Bernard Greenhouse was probably best known as one of the founding members of the Beaux Arts Trio. Greenhouse had a significant career as a solo cellist both before formation of the trio and during his 32 years of service in it. A student of Casals, Greenhouse mastered a broad cello repertory in the chamber realm, from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms to Ives, Ravel, Rachmaninov, and Shostakovich. But, especially in his freelance work, he also regularly performed contemporary works, like the Elliott Carter Sonata for cello and piano, which he premiered. Greenhouse also taught cello throughout most of his career, holding posts at various times on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Rutgers University, and Juilliard. Greenhouse appeared on more than 50 recordings over the years, both as a member of the trio and as a freelance cellist. Most are available on the Philips labels, with a few scattered on Decca, DG, Sony, Boston Records, and PentaTone.
Bernard Greenhouse was born in Newark, NJ, on January 3, 1916. He began study on the cello at nine, and later sang briefly as a boy soprano. At 18 Greenhouse enrolled at Juilliard for studies with Felix Salmond. Following graduation Greenhouse joined the CBS Radio Orchestra (1938). He would soon become principal cello, but his rapid advancement did not deter him from further studies: later teachers would include Emanuel Feuermann and, from 1946-1948, Pablo Casals.
During the war Greenhouse served in the Navy, playing cello in the orchestra and oboe in the marching band. Greenhouse joined the Bach Aria Group, a vocal/instrumental ensemble, in 1948, and would appear regularly with the group until 1977. From the late ’40s to about 1960, Greenhouse also actively pursued a solo career. In the midst of all this activity he helped found the Beaux Arts Trio in 1955 with pianist Menahem Pressler and violinist Daniel Guilet.
Greenhouse would serve as cellist in the trio until 1987. With countless acclaimed tours abroad and numerous benchmark recordings, he served in what would become arguably the finest piano trio of its time.
Following retirement from the trio Greenhouse continued his activities as a teacher. In the late ’90s he retired from both Rutgers University and the New England Conservatory. Greenhouse did continue to offer master classes, and as late as 2008, when he was 92, he was still active in that capacity