A great American violist has died

A great American violist has died


norman lebrecht

December 29, 2016

At 90 years old, Bernard Zaslav was among the last survivors of a tremendous generation of string quartet players.

He played in the Fine Arts quartet, the Vermeer and the Stanford.

He also taught at Stanford and elsewhere, raising untold numbers of accomplished viola players.

UPDATE: The viola in all our lives.


  • michael hurwitz says:

    How very sad. I remember him from the times he spent at my parents’ house chatting about music as well as telling some great jokes during meals . He had a great sense of humour as well as a terrific recipe for scrambled eggs!

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    Do not forget his autobiography: The Viola in My Life, an Alto Rhapsody (published in 2011). It comes with 2 cds.

  • Lorna Salzman says:

    He also played with the American String Quartet with Matthew Raimondi and they did contemporary music. And he did have a great sense of humor.

    • Elaine Fine says:

      You mean the Composer’s Quartet.

      • Bill Palmer says:

        Bernie played in the Kohon, Composers, Fine Arts, Vermeer, and Stanford String Quartets. I had the pleasure of a number of sessions spent playing quartets and quintets with Bernie (some also including his wife, Naomi, whom he always introduced as “my first wife, Naomi”), and attended many of his performances with the Stanford quartet, and his final reunion with the Fine Arts, playing Mozart quintets. After his playing days were behind him, our visits usually revolved around computer support as he struggled to put his book together as his eyesight failed him. Bernie and Naomi always warmly received us, and seemed to take especial delight when my young son came along. He was quite a character, and never lacked an opinion! I will miss him…