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    Myra Kestenbaum (1932 – 2001)

    Violist from Los Angeles, California, who started out on violin but gravitated to the viola at Juilliard.


    Groups with whom she has worked include the Heritage Trio, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Marlboro Festival Orchestra, the New York Viola Society, the South Bay Chamber Music Society, and the Southern California Viola Society.


    On 17th December 1972, the Heritage Trio interpreted Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Sonata a Tre in G minor”, Johannes Brahms’ “Two Pieces for Solo Piano, Op. 76”, Benjamin Britten’s “Lachrymae—Reflections on a Song of Dowland”, Paul Hindemith’s “Sonata for Oboe and Piano”, Benedetto Marcello’s “Sonata in G minor for Viola and Keyboard”, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Suite for Viola and Piano”.


    Myra was one-sixth of a string sextet that performed under the umbrella of the South Bay Chamber Music Society on 11th February 1977.  Their program comprised Brahms’ “String Sextet No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 18” and “String Sextet No. 2 in G major, Op. 36”, and Friedrich August Kummer’s “Duet in C major for Two Cellos, Op. 22”.


    On 16th September 1977, she and fellow violinist Norman Auzin Leonard and cellist Ronald Leonard appeared at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library Auditorium.  Their recital consisted of J.S. Bach’s “Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007”, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Serenade in D major, Op. 8” and Zoltan Kodaly’s “Duo, Op. 7.”


    Myra made her solo debut at Alice Tully Hall in New York on 26th January 1981.  Accompanying her were mezzo-soprano Shirley Love, cellist Jeffrey Solow, and pianist Meg Bachman Vas.  Her coming-out party included J.S. Bach’s “Sonata in G, BWV 1027”, Beethoven’s “Duo in E flat”, Brahms’ “Two Songs, Op. 91”, Britten’s “Lachrymae”, Paul Hindemith’s “Trauermusik” and Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Concerto in G”.


    Recordings on which she has appeared include:  Bach:  The Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 4-6/Orchestral Suite No. 4 and Beethoven:  Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 with Pablo Casals & the Marlboro Festival Orchestra; The Christmas Album by Air Supply; Crazy for You by Earl Klugh; I’m Glad You’re Here With Me Tonight and In My Lifetime by Neil Diamond; In Your Eyes by Mary MacGregor; Raise! by Earth, Wind & Fire; and, That’s What Friends Are For by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams.


    She can also be heard on the soundtracks of The Cincinnati Kid, The Dead Pool, The Enforcer, The Fox, Harry and the Hendersons, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Kelly’s Heroes, Love at First Bite, Murph the Surf, Pretty Maids All in a Row, Rocky IV, Stripes, and Sudden Impact.


    In the field of music education, she taught at the San Francisco Conservatory.  Her legacy has lived on in students such as Liz Dunkelberger and Ray Tischer.


    Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings

    Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)

    S CBS 6164B (UK 45)



    1. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Myra+Kestenbaum
    2. http://www.palosverdes.com/sbcms/web7273.htm
    3. http://www.palosverdes.com/sbcms/web7677.htm
    4. http://www.palosverdes.com/sbcms/web7778.htm
    5. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/02/01/arts/myra-kestenbaum-violist-plays-bach-and-brahms.html
    6. http://www.nyvs.org/recordings/albums/alphak.html
    7. http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/viola/message/17453
    8. http://www.smsymphony.org/sms9899/profiles.html
    9. http://www.armadillostringquartet.com/RayTischer.htm
    10. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/myra-kestenbaum-mn0001058394
    11. http://www.discogs.com/search?type=all&q=David+Kestenbaum
    12. http://www.discogs.com/Earl-Klugh-Crazy-For-You/master/65037
    13. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1238306/a/Beethoven%3A+Symphonies+Nos.+7+%26+8.htm
    14. http://www.dougpayne.com/lsd66_75.htm
    15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cincinnati_Kid_%28soundtrack%29
    16. http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/viola/message/17428

















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