CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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American violinist, conductor and teacher Anshel Brusilow was born in Philadelphia on 14 August 1928, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. He studied violin from the age of five with William Happich, and, later, with Jani Szanto. At the Curtis Institute he studied with Efrem Zimbalist. At the Philadelphia Musical Academy he was Pierre Monteux's youngest ever conducting student.
From 1954 until 1955 he was concertmaster and assistant conductor of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, then associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra (1955-9, under George Szell) and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1959-66, under Eugene Ormandy), playing solos on several well-known recordings in this last position.
During his time with the Philadelphia Orchestra he bought a 1743 Guarneri del Gesu violin, known today as the 'Brusilow'. He also founded and conducted the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra using musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, but there was a dispute with the Philadelphia Orchestra Association when it banned players from forming independent groups, and Brusilow resigned from the Philadelphia Orchestra.
He founded and conducted the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia (1965-8) but this folded for financial reasons, probably due to lack of support for a second orchestra.
Brusilow was conductor and executive director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1970-73). He led the orchestra's first Central and South American tours, and began the orchestra's continuing pops series.
He was music director of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra in Texas from 1992 until his retirement in 2012.
His teaching career included positions as director of orchestral studies at the University of North Texas College of Music (1973-1982 and 1989-2008), and at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas (1982-9). He retired from North Texas in 2008 and the Anshel Brusilow Chair in Orchestral Studies was established in his honour.
In 2015 he wrote his autobiography Shoot The Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy (University of North Texas Press, ISBN 978-1-57441-613-8, with co-author Robin Underdahl).
Anshel Brusilow died on 15 January 2018, aged eighty-nine.