Peter Marsh


Peter Marsh provided our masterclasses from 2013-2017. He died in April 2021. A violinist and violist, he retired as director of string chamber music at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. For 23 years (1957-81), he played first violin for the Lenox Quartet, “one of the finest quartets this country has yet produced” (New York Times). In 2006 he toured Korea, Alaska (the Fairbanks Festival of the Arts), Brazil (XI International Cello Encounter) and France (Franco Américaine Rencontre de Musique de la Chambre, at the Château de la Bretesche in Missillac).

After his time with the Lenox Quartet, Marsh was the first violinist for the Philadelphia, Berkshire, Sequoia, Southwest and Pacific String Quartets. Marsh was a member of the Picasso Trio (violin and viola), the Palo Verde, Amici, and Rio Trios. As concertmaster Marsh played for the Seattle SymphonySeattle OperaPacific Northwest BalletColorado Festival Orchestra and California Chamber Symphony. Chamber music collaborations included Leon Fleisher, Menahem Pressler, Stanley Drucker, John Wummur and Eudice Shapiro.

Marsh studied with Hans Letz (who taught at Juilliard and was a student of Joseph Joachim). Further studies took him to the American Conservatory where he studied with Scott Willits, who studied for seven years with Otakar Sevcik and was his “American Representative.” Marsh’s third teacher was Emanuel Zetlin at the University of Washington. Zetlin had studied with Leopold Auer and was the assistant to Carl Flesch at the opening of the Curtis Institute.

Marsh presented masterclasses and concerts in Chino, Taiwan, Korea, Alaska and Brazil. Marsh was the director of a festival (Franco-Americaine Rencontre de Musique de Chambre) for 16 years in France. Each year he took an outstanding USC student chamber group to play with him and with French musicians.

He served on the faculties of Indiana University (Bloomington), Grinnell College, SUNY Binghamton, CSU Fullerton, California Institute of the Arts, San Francisco Conservatory, Ithaca College and Western Washington University. As a performer and teacher, Marsh attended the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Spoleto, Fairbanks and other festivals. Additionally, Marsh conducted the Western Washington University Symphony, served on the music panels of NYSCA and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a founder of Chamber Music America. As editor of “The ViolinForum” in American String Teacher magazine, he contributed articles on violin technique.

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