RIP Soviet Emigre Orchestra chief

Lazar Gosman, the Lengingrad Philharmonic concertmaster who founded the Soviet Emigre Orchestra on reaching the US in 1977, has died in New York state at the age of 93.

He was professor of violin successively at the Moscow Conservatoire, Leningrad Conservatoire, in St Louis and at New York State University at Stony Brook.


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  • Lazar was a member of the St. Louis Symphony during my tenure as CEO of the Symphony. He was a fine musician and good man.

  • For many years, LG was the Third (Chair) Concertmaster of Mravinsky’s world-famous Leningrad Philharmonic. In 1960s and 1970s he also led Leningrad Phil’s Chamber Orchestra. They always performed without conductors, with LG subtly leading them from the first chair as if they were playing a string quartet by Haydn. In early 1970s they became one of the first performers of Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony in that ambitious conductor-less way, a rather sophisticated and complicated piece which they did extremely well. Hearing them play it live in concert remains one of the most memorable musical
    experiences of my teenage years.

  • I was ten when my mother took me to a concert Gosman organized at a middle school in Monticello, New York. I listened to the Soviet Emigre Orchestra play Gosman’s arrangement of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8, and it echoes in me to this day.

  • I played in the Soviet Emigre Orchestra and its successor, Tchaikovsky Chamber Orchestra, for 5 years. It was a great experience. Maestro Gosman was a master of his craft.

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