Obituary: orchestral violist and teacher Joseph de Pasquale, 95

Posted on: June 26, 2015

In Tuesday’s (6/23) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin reports the death of Joseph de Pasquale on June 22 at the age of 95. “Mr. de Pasquale, of Merion [Pa.], was principal violist of two of America’s golden-age ensembles—the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1947 to 1964, and then, sitting alongside three of his brothers, the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1964 until retirement in 1996. He is credited with raising the standard of viola playing so dramatically that it remade the instrument’s image, said Curtis Institute of Music president Roberto Díaz, a one-time de Pasquale protégé.” He taught at numerous conservatories, including, from 1964 until his death, Curtis. “Members of the Boston, Cleveland, New York, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Los Angeles orchestras studied with him, as did two-thirds of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s viola section.” The son of Germantown [Pa.] cabinetmaker named Oreste de Pasquale, he began studying violin as a child and entered Curtis as a violinist, “but its string faculty, including viola teacher Max Aronoff, thought he should switch to viola.” Following graduation in 1942 de Pasquale “joined Leopold Stokowski’s All-American Youth Orchestra, and then the Marine Band and the ABC Orchestra in New York” before successfully auditioning for Serge Koussevitzky at the Boston Symphony.

Posted June 26, 2015