In Memory of Dr. Andrew Galos

A part of me died today. Rather, it died about a year ago, but I didn’t really know it until today. For the past year or so, I’ve been thiking a lot about my old violin teacher (and musical mentor), Dr. Andrew Galos. Today, out of the blue, I decided to see if I could find any news about him on the Internet. I figured there’d be some kind of mention of him somewhere. (Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do this before.) I ran a quick search, found out that he was in Washington, with this caption:

Dr. Andrew Galos is one of this country’s outstanding violinists. He holds a Masters degree from both the Julliard School of Music and Columbia University. In addition to the Masters degrees, he also earned a doctorate from Columbia. Presently Dr. Galos is performing on tour and resides in Kirkland, Washington.

(This, of course, doesn’t go to his performing with Jascha Heifetz or Toscanini in Philadelphia.) I continued my search when I found this line:

“In Memory of Andrew Galos.” (here)

Could it be? I had to be sure. I looked around and found a couple of pages in relation to the Chautauqua Music Festival and…

On Sunday, June 20th, my teacher and inspiration Dr. Andrew Galos died peacefully in Seattle, with his wife Ruthie and son Michael by his side.

No doubut about it, that was him. (There was a picture and everything.) That’s when my eyes began to well up. I looked around for more information when I found this page, made by his son, Michael. It has a few pictures, as well as some music, so I recommend taking a look at it.

From that point on, my mind wouldn’t stop. I could go on to write story after story about lessons I learned from Dr. Galos, most of which weren’t so much music related as they were life related, including the importance of perseverence, and of patience. But as far as the stories are concerned, I’ll write them, but they’ll take me a while. (There are a lot of them.) For now, I’ll try to contact Mrs. Galos, and I’ll simply end this “obituary” with this:

In Memory of
Dr. Andrew Galos

February 18th, 1918 — June 20th, 2004

Teacher. Mentor. Inspiration.

Thank you, Dr. Galos. I’ll never forget you or what you taught me.

You can listen to some of his music here:

Swiss Lullaby (WMA)
The Waves of Lake Balaton (WMA)

These were two of his signature pieces.

18 thoughts on “In Memory of Dr. Andrew Galos

  1. Hi. I had been wondering about Dr. Galos too and if he was still alive. I was not surprised to find he had died a year and a half ago since when I saw him last he was physically a bit frail. Of course his personality was still as passionate, warm, and strong as ever. Were you ever able to contact Ruth or Michael? I would so like to express to them what Dr. Galos meant to me. Please give me an e-mail address if you have one. For now, I will simply begin to write down some of the coutless stories and anecdotes from my experiences studying with this amazing man. We are poorer as there are fewer and fewer like him. — All the Best, – Laurin

    1. Laurin, touching thoughts. What have you been doing since college? Do you still play?
      Contact me; Catharine Basson. FB Catharine Mefford

  2. Dr. Galos was quite the teacher and I wasn’t always the best student! He tried his best to make me a better musician and student, but I was a teenager and not appreciative of his gifts. He saw the natural teacher in me even back then and I refused to heed his wise advice. I studied the Suzuki method and had my own violin school and have been a performer and a teacher for thirty years! He was so funny—especially when he took off his glasses and pounded his head against the wall, shouting, “She’s killing me! She’s killing me!” He also was very generous—giving me free lessons because he saw my passion for the instrument. I now live in Washington state and would have loved to have seen him again. Much love and good health to Ruthie and Michael.

  3. Dear lovely people: I live in Krikland Washington and would love to hear from you. Thank you for all those lovely words.


    1. Dear Ruth,

      It would be lovely to see you again. I remember well the years I studied violin with Dr. Galos in Logan, Utah. I felt myself part of his family, as he was part of my family. I think of him often.

      Prof. Dr.Charles F. Carlson
      RFE/RL retired

    2. I am flabbergasted!!! My first violin teacher was Erna Soter of the Seattle Symphony, when I lived in Kirkland, where I was born!! My second (genuine) violin teacher was Andrew Galos, when I was a teenager living in Manchester, NH and used to take violin lessons on Saturday morning, play in the Youth orchestra and also in the UNH symphony when Dr Bratton (I think it was) was involved in UNH. This was in 1962-1965 or thereabouts. Mr. Galos used to hit his head on the wall (and piano) when I hit incorrect notes. I think I did better when I did not practice too much, because I was nervous about the notes i might miss. I remember when the Detroit Symphony and Mischa Mischakoff came to play and my friends (including a girl) walked into the field house back door and the symphony guys were in their underwear, or some such, and everybody started laughing!! I played for Mr Mischakoff and he said I was an okay violinist, which is probably the highlight of my violin career.

      What is crazy is that I got a full scholarship to Columbia University and was told that I could use my scholarship money to take lessons at Juilliard (which turned out to be untrue). I played in the Columbia University until one day the conductor asked the participants if they would be willing to go to Harlem to play, and the vote was “NO”. I was so disgusted that I quit the symphony, etc. Anyway, would like to hear from you, Ruth. I loved Mr Galos very much.

    3. Ruth,
      I was just thinking of Dr. Galos and missing him and was wondering if anything was on the web about him. I’m pleased to find this and I hope this finds you well. Would love to hear from you.
      Sincerely yours,
      Virginia Thompson
      USF Orchestra student and violin student

  4. Dear Mrs. Galos,

    I just found out about Dr. Galos. I had the honor and privilege of playing under his baton at Columbus College in Columbus, GA as a jr. high and high school student. Though I am African American, I feel that I am also a Hungarian Jew because he gave me and others his soul. I also remember your elegant yet down to earth spirit. I strive to teach my music groups and private students with the devotion and passion that he did. You and your husband gave a young, poor, and naive violist in a small town a glimpse into the world and to what he could be in it. I am still a big eater of pastrami because of you two feeding me at “Mama Goldberg’s” which you two used to call “Papa O’Brien’s” because it wasn’t as good as the delis that you frequented in New York. Thanks for sharing your husband with us in Columbus. I still can see him playing the Brahms Double with Leonard Rose with the Columbus Symphony and Leonard Rose realizing that you just can’t play non-chalantly with Andy Galos on stage.

    You probably don’t remember me but I will never forget you and your husband’s class, sincerity, and generosity. Thanks and you and son will be in my family’s prayers because I know that the lost of a husband and father never can be completely healed.

    With love and gratitude always,
    Vincent Tolliver
    Instrumental Ensembles Director
    Skyline High School, Oakland, CA
    510-530-5373 h
    510-326-4215 c

  5. Ruth-

    Some of my fondest momories of music are those lessons I took from Dr. Galos at Pacific University. He gave a meaning to my music and a passion for experience. I have always used the line he used when I made the same mistake more than once. “Basty Nastard…get it right!” Firm and with love.

    I think of you and he often and have tried to make my marriage a copy of the love you both had for each other. Thank you!

  6. Dr. Galos made such an impact in my life because of he passion and dedication the to the arts. I can still hear him praising the orchestra when we performed at our best and chastising us (with love) when we did not.

  7. I had the privilege of playing in the Pacific University Orchestra when Dr. Galos conducted. I had never experienced anyone before or since with such power and passion for music.

    We performed Mozart’s Requiem, and a memory I will never forget is when he was trying to help the first violin section master the intricate bowings and timings, he reached over, picked up the violin from the first chair and played the section – perfectly and with such command that the entire orchestra was lost in the moment.

    When he was done, he looked at us and said, “You have to play like
    you won’t get paid and can’t pay the rent if it’s not right!”

    He was a most remarkable man, and I am grateful for knowing him. May he rest in peace.

  8. It would be wonderful to hear from you Ruth. When I am again in Seattle, I will try to look you up. Right now I am in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, teaching at a university. I retired from Radio Free Europe several years ago. I think of Dr. Galos often. Sincerely, Charlie Carlson

  9. I studied under Dr Galos at Columbus College. He was always an inspiration. His dedication taught the value of NEVER giving up no matter what. I am now a consulting engineer but still I conduct the choir in my little church of 1,000 with a choir of 36 to 40 and on occasion when I can get everyone there we have 56. My point being, Dr. Galos was a cornerstone in my life and development into becoming a man with determination and purpose as well as a love for music that will never die.


  10. I was one of his students back in the 1960’s at UNH in New Hampshire. He wanted me to be a concert violinist like him but I (a teenager) had other ideas. I wish i had listened to him more. I never realized how much i learned from him both in private lessons for 5 years and the University orchestra. He was the best.

  11. I was thinking of Dr. Galos today. I am not a string player, but a brass player. I had Dr. Galos for classes at the University of Akron. I played in the University Orchestra under his direction. I always admired a man that would speak what was on his mind, as he did. The world lost a good man and musician when hed died.

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