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You're right. And an inordinate number were cellists, the ones you mention along with Kindler, Bourdon, Casals and Rostropovich. I think Hindemith did some conducting as well which would fill out the picture by including a violist. 

db 

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> On May 4, 2014, at 10:48 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Most of the great conductors were/are in fact string players, not pianists.
> Szell, Walter, Solti and Bernstein were pianists, and Stokowski was an
> organist (his first job in the US was as organist for St. Bart's Church in
> Manhattan).  Most of the rest were string players.  Munch was a
> concertmaster under Furtwaengler.  Toscanini and Barbirolli were cellists.
> Koussevitzsky was a bass fiddle virtuoso.  Ormandy was the most famous
> violin student of Hubay, Szigeti's teacher.
> 
> Best,
> John Haley
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Sun, May 4, 2014 at 4:42 AM, Nick Morgan <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> I suppose most conductors trained before orchestral recording became
>> widespread must have been able to - does anyone know of any that couldn't?
>> 
>> Nick
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dave Burnham
>> Sent: 04 May 2014 04:11
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Dora Labette, Soprano with string quartette: The
>> Flowers of the Forests, 1925?
>> 
>> I recently came across a record by Dora Labette with Beecham at the piano;
>> never realized he could play the piano.
>> 
>> db
>>