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Robert Rinehart


The Mr. and Mrs. G. Chris Andersen Chair


Robert Rinehart, who joined the New York Philharmonic’s viola section in 1992, is a familiar figure on the New York chamber-music scene. He has appeared at the Spoleto, Vancouver Chamber Music, and Santa Fe Chamber Music festivals, and with Chamber Music Northwest and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A founding member of the Ridge String Quartet, Rinehart has performed in every major music center in the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Japan, and in Europe. He has collaborated with Benny Goodman, Rudolf Firkusny, and the Guarneri String Quartet, among others, and his chamber music recordings have received a Grammy Award, two Grammy nominations, and the Diapason d’Or.

A native of San Francisco, Rinehart studied violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Isadore Tinkleman, and at The Curtis Institute of Music with Jaime Laredo, David Cerone, and Ivan Galamian. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

"My parents wanted me to be a physician. Unfortunately for them I was obsessed with music."

Interview with Robert Rinehart

THE FACTS: Born in San Francisco, California. Attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and The Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Jaime Laredo and Ivan Galamian. Prior to the Philharmonic: was a founding member of the Ridge String Quartet. Notable recording:Dvořák Piano Quintets with Rudolf Firkušy (Grammy nomination and the Diapason d’Or award) on RCA Red Seal. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1992. Teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My parents listening to classical music at home. I started piano and violin in grade school — I wanted to play in the school orchestra. I also played the viola, but didn’t do so full-time until I joined the Philharmonic. I continued to play the violin occasionally after joining the Orchestra, but now I really prefer the viola. I enjoy the challenge of playing an inner voice.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? I worked for many years with Alexander Schneider and Felix Galimir, each of whom showed me, in his own way, that a musician needs to give something of his human being, and should strive to play with both passion and intelligence.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? In high school. My parents wanted me to be a doctor. I, however, was obsessed with music.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? Almost certainly a doctor

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF YOUR JOB? One significant challenge is adapting to a new conductor’s concept of a familiar piece. The difficult but necessary part sometimes is allowing the conductor’s ideas to replace my own – at least temporarily.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Any Mahler symphony is always a musical highlight with the Philharmonic.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? Murray Perahia playing Bach English Suites, or maybe Bob Marley

DO YOU EVER PLAY IN OTHER GROUPS? I still perform a fair amount of chamber music; I enjoy that intimacy with other musicians.

ARE THERE OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My wife, Carmit Zori, is a violinist. I have two children: Amalia, 19, who is an excellent pianist and organist, and Daniel, 16.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Hike, cook, read, garden, and explore my native land, Northern California.

As of November 2011

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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