Death of an eminent cellist, 90

The University of Toronto has shared news of the death of Vladimir Orloff, teacher of two generations of Canadian cellists and, before that, an international soloist.

Raised in Odessa, Orloff studied studied in Romania at the Bucharest Conservatoire, winning major competitions in Warsaw and Geneva before joining the Vienna Philharmonic in the mid-1960s as a principal cellist.

In 1971, he migrated to Canada, where he appeared as a soloist with all the major orchestras. His students at the University of Toronto included Ofra Harnoy and the TSO cellist Winona Zelenka.

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    • Well, perhaps Friedrich Dolezal, section leader for the Vienna Philharmonic’s cellos and a long-time member of its organization, is a more worthy example of an Orloff pupil. Indeed I think most of his pupils went on to become orchestral cellists rather than soloists and thus have names fewer people would recognize off hand — another one is Zoltan Rozsnyai of the Vancouver Symphony’s cello section, who certainly has a famous name because he shares it with his conductor-father. Ofra Harnoy has the biggest name perhaps (for reasons which, I agree, are not always clear).

      The 3-CD set of Orloff recordings and broadcasts on Doremi is quite impressive and very much worth hearing, in spite of generally sub-par sound. Oddly, the oldest items sound best. And yes I am aware Ofra’s father runs Doremi.

  • I studied with Vladimir from 1968 to 1973 in Vienna and in Toronto. He was an amazing Cellist and able to do astonishing things technically. I have never seen an up bow staccato the way he did it. He tended to show rather than explain as he wasn’t very good at articulating what he wanted

    Sadly I couldn’t find where he was the last years of his life. I asked the University of Toronto Music Faculty frequently for his contacts but they never answered so I lost the chance to speak to him .

    A remarkable personality.

    • Mr. Harold, I am doing a little personal research on Vladimir Orloff. Some time ago a sweet old lady told me that Vladimir Orloff had the desire to compose music for piano. Unfortunately I could not find anything about this aspect of his talent, probably it was something very private.
      Maybe he shared it with his students and friends and maybe you heard something from him.
      Thank you for your time.
      May Vladimir rest in peace.

  • He was an amazing cellist and a gifted teacher. I met him during a master class he gave in Bucharest. He listened me playing for just 10 minutes and gave me a few precious advices which I will never forget. From secret fingerings to phrasing and musicality, in a few minutes he shared me a nice set of musical knowledge gems. I thank you Vladimir Orloff and I am forever grateful! May your soul rest in peace!

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