Bernard Greenhouse

Conversation with Steven Doane (August, 1994)

Interview by Tim Janof Mr. Doane is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. TJ: At what point did you decide that you would dedicate your life to music? SD: When I was in my second year in high school, I told my parents that I wanted to train to be a professional cellist. They asked my cello teacher if he thought I would be able to make it. He said, "I don't know if he'll be another Piatigorsky, but he should be able to make a living." Of course I was disappointed that he didn't say I was going to be another Piatigorsky, but my parents were reassured. I ended up studying with Richard Kapuscinski at Oberlin. Then I went to Stony Brook for a couple of [...]

Conversation with Bernard Greenhouse

 Reprinted from Internet Cello Society 11/28/98 By Tim Janof: TJ: You studied with Felix Salmond who also taught Leonard Rose. BG: When I was 18, I had to choose between entering a pre-med program or trying out for Juilliard. I chose to try for a Juilliard fellowship, which I was awarded, and I began to study with Felix Salmond. He was sort of a funnel for talent from all over the United States, since there weren't many cellists at the time. There were only eight cellists at Juilliard, as well as at Curtis, and each one was a very gifted player. TJ: Did you attend school with Leonard Rose?  BG: No, he was at Curtis, in Philadelphia, though we were quite aware of each other because of our common teacher. I remember going [...]

The Greenhouse Effect — by Robert Jesselson

I feel like I have known Bernard Greenhouse for all of my life. Growing up in New York in the 1950's and 1960's, I heard him perform countless times with the Beaux Arts Trio and the Bach Aria Group. I can remember his warm sound and elegant appearance from my earliest days. It is probably because of hearing Mr. Greenhouse that I even wanted to play the cello. Then in 1971, when I was studying in Freiburg, Germany I got the first chance to actually meet him in person. It was backstage after an awe-inspiring performance of the Beethoven Triple by the Beaux Arts Trio. I told him that I hoped to have the opportunity to study with him someday—and he generously responded by giving me his personal telephone number and address, saying to contact him when I was ready. [...]

Reflections on Bernard Greenhouse and the Importance of the Back — by Selma Gokcen

"We are learning to do consciously what Nature intended."  —F.M. Alexander Spending a week remembering Bernard Greenhouse on CelloBello brought back memories of many hours of lively conversations and shared experiences. Bernie had naturally what we call 'a back' in the Alexander Technique, and there is no faking or pretending to have a either do or you don't, and the evidence of it is felt in the power of presence. The back mediates all our responses—a strong and expansive back gives one the ability to speak and act from a place of natural authority. Bernie's quiet but strong presence when playing, teaching or just conversing emanated from that central core that Casals spoke about, and which no doubt magnetized Bernie from far away and moved him across an ocean in search of the master. Like recognized like. One [...]

Happy 100th Birthday Bernard Greenhouse – Born January 3. 1916

By |2016-01-03T20:19:55+00:00January 3rd, 2016|Categories: Bernard Greenhouse|Tags: , , , , |

A Remembrance of Things Present — by Elena Delbanco

Bernard Greenhouse with his daughter, Elena   In the aftermath of a grand celebration of Bernie’s 95th birthday, in Wellfleet, five years ago—a dinner for seventy five people—Bernie and I sat at the round, marble table so many of you may remember, facing the harbor. As guests had arrived and the house reverberated with laughter and conversation, he had lain in bed, telling us he was not feeling all that well and didn’t have the energy to get dressed. We told him he didn’t need to dress; it was a come-as-you-are party and his best bathrobe would be fine. And so, my father attended, making a grand entrance into the living room in his wheelchair, to applause and the beginning of a long night of toasts and merriment. A fire burned, the room [...]

The DO (C) That Changed My Life — by Amit Peled

Could one note be so significant in a musician’s life? At age fifteen, before entering a routine weekly music history class at the Telma-Yellin High School for the Arts in Tel Aviv, Israel, my answer would have been definitely NO. However, in that lesson we learned about the romantic period piano trio form, and our teacher decided to play a record of the slow movement of the Dvorak Trio in F minor op. 65. As a young cellist I must embarrassingly admit that I only knew the Dvorak cello concerto, the ultimate dream of every cellist to study and perform. Back to the classroom, we, the 'cool' boys sitting in the last row, were trying to pass on the time talking behind the teacher's back, hoping to catch an eye glimpse from one of the cool girls—the usual teenager stuff... [...]

Speaking and Singing: Bernie’s Use of Musical Rhetoric, and his Link with Casals — by Steve Doane

My introduction to Bernie’s wonderful sound and magical phrasing came from hearing a recording of the slow movement of the Fauré piano Trio by the original Beaux Arts Trio. I was simply transported, both by the music and the playing. It was towards the end of my undergraduate studies at Oberlin, and the thought came to me quite simply: “I must study with this man!” Bernie’s playing had that special ability to speak directly to the heart of the listener. It wasn’t just the ravishingly beautiful sound he made (although that had a considerable effect!!) but his way of shaping the line so completely—it was sung and sometimes “spoken” at the same time! As an admirer of Casals from a very young age, I think I must have recognized something familiar in that wonderfully lyrical yet clearly “enunciated” style [...]

How Bernard Greenhouse Showed Me the Way: Lessons Learned — by Timothy Eddy

My apprenticeship to Mr. Greenhouse lasted about 9 years, from the time I was 15 until I graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a Masters Degree at 24.  There were so many ways that he opened my eyes, helping me see the ultimate possibilities of being a cellist and a performer. When I began working with him, I was already fascinated with “mapping out” the cello: learning patterns, left-hand shapes, and the effectiveness of well-targeted strategies of practicing….. but I was stiff and unable to play accurately when I tried to play quickly. Furthermore, Bernie pointed out, my sound was only a fraction of what I could really produce, while using far less effort. On top of that, I needed to make more specific, passionate statements with my [...]

Bach 6th Suite and the Outermost House — by Astrid Schween

My most important lessons with Bernard Greenhouse took place after my official university studies with him were over. By this time, I was a member of the Lark Quartet and my colleagues and I invited him to play the Schubert Cello Quintet with us on tour. With each concert, I marveled at Bernie’s ability to bring new life to the same music night after night, and I found myself delighting in each new detail. Bernie’s approach to the famous pizzicato dialogue with the first violin in the Adagio of the Schubert was a study in color and nuance. Each pizzicato appeared like some sort of character, first responding, then provoking, insinuating, and finally retiring, always beautifully in tune and resonant. I made a mental note to pay attention—this was artistry of a special sort. Bernie was the [...]

Reflections on the Legacy of Bernard Greenhouse — by Kate Dillingham

I first met Mr. Greenhouse in 1986 when I was a scholarship student at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Beaux Arts Trio gave a memorable concert at the school in their final year in the configuration of Messieurs Pressler, Cohen and Greenhouse. Little did I know that one year later, Mr. Greenhouse would retire from the Trio and become my teacher. Our lessons always began with some light-hearted humor to prepare me for understanding the depth of commitment to daily practice and study I needed to cultivate. Greenhouse emphasized striving for continuous growth as an artist. He insisted on developing acute listening skills, being thoroughly familiar with the score and having the courage to believe in my musical convictions. Greenhouse taught me that the quality of the sound [...]

Thanks Bernie, You Saved My Cello Life! — by Lluís Claret

I met Bernard Greenhouse for the first time at the First World Cello Congress in Washington D.C. in 1988. I invited him for the following year to give master classes at the school in Barcelona, knowing of his enormous international reputation. He told me that it was a great pleasure to come to the city where his grand maître Pablo Casals had lived, taught and played so many times. I could not imagine then in what ways and to what extent our association would change my life as a musician! His teaching was as much a confirmation of the lessons I had learned from Enric Casals and Radu Aldulscu as a revolution on how to get the best out of each pupil. First and foremost I would like to point out his [...]

Memories of Bernie: Music and Food — by Laurence Lesser

The first time I met Bernard Greenhouse was after a performance the Beaux Arts Trio gave of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony. I was teaching at the time at Peabody (1970-74). My wife and I were invited to join them at a restaurant after the concert and we had pleasant conversation. But what I remember most was the effortlessly beautiful opening of the concerto’s slow movement. It had such grace I have never forgotten. Even before then, when I was studying with and then assisting Piatigorsky at USC, I remember a conversation at my teacher’s home when he was holding the LP of the Beaux Art’s recording of the Dvořák f minor Trio. Heifetz and he had just released their performance with Leonard Pennario of the same piece. Piatigorsky said, “They play it so [...]

Bernard Greenhouse: From Teacher to Colleague, Friend, and Always My Inspiration — by Paul Katz

Welcome to Bernard Greenhouse Tribute Week: December 25-January 3rd Paul Katz Artistic Director/Founder It is Christmas Day 2015! Hearty Holiday Greetings to you from myself and my wonderful CelloBello staff (Jussi, Elana, Clare and Stella)! January 3, 2016 is the 100th Birthday of Bernard Greenhouse, and in celebration of this event, it is an immense personal pleasure to be bringing you Bernard Greenhouse Tribute Week on CelloBello. From today, December 25, 2015 to January 3, 2015, we have scheduled ten days of CelloBlogs, CelloChats, seven never-before seen video conversations between myself and Bernie, photographs, Greenhouse recordings, the opportunity to ask questions online to his former students, colleagues, and daughter, Elena Delbanco… and more! Bernie was one of my true cello heros and a man I loved and admired. Those of you [...]

Passing It On — by Brant Taylor

A few weeks back, I was having a post-concert drink with my friend and colleague Joshua Gindele, cellist of the Miro Quartet, and the conversation turned to teaching. Though we are both associated with ensembles that perform dozens of concerts every season, teaching the cello is an important component of both of our musical lives. (Josh teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, and I teach at DePaul University.) Discussions on the general relationship between performing and teaching often give rise to interesting questions, some without straightforward answers. Many performers teach even though the skill sets required for good teaching and good performing are far from identical. If great teaching is something that is learned, when and how are the skills acquired? If a performer is a big star [...]

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