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Donald White

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Information about Donald White

Profile image of Donald White

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Cellist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Puerto Rico
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/9/1925
Birth Location:
Richmond, Indiana

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Cellist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Sushi
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Puerto Rico
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/9/1925
Birth Location:
Richmond
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Biography

Retired Cleveland Orchestra cellist Donald White was a native of Richmond, Indiana. The middle of seven children, White started playing the cello when he was sixteen. After he was drafted into the United States Navy in 1943, White played bass tuba and peckhorn in the Navy band while continuing his cello studies; after leaving the U.S. Navy, he earned a music degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

In Chicago, White performed with an African American orchestra and the Chicago Civic Orchestra while studying cello with a member of the Chicago Symphony. Later, White studied privately in New York with Leonard Rose and Luigi Silva; he earned a fellowship from the University of Hartford, granting him the position of assistant principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. White received his masters degree from the University of Hartford and worked four years with the University of Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

After a successful audition with Maestro George Szell, White was invited to join the Cleveland Orchestra in 1957; he was the first African American member of the orchestra. Before his retirement in 1995, White enjoyed a successful career with the orchestra, performing at Severance Hall in Cleveland and other venues throughout the world.

White and his wife, pianist, composer, and educator, Dolores White, lived in East Cleveland, Ohio, and raised two children, Diana and Darrow.

Donald White passed away on July 31, 2005, at the age of eighty.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donald White's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donald White lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donald White talks about his family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donald White talks about his family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donald White talks about his childhood activities and friends
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his experiences and musical inspirations at Nicholson School in Richmond, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donald White remembers his early musical experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donald White recalls holidays with his family growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donald White recalls learning to play the cello during high school in Richmond, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donald White recalls his mother sending him a cello while he was training with the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donald White remembers instances of racism while serving in the U.S. military during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donald White talks about his experiences in the U.S. Navy during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Donald White talks about his involvement with music while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Donald White describes playing for bond rallies in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donald White remembers his friendship with Nicolai Zedeler of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donald White talks about his mother's support for his musical endeavors
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donald White talks about his college experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donald White remembers his time studying cello in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donald White remembers neighbors from his college years in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his time in New York, New York after graduating from Roosevelt College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donald White shares recollections of Leon Barzin and Elayne Jones
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donald White describes his impression of Leonard Rose
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donald White remembers his opportunity to audition with George Szell for the Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donald White recalls being hired to play cello for the Cleveland Orchestra and Musical Arts Association
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donald White remembers his experiences integrating the Cleveland Orchestra in the late 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donald White remembers encountering racism while performing with the Cleveland Orchestra
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donald White comments on George Szell's political outlook and offers his opinion of the Iraq War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donald White details his timeline with the Cleveland Orchestra
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donald White talks about Sphinx Organization
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donald White talks about his family members' musical careers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donald White reflects upon his retirement from the Cleveland Orchestra in 1995
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donald White recalls his teaching experiences and friendship with opera singer John Fleming
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donald White reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donald White narrates his photographs