sound, but almost a perfect facsimile of the sound. We’re getting back to the 16th century again where the composers the performer. He can play his whole score on that. Tape it out and give it up. We’re in for some real good—and then also I think we have coming up is this terrific influence of the Orientals and the Africans.

RW: Oh certainly.

JC: Not only in terms of culture, but in terms of the way they’re going to interrupt our culture.

RW: Sure, the way they interrupt our culture is not exactly the way we would expect them to react to our culture.

JC: They’re more really in a sense more—not the Africans as much ’cause I think they’re bringing in a little bit of that earthiness. The Orientals are bringing the meticulousness of which they are so resourceful and so wonderfully adept. Usually when—they play even better than we do in a sense. They don’t probe so much sometimes the actual content as we do. When it comes out like one of these machines where you make copies it comes out, boy. You can’t tell from the original unless you really get down to examine it. It’s very exciting what’s going on.

RW: It’s very exciting, but on the other hand it’s rather dangerous.

JC: Well we also live on the tightrope.

RW: Yeah. We know it’s—yes. That’s right.

JC: Someone said the other day—

RW: If you—if you produce a perfect—if a composer can sit down at the computer or whatever it is that he has and produces a composition whereby he is—

JC: The performer.

RW: - he is the performer and this things results and it can be duplicated any number of times. Not only duplicate, but you’re losing something.

JC: You’re losing something there’s no question about it. Yes. You’re losing, again, the homogeneity of human expression. An interpreter reacting to something that someone else wrote. Not necessarily pleasing the composer, and not necessarily pleasing the public, but that he is kind of like the sieves through which this material is flowing.

RW: Certainly the sieve through which it’s going, but where—what happens to the source?

JC: Well that’s always the point.

RW: Yeah. That’s always the point.

JC: Sure.

RW: Right.

JC: The sensitivity.

RW: Let’s get back to your career again. What have you been doing in these workshops and institutes? Where did—

JC: Well, actually Nolan Baker [56] who was actually a manager for what was called the college circuit when we joined the quartet. I go to the quartet first. To the Eastman School Quartet, which was formed in the middle 50’s I think. We toured practically every state in the Union. I don’t know how many colleges and have months of—a long list of them.

At any rate we were the first quartet to give what we called residencies. Again, remember we were a teaching quartet not a career quartet. We would spend two to three days at a place. Generally when that happened, I was the spokesman and I would organize the teaching sessions and talk about the music and then we would demonstrate and illustrate. Not only through—not only the chamber music thing, but we got into the basic facts concerning the mechanics of the quartet playing and quartet writing.

What we tried to do—we were very successful. We tried to give an experience, both educational and musical to the various colleges where we went. We just stayed three days. That was the—we did that for almost nine year. Nine or ten years. It was a very important kind of exposure for the students in various places that did not have the facilities at Eastman. Did not have the facilities in Indiana or other or California. Other places that way.

Even in those places we found that when we approached our concerts in this matter it was a novel experience. Of course, later on everybody got into the act. We were the first ones to do that. Then the other thing I think that stands out in my mind is the three sessions­—I had three years that I was sent to Alaska. I think it was ’67, ’68, and ’69 where I went to join the festival, Alaska Festival. Robert Shaw [57] was the conductor and I went up the first time as concertmaster of the orchestra. It was a workshop again for chamber music and I gave a concert.

What I found there was that the biggest lag that the people in Alaska experienced was the fact—two. Two, two, two. Two items that came to mind. First of all, when they went to hear someone play they liked the concerts very much. Usually in Anchorage or Fairbanks. Nowhere else, but Anchorage primarily. Then the performer would be in the green room or maybe at some party for a little while and then disappear.

What we tried to do and this was the idea behind the grant was that we would stay long enough to talk to the people. Maybe even give a demonstration or talk about music. In other words, we had a personal relationship. It was in the text of the concert. Even the first year I was there and that concert was—well it was sold out in the sense that the fee wasn’t very high.

The point is they came knowing that they would be able to see us longer than just that one shot. The second time I went I did a little more than that. We fanned out to other places. Then the third time then we went to small places to play. Sometimes we went in with one of these little three seaters. What happened then—this was the function of that particular activity.

The people who lived in the woods would come out. They might have a contrabass, a bass, might have a clarinet. Always there was always a piano. No matter what the organization of the instrumentation was I had the parts of Haydn symphony. We’d give ‘em out and then we’d go through Haydn’s symphony or if they played the little two violin or something. We’d have something for them so that they would participate with us and they did that.

RW: Where in Alaska did you go in these places other than Anchorage and Fairbanks?

JC: Well we went to Palmer, [58] there’s another little place where the oil pipeline, Seward. [59]

RW: Seward, yes. Uh-huh.

JC: We went in places in between that practically have no name. They were little just spots we would find and six or seven people would come out.

RW: What about a place like Juneau?

JC: Juneau, well we’d give concerts in Juneau. That was—well Juneau I think is the Boston of that Alaska.

RW: Yes.

JC: That’s the—we met some very good friends there who helped us organize. We did quite a bit of playing. We also did what we call a society playing.

RW: Yes. A society, yes.

JC: For people who supported music. Juneau, we did a lot of—

RW: Well Juneau is not a typical Alaskan city.

JC: No. No. That’s more like down—

RW: Down in the states.

JC: Yes.

RW: In the lower 48.

JC: I enjoyed those—of course we have a lot of Eastman people up there now­—

RW: Yes we do.

JC: - to do teaching in various parts—

RW: Yes we do.

JC: - of the Alaska. I haven’t been there since 1969 and—although I’ve been invited a couple of times in the interim. It’s always that’s quite a trip to take. Other things came up at the time so that I didn’t do it.

RW: How did you react to the enthusiasm of people in Alaska? I’ve been to Alaska only once, but I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the people.

JC: Yeah. Well I think the reason for that—I think the big thing that they told me almost everywhere was that we appreciate the big shot artists coming. They can name literally—they get the big names.

RW: Oh certainly.

JC: They said we never have a chance to know them as people, as individuals. They’d play, they go away. This was what the—they enjoy the performances, but more than that they enjoy the contact with the performer as a human being, as an individual aside from his particular—

RW: Do you feel that in a place like Alaska where the population in proportion to the geographic area is so sparse that the people value human communication more than, for instance, those of us who are surrounded by people all the time?

JC: Well, it’s the old story. The more there are of you the less you have—less consideration you have for each other.

RW: Yes.

JC: The less there are of you the more you’re dependent upon that contact.

RW: Well I noticed such a freshness in the way people spoke, especially in Fairbanks for example where the university is. The university community there is extremely receptive to any kind of ideas not matter how trite the ideas might be—

JC: Or how bazaar they are.

RW: - or how bazaar. They seem to treat it equally with a certain amount of curiosity and a certain amount of liveliness.

JC: I think being a—naturally when you’re in a highly developed educational community you feel like you’re back home in a sense.

RW: That’s right.

JC: We spent I think—Bradford and I spent three days there doing concerts and then speaking. Also we gave—it’s very curious, both in Juneau and Anchorage and Fairbanks. We used to work almost 18 hours a day because we gave concerts in the high schools in the morning. Then we had workshops in the afternoon. Then a recital at night. When we got through those 18 days—

RW: You were pretty tired.

JC: Bradford collapsed on me in Chicago.

RW: Yes.

JC: When I got home I collapsed. It was awfully hard.

RW: Yeah. That’s awfully hard.

JC: Then we stayed with people, which was difficult because you’d get through a concert at night. Then you have to put on your best foot. It’d be much easier to shoot pool instead of talk—

RW: Oh yes.

JC: - but we only got to do that just one time.

RW: Tell me how different was it when you went down to Florida?

JC: Well Florida was a completely new experience for me as a—not so much in my own activity ’cause I found the emphasis on—now I’m speaking from the standpoint of education on the campus, very highly developed areas in the university. Also in the musical area, very highly developed and forward looking jazz programs. When it came to the classical, particularly the strings, although they were made use of by everybody and we wanted to put on any kind of an act. No one gave them any credit for the use that they were—

RW: That they were making of them.

JC: - making of them. This was the big thing that I kind of fought. The other thing I found was that I was told that they were—they said, “Well John we’re commercial down here. That we’re not as dignified as you are up north where you are.” Which meant that it was a rationale for not meeting the students because they would play these gigs all over the—they travel 20 to 30 thousand miles a year playing away from the university. That’s a lot of mileage and they travel all over. The students didn’t mind because they were partial of that to the better ones. It was a completely different—it was like freelancing in New York City.

RW: Ah, yes.

JC: That kind of thing, of course, didn’t help the student develop.

RW: Wouldn’t the students get the idea that since were gigging all the time too that they were pretty good.

JC: As long as they stayed in that environment they were.

RW: Yes. As long as they stayed in that environment they were.

JC: I was there—one case in point to illustrate that. This young lady—very good violinist, solid, but very lazy because she was doing all this gigging and she said, “I’m going out to try out for master’s in the Mannes school.” [60] I said, “My dear you won’t make it.” “Oh,” she said, “But.” I said, “You won’t make it.” Although she played well. She went, of course.

RW: She didn’t make it.

JC: She came back. I said, “What?” She said, “No. I didn’t make it.” She was in tears, but she paid a lot more attention to me after that.

RW: Yes.

JC: I said, “Because you’re lazy.” I said, “You can’t do all the things you do and expect to get an area out northeast. Not that they’re better than you are, but they don’t accept—

RW: They don’t accept all of that.

JC: - a standard such as is perfect for you.” They asked her “what concerto do you play?” Well, she said, “I didn’t prepare a concerto.” You don’t go to an audition without a concerto. You can’t.

RW: No. Not at the Mannes school. Not here. Not at Julliard.

JC: No. You can’t do that. She was playing for some of the real first—well my old teacher was there, Rouse, [61] he was on there and the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic was the man who was directing her audition. I said “you can’t go to people like that because you can go in almost any little alley in New York City and pick up someone who has a repertoire.”

RW: Yes indeed. In the summer time when you go down to New York there are all these marvelous music—

JC: Yeah.

RW: - students and they’re on every street corner.

JC: That’s right and they’re playing.

RW: Playing or singing or doing whatever. It’s amazing—

JC: You know what’s good—

RW: - you can stand there and appreciate what they’re doing. It’s marvelous.

JC: What it’s good for, I think, if you don’t—the students—they do help the students a lot, particularly the string students because they need them you see. They get a lot of support both financially and from the standpoint of extra money.

RW: Yes.

JC: If a student can go down there and get the experience without being seduced—

RW: By that.

JC: - by that particular experience and then they start buy cars, and live in fancy apartments, and stuff. They—the experience would be fine because they get a lot of different kinds of playing experience. That is something to be said for. It isn’t surfeited in other words. The standards of people who direct or conduct are responsible for the nonsense. Most musicians are very very depressed about that. Because in order to get to be the head cheese you have to know what to do to play the politics and all that kind of thing.

The other thing I found was that the amateurs are some of the happiest people in the world. Because they get to play with people who at one time were very very capable. The story goes—there are two things. The story goes, come down I play with the best. Some people who can just hold it and they start playing with people that can really play. It isn’t them—there isn’t any balance. The other thing is that it’s a different cultural climate. At least where I—where we were—

RW: Yes. I think there is.

JC: - in Coral Gables outside of Miami [62]—not outside it’s actually practically in front of Miami and South Dade County is not the most pleasant place to live in.

RW: No it would not be.

JC: From a standpoint of lifestyle.

RW: Well not anymore anyway.

JC: The experience in the university was good. I have a letter from the dean which says, “Dear John, thank you so much for spending the year. In one year you’ve made the university music school a first class place”, which was very nice of him to say.

RW: That was very good.

JC: I—that’s what I—but I did rock the boat. Not simply because I wanted to rock it, but because I was accustomed to a different kind of approach to the teaching.

RW: Yes, of course.

JC: Good players and it was a pleasant experience except for the living part of it.

RW: Yeah that would be a chore. I’m gonna ask you another question, which is retrogressing chronologically. You studied with Arthur Hartmann. [63]

JC: Yes.

RW: I would like to know more about Arthur Hartmann for the pure and simple reason that Arthur Hartmann was responsible for some of the very fine acquisitions—

JC: Yes.

RW: - of the Sibley Library. What was he like?

JC: He was the first violin teacher here. He was hired by George Eastman. He told us a couple of stories about his job here. When he was hired he had to play concerts for Eastman at Eastman’s home—

RW: Yes. Yes.

JC: - for chamber music concerts. By the way he hired Sam Belov and I think he hired also Gerry Kunz and the cellist name, came from Philadelphia. Maas. Yes. Gerald Maas. [64]

RW: Gerald Maas.

JC: I think that was it and he had a nice quartet. Hartmann was a very fine violinist. He was a pupil of the Loeffler— [65]

RW: Oh, I see.

JC: - educated in Boston. He spent a lot of time in Europe. By the way, an interesting thing is he toured Russia with Debussy—played concerts.

RW: That was the connection because Debussy wrote minstrels and it says for Hartmann, Inc. [66] We have that score at the Sibley Library. It’s rather interesting that in the earlier publications of the Eastman School, I find practically no reference whatsoever to Hartmann.

JC: Well let me tell you a couple stories.

RW: Yes.

JC: This one story that I must say. He went to —the first time there was a concert at Eastman and he was just hired. He went to play and he went to the front door. The doorman I guess I’ve—anyway he came to the open door and saw him with the violin and said, “I’m sorry, but you’re going through the rear entrance.” Arthur Hartmann, as the story goes, put his foot between the door and said, “You tell Mr. Eastman that he is the finest inventor in the world and he hired the finest violinist in the world. He comes through the front door or he doesn’t come at all.” That was one of the stories.

Another thing was that came out in his teaching. He said that he had to teach women. Of course in his—this was back in 1922 again, 1922, ’23. His attitude toward feminine in music circles was limited to say it as kindly as possible. Anyhow he had this young lady who came in with her fingernails painted and a cigarette in the studio.

RW: Oh my goodness. He must have had a terrible time.

JC: Now remember when this happened.

RW: Yes.

JC: She took out the violin and began to play and sucked her cigarette. He hit the ceiling.

RW: I suppose he would.

JC: He hit the ceiling and he became very—he could be very sarcastic. He was a very, very, very bright man. He said, “My dear” as she got through playing a praise. He said, “Your approach to music is somewhat like the person with a bad cold and a runny nose.” He blew his nose like that. That didn’t endear him very much.

RW: Why do you think it is that I have not been able to find his name on the faculty list much?

JC: Well he was only here one year.

RW: He was here in ’22, ’23?

JC: Yes. He was only here one year and he left.

RW: Hmm. I see.

JC: Because he was—this wasn’t the place for him. He had come from Europe. He had come from the Boston and New York area. He was accustomed to a completely different kind of orientation.

RW: Was he an American?

JC: Yes. Sure. He’s billed as an American violinist over in Europe.

RW: Yes, okay.

JC: He—it’s interesting because he heard Rosé play here, Joachim [67] play and he was close. I think when I met him that he knew all these people that I read about in books like Brahms and people like that. I happen to know—well it was with my—the quartet that I had in Woodstock. I don’t think I was more than 17 or 18. Yeah, I was in the philharmonic here. I had a quartet there.

There was a family by the name of Knauth, K N A U T H, who were very good friends of the Hermanns [68] musicians and artists. One of the Hermanns was concertmaster in Cincinnati and his brother was a first cellist in Cincinnati. Hartmann was a cognizant of the group. It was a completely different environment for me that the Eastman School for instance as a student. I was coaching then chamber music with Arthur Hartmann.

One little story that is told about him is that he brought in the sonata and he brought in the violin part and put it on the stand. He’d throw it off the stand and he said, “Don’t you dare do that again. When you finish a sonata you play from the piano part.”

RW: For the piano part.

JC: “Who do you think you are?” The piano part. Actually from him I got the first real glimpse of what it meant to be a musician, practically a musician. He was an excellent pianist. He could imitate all the good pianists in his day. De Pachmann [69] and all those. We are at Gordon’s Camp once. This must have been in the middle 40’s I think. Forty-seven, forty-eight. Anyhow Ruggiero Ricci was there. Ruggiero Ricci was Gerald’s teacher. [70] Hartmann sat down to do imitations. They were absolutely superb.

RW: Is that so.

JC: Oh, he was a tremendous imitator.

RW: Where did he go after he left Eastman?

JC: He went back to New York primarily.

RW: You had contact with him.

JC: I had contact with him at Woodstock primarily.

RW: I see.

JC: For about five or six summers that I went down. He’d coach our quartet. One little instance of his attitude toward how we should teach. He was a womanizer. One evening we were in our cabins, we had two cabins on Gerry Kunz’s property by the way. I and I think it was the violist Louis Tavelli [71] at the time. He came here for one year. We were in one cabin. Tannenbaum and Frank maybe were in another cabin, the cellist and the violist. It was about two in the morning. He came by and I heard this sound on our window. Someone throwing stones.

RW: Throwing pebbles.

JC: I got up to open the door and it was Arthur Hartmann with a young lady They had just come back—they were in their cups a bit and he said, “Wake up the rest of them I want—we were studying the Mozart C Major.” He said, “I want you all to get up and play the first movement of the C Major.” “You were supposed to learn it by memory,” he said. I wanna hear it now. I said, “Maestro it’s two o’clock in the morning.”

RW: It doesn’t matter.

JC: “It doesn’t make a difference. If you can’t play it at two o’clock in the morning you can’t play it at eight o’clock in the evening.”

RW: Yes. Right.

JC: We got out and went through—tried to go through our antics, the coaching. His approach was that. Absolutely everything had to be done. The most momentous experience in terms of music making was his coaching of the Borodin Quartet Number Two. The one with the nocturne. [72]

RW: Oh, really.

JC: He really had a beautiful style. I played a Brahms Quartet first—yes E minor with him playing first violin. That was a beautiful experience. Of course, he was a very romantic violinist.

RW: How do you think that his Russian tour affected him?

JC: It’s hard to say. It’s hard to say. I think he always felt like he was not recognized. Of course people like Kroll [73] and others looked on him as belonging to a different era. They wouldn’t play with him because he was such a highly individual. I know that when I—he played the Brahms for instance. It was so full of rubati that you had a time knowing—

RW: Knowing where to—where to do the rubatos.

JC: Where he would be the next time. He was a cut above what I felt in my experience at Eastman was at that time anyway. ’Cause my—the cello teacher who coached quartets. Belgium, he was a friend of—

RW: Kefer [74]

JC: Kefer, yes. He was so dry and so—but he was interested in our quartet because we used to rehearse. We used to rehearse. We did the broadcast for chamber music from Eastman. He gave—he gave us time but he was interested primarily in ensemble intonation and that was it. Play the right notes at the right time and have respect for what you see on the score. He would only say—never say anything about phrasing, but dynamics. He’d always be after us about the loud, soft, softer, and that kind of thing.

RW: Do you think that Tinlot and Kefer got along extremely well with each other?

JC: I tell you a story about that. I went to rehearsal of the quartet with Tinlot, Gerry Kunz—now you must remember a Frenchman—

RW: A Belgian.

JC: - a German—

RW: The German, yeah.

JC: [inaudible], a Belgian—

[1] Eastman School of Music (ESM) graduate (BM 1937, MM 1941) and distinguished faculty emeritus.

[2] Karl Van Hoesen was among the first instructors at ESM from 1926 to 1966. He was the first performer in a distinguished family of Rochester musicians. Van Hoesen began his tenure as a professor of public school music in 1926. His son K. David Van Hoesen, (BM 1950) taught bassoon at ESM from 1954 to 1991, and his granddaughter, Catherine Van Hoesen (MM 1980), is a professional violinist and a faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (“Catherine Van Hoesen.” San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 2015.
; Vincent A. Lenti. For the Enrichment of Community Life: George Eastman and the Founding of the Eastman School of Music. Rochester: Meliora Press, 2004. Print.; May, History 1967; Charles C. Riker. The Eastman School of Music: Its First Quarter Century 1921-1946. Rochester: University of Rochester, 1948. 90).

[3] Howard Hanson, director of the Eastman School of Music from 1924 to 1964 (“Howard Hanson Institute for American Music.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. Web. 10 December 2015. http://www.esm.

[4] Founded in 1920, the Hochstein School of Music originally offered lessons to students at the home of the Hochstein family on Joseph Avenue. Support for the school came in the aftermath of the death of Rochester native and concert violinist David Hochstein in World War I. Rochesterians George Eastman and Emily Sibley Watson—Hochstein’s benefactress—were leading financers of the school. It continues to offer training to young and adult musicians of the greater Rochester area at its current location, 50 North Plymouth Avenue (“Our History.” Hochstein School of Music. Web. 9 December 2015.

[5] Russian born violist Sam Belov taught at the Dossenbach-Klingenberg-Gareissen Institute of Musical Art (Institute of Musical Art) from 1920 to 1921; in 1921, he took a position at ESM, where he taught from 1921 to 1943. During that span, he served as executive director of the Hochstein School of Music from 1931 to 1943 (Lenti, Founding 244, 248; “Our History.” Hochstein School of Music. Web. 9 December 2015.

[6] Hervey White founded a summer music festival in Woodstock, New York, in 1915. The festival became a meeting ground of professional and amateur musicians, and featured performances of chamber music. Among the notable events to transpire at the festival was the 1952 premier of John Cage’s composition 4:33 (“Maverick Concerts History.” Maverick Concerts. Web. 15 December 2015. http://www.maverick

[7] According to the Rochester city directory for 1932, Joseph Celentano, a tailor, and his wife, Lena, lived at 8 Miller Street (Rochester City Directory Rochester: Sampson and Murdock, 1932. 442. Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. Web. 14 December 2015).

[8] Eduardo Barbieri is listed as a “teacher of music” in the 1930 Rochester City directory. He kept a studio at 81 East Avenue, room 13, and resided at 41 Laurelton Road. Barbieri also taught at the Dossenbach-Klingenberg-Gareissen Institute of Musical Art, founded in 1913, from 1913 to 1914. A forerunner to the Eastman School of Music, the Institute was located at 47 Prince Street (Rochester City Directory Rochester: Sampson and Murdock, 1930. 489. Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. Web. 9 December 2015; Ernestine M. Klinzing. “”Music in Rochester: A Century of Musical Progress: 1825-1925.” Rochester History 29.1 (Jan 1967): 21. Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County Web. 21 December 2015; Lenti Founding, 244).

[9] Unidentified.

[10] Fritz Kreisler counts among the most influential performers and composers of the violin repertoire. Recognized by his frequent use of vibrato and known for his engaging manner in performance, Kreisler once solicited a standing ovation from the fellow violin master Eugene Ysaӱe. His compositions remain standards of contemporary violin performance (“Fritz Kreisler.” Naxos Web. 9 December 2015

[11] Born in what is now Lithuania in 1901, Jascha Heifitz debuted in Berlin at age 11, and came to America with his family at 16, and debuted at Carnegie Hall on October 27, 1917. It was the beginning of a career characterized by extensive touring, rapturous public responses, and technical brilliance. Both a master of the literature for the violin and a proponent of contemporary composers, Heifetz premiered works or made seminal recordings of concertos by Elgar, Korngold, Sibelius, and others. An ardent supporter of numerous social causes, Heifetz performed benefit concerts for the U.S. military, played with the USO, and advocated for clean air (“From the Jascha Heifetz Biography at 2010. John and John Anthony Maltese.” Web. 10 December 2015.

[12] Conductor Fritz Reiner, a native of Budapest, first conducted in America with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the 1920s. His volatile personality was on full display at this early stage of his career; he dismissed and replaced about a third of the orchestra in his first year. He made his name conducting orchestras in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and also conducted the Metropolitan Orchestra from 1949 to 1953. A contributing factor to Reiner’s notoriety was the concurrence of his career with the emergence of radio and, later, television, as popular media. He led radio broadcasts of the “Ford Sunday Evening Hour” and, as conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, performed frequently on Chicago television station WGN (“A Brief Biography of the Career of Fritz Reiner.” The Stokowski Legacy. Web. 9 December 2015.

[13] En Saga (1892, 1902) is a tone poem Sibelius said of the composition “En Saga is psychologically one of my most profound works. I could almost say the whole of my youth is contained within it” (“En Saga.”

[14] Eduard Van Niel received a bachelor of music in 1941 and a master of music degree in 1942 (University of Rochester commencement program 1941. 5; University of Rochester commencement program 1942 13. [RBSC]: Online).

[15] Bernardino Molinari (1880-1952) Italian conductor and teacher, who mentored famed conductor Carlo Maria Guilini at Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (“Carlo Maria Guilini, Master Conductor, Dies at 91.” Antony Tommasini. New York Times 16 June 2005. B11. Web. 9 December 2015).

[16] Sir Eugene Goosens conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1923 to 1931. Known for his skill as a conductor of opera as well as orchestral music, Goosens subsequently conducted the Cincinnati Symphony, the Covent Garden Opera and Ballet, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He also composed music (“Sir Eugene Goosens.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. Web. 9 December 2015. http://www.esm.

[17] Gerald Kunz taught violin at ESM from 1921 to 1932 (Riker, Eastman 94).

[18] Gustave Tinlot was instructor of violin at the ESM from 1925 to 1932 (The Eastman School of Music: Its First Quarter Century 1921-1946. Rochester: University of Rochester, 1948. 95).

[19] Scipione Guidi, and Italian violinist, was concertmaster with the National Symphony Orchestra of New York (1919-21) and, following its merger with the New York Philharmonic, held the same position for ten years (1921-1931) with New York Philharmonic. Tinlot had been concertmaster of the Paris Opera Comique until 1918, when Damrosch persuaded him to come to New York (“St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Principal Musicians.” The Stokowski Legacy. Web. 10 December 2015).
; “Tinlot at the Eastman School.” Web. 26 May 2016. e

[20] Walter Damrosch. The son of a conductor, Damrosch succeeded his father as maestro of the New York Symphony Society in 1885. He also led the Oratorio Society of New York, and, for six years, the Metropolitan Opera. Damrosch oversaw the restructuring of the New York Symphony Society in 1903, and its merger with the Philharmonic Society in 1927. Records of the New York Philharmonic identify one concert during which Guidi performed as a soloist under Damrosch, on November 3 1928 (“Digital Archives.” New York Philharmonic. 2001-2015. Web 10 December 2015.
; “Walter Damrosch.” Encyclopedia Britannica Web. 10 December 2015).

[21] Guidi held the concertmaster chair with the St. Louis Symphony from 1931 to 1941. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles to work as a studio musician “Scipione Guidi.” Prone to Violins. Sunday 23 June 2013. Web. 10 December 2015. http://pronetoviolins.

[22] José Iturbi conducted the RPO from 1936 to 1944. Iturbi’s exploits made him one of the most flamboyant conductors of his time. He belonged to the Civilian Air Patrol during World War II, performed widely for military personnel, and appeared in multiple Hollywood films (“José Iturbi.” Jose Iturbi an Historical Oversight Rectified. Web. 10 December 2015.

[23] Tinlot died on March 2, 1942 (Riker, Eastman 95).

[24] Jacques Gordon joined the ESM faculty in 1941, having already enjoyed a remarkable career as a concert violinist that included his appointment, at 24, as the youngest concertmaster in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He had formed the Gordon String Quartet while in Chicago, and the group became the quartet in residence at Eastman upon his hiring. As of 1947, members included Mr. Gordon as first violin; Urico Rossi, second violin; David Dawson, viola; and Fritz Magg, cello. Mr. Gordon died in 1948. He willed his collection of violin music—including several manuscripts and compositions autographed by their composers--to the Eastman School of Music, and it remains in circulation at the Sibley Music Library Riker, Eastman, 89; Ruth Watanabe. (“The Gordon Collection of String Music” University of Rochester Library Bulletin 7.2 (1952): RBSC: (Online).

[25] Gustave Tinlot and his wife Germaine resided at 1000 Culver Road Rochester City Directory Rochester: Sampson and Murdock, 1936. 854 Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. Web. 10 December 2015).

[26] Celentano performed with the Rochester Civic Orchestra, was concert master of the Rochester Philharmonic (1946-1952) and founded and performed with the Modern Arts String Quartet (1948-1953). He also performed with the Rochester “Opera Under the Stars” (1952-1976). An ambassador for classical music, Mr. Celentano narrated Evenings at Eastman broadcasts and founded the Festivals of Modern American Chamber Music.

[27] Built in 1924, McMillan Theatre was remodeled and renamed Miller Theatre in 1988 (“Miller Theatre Columbia University School of the Arts.” Columbia University. 2014. Web. 10 December 2015 http://www.millertheatre.

[28] Silva was an accomplished cellist and chamber musician in his native Italy before he came to ESM, where he led chamber music and cello instruction from 1941-1949. After his departure, he continued teaching at the Julliard School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and Yale University (“Luigi Silva.” Ovation Press. 2002-2011. Web. 14 December 2015. http://www.ovationpress.

[29] Julia Anne Wilkinson received an artist’s diploma in viola in 1939 (University of Rochester commencement program, 1939. 8. [RBSC]: Online).

[30] The Eastman String Quartet became the first student group to perform at the Festival of American Music in 1949. At that time, the quartet included Paul Brainard, Gordon Epperson, Alfred Schneider, and Richard Blum (“Chamber Music Offered John Celentano Directs Program at the Eastman School.” New York Times 12 May 1949. 27. Proquest. Web. 17 December 2015).

[31] Sandor Vas, a Hungarian pianist, taught at ESM from 1923 to 1954 (Lenti, Founding, 252).

[32] Ruth Watanabe earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in both English literature and music at the University of Southern California. She completed a doctorate in musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Her career at Eastman began while she was in graduate school, during which she worked at the Sibley Music Library, beginning in 1944. She became head librarian at Sibley in 1947, and served in that position until June of 1984. A noted bibliographer, author, and past president of the American Music Library Association, Ms. Watanabe is also the namesake of the special collections at the Sibley Music Library (“The Spirit of Meliora: Ruth T. Watanabe.” Robert Freeman. University of Rochester Library Bulletin 37 (1984): [RBSC]: 30 November 2015.

[33] Eastman School of Music graduate Bradford Paul Gowen (BM 1968, MM 1969) is currently associate professor of music at the University of Maryland. His decorated career as a concert pianist includes a performance of Aaron Copland’s Piano Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Copland, and performances with the Kronos Quartet and the Guarneri Quartet (“Bradford P. Gowen.” University of Maryland School of Music. 2015. Web. 14 December 2015.

[34] Celentano participated in the Alaskan June Music Festival from 1967 to 1969 (“John Celentano.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. Web. 14 December 2015. http://www.esm.rochester.

[35] Sara Bohl Pistolesi and Donald Pistolesi, a violinist and a cellist, respectively, graduated in 1969. Each received a BM with distinction; Donald also earned a performer’s certificate. Sara earned a MM in 1972, and joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1975. As of 2015, the two were still active performers in the Montreal area (“Pistolesis Present ‘Very Odd’ Concert: Married Musicians Pair Violin, Cello for Show.” Joe Pinchot. The Herald [Sharon, PA] 11 April 2002. Web. 26 May 26; University of Rochester commencement programs. Class of 1969 44, 18; Class of 1973 37. [RBSC]: Online).

[36] The Curtis Institute, founded in Philadelphia in 1924, is named for its benefactor, Ms. Mary Louise Curtis Bok, the heiress of the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post and The Ladies’ Home Journal (“Curtis Institute of Music: History.” Curtis Institute of Music.

[37] A conservatory founded in 1585 (“About Us.” Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecelia. 2015. Web. 17 December 2015.

[38] The Eastman quartet was the first teaching ensemble to travel on behalf of the Department of State; it toured in the Middle East, Europe, and north Africa (“John Celentano.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. Web. 14 December 2015. http://www.esm.

[39] Knitzer joined the ESM faculty in 1955. Prior to arriving at Eastman, he had performed with several major orchestras; he was concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1945 to 1946. Known as a gentle teacher, he taught at Northwestern University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the University of Michigan (May, History 1967 “Principal Instrumentalists of the Cleveland Orchestra: A Chronological Listing.” The Stokowski Legacy. Web. 16 December 2015.

[40] Francis Tursi earned bachelor of music degrees from ESM in both viola performance (1948) and composition (1947), having already completed degrees in both fields at the Curtis Institute. He was instructor of viola at ESM from 1949 to 1985. During his career, he played in several chamber music ensembles, including the Eastman String Quartet, the Kilbourn Quartet, the Eastman Piano Quartet, the Eastman Trio, the Fine Arts Quartet, and the New England Piano Quartet (“Francis Tursi.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. Web. 14 December 2015. http://www.esm.

[41] French cellist Georges Miquelle joined the ESM faculty in 1954. Miquelle came to Eastman from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he was the principle cellist; he had begun his American career with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (“Noted Cellist Joins Eastman Staff.” Rochester Review (May 1954): 16. [RBSC]: Online).

[42] Celentano authored a detailed account of the trip, sponsored by the State Department Cultural Exchange Program (“Musical Envoys to the Middle East.” Rochester Review (Sep-Oct 1960): 10-11. [RBSC]: Online).

[43] Frank Bundra (BM 1955, MM 1957)

[44] Bob Freeman, a musicologist and pianist, directed the Eastman School of Music, 1972-1996. Under his stewardship, the Eastman campus added the Eastman Living Center and the refurbished Sibley Library. He commissioned Eastman faculty member Joseph Schwantner’s critically acclaimed composition, New Mornings for the World(1983). Following his successful tenure at Eastman, he went on to teaching and administrative roles at the New England Conservatory and the University of Texas-Austin, where he continues to work today (“Robert Freeman: Biography.”Eastman School of Music. 1999-2015. http://www.esm.

[45] Abram Boone completed a BM at Eastman in 1929. After working for Bausch & Lomb, he returned to ESM in 1947, the first of 26 years he spent on the ESM faculty. A respected teacher of both violin and viola, Boone performed as a violinist with the RPO and the Lake Placid Sinfonietta (“Abram Boone.” Eastman School of Music. 1999-2016. http://www.esm.

[46] Mr. Celentano retired in 1981 (“Memorial Concert Pays Tribute to Life, Work of Violinist John Celentano.” Eastman School of Music. 31 August 2010. Web. 14 December 2015. http://www.esm.

[47] The Chester String Quartet formed at ESM in 1978. Original members included Peter Matzka, violin; Susan Freier, violin; Melissa Matson, viola; and Thomas Rosenberg, cello (“Chester String Quartet to Perform.” Argus Press [East Lansing, MI] Jan 16, 1981. Google News. Web. 16 December 2015).

[48] Founded in 1984, the Cavani Quartet is an all-women ensemble which currently features two ESM graduates: cellist Merry Peckham (MM 1987) and violinist Annie Fullard (MM 1987). The group is quartet in residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music (Cavani String Quartet. Web 16 December 2015.

[49] Paul Katz, cellist with the Cleveland Quartet during its residence at ESM (“The Cleveland Quartet.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University and Western Reserve Historical Society. 2015. Web. 15 December 2015.

[50] Donald Weilerstein, violinist with the Cleveland Quartet during its residence at ESM (ibid).

[51] Peter Salaff, violinist with the Cleveland Quartet (Cleveland Quartet. 2015. Web. 17 December 2015. http://www.clevelandquartet.

[52] The Emerson Quartet formed in 1976. Members now include Eugene Drucker, violin; Philip Setzer, violin; Lawrence Dutton, viola; and Paul Watkins, cello. It is currently quartet in residence at SUNY-Stony Brook (“Biography 2015-2016.” Emerson String Quartet. 2015. Web. 17 December 2015. http://www.emersonquartet.

[53] American composer George Gershwin, famous for writing the scores to musicals including Lady Be Good (1924) and Girl Crazy (1930), among others. Gershwin also composed classical music--including An American in Paris (1928)--that was notable in part for its incorporation of popular music genres, including jazz and ragtime (“George and Ira Gershwin.” Gershwin Enterprises. 2016. Web. 27 April 2016.

[54] Hungarian composer Béla Bártok was known for incorporating folk music into his compositions. His versatility resulted in the composition of operas, piano works, and six canonical string quartets. He also pioneered the field of musicology, avidly researching and collecting Hungarian folk music throughout his life (“Béla Bártok Dies in Hospital Here.” New York Times 27 Sep. 1945. “On This Day.” New York Times. 2010. Web. 27 April 2016.

[55] Hungarian composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is remembered today primarily for his compositions for the piano (“Franz Liszt.” Encyclopedia Britannica 2016. Web. 27 April 2016.

[56] Unidentified.

[57] Mr. Shaw gained esteem as a conductor of both orchestras and choral groups. His greatest achievements came as conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus (1967-1988). Widely regarded as the greatest choral conductor of his time, Shaw led a series of choral workshops at Carnegie Hall, beginning in 1990. He belonged to the National Council for the Arts, and won a National Medal for the Arts, among other honors (“Robert Shaw, Choral and Orchestral Leader, is Dead at 82.” James R. Oestreich. New York Times 26 Jan. 1999. Web. 21 December 2015).

[58] A town formed in 1935 under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration by settlers from the Midwest who had moved away from drought stricken areas. Currently, Palmer has a population of approximately 6,500 (“Discover Palmer.” City of Palmer, AK. Web. 21 December 2015.

[59] Seward, Alaska is named for Auburn, New York native and former Secretary of State William Seward, whose papers are available through the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library division of Rare Books and Special Collections. Significant settlement of the town began in 1903, as laborers moved to the area to complete the Alaska railroad. Seward has a population of approximately 2,500 (“City Profile.” City of Seward. Web. 21 December 2015. http://www.cityofseward.

[60] Mannes School of Music, a division of the New School, New York City

[61] Christopher Rouse, currently the composer in residence with the New York Philharmonic, is an American composer who taught composition at ESM from 1981 to 2002. Rouse’s many acclaimed compositions include four symphonies, several concerti, including the Pulitzer Prize winning concerto for trombone, and a Concert de Gaudi, debuted and later recorded by guitarist Sharon Isbin (“Christopher Rouse Composer.” March 14 2016. Web. 27 April 2016. http://www.christopherrouse.

[62] Site of the University of Miami.

[63] Hartmann taught violin at ESM from 1921 to 1922 (Riker, Eastman 93). A performer of prodigious gifts, he made his public debut at age 8; he also gained acclaim for his compositions (Lenti Founding 56).

[64] Arthur Hartmann, Gerald Kunz, Samuel Belov, and Gerald Maas comprised the Kilbourn Quartet, which formed in 1920. Maas taught at the Institute of Musical Arts from 1920 to 1921, and at ESM from 1921 to 1922 (Lenti Founding, 56, 250).

[65] Charles Martin Loeffler (1861-1935) a composer and violinist, Loeffler studied under Joseph Joachim, among others. He came to America in 1881, at which point he joined the New York Symphony Orchestra; within a year, he had moved on to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO). He retired from the BSO in 1903, and subsequently focused on composing and teaching. His compositions include a musical settings of poems by Edgar Allan Poe (“Charles Martin Loeffler, 1861-1935 [biography] Library of Congress. 2006. Web. 27 April 2016.

[66] Hartmann wrote a memoir of his relationship with Debussy available in Claude Debussy as I Knew Him, and Other Writings of Arthur Hartmann eds. Samuel Hsu, Sidney Grolnic, Mark A. Peters. Rochester: University of Rochester P., 2003. Print.

[67] Josef Joachim (1831-1907) a virtuoso concert violinist, composer, and esteemed teacher of violin. Joachim befriended Johannes Brahms, and Brahms and Robert Schumann were among composers to compose works specifically for Joachim to perform (“Josef Joachim.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2015. Web. 15 December 2015. http://www.britannica.

[68] Both families are unidentified.

[69] Russian pianist Vladimir de Pachmann was, one of the greatest performers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. His sensitive, supple playing made him a notable interpreter of Chopin, while his tendency to offer commentary on the music he performed (sometimes even while playing) attracted concert audiences throughout his career (“Vladimir de Pachmann.” Jonathan Summers. Naxos. 2016. Web. 30 April 2016.

[70] Ricci made his concert debut in 1928, at the age of ten. He served in the military in World War II, and there performed and recorded many times as a soloist, often performing works by Paganini, whose reputation he helped to revive. Ricci concluded his career as a concert violinist in 2003 (“Biography.” 2016. Web. 30 April 2016. http://www.ruggieroricci.

[71] Not identified. Approximate spelling.

[72] Borodin’s quartet no. 2 in D major (1881) includes a third movement nocturne (“Alexander Borodin String Quartet no. 2 in D Major.” Andrew Lindemann Malone. All Music. 2016. Web 26 May 2016.

[73] American violinist William Kroll. Kroll performed frequently as a member of string quartets, including his own Kroll quartet. He also taught violin at a number of prominent institutions, including the Institute of Musical Art (1922-1938) and the Peabody Conservatory (MD) (1947-1965) (“William Kroll.” Meredith Gailey. AllMusic. 2016. Web. 26 May 2016.

[74] Paul Kefer taught cello performance at ESM from 1924 to 1941 (Lenti, Serving 300).