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Curtis Mourns the Death of Aaron Rosand

Longtime violin faculty member, world-renowned violin virtuoso, and pedagogue passed away on July 9 at age 92

Aaron Rosand, photo credit Jakob EskildsenCurtis mourns the death of longtime violin faculty member Aaron Rosand, a world-renowned violin virtuoso and pedagogue, who passed away on July 9 at age 92 after a long illness.

A prodigy who made his professional debut at age 9, Mr. Rosand studied with Leon Sametini at Chicago Musical College and performed repeatedly as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra before entering the Curtis Institute of Music in 1944 to study with the school’s director, celebrated virtuoso Efrem Zimbalist.

After his graduation from Curtis in 1948, Mr. Rosand made his New York recital debut in 1948 and his New York Philharmonic debut with Leonard Bernstein (Conducting ’41) in 1960. In the subsequent decades he gave recitals with his first wife, the late pianist Eileen Flissler (Piano ’43), and performed as soloist with major orchestras and conductors of the world. He also recorded extensively, becoming known for his signature Romantic-leaning repertoire.

Aaron Rosand performs with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra under conductor William Smith in 1964, photo by Neil BensonMr. Rosand joined the Curtis faculty in 1981, becoming a beloved member of the Curtis community and performing repeatedly with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and in recital in Field Concert Hall. He held the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies.  Throughout his long career as a soloist, he played the ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù violin, and upon its sale in 2009, he donated some of the proceeds to Curtis to fund a faculty chair then held by his longtime friend and Curtis classmate, the late Joseph Silverstein.

Mr. Rosand leaves behind a unique legacy, having provided generations of Curtis students with an invaluable link to the Russian violin school and the tradition of Leopold Auer and Eugène Ysaÿe through his own studies with Efrem Zimbalist and Leon Sametini. Of this legacy, he told an interviewer in 2008: “It’s a grand tradition of violin playing, where you’re not cloning people, giving them all the same advice so that they all sound the same. It’s a freedom of creative interpretation in making music.”  Mr. Rosand’s students have won every major violin competition; can be found as concertmasters in top ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, Saint Paul Chamber, and National Symphony orchestras, Deutsch Oper Berlin, and the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra; and are themselves highly sought-after teachers. In May he announced his retirement from the Curtis faculty after 38 years, and received an honorary doctorate at the school’s annual commencement ceremony.

The Curtis community extends heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and students of Mr. Rosand.



From the New York Times:

Aaron Rosand, Renowned Violinist With a Famous Fiddle, Dies at 92

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Violinist Aaron Rosand, 92, longtime Curtis Institute of Music professor

From Fall 2014 Overtones:

Violinist Aaron Rosand Transmits Long-Held Traditions to a New Generation, Demanding Much and Giving More