Samuel Rhodes is a consummate artist, well known as recitalist, soloist with orchestra, recording artist, composer and teacher. His artistry has become well recognized and his playing has received international critical acclaim. The New York Times has called him “a remarkably sensitive violist”; the Washington Post has described him as a “master of the viola fit to stand with the instrument’s greatest”; the Boston Herald wrote, “the texture of his sound is in itself a wonder”; in London they praised his “stunning range of color”; and in Paris he was called “a violist of the very first rank.”
Mr. Rhodes is celebrating his 34th year as a member of both the Juilliard String Quartet and the faculty of the Juilliard School. He serves, along with Karen Tuttle, as co-chair of the viola department.
He also has been a participant of the Marlboro Music Festival since 1960 and is a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center.
His solo appearances have included several recitals at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and an unaccompanied recital at the Juilliard School highlighted by world premieres of works by Milton Babbitt and Arthur Weisberg. In 1985, he supervised and performed in a recital series at Weill Hall, New York City, celebrating the 90th birthday of Paul Hindemith. In 1996, he organized and performed in a similar recital series at Miller Theatre, Columbia University, commemorating Hindemith’s 100th anniversary.
In 1998, he gave the world premiere of Donald Martino’s Three Sad Songs for viola and piano with Thomas Sauer at the Library of Congress. In June, 2001, Mr. Rhodes was invited to play a recital consisting of the Babbitt, Play it Again, Sam and the Vieuxtemps Sonata at the 10th anniversary of the “Viola Space” series at Casals Hall, Tokyo, Japan.
Since 1998 Mr. Rhodes had the honor to be invited to join the late Isaac Stern to be a coach at his Chamber Music Workshops in Jerusalem, Israel; Miyazaki, Japan; and Carnegie Hall, New York.
Mr. Rhodes, a native New Yorker, studied the viola with Sydney Beck and Walter Trampler. He has a B.A. from Queens College of the City University of New York and an M.F.A. from Princeton University, where he studied composition with Roger Sessions and Earl Kim.
As a composer, he wrote a String Quintet for two violins, two violas and cello, which has been performed by the Blair, Composer’s, Galimir, Pro Arte and Sequoia Quartets. The quintet was recently recorded by the Pro Arte Quartet with the composer as guest.
As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet, Mr. Rhodes toured throughout Europe, North and South America, the Near East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand; has recorded an extensive catalogue of the string quartet literature on the CBS Masterworks, Sony Classical, Wergo, and CRI labels; has won three Grammy Awards for the Debussy and Ravel Quartets, the complete Schoenberg Quartets, and the complete Beethoven Quartets; has commissioned and performed the world premieres of works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, Henri Dutilleux, Alberto Ginastera, John Harbison, Fred Lerdahl, Donald Martino, Morton Subotnick, Stefan Wolpe, and Richard Wernick. In 2002, the quartet gave the world premieres of newly commissioned works by Ralph Shapey and Gunther Schuller.
In 2003, the Quartet will celebrate 40 years of residency at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC by performing a Beethoven cycle combined with distinguished American works by Shapey, Schuller, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and including the world premiere of the Horn Quintet by Richard Wernick.
Mr. Rhodes has also been artist in residence at Michigan State University and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Michigan State, the University of Jacksonville, and the San Francisco Conservatory.
He has appeared as a guest artist with the Beaux Arts Trio, the Mannes Trio, the American, Blair, Brentano, Cleveland, Galimir, Guarneri, Mendelssohn, Pro Arte and Sequoia String Quartets.