Aldo Parisot, Eminent Cello Teacher and Yale Fixture, Dies at 100 | Modern Society of USA

Aldo Parisot, Eminent Cello Teacher and Yale Fixture, Dies at 100

Aldo Parisot, Eminent Cello Teacher and Yale Fixture, Dies at 100

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.

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.

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