Famous cellists know his name. Instructors and coaches know his teachings. For many professional musicians, a powerful goal to aspire for is leaving a mark on the world of classical music… so that you are remembered for something important. That was Leonard Rose.
A prominent cellist and pedagogue of the 20th century, Leonard Rose has a legacy as a teacher and mentor etched in the history of classical music. A number of his disciples from various places such as the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, and Meadowmount Summer School have gone out into the professional world, playing with premier ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. They themselves have become famous cellists just as Rose was.
But his impact is beyond mere numbers:
At the core of Rose’s superb playing was his impeccable taste. To me Rose exuded class and elegance: the way he looked—his gold pocket watch and gold chain; the way he rosined his bow; the way he wiped off his cello; the care he took in tuning; the attack of the bow; just those glorious open strings—for a little boy of seven it was like walking in a beautiful chateau, into a world which revered artists at their finest.
Of course, Rose had terrific mentors: his cousin the great cellist Frank Miller; Felix Salmond, the great pedagogue and cellist who was also Rose’s teacher at Curtis; the legendary Arturo Toscanini, a master conductor imbued with spirit and force which itself was a reincarnation of the attitude of do or die, all for the glory of the music; and Fritz Kreisler, the culmination of violin artistry’s magnificent elegance totally missing today.
Leonard Rose lived among these great musicians and they were his heroes. This is the tradition he followed and passed on.