"How old is your son, Cello, Mr. Greenhouse?"

This weekend I was brought back to the years I produced a radio show for Carnegie Hall when I read that the cellist Bernard Greenhouse had died. He was a founding member of The Beaux Arts Trio, and I had the good fortune to interview him and his colleagues Isidore Cohen and Menahem Pressler when they came to perform at Carnegie years ago.  Their camaraderie and musicality came through in their conversation, and it was a delight to talk with them in the plant-filled, sunny living room on the Upper West Side where they rehearsed. 

Bernard Greenhouse played with the Beaux Arts for more than 30 years, and after he retired in 1987 continued performing and teaching into his 90’s.  His life and music are lovingly described in the obituary that ran in the NY Times this weekend – and also his sly humor.  The obit ends with a story about how, when the trio would travel, they would book a fourth ticket for Mr. Greenhouse’s cello:

Once, at an airport check-in counter, an agent, reading the name on just such a ticket, asked, “And how old is your son, Cello, Mr. Greenhouse?”

“Two hundred fifty years,” Mr. Greenhouse replied promptly, before collecting his son’s boarding pass and lugging him to the gate.

Take a listen to his wonderful musicianship on the Beaux Arts recordings – you can hear their lively performances of Haydn’s Trios here.