Sheldon Rotenberg, A39

“I would have played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nothing, for the joy of being there,” Sheldon Rotenberg, A39, told The Boston Globe in February. “But to be paid well to do what you love is heaven beyond belief.” Rotenberg died in his home in Brookline, Mass. on June 23. A violinist with the BSO for 43 years, his love of Symphony Hall began while at Tufts.

Photo: Boston Symphony Orchestra Archives

Every Friday afternoon he left the Hill to catch Serge Koussevitsky conduct the BSO, a conductor under whom he would eventually play. In 1940, Rotenberg was accepted into the inaugural class of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where he was coached by legends Paul Hindemith and Gregor Piatigorsky, and taught alongside behemoth talents such as Leonard Bernstein. Then the Army called. Fluent in French and German, he worked military intelligence. Post-World War II, he was sent to Berlin to help locate Nazi officials in hiding. It was here that he befriended a Soviet officer and fellow Jew, and the two participated in one of the first Jewish prayer services in that city since before the war.

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