Deborah Reeder died on 6 January at the age of 83


Cellist Deborah Reeder

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Cellist Deborah Reeder died on 6 January at the age of 83. Born 19 January 1940 in Pennsylvania, USA, she was exposed to music at an early age as her father was an avid fan of classical music, and her mother taught piano and violin. Reeder attained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance with a scholarship from the Philadelphia Musical Academy, now the University of the Arts Philadelphia, and received further training at the Kneisel Hall music school in Maine and the Tanglewood music centre in Massachusetts. Her teachers included cellists Lorne Munroe, Orlando Cole and Luigi Silva.

Reeder was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1973 until 1979 under conductor Eugene Ormandy, and performed with the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra, the Philadelphia Concerto Soloists, the American Society of Ancient Instruments and the Princeton Chamber Orchestra. She was also principal cellist of the Mozart Society of Philadelphia and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, now Opera Philadelphia.

From 1961 she was a founding member of the Amado Quartet, and in 1971 she formed the Philadelphia Trio with violinist Barbara Sonies and pianist Elizabeth Keller, a group she would perform with for decades, touring nationally and through Europe.

Reeder was also highly respected as an educator. In Pennsylvania, she helped to create the Eagles Mere Friends of the Arts in 1975 and Music in the Mountains, a summer camp in Eagles Mere that ran from 1976 until 2011. She taught both cello and chamber music at Temple University and the University of the Arts Philadelphia as well as at many other music schools and privately. Her enthusiasm earned her the nickname ‘Eager Beaver’ from her students.

‘She was warm and generous, and had an interest in many things in the natural world,’ Sonies wrote in memoriam of the cellist. ‘One of her gifts was to draw people together from disparate groups and form wonderful friendships, and music was the common link.’

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