Aaron Rosand RIP

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John F
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Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by John F » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:47 pm

American violinist Aaron Rosand has died aged 92
10 July 2019

When the American violinist Aaron Rosand, who died yesterday aged 92, performed Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra in 2009, he rounded off a 77-year playing career which – he was justifiably proud to note – shattered Nathan Milstein’s record of 72 years.

Rosand would never come across as arrogant, his nature being too affable and generous for anything along those lines, but nor was he falsely modest: he had every right to consider Milstein a peer and his achievement comparable. If anything, as he must have felt too, he deserved to have been more successful. His career, though undoubtedly illustrious, did not end up conferring household name status to him as it did to some of his contemporaries.

Later in life, and with remarkable lack of bitterness, he suggested Isaac Stern had frozen him out of various career opportunities due to professional jealousy – Rosand did not rate Stern’s technique very highly – and snobbishness over his accepting commercial studio work to make a steady income.

However, Rosand’s commercial work put him in a position to take on the loan with which he bought his 1741 Guarneri ‘del Gesù’, the ‘Kochanski’, a decision he is unlikely to have regretted, not least because he was able to sell it for $10m in 2009, at that point the highest price ever paid for a violin.

Rosand was born in Hammond, Indiana in 1927 to a Polish cabaret singer father and a Russian cinema pianist mother. His musical talent was evident early on and the family moved to Chicago to make sure the young violinist had good teaching. He made his recital debut in 1936 at the age of nine and orchestral debut the following year with the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock playing the Mendelssohn concerto. From age 12 he studied at the Chicago Music College with Leon Sametini, a student of Ševčík and Ysaÿe, before joining Efrem Zimbalist’s class at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Acclaimed for his performances of romantic repertoire and his sweet tone, Rosand recorded prolifically and appeared with all the major orchestras around the world, making a particularly busy European career during the 1960s and 70s. He helped to lead the Romantic Revival in the 1960s, often performing forgotten works at Butler University’s Festival of Neglected Romantic Music.

On Ivan Galamian’s death in 1981, Rosand joined the faculty at the Curtis Institute at Zimbalist’s invitation. The association shaped the second half of his life, and it is surely as a pedagogue that Rosand made his most indelible mark on the violin world. His love for Curtis was sealed with a $1.5m donation from the sale of his violin.

His teaching style was demanding but also nurturing. ‘I don’t know of any shortcuts to playing the violin,’ he told The Strad in 2007. ‘Talent is five per cent. The other ninety-five per cent is work.’ Former students include Stephen Waarts, Stephanie Jeong, Benjamin Schmid, Alexander Kerr and Ray Chen. Chen wrote today:

‘My teacher Aaron Rosand passed away last night. I learned so much from him; his pure, beautiful sound that would shimmer and cry when being drawn from the instrument; his gruff laugh that would often be accompanied by some sort of rebuke telling me that I wasn’t sustaining the line enough, or that I needed to “find my own sound”.

‘He was tough on me, but only because he believed in me. There’s not one day that goes by when I don’t think about the things he said to me during our lessons. I’m still learning every day thanks to you Mr Rosand. We will miss you, but your legacy lives strong in the wonderful musicians you’ve produced.’

https://www.thestrad.com/news/american- ... 11.article
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:42 am

I have many of his recordings, including Brahms, Bruch, and a recital disc or two. I see on amazon that there are several DVDs as well. Rosand was a fine artist: why he never caught on has always been puzzling to me. Beautiful tone, fine and clear articulation, my experience of him on disc has always been first-rate. The line in the obit about Isaac Stern freezing Rosand out of a major career makes sense to me, but as with all speculation, I have no proof.

John F
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by John F » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:48 am

People have bad things to say about Isaac Stern, but I don't care. He could play exceptionally beautifully, and anyway, he is dead.

I heard Rosand in those 1960s Romantic Revival Festivals in Indianapolis, and remember him as a good but not exceptional violinist.
John Francis

Ricordanza
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:04 am

Here's the obit that appeared in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, written by music critic Peter Dobrin:

Violinist Aaron Rosand, 92, longtime Curtis Institute of Music professor
by Peter Dobrin, Updated: July 11, 2019- 3:09 PM

Aaron Rosand, 92, a much-loved violinist long connected to the Curtis Institute of Music, died of kidney failure Tuesday evening, July 9, at White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital, his wife said.

In addition to his substantial performing career here and abroad, Mr. Rosand was noted for training major soloists, as well as players who now stock violin sections of ensembles around the world.

His Curtis affiliations spanned several roles. He was a 1948 graduate of the school and a professor there from 1981 until his retirement in May, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

He was one of the “truly great violinists and teachers of the 20th century,” said Curtis president Roberto Díaz in announcing his retirement.

He was also a major donor. In 2009, with his performing career behind him, Mr. Rosand sold his 1741 Guarneri del Gesù violin to a Russian billionaire for $10 million and donated $1.5 million to the music conservatory on Rittenhouse Square.

He was often cited as an old-school violinist with a wide repertoire and a style all his own.

“I turned on the radio recently, and there was a piece I hadn’t heard him play, and I heard literally two notes and thought, ‘Of course, that’s my teacher,’” said violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen, who studied with Rosand for nine years at Curtis. “The elegance, the romanticism, the clear, distinct violin playing, and bringing one’s personality into the playing. I don’t think there’s ever been another violinist quite like him.”

Born to a Russian mother and Polish father in Hammond, Ind., Mr. Rosand was a child prodigy growing up in Chicago. He went on to Curtis to study with Efrem Zimbalist, who had carried with him the traditions of famed violinist Leopold Auer from the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

His first recital came at age 9 and his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was a year later, according to a Curtis biography. His New York Philharmonic debut in 1960 with Leonard Bernstein was as soloist in that orchestra’s first performance of the Barber Violin Concerto.

He was widely admired for his warm, glowing sound, and obvious elegance.

“I can still remember his sound,” said violinist Ray Chen, who studied with Mr. Rosand at Curtis from 2005 to 2010. “By constantly demonstrating in our lessons, he really embedded his sound into his students, but at the same time he was always talking about how we must find our own unique voice. He didn’t want us to just become copies of him. He provided us with the foundation of sound and let us each develop on our own.”

Chen likened Mr. Rosand’s old-world philosophy to calligraphy, with the core sound sustained, “and of course the sound also changes constantly with emotion, but the integrity of the line continues and doesn’t release so easily. When it does release, it is a very intentional thing, and is shaped with care and a beautiful shape.”

For his part, Mr. Rosand defined one aspect of his old-school approach as the preservation of a work’s inner beat.

"The great tradition of romantic playing is that the tempo doesn’t vary. The rubato should never give a sense of distortion,” he told The Inquirer in 2000, referring to passing, subtle changes in the pace of the music for emphasis or emotion. “I don’t do anything that will throw the conductor or the orchestra.”

He had strong ideas as a teacher, but also bent his philosophies to the needs of particular students. He objected, for example, to the use of shoulder rests, structures that bridge the gap between the shoulder and the chin. But when long-necked violinist Stephen Waarts arrived as a student, Mr. Rosand allowed it.

Still, “a couple of times a year he would say, ‘Someday you’ll have to learn to play without this crutch,’” said Waarts.

“He always had a solution,” said Koljonen of his teaching.

His wife, Christina Khimm Rosand, said he had been seeing students up until about two weeks ago, giving them instruction from his wheelchair. She is his only immediate survivor.

A memorial tribute is planned for Saturday, July 27, with a tentative time of 4 p.m., at the Summit Music Festival at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., where Mr. Rosand was an artistic adviser.

Donations may be made to the festival at 270 Washington Ave., Pleasantville, N.Y. 10570.

Ricordanza
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:09 am

One thing that struck me in Dobrin's article: Why on earth would Rosand oppose shoulder rests?

John F
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by John F » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:57 am

I suppose it's like playing a cello with the pin or grasped by the thighs. It would affect the instrument's resonance, and that could be varied according to where and how tightly the player grasps it. Just guessing.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by maestrob » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:03 am

Don't know about shoulder rests, but this passage caught my attention:
His first recital came at age 9 and his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was a year later, according to a Curtis biography. His New York Philharmonic debut in 1960 with Leonard Bernstein was as soloist in that orchestra’s first performance of the Barber Violin Concerto.
Rosand may have been Bernstein's choice for the concert performances of Barber's excellent Violin Concerto, but Isaac Stern was chosen for the commercial recording (first in stereo) on Columbia.

THEHORN
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by THEHORN » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:54 pm

I was a member of a summer festival orchestra in Pennsylvania in the 80s , where he played the Sibelius concerto . It was quite impressive .

mikealdren
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by mikealdren » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:06 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:03 am
Don't know about shoulder rests, but this passage caught my attention:
His first recital came at age 9 and his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was a year later, according to a Curtis biography. His New York Philharmonic debut in 1960 with Leonard Bernstein was as soloist in that orchestra’s first performance of the Barber Violin Concerto.
Rosand may have been Bernstein's choice for the concert performances of Barber's excellent Violin Concerto, but Isaac Stern was chosen for the commercial recording (first in stereo) on Columbia.
Do a search online for the background on this, it's at the core of Rosand's disagreement with Stern and he claims that Stern applied 'political' pressure to steal the recording opportunity from him and he also claims that Stern's politicking limited his recording contracts and where he could play, you were either in Stern's group or you didn't play in areas he controlled.


https://slippedisc.com/2014/07/high-exp ... is-career/


Having said that, it's one of Stern's finest recordings.

John F
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Re: Aaron Rosand RIP

Post by John F » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:36 pm

Maybe it's so, maybe it isn't. Considering the source, Norman Lebrecht, and that it was written well after Stern's death, I'm doubtful. Anyway, whether that's how it actually was or just Rosand's paranoia, Stern is long gone and now Rosand is dead too, so bygones are bygones.

Specifically about the recording of the Barber concerto: it was made by Columbia (now Sony Classical). Stern was their most important and best-selling violinist, while they had no relation at all with Rosand. It's natural, though perhaps not happy, that Columbia would prefer Stern over Rosand to record what was never going to be best-selling repertory. If Leonard Bernstein, who conducted the concerts and the recording, had intervened strongly on Rosand's behalf, I'm sure Columbia would have listened, as he was even more important to them than Stern. So Rosand's grievance was at least as much against Columbia and Bernstein. Whatever, I think the Stern/Bernstein recording is outstanding; if anything we listeners gained from Columbia's choice.
John Francis

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