Philadelphia laments a principal cellist

The death has been announced, at 91, of David Guggenheim,  principal cellist of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra for decades until his retirement in 2000.

He was also a founder member of the Philadelphia Little Symphony and a much sought-after teacher.

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  • I was fortunate to study with Mr. Guggenheim in the 1980s. He was a kind, patient gentleman whose love for the cello and for music was immense and contagious.

  • David Guggenheim started me off on the bass back at Northeast High School in Philadelphia when I was 16. He was known as a “floating teacher” who went all over town searching for potential cellists or bassists. It may be that such helpful musical programs are no longer available in the city’s school system.

    When he realized that I was making more progress on an instrument that was really not his own, he quickly transferred me over to a real bass teacher, and in doing so, allowed me to continue on the path I chose.

    Sad to see him go, as I never ever forgot him!

    • Floating teacher means he had a position, but it wasn’t tied to one school, he taught as needed in various schools.

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