Jules Eskin was given his first cello at age 7 by his father, a Russian immigrant and tailor who himself had fallen in love with the instrument at a young age. Eskin’s father auditioned but was never chosen to play for an orchestra, but did play professionally at movie houses.
Eskin (October, 1931-November 15, 2016) got his first contract, on the other hand, at age 16, when he was asked to join the Dallas Symphony. After a year there, he came back to his hometown to study at the Philadelphia Music Academy, where he was kicked out for auditioning, without permission, at the rival Curtis School of Music.
After his education and military service with the Army Band, Eskin played for the New York Opera, Cleveland Orchestra (George Szell conducting) and Boston Symphony, beginning as principal cellist in 1964. He also performed on recordings with Leopold Stowkowski, Sir Thomas Beecham and other leading conductors of the day and was part of the first productions of Bernstein’s Candide and Meredith Wilson’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Eskin insisted that tone was everything to a cellist. In an interview with opuscello.com, he said “If you have tone, you can do anything. Without tone, you do nothing!”