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02/15/2011

Sidney Harth, former Los Angeles Philharmonic concertmaster, dies at 85

February 15, 2011 |  7:44 pm

HarthSidney Harth, a violinist who was concertmaster and associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1973 to '79, has died. He was 85.

Harth died Tuesday of respiratory complications at UPMC Shadyside hospital in Pittsburgh, said publicist Janice Mayer.

Harth resigned from the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1979 because "numerous conducting and solo engagements are making it impossible … to spend an adequate amount of time with the orchestra," he said.

Martin Bernheimer, then The Times' music critic, wrote that Harth won nearly universal acclaim as a violinist but was criticized by some because of his absences to conduct or perform as a soloist elsewhere.

His career included a variety of orchestras and academic posts. He was interim concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic in 1980 and also worked with orchestras in Louisville, Ky.; Chicago; Jerusalem; and Puerto Rico, among others.

Harth was head of the music department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh when he was hired by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also taught at Yale and several other universities.

Harth was born Oct. 5, 1925, in Cleveland and graduated in 1947 from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

He is survived by a daughter, Laura Harth Rodriguez, and a grandson. His wife, violinist Teresa Testa Harth, died last year. Their son, Robert, a former general manager of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, died in 2004.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Homewood Cemetery chapel in Pittsburgh.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Sidney Harth in 1978. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 


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