Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is saddened to acknowledge the passing of cellist Leslie Parnas on February 1, 2022 at the age of 90.
Leslie Parnas was the first artist member cellist of the Chamber Music Society, beginning with CMS’s very first concert on September 11, 1969. In fact, he played in the first piece on that historic program, a Bach Trio sonata with violinists Pinchas Zukerman and the late James Buswell, and Artistic Director Charles Wadsworth at the harpsichord. He subsequently performed hundreds of times with CMS in New York and on tour throughout his tenure which lasted through the 1995-96 season.
I especially treasure the memory of performing with Leslie the Suite for Two Cellos and Piano by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1986, which Leslie had previously played with the great Gregor Piatigorsky on our stage in 1973.
Leslie Parnas, a virtuoso cellist with stellar credentials, brought consummate musicianship and his incomparable golden cello sound to stages worldwide. CMS was enriched by his presence, his standards, and his artistry, which has set the bar very high for cellists here ever since. We will miss both his commanding performances and his irrepressible sense of humor, but we are indebted to him for all he gave of himself to chamber music and to our organization.