Aldo Parisot, a renowned cellist who toured the world as a soloist and settled into a career as an eminent teacher that included a 60-year tenure at the Yale School of Music, died on Saturday at his home in Guilford, Conn. He was 100.
His death was announced by his son, Dean Parisot, a film director and producer in Los Angeles. The cellist had retired from Yale only last June.
During the busiest stage of his solo career Mr. Parisot performed with the major orchestras of Berlin, London, Paris and Munich, and with conductors including Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Monteux and Leonard Bernstein, winning plaudits for his warm, focused sound; prodigious technique; and a temperament that balanced passion and elegance.
For a 1955 New York Philharmonic appearance under the conductor Walter Hendl, he gave the premiere of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Cello Concerto No. 2, one of many works Mr. Parisot would commission during his career to expand the cello repertory.
But by his 30s he had started teaching. He held positions at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, Mannes College of Music and elsewhere before joining the faculty at Yale in 1958.
Many Parisot students have gone on to solo careers and to prominent positions in ensembles, orchestras and conservatories. They include Roman Jablonski, Ole Akahoshi and Shauna Rolston.
Mr. Parisot’s teaching style “was not based on the transmission of a grand, overarching view of music,” Mr. Brey wrote. “Neither was it greatly concerned with historical detail. It was practical, reactive and prescriptive.” Being part of his class was like attending “the highest-level finishing school imaginable,” Mr. Brey wrote, “none of us sounding like anyone else, and above all none of us sounding like him.”
Aldo Simões Parisot was born on Sept. 30, 1918, in Natal, Brazil. His mother was a church organist. His father, an engineer, died when Aldo was 4. His stepfather, Thomazzo Babini, a fine cellist, was his first and only significant cello teacher. “Everything I know and teach today comes from him,” Mr. Parisot said of his stepfather in 2001.
At 18 he became the principal cellist of the orchestra in Rio de Janeiro. Still, he was restless for a solo career. The attaché to the American Embassy, impressed by Mr. Parisot, helped arrange for him to study at the Curtis Institute of Music with his idol, the great cellist Emanuel Feuermann. But Feuermann died in 1942 three months before Mr. Parisot was to start lessons. (He would later acquire a Stradivarius cello that had belonged to Feuermann.)
In 1946, Mr. Parisot became a scholarship student at the Yale School of Music, but with a stipulation that he would take no cello lessons: He already felt confident of his technique and approach. Instead he studied chamber music and, with the composer Paul Hindemith, music theory.
In 1948 he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra but left after two years. A 1950 recital at Town Hall in New York drew wide praise and led to international tours and recordings.
He had a major success in 1966 at Tanglewood when he gave the premiere of Donald Martino’s “Parisonatina al’dodecafonia,” a formidable work for solo cello written for him. Reviewing the performance, The New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg, who in general resisted thorny modern music employing 12-tone techniques, was enthusiastic about Martino’s “whizbang virtuoso piece in the modern idiom,” as he called it.
Probably as “difficult a work as ever has been written for the cello,” Schonberg wrote, the piece “throws at the performer everything in the book and a few things that aren’t.” But in an “extraordinary performance” Mr. Parisot “accomplished everything with an easy, almost bored expression,” and “his tone and intonation never betrayed him,” Schonberg wrote.
Besides the lure of teaching, Mr. Parisot curtailed his solo career to spend more time with his three sons, who survive him: In addition to Dean, they are Robert and Ricardo. Other survivors include Elizabeth Sawyer Parisot, his wife of 52 years, a pianist and professor at the Yale School of Music; his half brother Italo Babini, a cellist; and six grandchildren.
Another student, the cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, wrote in a 2009 New York Times appreciation that Mr. Parisot’s “directness and impulsive statements, uncensored by political correctness,” sometimes “ruffled feathers.” But his teacher radiated warmth, charm and impish humor, Mr. Kirshbaum wrote. The article quotes the famous cellist and pedagogue Janos Starker describing Mr. Parisot as “the best cello teacher I have met in my life.”
In 1983, Mr. Parisot founded Yale Cellos, an ensemble of 20 or so cellists who play everything from arrangements of Bach to contemporary scores. Though the group’s overall sound is deep and rich, Mr. Parisot, as conductor, drew remarkable clarity and nuance from the ensemble, which toured and recorded, including a Delos CD “Bach Bachianas” that earned a 1988 Grammy nomination.
Long ago Mr. Parisot started proclaiming that he was 60 years old and would remain 60 until he died. “The secret to staying young,” he was quoted as saying in the 2009 Times article, “is to surround yourself with the younger generation. It is boring to talk to the elderly about their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”