Boston Symphony mourns a violinist of 48 years

Boston Symphony mourns a violinist of 48 years


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2015

Ronald Knudsen has died, aged 83, two years after he retired from the orchestra.

When he wasn’t playing in the BSO, he conducted two local orchestras, in Brockton and Newton.

His son, Sato, played cello in the BSO.



  • Jeffrey Levenson says:

    Sato still in BSO.

  • David Pesetsky says:

    For the last twenty years, Ron conducted just one orchestra (besides the Boston Pops, where he was often a guest conductor) — my orchestra, the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Massachusetts, based in Newton ( He was wonderful musician, who held our mostly non-professional group to standards we could hardly believe we could meet, yet we did. As a conductor, he was intensely passionate yet intensely practical, able to tell us exactly how to shape a passage to make the sound he sought, what part of the bow to use for maximum efficiency and effect, or how to distinguish the different styles within a piece — just what a non-professional group like us most needs, and what you might expect from a man who was not only a BSO player and a conductor, but also a top instrument repairer. We, the musicians who loved him, and came week after week (some from miles away) to play under his direction, are grief-stricken beyond words. Ron’s death is a terrible loss for us and for the entire musical community here in the Boston area. Thank you for taking note of it from across the Atlantic.

    • MacroV says:

      I lived in Boston for a couple years in the mid-90s, and while I never met Ron Knudsen, I heard his name all the time, in newspaper reviews or mentioned on WGBH. He was one of a number of BSO musicians who managed to carve out a role/identity in what is a really marvelous musical culture – even without the BSO.

  • Sylvia Alimena says:

    I’m so sad to hear this. Having spent my formative college years in Boston in the early 80’s, I had the luxury of playing for Ron when he took over the Newton Symphony. He was a wonderful musician in the orchestra and on the podium. He was generous of spirit as a conductor and will always think of him with great fondness. Rest in peace, dear Ron.