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Cellist Paul Tortelier Died In 1990

He is remembered as one of the prominent cellists of the 20th Century, with his famed students including Jacqueline du Pré


French cellist Paul Tortelier died on this day in 1990, aged 76.

A graduate of the Conservatoire de Paris, he played in orchestras in both France and the United States prior to World War II. Post-war, Tortelier gained international acclaim as a soloist and was notably linked to the solo role in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, cello concertos by Elgar and others, and Bach's Cello Suites.

Between 1956 and 1969 his influence extended beyond performance, as he taught at conservatories in France, Germany, and China, conducting televised masterclasses in England. He served as a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris, and from 1969 to 1975 at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Subsequently, he achieved the distinction of being the first Westerner appointed as an honorary Professor of Music at the Central Conservatoire in Beijing, China.

Despite being French himself, Tortelier advised his students to explore beyond French music, recognizing the global appeal of composers like Beethoven and Mozart. He instilled in his students an international perspective on both musical preferences and performances. Similar to Rostropovich, Tortelier gradually expanded his role into conducting as he advanced in age.

He received worldwide recognition in the 1970s and 80s after recording a series of cello masterclasses for Britain's BBC TV.




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