Cincinnati’s Dick Waller at 90: clarinetist, art gallery owner, chamber series founder

Posted on: November 22, 2019

“He jammed with Bernstein and Duke Ellington. He played with the Cincinnati Symphony for 35 years. He played the White House. He founded Cincinnati’s premiere chamber music series. He opened an art gallery,” writes David Lyman in Sunday’s (11/17) Cincinnati Enquirer (OH). “Who knows what else Dick Waller has in store for us? After all, he’s only 90. His big-9 birthday was Saturday, Nov. 16. … He got the job with the CSO back in 1960. He was the concertmaster of the Navy Band at the time. He’d heard the orchestra was looking for a clarinet player…. Unexpectedly, he was connected directly to Maestro Max Rudolf…. Says Waller, ‘I got to audition in his living room.’ … In 1974 … Waller started painting. He had no lessons, no background in the visual arts…. Forty years after that first painting—in 2014—he opened a small gallery on West Court Street. [He cofounded] the Linton Chamber Music Series with his then-wife Rosemary Waller…. He wanted to create a place where like-minded musicians could gather and share the intimacy of small-ensemble music…. Every one [of his paintings] is titled ‘Contrasts’ followed by a Roman numeral. The title is an homage to Bartók’s trio for clarinet, violin and piano.”

Posted November 22, 2019