David Blum leaves an extraordinary musical legacy as conductor and writer.
He studied composition and conducting at the Juilliard School of Music. In his early
twenties, he recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra and guest-conducted
throughout Europe, America and Israel. His meeting with Pablo Casals at the
1953 Prades Festival was a transformative experience and one which not only
informed his music-making ever afterwards, but also led to a close friendship with
the legendary musician that was to last nearly two decades.
In 1961, David founded The Esterhazy Orchestra in New York, with Casals acting
as Honorary President. Dedicated to the music of Haydn, the orchestra gave
groundbreaking tours throughout the U.S. and Canada. The acclaimed series of
recordings of Haydn symphonies on the Vanguard label permanently preserve the
remarkable collaboration between David and his outstanding musicians.
In the 1970s, and over the next two decades, David became an esteemed writer on
music and musicians, frequently contributing major articles for The New York Times,
The New Yorker, the BBC Music Magazine and The Strad. His books, which have
been translated into many languages, include: Casals and the Art of Interpretation,
Paul Tortelier, The Art of Quartet Playing, and Quintet.
As a writer, he revealed the inner working approaches of some of the greatest
performers of our time. Although he was a prolific writer, he could only ever write
about those artists with whom he felt a passionate empathy, and whose genius
became woven into the fabric of his own life.