Leonard Rose
I became Leonard Rose's fourth Juilliard student when he was in his second year as solo cellist > with the New York Philharmonic. One afternoon a week he would trek uptown to the school, exhausted after a morning rehearsal, collapse in an arm chair, start chain-smoking and complain about the "heavenly" length of the Bruckner Symphony just rehearsed. Then he'd say, "Harry, play something for me!"

In those days, Rose was very young and, although he played with great technical and tonal command, he had not yet learned to communicate the precise details of cello basics to a student. So, as often as I could, I would coax him to play for me, and I would walk around him to try and figure out (hopefully!) how it was done. Rose was the possessor of a consistently beautiful, true cello tone, deep and burnished, which he would draw out of his Goffriller and sometimes out of my inferior instrument. I must thank him to this day for having shaped my own tonal consciousness by his example.

Leonard Rose summer cello class at Colorado College: also shown are Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster Josef Gingold and Mrs. Minnie Rose.
Ancient History: A Summer Class at Colorado College.
Left to right: Barbara Draper (Pepper), Minnie (Mrs.) Rose, Josef Gingold, Leonard Rose, the author, Eugene Zallo, ? , Charles McCracken, Gloria Strassner, Jack Harnish.

I spent three school years and two summers as his student, and in that time managed to traverse most of the standard repertoire with him. This is still a source of wonder to me because I also recall the painstaking meticulousness of his teaching. There was a particularly frustrating session in which we covered the first phrase of the Brahms E Minor Sonata in an hour. In retrospect, this was another valuable lesson: his total honesty, integrity and attention to technical and musical detail in the face of the music at hand!

Summers were a time of relatively relaxed music making and study. The major orchestras did not yet have year-round contracts. The astute American composer Roy Harris would create small summer festivals around some of these temporarily unemployed principal players, one summer at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and the following year in Logan, Utah. The faculty quartet would include Josef Gingold, then Georg Szell's concertmaster with the Cleveland Orchestra and, of course, Leonard Rose. Roy Harris's wife Joanna Harris, an excellent pianist, would join Gingold and Rose in trio concerts. Harris would indulge his conducting urges by forming a student chamber orchestra with Gingold and Rose as the principals!

Rose-Gingold-Roy Harris: a star-studded chamber orchestra  concert in Colorado Springs.
A smiling Roy Harris flanked by Gingold and Rose. The author is bringing up the rear.

Cellist Leonard Rose in a rare moment of contemplation
A rare moment of contemplation

HomeContinue your walk around the The Wall of Fame Gallery:?

Itzhak PerlmanLeonard RoseFrank SinatraMichael TippettPablo Casals

This site created and maintained by Harry Wimmer (hwimmer@wimmercello.com). Thanks to Shirley Givens (sgivens@peabody.jhu.edu)
for her imaginative illustrations. Thanks to Kevin Wimmer (
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Design and content ©1999 by Harry Wimmer. Artwork ©1999 by Shirley Givens.
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