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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » G » Gendron, Maurice



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Maurice Gendron (12/26/1920 - 8/20/1990)

Maurice Gendron, who has the distinction of being the only cellist to appear on a commercial recording under the baton of Pablo Casals, began music lessons on the violin with his mother, a performer for silent movies. At five he switched to a quarter-size cello and at ten was taken to a recital by Feuermann by his teacher Stéphane Odero; although he idolised Feuermann from that moment, Gendron’s family could never afford to take up the master’s offer of lessons. Even when he took a place at the Paris Conservatoire he had to sell newspapers to fund his expenses, and lived in unheated lodgings.

After World War II (during which he joined the Resistance, being unfit for military service) Gendron met Britten and Peter Pears in Paris; this led to his solo début in London’s Wigmore Hall, accompanied by Britten, in which he shared the bill with Pierre Bernac and Poulenc. The same year, 1945, he gave the European première of Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Walter Susskind. He also played trios with Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin and recorded Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with them in 1964. Like most eminent performers Gendron also taught; much of his pedagogic material was collated by one of his pupils, Walter Grimmer, and published after his death as The Art of Playing the Cello.

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