US violinist Sheldon Rotenberg died on 23 June at the age of 95.
A veteran of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), he was originally
hired by music director Serge Koussevitzky in 1948. Rotenberg
retired from the orchestra 43 years later in 1991, having played
under four subsequent music directors: Charles Münch, Erich
Leinsdorf, William Steinberg and Seiji Ozawa.
Born in 1917, Rotenberg began playing the violin at the age of five, and studied under Felix Winternitz, making his debut with the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1939. In 1940 he received coaching in string quartet playing from Paul Hindemith at the Tanglewood Music Center. Following war service, he studied with George Enescu and Maurice Hewitt in Paris before moving back to the US.
After a season with the Indianapolis Symphony, Rotenberg won a second violin position at the BSO in 1948, when he also began a four-year stint with the Boston Quartet. In 1952 he moved up to first violin at the BSO. He remained there for 39 years, apart from the 1966–67 season, which he spent as a teacher, soloist and member of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo.
A member of the Harvard Music Association, Rotenberg also worked as the BSO’s archival consultant after his retirement.