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< Back to question Who is the greatest cellist of all time? Show more Show less

The cello is a string instrument known for its soulful, singing, almost human voice like sound, and can be found soloing, in chamber music, or as one of the foundation pieces of a symphony orchestra. A number of players have transformed the cello into the solo voice that it is today. But of them, who is the greatest?

Leonard Rose is the greatest cellist Show more Show less

An amazing performer and as a teacher at Juilliard shaped the next generation of modern cellists.
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Leonard Rose's teaching established the modern cello

He taught at Juilliard, Curtis, and Meadowmount, with students like Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. The influence of his thinking and playing is everywhere.
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The Argument

Many of today's great modern players can trace their lineage back to Leonard Rose. His students include Lori Singer, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Honigberg, Hans Jørgen Jensen, and more.[1] Though Rose joined the New York Philharmonic and wanted to pursue a solo cello career rather than teaching, in 1948, Rose accepted a position at the Julliard School to teach alongside his old teacher, Felix Salmond.[2] By the end of his career, he taught over 250 students.[3] His technique, his approach to playing, interpretation, intonation, fingerings, score editions, and thinking about music and the cello profoundly impact much of modern cello playing. Rose had a specific approach to bow technique, to imagine all joints as "flexible springs" and to play with "minimal tension." Rose did not believe in only straight bowing; he advocated using the bow to trace a figure-eight in the air.[2] Rose was a demanding teacher, but his students recall his teaching with fondness and gratitude. His students also recount that even in a lesson, Rose played with the same energy of a performance.[2] One of his students, Steven Honigberg, wrote in a book dedicated to Rose's memory: "Rose served as a father figure who bestowed undivided attention to those pupils who desired and warranted it. His verbal instruction may have lacked magic, but the way he played and demonstrated thrilled students. His quest for perfection hovered over every lesson."[3] To have influenced a whole generation of players in this way earns him a place as the greatest cellist.

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 22:53 UTC

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