Robert Mann (1920-2018)

Robert Mann, the founding first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, has died at 97.

In a 1995 interview for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mann told me that shortly after World War II, as he returned to civilian life and joined the faculty of New York’s Juilliard School, he asked Edgar Schenkman, a Juilliard conducting teacher, whether the school’s president, William Schuman, would be interested in the establishment of a resident string quartet.

Schenkman, who subsequently became the founding music director of the Richmond Symphony, told Mann that Schuman had a quartet in mind and guided the young violinist and his colleagues in writing a proposal.

In 1946, Mann, violinist Robert Koff, violist Raphael Hillyer and cellist Arthur Winograd launched the Juilliard, now the oldest continually performing string quartet in the US. Mann remained the leader of the group for more than 50 years, retiring in 1997.

An obituary by The New York Times’ Margalit Fox:

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