Bernard Greenhouse


President's Medal for Excellence (1985)
Beaux Arts Trio 30th Anniversary Concert
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Bernard Greenhouse was born in Newark on January 3, 1916, and began playing the cello at 8. Bernard proved so gifted that he was admitted as a teenager to the Juilliard Graduate School, as it was then known. He was one of only eight cello majors there. (Today, the Juilliard School has nearly 60.) After graduating in 1939, Mr. Greenhouse was principal cellist of the CBS Orchestra. He continued his studies with the eminent cellist Emanuel Feuermann. During World War II, Mr. Greenhouse was the principal cellist of the United States Navy orchestra and played the oboe in the Navy band. After the war he sought out Casals, who was living in Prades, France, in self-imposed exile from Franco's Spain. Casals agreed to meet Mr. Greenhouse if he donated $100 to Spanish antifascist causes and agreed to teach him after he heard him play. Mr. Greenhouse studied with him in Prades for about a year.

Returning to the United States, Mr. Greenhouse made his recital debut at Town Hall in 1946. Reviewing the concert, The New York Times called him "a well-rounded musician, as well as a gifted performing artist." In 1948 he became the cellist of the Bach Aria Group, a post he held through the 1970s.

Mr. Greenhouse and his colleagues were the subject of several books, including two by his son-in-law, Nicholas Delbanco, "The Beaux Arts Trio" (Morrow, 1985) and "The Countess of Stanlein Restored" (Verso, 2001), about the painstaking restoration of his 1707 Stradivarius cello. Bernard Greenhouse died in May 2011.