Alma Trio - Totenberg-Baller-Rejto
Adolph Baller and Gabor Rejto as two-thirds of the Alma Trio (w/Roman Totenberg, violin)

Adolph Baller And Gabor Rejto In Recital – Music Of Beethoven, Martinu, Brahms And Debussy – 1976 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concert

Alma Trio - Totenberg-Baller-Rejto

Adolph Baller and Gabor Rejto as two-thirds of the Alma Trio (w/Roman Totenberg, violin)

Adolph Baller, piano – Gabor Rejto, cello- In Recital – San Francisco Chamber Society – October 25, 1976 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Historic Chamber recitals this week. Cellist Gabor Rejto and pianist Adolph Baller in a program of music by Beethoven, Martinu and Debussy, recorded during the San Francisco Chamber Music Society’s 1976-77 season on October 25, 1976 and broadcast over KPFA in Berkeley.

They open the program with Beethoven’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in F-major op. 5 Number 1 – and end the first half with Martinu’s Sonata Number 2 for Cello and Piano. After the intermission it’s Debussy’s Sonata in D minor, Brahms Cello and Piano Sonata Number 1 in E minor and concludes with an encore, Beethoven’s Seven Variatiosn On A Theme From Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Gabor Rejto was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1916, and immigrated to the United States in 1939. His first cello teacher was Frederick Teller. Margaret Campbell in her book The Great Cellists, says Teller’s teaching was “exceptionally forward looking.” At sixteen, Rejto entered the Liszt Academy of Music, where he studied with Adolf Schiffer, who had been David Popper’s pupil and assistant. In 1936, at the age of twenty and already a touring artist, he embarked on advanced studies with Pablo Casals, first in Barcelona and then in Prades. Rejto greatly admired Casals, and said, “I am sure that I have not consciously tried to imitate him, but nevertheless, Casals remains one of the great influences of my musical life.”

Rejto was a resident of the US from 1939 until his death in 1987. During his career, he was on the faculty of the Manhattan and Eastman school of music from 1949 to 1954. He toured the world as a concert cellist, including a tour of the Soviet Union in 1963. Beginning in 1954 he headed the advanced master class for cellists at the Santa Barbara Music Academy of the University of Southern California.

Rejto was committed to chamber music. He was the cellist in the Paganini and Hungarian string quartets, and was a founding member of the Alma Trio. His chamber music experience attracted many students to his Cello Workshops held throughout the United States.

Rejto was chosen Artist Teacher of the Year at the American String Teacher’s Association’s 25 anniversary conference. A survey done at the time showed that he was one of the top three cello teachers, with respect to number of students. Rejto said, “Each student is different…the teacher must be involved, and must be aware of the individual needs of his students…the teacher must be not only an instructor, but a psychologist.”

Adolph Baller (July 30, 1909 – 1994) was an Austrian-American pianist who played classical and romantic music. He performed with Yehudi Menuhin for several years and was a teacher of Terry Riley and Jerome Rose.

While Baller worked as a pianist for the WQXR radio station in New York City, he met violinist Yehudi Menuhin and cellist Gabor Rejto. Beginning in 1941, the Ballers lived with their daughter, Nina, at Menuhin’s Alma Estate in Los Gatos, California.

For several years Baller accompanied Menuhin in performances throughout the world and performed in chamber concerts, being particularly active during World War II with performances for troops deployed overseas.

Under Yehudi Menuhin’s patronage, Baller, Gabor Rejto and Roman Totenberg formed the Alma Trio in 1942-1943 at Menuhin’s Alma estate in Los Gatos, California. Violinist Maurice Wilk joined the Alma Trio after Totenberg retired. Following Wilk’s sudden death in 1963, violinist Andor Toth joined the Alma Trio and remained their violinist for the next 15 years, before the trio winded down their touring in the mid-1980s.

Enjoy the concert.

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3 Responses

  1. HORIA GANESCU says:

    The speaker also announced the fourth work of this recital: Johannes Brahms’s Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1, in E minor, op. 38. So it was played between Debussy and Beethoven (encore).