Maurice Gendron (26 December 1920, near Nice –20 August 1990, Grez-sur-Loing) was a French cellist, conductor and teacher. He is widely considered one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. He was an Officer of the Legion of Honor and a recipient of the National Order of Merit. He was an active member of the French Resistance during World War II.
Gendron recorded most of the standard concerto repertoire with conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Raymond Leppard, and Pablo Casals (the only cellist to appear on a commercial recording under Casals's baton), and with orchestras such as the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He also recorded the sonata repertoire with pianists such as Philippe Entremont and Jean Françaix. For 25 years he was a member of a celebrated piano trio with Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin. He also made a famous recording (earning an Edison Award) of J. S. Bach's solo cello suites.
Gendron played with many musical stars of his time, including Benjamin Britten, Dinu Lipattiand Rudolf Serkin. The 18th-century Stradivarius he played, which has become known as the ex-Gendron cello, was subsequently on loan to German cellist Maria Kliegel.
Gendron taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School and at the Paris Conservatoire. His students include Colin Carr, Chu Yibing and Jacqueline du Pré. In 2013 a former student alleged that Gendron was abusive toward young students during his time at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the '60s and '70s. Richard Hillier, the headmaster at YMS, has said he is aware of the allegations but that according to school documents, no concerns were raised about Gendron's behaviour.Other students of Gendron have described him as a very strict, even problematic teacher, but an influential one.
Gendron was the first modern cellist to record Boccherini's Concerto in B-flat in its original form (he discovered the original manuscript in the Dresden State Library)instead of Grützmacher's version. This recording has been widely acclaimed by critics and is considered a classic. He gave the first Western performance of Prokofiev's Cello Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Walter Susskind, and was subsequently given exclusive rights to the piece's performance for 3 years.
His approach to cello playing is summed up in his book "L'Art du Violoncelle", written in collaboration with Walter Grimmer and published in 1999 by Schott [ED 9176; ISMN M-001-12682-3].
Gendron is the father of the actor François-Éric Gendron.
Apart from several other currently available recordings, in 2015 Decca launched a 14-CD boxset, "L’Art de Maurice Gendron" (catalogue number 4823849), which comprises all his recordings for Decca and Philips in addition to some of his most relevant work for EMI.
Pau Casals i Defilló, usually known in English as Pablo Casals, was a Spanish cellist, composer, and conductor. He is generally regarded as the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century and one of the greatest cellists of all time. He made many recordings throughout his career of solo, chamber, and orchestral music, including some as conductor, but he is perhaps best remembered for the recordings of the Bach Cello Suites he made from 1936 to 1939. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy.
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, was an American-born violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in Britain. He is widely considered one of the great violinists of the 20th century. He played the Soil Stradivarius, considered one of the finest violins made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, in 1806. Its first performance by Franz Clement was unsuccessful and for some decades the work languished in obscurity, until revived in 1844 by Joseph Joachim. Since then it has become one of the best-known violin concertos.
Jacqueline Mary du Pré, OBE was a British cellist. At a young age, she achieved enduring mainstream popularity. Despite her short career, she is regarded as one of the greatest cellists of all time.
Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist, the principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the founder of the In Harmony music education programme.
The Yehudi Menuhin School is a specialist music school in Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, England, founded in 1963 by violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin. The current Director of Music is the composer and conductor Òscar Colomina i Bosch. The school is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in the United Kingdom, along with Chetham's School of Music, Wells Cathedral School, the Purcell School and St. Mary's Music School, Edinburgh. It is mainly funded by the Department for Education's Music and Dance Scheme, by philanthropic foundations, by donations and bequests from individuals, and by regular support from the Friends of the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos in history. A typical performance lasts just under half an hour.
Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, his last notable work, is a cornerstone of the solo cello repertoire. Elgar composed it in the aftermath of the First World War, when his music had already gone out of fashion with the concert-going public. In contrast with Elgar's earlier Violin Concerto, which is lyrical and passionate, the Cello Concerto is for the most part contemplative and elegiac.
Jan Walter Susskind was a Czech-born British conductor, teacher and pianist. He began his career in his native Prague, and fled to Britain when Germany invaded the city in 1939. He worked for substantial periods in Australia and the United States, as a conductor and teacher.
Colin Carr is a British cello soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and teacher.
Hephzibah Menuhin was an American-Australian pianist, writer, and human rights campaigner. She was sister to the violinist Yehudi Menuhin and to the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin. She was also a linguist and writer, co-authoring several books and writing many papers with her second husband, Richard Hauser.
William Pleeth OBE was a well-known British cellist and an eminent teacher, who became widely known as the teacher of Jacqueline du Pré.
The Barjansky Stradivarius of c.1690 is an antique cello fabricated by the Italian Cremonese luthier Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737).
Paul Watkins is a Welsh classical cellist and conductor. His brother is the composer Huw Watkins. Watkins studied cello with William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps and Johannes Goritzki. In 1988, he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year in the string section. From 1990 to 1997, he was principal cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Derek Simpson was an English cellist, known primarily from his work with the Aeolian Quartet, and as the teacher of many contemporary cellists.
Ross Pople is a New Zealand-born British conductor. He is the principal conductor of the London Festival Orchestra. He has worked with Yehudi Menuhin, Clifford Curzon, David Oistrakh, Kentner, George Malcolm, Sir Adrian Boult, Rudolf Kempe, Benjamin Britten, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Michael Tippett, Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, George Benjamin, John Casken, Edwin Roxburgh, Luciano Berio, John Taverner, Malcolm Arnold, Pierre Boulez as well as many other major orchestras, choirs and soloists.
The Banatul State Philharmonic Orchestra is a musical institution in Timișoara, Romania. Established in 1871, it now comprises a symphony orchestra, professional chorus, and various chamber groups.
Jamal Aliyev is a Azerbaijan cellist. He was born in Baku, on 2 September 1993.
Henri Demarquette is a French contemporary classical cellist.
Robert Cohen is a British concert cellist.