Obituary: Cleveland Orchestra violinist Kurt Loebel, 87

Posted on: October 21, 2009

In Wednesday’s (10/21) Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Grant Segall writes, “Kurt Loebel once said, ‘The Nazis did me a great favor.’ They drove him from his native Vienna, whose philharmonic excluded Jews, to America, where he racked up the third-longest tenure for musicians with the Cleveland Orchestra. Loebel died Sunday at his home in Judson Manor, overlooking Severance Hall. He had spent 50 of his 87 years on the orchestra’s payroll and volunteered for its archives until the end. Loebel was a raconteur, outspoken unionist, political activist and member of a generation that brought the orchestra worldwide acclaim.” When he first came to the U.S., Loebel “worked at a Columbia Records factory and a dry cleaner. He brought his parents to America six months later. He met his future wife, Ingrid Moor, at one of his recitals. In 1941, Loebel entered the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. He left for two years with the Army interrogating German prisoners. Then came two years with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the rest of his career here. He pressed both the orchestra’s management and union for better pay, benefits and conditions. He also played in the Cleveland Orchestra’s first tours abroad.”

Posted October 21, 2009