NY Philharmonic viola in emotional farewell

Irene Breslaw, assistant principal viola, is retiring from the Philharmonic after 40 years.


Also retiring is violinist Newton Mansfield. He joined in 1961 and earns himself a place in the Slipped Disc list of longest-serving orchestral players.

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  • Newton Mansfield’s late wife Maria was a Lincoln Center legend. Born in Sicily, she was the longest-serving tour guide at the complex. The “facts” she dispensed were not always verifiable but were shared with such love and enthusiasm by this very charming woman that she made countless friends for the center and its constituents. So many people bought a ticket to the symphony, opera, theatre or dance at Lincoln Center because of Maria.

  • Irene Breslaw was an important and consistent part of the Philharmonic’s stellar viola section. She will be missed. Irene graduated from Juilliard as part of perhaps the greatest single viola class ever. That included the future principal violists of the Cleveland Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Montreal Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s; assistant principals of the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and violists of the Tokyo, Concord, and Emerson string quartets.

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