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Former New York Philharmonic Violist Mildred Perlow has Died, Aged 99

The lifelong violist was known for her commitment to music and championing of contemporary works


Born in 1922 in Newark, New Jersey, Perlow studied music at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1943. She went on to play viola in ensembles throughout the East Coast. While in New York, she met and later married Austin Perlow, a career newspaperman they were married for 51 years until he passed away in 1996. 

According to the Washington Post, a letter signed by Leonard Bernstein dismissing Perlow from the New York Philharmonic was among her most prized possessions. 

The letter, which dates back to 1946, was not due to any issues with her playing, but rather informed her that the men returning from the war wanted their orchestral jobs back.  

After taking a break from playing music professionally to raise a family, Perlow created a series of professional quartets and played regularly in several orchestras in Long Island, New York.

She had a passion for string quartet repertoire and played in many groups over a span of 50 years, including the L'Amore di Musica chamber ensemble — which she directed for 17 years. 

The repertoire of L'Amore di Musica not only involved baroque and romantic music but aimed to showcase new works by contemporary composers.

Perlow passed away peacefully in her bed of old age. She is survived by her son, daughter, and sister.

Our condolences to Ms. Perlow’s family, friends, and colleagues.

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