Price: $150.00

FINE CONDITION

ZARA NELSOVA - CELLIST

Scarce one page typed letter signed by the Canadian born, American cellist to composer Peter Mennin, New York, May 8th, 1961.  She writes from her Madison Avenue Co-op.  We include a vintage 8” x 10” press photograph of Nelsova and her Stradivarius cello, “The Marquis de Colberon”.

28 E. 73rd St.. Apt 10A

New York, 20. N.Y.

Dear Peter,

I am just back from Europe.  I wrote to you March 22nd and wonder whether you ever received my letter.  I am off to Nassau for a vacation on Thursday and will probably be away for about 3 or 4 weeks.  Should you wish to get in touch with me I can be reached at..

c/o J.F. McCarthy

Bay St.

Nassau, Bahamas

With kindest regards,

Your sincerely,

Zara

Nelsova (1918-2002) was one of the great cellists of the 20th Century helping to popularize Ernest Bloch’s seminal work, “Schelomo”.  She was born in Canada and initially studied with Dezso Mahalek.  Her family moved to London in 1929 where she studied with Herbert Walenn.  She was also coached by Pablo Casals, Emanuel Feuermann and Gregor Piatigorsky.  At 13 she appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Malcolm Sargent.  She combined with her musical sisters, one a pianist and the other a violinist to form The Canadian Trio which toured Great Britain, South Africa, Australia, the Far East and Canada.  During the War she took a position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, also combining at the same time with violinist Kathleen Parlow and pianist Sir Ernest MacMillan to form a new Canadian Trio. Her play with the symphony was so exemplary that the visiting conductors took notice and her engagement calendar began tom fill.  (She also began her work with the “big three” Casals, Feuermann and Piatifgorsky at this point.)  In 1942 she made her American debut at Town Hall in New York City.  After the War she moved to London, giving important British Premieres of works by Hindemith, Schostakovich, Samuel Barber and Ernest Bloch.  She became an American citizen in 1955.  Her style was purportedly “Russian” which had a ring of authenticity due to her stage name, but was certainly not the case.  That said, she was a legendary performer and extremely busy on the concert platform throughout her life.  Composers gravitated to her, Ernest Bloch who appreciated her promotion of “Schelomo” wrote and dedicated three suites for unaccompanied cello for/to her. She gave the World Premiere of Hugh Wood’s cello concerto in 1969 at the Proms under Colin Davis and then toured the work around the world with Pierre Boulez. From 1963-1973 she was married to concert pianist Grant Johannesen and the two toured together. In 1962 she accepted Peter Mennin’s offer for a professorship at Julliard where she remained for the rest of her life when she was not touring.  She also was a Professor at the Aspen School of Music in the Summers. 

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