by Deborah Robins-Beidel

Richard C. Beidel was a cellist with the Chicago Symphony orchestra for 34 years, and principal cellist with the CSO as a young man. A cello prodigy, he performed the solo Saint-Saens Concerto with the orchestra in his late teens-early 20s, to remarkable reviews!

Beidel, an American contemporary of Rostropovich, studied with Piatagorsky in Berlin. In fact, his principal seat was unceremoniously "dethroned" by Rostropovich, about whom he had absolutely nothing good to say!

Obviously, Beidel can be heard on innumerable CSO recordings including all of the CSO Reiner, Monteux, many NBC Orchestra recordings w/Toscanini, and others from the 1920s-1960s. He was a prolific teacher, and many of his students are or have been in major symphony orchestras including Leonard Chasow of the CSO.

In addition, Beidel was a legendary drinker! He and his cronies would hold court at various restaurants and pubs on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, regaling journeyman musicians with tales of various conductors.

With his credo as "Bach is G-d", and his description of the CSO under Reiner as "ninety musicians and a RAT," Beidel was certainly known as the "hail fellow, well met" of the orchestra.

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