JAVS Fall 2023

School faculty colleagues resided, including his very dear friend of many years, the great violinist Josef Gingold and his wife, Gladys. However, given everyone’s active and chaotic schedules at the beginning of the school year, socializing was at best, somewhat minimal. Personally, I did my best to spend as much time with him as possible, both with and without the viola. Given his absolute love of sports, we shared a fair amount of time watching football, soccer, and even sumo wrestling on television in his apartment. Additionally, we would spend considerable time discussing world politics, history, music, teaching, performers, and some of his favorite authors. watching (and coaching) our rehearsals when his schedule permitted. Eventually he would even call our rehearsal studio on occasion just to listen to our music-making via the telephone! Oh yes, and then there were the fun afternoons the quartet would share with William at his apartment watching Sumo Wrestling while enjoying some of his rare, limited edition Dunhill cigars and sampling some of his favorite scotches. Once my newly formed string quartet at the university was up and running, William very much enjoyed A couple of months into the semester he began planning short visits to old friends living within reasonable distances from Bloomington. He and I even created an arrangement whereby if I would drive him to and from the Indianapolis Airport on select weekends, I could use his brand new 1965 Lincoln Continental throughout his absence as though it was my own. It was a great plan that worked extremely well for the both of us! At times, he would talk about the family and their life in California, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that the likelihood of Alice and the children ever moving to Bloomington was minimal at best. Fortunately for his family, since William maintained his faculty position at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California during the summers surrounding his first couple of years in Bloomington, and the Primrose family home was located but a short distance from the Music Academy, he was able to rejoin his family (at least for the summers) as head of household.

New Life, New Family, New Places Although Primrose thankfully had made a remarkable recovery from his devastating heart attack in 1963, its residual effects coupled with the worsening of his hearing infliction had made the reality of a serious comeback as a major performing artist evaporate rather quickly. 4 To my amazement (and obvious benefit), William began actively referring me to concert promoters inquiring about his interest in returning to the stage. As a result, my own performance schedule was increasing dramatically, and by the time we had spent our first year together in Bloomington, I was on the road quite frequently fulfilling numerous performance engagements. One of the major downsides of my frequent absences from Bloomington was the obligation of then, Dean Bain, to notify my U.S. Military Draft Board that I was, in fact, falling short of the legislated requirements for maintenance of my full-time student status. Unfortunately, by the time I received official notice from my Draft Board as to their rejection of my status as a full time student at IU, the Vietnam War was in full swing with zero signs of improvement for the immediate future. So, as I am quite certain you can imagine … my parents (as well as myself) went into a bit of a panic mode! To make a very long and painful story short—in the end—I was able to convince the U.S. Marine Corps Band leadership in Washington D.C. to absorb my quartet from IU into the Marine Band as the very first official “White House String Quartet.” The net effect was that during the summer of 1966—following my very first year in Indiana—our quartet officially became Marines and took up residence in the Washington D.C. area for the following four years. Obviously, one of my biggest concerns was the prospect of deserting William, both from my perspective and his. Fortunately, he had been included in my entire research and decision-making process and fully understood my dilemma, although he certainly was not happy about any of it. The “Aldanya Quartet” as we were known at IU quickly became the “White House String Quartet” and the four of us were thankfully able to maintain our close relationship with William Primrose throughout our four years as Marines via our visits and performances at IU and his occasional visits to D.C.


Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, No. 2, Fall 2023

Made with FlippingBook Digital Publishing Software