Symphony conductor Gideon Grau dies at 86 | July 10, 2009 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - July 10, 2009

Symphony conductor Gideon Grau dies at 86

Gideon Grau, 86, a former resident of Palo Alto, died in his sleep in an Atlanta hospital June 29. He was a symphony conductor, concert violinist and music director of the Palo Alto Philharmonic Association.

He was born Dec. 24, 1922, in Berlin. He received his education and musical training in Israel and the United States. He received scholarships from the Berkshire Music Festival in Massachusetts and the Julliard School of Music in New York after arriving in the U.S. in 1947. He studied under Ivan Galamian.

He assisted in founding the Palo Alto Philharmonic Association in 1988. He participated as conductor and musical director until his retirement in 2003. Additionally he participated in many symphonies throughout North America. His positions included first violinist with the Cleveland Symphony, associate concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, concert master and assistant conductor of the Vancouver Symphony, guest conductor of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra, concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic, assistant concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony, musical director and conductor of the Saginaw Symphony Orchestra, director of the Delta College Festival of Arts and soloist, guest conductor and director of the Garden State Chamber Orchestra.

His friends remember him as a keen intellectual and a dedicated, knowledgeable and immensely talented musician. The late Pierre Monteaux, conductor of the San Francisco, Boston and London Symphonies, with whom he studied and maintained a long friendship, wrote: "Mr. Gideon Grau is ... a superb musician, and an extremely brilliant and talented conductor ... has a thorough knowledge of symphony repertoire, a studious and meticulous technician ... and a great gentleman."

He performed under the leadership of many world-renowned musicians. As maestro, many famous soloists appeared under his baton. The list of famous musicians with whom he collaborated is long. He also performed with many musical artists "who were not included in the so called 'world class' or 'world famous' categories, which however were just as highly regarded by me solely on the basis of my personal acquaintance and experience in working and performing together with them," he once wrote.

He is survived by his sons, Jonathan of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Joshua of Atlanta, Ga., and Daniel of Boston, Mass.; hi ex-wife, Irene Rosenberg Grau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; daughters-in-law, Heather and Buket; grandchildren, Benjamin, Gabriel and Jediah; and several nephews and cousins.

Anyone wishing to share anecdotes, stories or recordings involving Mr. Grau should contact Jonathan Grau at


Like this comment
Posted by Sister Laurena Alflen, OP
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

I sang under Gideon many years ago with the symphonic choir in Saginaw, Michigan. He was an ultimate musician and had to have great patience with our amatuer status.

In the last few months I have been wondering if he were still alive and when I put his name in Google, up came a synopsis of his great career. I'm glad.

Irene, Jonathan and Joshua, you have my deepest sympathy and prayers.

Sister Laurena Alflen, OP

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