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Violin Soloist, Chamber Musician, Teacher, Conductor. Howard passed peacefully on December 31st, 2021, with good friends present. He is survived by his sister, Penny Weiss Kleinman.
Howard’s love of music began at age three when he identified Bach on the radio. By age four, he had fallen in love with Jascha Heifetz’s recording of “Hora Staccato,” and pestered his parents for violin lessons. Howard finally started violin class at age seven and was given a full scholarship after several lessons. Howard’s most important violin teacher was Morris Gomberg at the Chicago Music College of Roosevelt University, where he was also on a full four-year scholarship. During college, Howard was in the first violin section of Chicago’s Lyric Opera, where he accompanied Guiseppe Di Stefano and Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, among other great singers of the era (1960-1961).
Howard also performed with many top musicians, including Duke Ellington, who played a 20-minute program privately for Howard in 1967. He recorded two albums with Frank Sinatra, and also recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Chet Atkins, Henry Mancini, and toured with Johnny Mathis. Howard also performed with David Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, and Arthur Rubenstein.
Before coming to Rochester, Howard was Assistant Concert Master of the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell (1965 – 1967). He performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto in 1967, conducted by James Levine.
Many recall Howard’s 20 years as Concert Master of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (1967 – 1987). He was a soloist with the RPO more than 100 times, including as soloist in the premiere recording of David Amram’s “Elegy for Violin and Orchestra.” During his tenure, he founded and was Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (RPYO). The RPYO traveled the world and recorded 21 LP albums.
Graveside Services will be held TUESDAY, January 4, 2022, at 1:30 PM in Mt. Hope Cemetery. Friends are asked to gather at the main entrance.
Donations in Howard’s memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.