Chicago loses principal viola

Charles Pikler, principal viola of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), is playing his last concerts this week, after 39 years in the orchestra.

Pikler was originally appointed to the violin section by Sir Georg Solti in 1978, winning the viola audition eight years later on the retirement of Milton Preves.

A student of Bronislaw Gimpel, he has also played in the Minnesota Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic  and the Boston Symphony.

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  • Before the defamatory comments inevitably accumulate, as tends to happen on this site, I wish to mention that Charles was an exemplary colleague and the model of a benevolent musician. He will be missed.

  • Charlie ends an extraordinary 46 run as an orchestra player, Minnesota Orchestra while still an undergraduate, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony violin section and then as principal viola for THIRTY YEARS. Charlie also devoted countless hours to working with younger players at the high school and college level. A musician of extraordinary knowledge and skill, Charlie was entirely devoted to the orchestra and the cause of making music. Think of this fact: since 1937 the Chicago Symphony has had two principal violists, Milton Preves and Charles Pikler!

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