kids encyclopedia robot

Anshel Brusilow facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Anshel Brusilow
Born 14 August 1928 (1928-08-14)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died 15 January 2018 (2018-01-16) (aged 89)
Dallas, Texas, United States
Occupation Conductor, violinist

Anshel Brusilow (August 14, 1928 – January 15, 2018) was an American violinist, conductor, and music educator at the collegiate level.

Early life and education

Brusilow was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1928, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Leon and Dora Brusilow (see § Family). He began his violin study at the age of five with William Frederick Happich (1884–1959) and subsequently studied with Jani Szanto (1887–1977). Brusilow entered the Curtis Institute of Music when he was eleven and studied there with Efrem Zimbalist. Throughout most of his childhood and adolescence, he was known as "Albert Brusilow". Later, at the urging of his girlfriend (who would later become his wife), he returned to using his birth name, Anshel.

Brusilow attended the Philadelphia Musical Academy and at sixteen was the youngest conducting student ever accepted by Pierre Monteux. A 4th prize winner of the Jacques Thibaud-Marguerite Long Violin Competition in 1949, he performed as a soloist with numerous major orchestras in the United States.



From 1954–55, Brusilow was concertmaster and assistant conductor of the New Orleans Symphony under Alexander Hilsberg (1897–1961). From 1955–59, he was associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. And from 1959 to 1966, he was concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.

Acclaimed recordings featuring Brusilow with the Philadelphia Orchestra include Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and Strauss's Ein Heldenleben.

While serving as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Brusilow founded in 1961, and from 1961–65, conducted the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, an organization composed of musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra. But December 1964, Brusilow announced his resignation as concertmaster, effective June 1966, over a dispute with the Orchestra Association forbidding players from forming independent musical groups.


Brusilow, in 1965, founded, and from 1965–68, directed and conducted the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia, which performed two and one-half 34-week seasons and recorded six records on RCA Victor. In 1968, the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia folded under financial duress, attributed mostly to a lack of philanthropic support for a second orchestra in Philadelphia.

In 1970, Brusilow was appointed executive director and conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He led the orchestra's first tours of Central and South America and started the pops series that the orchestra still performs to this day. The most notable recording from this period was Dallasound, a pops music album featuring several arrangements by Bill Holcombe [de]. In 1973, after a successful tour of Central and South America, Brusilow was summarily fired after the Symphony's board of directors came under censure when it became public that composers were paying to have their works performed.

He was the music director of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra in Richardson, Texas, from 1992 until his retirement from that position in 2012.

Music educator in higher education

Brusilow was Director of Orchestral Studies at North Texas State University (later known as the University of North Texas) from 1973 to 1982, and again at North Texas from 1989 to 2008. Between 1982 and 1989 he held a similar post at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Brusilow retired from his professorship at North Texas in 2008. Shortly before his retirement he conducted his final concert with the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday, April 23, 2008, in the Winspear Performance Hall of the Murchison Performing Arts Center in Denton. A $1,000,000 endowment, which includes the creation of a faculty position, the Anshel Brusilow Chair in Orchestral Studies, was established in his honor.

Diplomas, awards, and professional affiliations

1947: Artist's diploma, Philadelphia Musical Academy
1968: MusD, Capitol University
(n.d.) National Patron, Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity
2015: Forward Indies (IndieFab Book of Year), Gold Winner for Performing Arts & Music, sponsored by Foreword Reviews, Inc., for Brusilow's memoir, Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy, co-written with Robin Underdahl, published July 15, 2015 (hardcover) and August 15, 2016 (paperback)

Brusilow's violin and bows

Soon after becoming concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Brusilow purchased a 1743 Guarneri del Gesu violin (Cozio 49626), which today is known as "The Brusilow." The violin, reportedly, was once owned by the French violinist, Jacques Pierre Rode (1774–1830), who had been a court violinist to Napoleon. The provenance also includes W.E. Hill & Sons; Arthur Beare (until 1929); Alfred Oppenheim Corbin (1874–1941), a Dutch-born London-then-New-York-investment-banker, amateur violinist, and serious collector of violins (1929 to 1931); Leo Reisman, who purchased it through Emil Herrmann (from 1931); Theodore Pitcairn, a philanthropist who purchased it through Rembert Wurlitzer (around 1953); Brusilow (1959 to 1966), then to its previous owner (name unknown). Brusilow acquired the violin, through an arrangement, from Pitcairn, who, with Brusilow standing at his side at William Moennig & Son in Philadelphia, wrote a check for $28,000. Moennig, according to Brusilow, "threw in a Tourte bow for free," which Brusilow still owned in the late 1980s. Brusilow wrote in his 2015 book, Shoot The Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy, that he also owned a John Dodd bow, and preferred it over the Tourte.



Brusilow parents, Leon Brusilow (né Leiser Brusilovsky; born 1897 Kremenchuk; naturalized 1927 ED Pa; died 1968) and Dora Brusilow (née Epstein; born 1902 Novorossiya; naturalized 1928 ED Pa; died 1977), married March 12, 1919. They immigrated to the United States, arriving with Anshel's brother, Nathan Brusilow (née Nachman Brusilow; 1920–2004), at the Port of New York July 22, 1922, aboard the SS Zeeland.

Brusilow married Marilyn Rae Dow December 23, 1951, in San Francisco. They had three children.

Cultural offices

Preceded by
Jacob Morris Krachmalnick
Concertmasters, Philadelphia Orchestra
Succeeded by
Norman Carol
Preceded by
Donald Johanos
Music Directors, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Max Rudolf

See also

  • University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra
kids search engine
Anshel Brusilow Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.