Obituary: Leslie Parnas, cellist, 90

Posted on: February 18, 2022

“Leslie Parnas, a renowned cellist and teacher whose second-place award at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War helped propel him to a storied career, died on Feb. 1 at a rehabilitation facility in Venice, Fla. He was 90,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Thursday’s (2/17) New York Times. “The cause was heart failure, his eldest son, Marcel, said…. Leslie Parnas was born on Nov. 11, 1931 [in St. Louis]…. He began studying cello at a young age and made his debut at 14 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra…. Two years later he enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia…. After a stint in the U.S. Navy Band, he [served] as principal cellist in the St. Louis Symphony … from 1954 to 1962…. Mr. Parnas became a fixture on the chamber music scene, including at Marlboro, where he performed for many years. He joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1969 as a founding member…. From 1975 to 1984 he was artistic director of Kneisel Hall, a chamber music festival and school in Blue Hill, Maine…. Along with his son Marcel, Mr. Parnas is survived by another son, Jean-Pierre…. He married Ingeburg Rathmann in 1961; she died … in 2009.”