Chicago mourns a Solti concertmaster

Chicago mourns a Solti concertmaster


norman lebrecht

September 07, 2018

Rubén D’Artagnan González, Chicago Symphony concertmaster from 1986 to 1996, died in Buenos Aires on August 13 after a long illness. He was 79.

Sarting out as music director of Camerata Bariloche, an Argentine chamber orchestra, he served as concertmaster of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra under Tennstedt, moving on to the Minnesota Orchestra and Houston Symphony from where he was invited by Sir Georg Solti to share the Chicago front seat with Samuel Magad.

He can be heard on numerous recordings.

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  • The View from America says:

    He might have come to Minnesota when Tennstedt made his move there — I’m assuming there was “good chemie” between the two musicians.


    Very sad news. Ruben was concertmaster of the Houston Symphony when I came to the violin section there. He was a fine person, generous with his time, and a gentleman. He will be missed.

  • Alexander Platt says:

    Ruben was amazing. So gifted, so generous. Watching him work during the summers at Aspen was a thing of beauty.

  • MacroV says:

    Why a “Solti” concertmaster? Are all orchestral musicians noted by the music directors in charge when they were hired? He was a CSO concertmaster and served as long under Barenboim. And maybe the protocol is different for concertmasters but in the CSO, as in most orchestras, the players have a major – and often – decisive role in the hiring. So even “Solti appointee” might be inaccurate.

    • Bill says:

      No concertmaster gets appointed in big US orchestras unless the music director says so, and they serve as concertmaster at the pleasure of the music director. It is not unreasonable to refer to RG as a Solti concertmaster, as Solti is the one who recruited and hired him, though it does not fully reflect his tenure with the CSO.

      I remember a fine Scheherazade performance broadcast on TV with RG in the hot seat, and spending an afternoon playing his violin at B&F after he put it up for sale in 95. Between RG, Perlman, Angel Reyes, and Kreisler, it had played a few tunes…

  • Barbara Nissman says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news. Ruben performed the Pampeana No. 1 on our Ginastera recordings of his complete works. He captured so wonderfully the feeling of the lonely landscape and also its underlying melancholy.

    Rest in peace, dear Ruben and thank you for that magnificent performance!!