Bernard Greenhouse

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Bernard Greenhouse
Bernard Greenhouse.jpg
Born(1916-01-03)January 3, 1916
DiedMay 13, 2011(2011-05-13) (aged 95)
SpouseAurora de la Luz Fernandez y Menendez[1]

Bernard Greenhouse (January 3, 1916 – May 13, 2011)[2] was an American cellist and one of the founding members of the Beaux Arts Trio.[3][4]

Life and career[edit]

Greenhouse was born in Newark, New Jersey.[5] He started his professional studies with Felix Salmond at the Juilliard School when he was eighteen.[6] After four years of study with Salmond, Greenhouse proceeded to move on to studies with Emanuel Feuermann, Diran Alexanian, and then became one of the very few long term students of Pablo Casals, studying with him from 1946 to 1948.[6]

After finishing studies with Casals, Greenhouse went on to pursue a solo career for twelve years. He struggled with this however, as the cello was not a very popular solo instrument at the time. During this period he encountered violinist Daniel Guilet, who invited Greenhouse in 1954 to play some Mozart piano trios with pianist Menahem Pressler. In 1955 they met in New York City, the first meeting of what was to become the Beaux Arts Trio.[6]

In 1958, Greenhouse acquired the Countess of Stanlein, also called the Paganini Strad, one of 63 Antonio Stradivari celli, and played it ever after.[7] Following his death it was to be sold by Boston violin dealer Christopher Reuning.[8]

In 1987, he left the trio, and was replaced with cellist Peter Wiley.[9] Greenhouse was known for his impeccable technique, but even more so for his inspiring passion and the depth and variety of his sound.[10]

During his career, he taught at the Hartt College of Music, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Rutgers University and the Juilliard School.[6] A series of videos of his master classes were produced in 1993 by Ethan Winer.[6][11]

Though retired from institutional teaching, Greenhouse still gave master classes throughout the United States, Canada, China, Korea, Japan and Europe until his death in 2011.[6][12]

Interviewed as the farewell concert of the Beaux Arts Trio on August 21, 2008 approached, he said he practiced every day and was considered "the old man of the cello", with other aging cellists being surprised that he still performed at the age of 95.[7] Greenhouse also remained the oldest of those who have played in the trio, until at least 2015, Daniel Guilet (who was born about a week short of 17 years earlier) having died at the age of 91,[13] and Isidore Cohen having died at 82.[14]

Greenhouse's second passion was sailing on one of his several boats. He died on May 13, 2011 at his home overlooking the Wellfleet, Massachusetts harbor on Cape Cod.[15] His daughter, Elena, with Aurora de la Luz Fernandez y Menendez, was married to author Nicholas Delbanco. His grandson-in-law is director Nicholas Stoller.


Greenhouse's notable students include:

Partial discography[edit]

With the Vellinger Quartet
  • Schubert: String Quintet in C (BBCMM75, 1998)
With the Henri René Orchestra


  1. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths - Greenhouse, Aurora de la Luz Fernandez y Menendez". The New York Times. March 29, 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Today in History for 3rd January 1916: Famous Birthdays". HistoryOrb. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  3. ^ Margalit Fox (May 13, 2011). "Bernard Greenhouse, Acclaimed Cellist, Dies at 95". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Anastasia Tsioulcas (May 13, 2011). "Cellist Bernard Greenhouse Dies At 95". NPR.
  5. ^ "Bernard Greenhouse". Archived from the original on 2016-10-26. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Janof, Tim (1998-11-28). "Conversation with Bernard Greenhouse". Internet Cello Society. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  7. ^ a b "Bernard Greenhouse: A Master And His Cello" All Things Considered Diaries interview, broadcast August 21, 2008.
  8. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (January 13, 2012). "Selling a 300-Year-Old Cello". The New York Times Magazine.
  9. ^ "About the Beaux Arts Trio". 2006. Archived from the original on 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  10. ^ Brooks Whitehouse (December 2004). "Greenhouse Effect: UNCG honors cellist Bernard Greenhouse in his 90th year". Strings Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  11. ^ Winer, Ethan. "Cello Page". Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  12. ^ Fang, Jeannette (March 2005). "A Cello Master Shares a Lifetime of Wisdom". The Juilliard Journal. The Juilliard School. 20 (6). Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  13. ^ "Daniel Guilet, Violinist, Is Dead; Beaux Arts Trio Founder Was 91", The New York Times, October 17, 1990
  14. ^ "Isidore Cohen, Renowned Chamber Musician, Dies at 82". The Juilliard Journal. The Juilliard School. 21 (1). September 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-23.
  15. ^ Maragalit Fox (13 May 2011). "Bernard Greenhouse, Acclaimed Cellist, Dies at 95". New York Times. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Biography - STJEPAN HAUSER". Archived from the original on 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2013-03-25.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bowed Arts--Gedanken von Bernard Greenhouse über sein Leben und die Musik. Reflections of Bernard Greenhouse on His Life and Music, Laurinel Owen, Kronberg Academy Verlag, Kronberg im Taunus (2001). The book is in German and in English (originally written in English and then translated into German and published in Germany). ISBN 3-934395-07-4.
  • The Beaux Arts Trio. A Portrait, Nicholas Delbanco, William Morrow and Co., New York (1985). ISBN 0-688-04001-2.
  • The Countess of Stanlein Restored, Nicholas Delbanco, Verso, London & New York (2001). A History of the Countess of Stanlein ex Paganini Stradivarius Cello of 1707. ISBN 1-85984-761-7.

External links[edit]