Aldo Simoes Parisot (born September 30, 1921) is a Brazilian-born American cellist and cello teacher, was formerly a member of the Juilliard School faculty, and currently is serving as a professor of music at the Yale School of Music.
Early Life and Musical Training:
Born in Natal, Brazil, Parisot began studying cello at age seven with his stepfather, Tomazzo Babini. From Babini, he learned the importance of playing without unnecessary tension--something he credits as the foundation for the rest of his career. At the age of 12 he gave his professional debut as a cellist. From there, he moved on to become principal cellist of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra in Rio de Janeiro. During one of the concerts, Carleton Sprague Smith, the attaché to the American embassy was in attendance. Upon witnessing Parisot's performance of Brahms's Double Concerto with violinist Ricardo Odnoposoff, he proceeded to come backstage, and invited Parisot to attend a party thrown for Yehudi Menuhin. At the party Smith told Parisot he would arrange for Parisot to study at the Curtis Institute of Music with Emanuel Feuermann. However, Feuermann died unexpectedly on May 25, 1942, three months before Parisot's intended arrival to the US.
Sometime later, Smith again approached Parisot, this time with an offer to pursue studies of music theory and chamber music at Yale University on scholarship. Accommodations were to be made such that Parisot could avoid taking lessons, as Feuermann was the only one Parisot was interested in studying with. Parisot accepted, and began at Yale in 1946.
At age 26, during the start of his studies at Yale, he made his United States debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the festival in Tanglewood. He embarked on his first European tour the following year. Following this he earned a degree from Yale School of Music and toured throughout the United States, Canada, and South America. According to Margaret Campbell, in her book The Great Cellists,
Parisot was a brilliant soloist, chamber musician and teacher who based his ideas on the playing of Emanuel Feuermann.
In the 1950s Parisot appeared in numerous solo concerts and soloed in many concertos with orchestras. During this time he also premiered works by composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Camargo Guarnieri, Jose Siqueira, Quincy Porter, Mel Powell, Claudio Santoro, Donald Martino as well as other works that where written and dedicated to him. He is recognized for his musicality, temperament and virtuoso playing as well as his teaching abilities.
Parisot has given first performances of composers such as Carmago Guarnieri, Quincy Porter, Alvin Etler, Claudio Santoro, Joan Panetti, Ezra Laderman, Yehudi Wyner, and Heitor Villa-Lobos always trying to enlarge the cello repertoire. The 2nd Cello Concerto by Villa Lobos was written and dedicated to him and the first performance was played by Parisot at his debut with the New York Philharmonic. Orchestras such as the Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Paris, Pittsburgh, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, and Warsaw, have played with him with prestigious conductors such as Stokowski, John Barbirolli, Leonard Bernstein, Eleazar de Carvalho, Zubin Mehta, Claude Monteux, Paul Paray, Victor de Sabata, Sawallisch, Hindemith, and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
He toured for five weeks in Poland during the first half of the year in 1976. In this period he was cellist with the Yale Quartet, with Broadus Erle, Syoko Aki and Walter Trampler.
From 1956-96 Parisot was the owner of one of the finest cellos: the De Munck Stradivarius.
Parisot's performance at Tanglewood of Donald Martino's Parisonatina al'Dodecafonia for solo cello--a piece written for Parisot--received many favorable reviews, including from Harold Schonberg of the New York Times and from the Boston Globe.
Parisot is renowned for his teaching, having held posts at Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, the Juilliard School, and the New England Conservatory in addition to his current position at Yale, which he has held since 1958. Throughout the years, his students have gone on to careers as prominent concert artists, teachers and players in major symphony orchestras. Some better-known former students of his include Shauna Rolston, Bion Tsang, Ralph Kirshbaum, Han-na Chang, Robert deMaine, Johann Sebastian Paetsch, Jian Wang. According to Kirshbaum:
Parisot had a virtuoso left hand technique and was a great teacher. He also furthered the use of my musical imagination in a technical sense.
In addition to the private instruction of his students, Parisot has also conducted the Yale Cellos since 1983. Formed as an ensemble of his current students, the group has since released a number of award-winning CDs, one of which received a Grammy nomination.
He has been commanding great respect as an artist in master classes at the Banff Centre in Canada since 1980. Until 2007 he returned each summer to teach young musicians and perform. In addition, he often appears at the Yale Summer School in Norfolk and at several other summer festivals. He gave master classes at the Sibelius Academy in November 1991. In Seoul, South Korea Parisot has offered courses of master classes at the Chung-Ang University since May 1994. He also holds master classes at the Manchester International Cello Festival, where he additionally conducts a large cello ensemble. In January 2000 he toured Taiwan performing with the teaching staff to aid earthquake relief victims. Performances and classes are planned for Mexico, Venezuela, and Korea in the near future.
Cello students throughout the globe have, since 1977, come to Brazil to take part in the Aldo Parisot International Competitions: the Josef Gingold Violin Competition, the Bruno Giuranna Viola Competition, and the Aldo Parisot-Janos Starker Cello Competition. Additionally, international students are invited to take part in master classes by these respected musicians. In 1984, Parisot gave a months worth of master classes in China, where he auditioning prospective students, and the following year he was invited back. Since 1987, he has been encouraged to spend each spring giving two weeks of master classes and performances at the Jerusalem Music Center in Israel. Since 2005 he has been returning every August to the Great Mountains Music Festival and School at the Yongpyong resort.
Alan Rich of the New York Magazine has commented about these master classes:
The master classes are extraordinary - Parisot has that enormous, rare gift of translating musical feeling into solid information about what to do with a set of fingers and a bow. Maybe there are master classes for clarinet, or trombone, somewhere in the world, but I doubt that they operate on the level of intensity that you find at Parisot's classes at Yale...as a teacher, he is an object of pilgrimage.
Member of Competition Juries:
Parisot has also served on juries of distinct international competitions, including those in Munich, Florence, Chile, Brazil, Evian, and Paris (Rostropovich Competition), in addition to various others throughout the US and Canada. In November 1991, he traveled to Helsinki, Finland to participate as a member of the jury in the first Paulo International Cello Competition. He constantly returns to Morelia to judge the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition.
In August 2007 he presided over the jury at the First Aldo Parisot International Competition in Yongpyong, South Korea. In December 2008 he will be on the jury of the First International Krzysztof Penderecki Cello Competition in Poland.
Parisot is well known for his paintings, which have been shown at numerous galleries in Boston, New York, New Haven and Palm Beach. During his tour in Poland he included the exhibitions of his abstract paintings made from acrylic. He uses his painting talents exclusively for philanthropic purposes, the proceeds going to the Aldo Parisot Scholarship Fund (recently renamed "Cello Enrichment Fund"), which grants financial breaks to his enrolled students. The main source of revenue for the Fund is a silent auction, held in mid-April at the annual Yale Cellos concert.
Awards and recognitions:
Parisot has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors over the years, including gold medals and honorary citizenships from Lebanon and Brazil.
In 1980 Parisot was awarded the Eva Janzer "Chevalier du Violoncelle" by Indiana University,
In September 1982, he was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal following his performance at its Staff Day ceremonies,
In 1983 he received the Artist/Teacher Award presented by the American String Teachers Association,
A Yale faculty member since 1958, Aldo Parisot was named the Samuel Sanford Professor of Music at Yale in 1994.,
In May 1997, Parisot received the Governor's Arts Award from the State of Connecticut,
In 1999 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Shenandoah University,
In 2001 he received the Award of Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England,
In 2002 he received the Gustave Stoeckel Award,
In 2002 he was honored as an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Penn State University,
Parisot's theory professor at Yale was Paul Hindemith, with whom Parisot became close friends. However, after an argument concerning a missed rehearsal, the two got into a fight--Parisot exclaiming to Hindemith "You and your orchestra can go to hell!". A representative of the student union paid him a visit, warning him that he could be deported. Hindemith and Parisot soon after resolved the misunderstanding.,
Parisot has three sons, one of whom is film director Aldo L. "Dean" Parisot.