Bernard Greenhouse, one of the founding members of the Beaux Arts Trio and a prominent cellist of the recorded era, passed away this morning at the age of 95. His death was peaceful, said Paul Katz, a former student of Greenhouse who serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory and is the former cellist of the Cleveland Quartet.
Founded in 1955 by pianist Menahem Pressler, violinist Daniel Guilet and Greenhouse, the Beaux Arts Trio became one of the world's foremost chamber ensembles. Philips recorded several hundred albums with the Beaux Arts Trio during Greenhouse's tenure. Their recordings of Haydn's complete piano trios won Gramophone's Record of the Year award in 1979, and their album of the Dvorak "Dumky" Trio won the 1964 Grand Prix du Disque. Greenhouse played in the quartet for thirty-two years before leaving the group in 1987.
Three books have been published about Greenhouse and the Beaux Arts Trio: "Bowed Arts: Reflections of Bernard Greenhouse on His Life and Music" by Laurinel Owen (2001), "The Beaux Arts Trio: A Portrait" (1985) by Nicholas Delbanco and Delbanco's "The Countess of Stanlein Ex Paganini Stradivarius Cello of 1707" (2001), concerning the restoration of the famous instrument Greenhouse played.
The cellist was born in 1916. At age 30, he began two years of study with Pablo Casals; he had studied previously with Felix Salmond at Juilliard and with Emmanuel Feuermann and Diran Alexanian. Greenhouse himself was deeply committed to teaching; he served as a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music, the Hartt School (University of Hartford, Connecticut), and also taught at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, Julliard, Indiana University and the New England Conservatory. In more recent years, Greenhouse had led master classes around the globe and continued to teach privately at his studio on Cape Cod.
As Greenhouse noted in a 2008 All Things Considered profile, "I'm considered the old man of the cello right now. I don't know of any [other] cellists over the age of 90 who are still performing. I fight against the closure of my ability, and I'm not going to let it happen."