Robert Rudié passed away at home on March 4 three weeks after his 93rd birthday. Born in New York City, the child of French immigrants Yvonne Connegère and Lazar Rudié, he came to Austin in 1981 where he served on the violin faculty at the University of Texas, and settled here a few years later. He was the beloved husband of Kathryn Mishell, and will fill her heart forever with the gift of his passion for life and music, his humor, and his undying devotion to her. He is the adored father of Antony Rudié and Lynne Rudié of Massachusetts, and stepfather of Stephen Perry and his wife Elisabeth Kufferath of Hannover, Germany, Andrea Perry and her partner Leslie Hill of Austin, and Lenore Perry of Los Angeles. He is grandfather of Emma, Ingrid, and Elizabeth Rudié and step-grandfather of Perry and Mariella Kufferath. He was preceded in death by his sister Odette.
Robert had a long and varied career as violinist, conductor, educator, and actor. He began his study of violin at age seven, and made his concert debut at age ten. His violin teachers were Jacques Malkin, Louis Persinger, Albert Spalding, and Boris Koutzen. After graduating from the Juilliard Graduate School with honors, his musical career has included First Violin section, N.B.C. Symphony; Concertmaster and Assistant Conductor, Oklahoma Symphony; Concertmaster, American Symphony in New York City, Orchestra of the Americas, Westchester Symphony, Aspen Festival, New York City Ballet, New Jersey Symphony; Guest Concertmaster, Dallas Symphony, Honolulu symphony; and Assistant Concertmaster, Austin Symphony.
Robert made seven tours of the United States, Canada and Mexico as recitalist and soloist with orchestra under Columbia Artists Management, and five tours as conductor and soloist with the Rudié Sinfonietta under the same management. He was a participant in seven Casals Festivals in Europe and Puerto Rico.
As educator, he was Director of the Riverdale School of Music in New York City for nineteen years, head of the String Department at Harlem School of the Arts, and has been a member of the faculty at Vassar College, University of Oklahoma at Alva, Westchester Conservatory, and the University of Texas at Austin.
His acting career began when he was a boy, playing lead roles in Clare Tree Major’s Children’s Theater in New York City and then as a teenager playing roles in French in the Teatre Français in New York City. After a long hiatus, his acting career resumed with the performances and national tours of two one-man shows, PAGANINI! and HEROES AND LOVERS, with pianist and composer Kathryn Mishell. Acting roles in Austin, Texas include Scrooge in the Zach Scott production of A Christmas Carol at the Paramount Theatre, Saul in True West, Sam in Where There’s a Will, Sidney in Inspecting Carol, Max in The Homecoming, Doc in Westside Story, Bennett in Travesties, Polonius in Hamlet, Serebryakov in Uncle Vanya, and Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore.
Robert Rudié’s performance as Paganini won an Emmy award for the Steve Allen PBS-TV show “Meeting of Minds” in 1981.
As chamber musician, he was first violin of the Riverdale String Quartet and Bronx Arts Ensemble before founding Salon Concerts in Austin in 1990. These concerts help to support the CHAMPS program he founded to teach chamber music in public schools at no expense to the students or the schools. He was passionate about chamber music. He continued to perform, coach ensembles and travel to schools into his 90s.
In fulfillment of Robert’s wish that CHAMPS survive and thrive long after his death, those wishing to contribute are asked to make a donation to Salon Concerts, (P. O. Box 163501, Austin, TX 78716) or by the “Donate” button.