Richard DiAdamo

Original airdate 
Jan 14, 2022

The story of a veteran Pittsburgh Symphony violinist who joined in 1968 under William Steinberg. Richard DiAdamo is admired by his colleagues for his artistry and, more recently since retiring, an heroic struggle with cancer which metastasized to multiple areas and further caused strokes and blindness. He started the violin at age 8 in Philadelphia studying with Armand DiCamillo of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Richard traces his path to the Eastman School of Music, his participation in the Howard Hanson American Music Festivals, study with Joseph Knitzer and Carroll Glenn followed by work at the Taos School of Music in New Mexico. He joined the Syracuse Symphony conducted by Karl Kritz who had emigrated to the US in 1937 first serving as assistant in the early years of the Pittsburgh Symphony.  Richard played alongside violinist Louis Krasner who commissioned the Alban Berg Concerto.  He founded the Amati String Trio. He won the Pittsburgh Concert Society Audition in 1981. The following year he gave the world premiere of Thomas Janson’s  Harlequin for Richard DiAdamo which won praise from critics Robert Croan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tim Page who described it as “committed and praiseworthy” in the New York Times following the first New York performance at Symphony Space with David Stock conducting.

Richard DiAdamo remembers his work as a coach of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony and Three Rivers Young People’s Orchestra as well as teaching and founding the strings program at Washington and Jefferson College. He told Andrew Duckenbrod writing for the Post Gazette in 2006 "I am retiring from the symphony but not the violin...I plan on getting up every day and doing my practice. I am looking forward to practicing some solo pieces that I really haven't had the time for."  Marvin Hamlisch called him onstage to speak about his retirement plans which included polishing classic cars—a Packard, a Mercedes and Carman Ghia. Among the highlights of his thousands of concerts across four decades were the visit to Rome to play Mahler at the Vatican, the opening of Heinz Hall with Mahler’s Second Symphony and tour concerts with William Steinberg in Japan and Andre Previn at the Musikverein in Vienna.

Manfred Honeck is a fan, checking in regularly. Richard made a rosary for Maestro Honeck which he treasures. Richard DiAdamo does not let his health problems get him down. He continues to inspire his colleagues with an indomitable spirit loving life with his wife Catherine DiAdamo who joins in the conversation with Jim Cunningham.   

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Series: @theSymphony