Monday, January 21, 2013

Andor Toth

Andor Toth was a Hungarian (many would say American) violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher born (in New York City) on June 16, 1925.  He is remembered for a career which encompassed diverse fields in music – Broadway shows, chamber music, orchestral playing, concertizing, and teaching.  He began violin lessons at age 8.  Before long, he ended up going to Juilliard (New York) and joined the NBC Symphony in 1943, under the ill-tempered conductor, Arturo Toscanini, at age 18.  He only stayed a year.  At Juilliard, his teachers were Hans Letz and Ivan Galamian.  Toth played for U.S. troops in Europe during the war, although as a civilian.  Afterward, Toth was associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.  Joseph Gingold was the concertmaster at that time.  Toth then went to Houston to be associate conductor of the Houston Symphony.  From 1955 to 1960, Toth taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Ohio, USA.)  He was a Broadway show conductor (New York) for a year after that – 1960-1961.  From 1961 to 1989, he taught at various schools, including the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, California State University, the University of Colorado, New College of Florida, University of Texas, Oberlin (again), San Francisco Conservatory, Stanford University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Houston.  He retired in 1998.  During his teaching career, Toth organized or played in various chamber ensembles, including the Oberlin String Quartet, the Alma Trio, the New Hungarian String Quartet, the Takacs String Quartet, and the Stanford String Quartet.  As a soloist, he appeared with various orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, of which he was concertmaster in 1969.  His students include David Zinman and Charles Barber.  Toth died (in Los Angeles) on November 28, 2006, at age 81. 

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