LA Phil Issues Statement on The Passing Of Irving Geller
Irving Geller, Associate Concertmaster and first violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1951-1999, passed away peacefully on November 16, surrounded by friends and family. Mr. Geller, born January 10, 1926, is survived by his wife, actress Helen Geller, his children Paul and Valerie, and grandchildren Juliana, Aaron, James and Greyson.
Irving Geller was born in Warsaw, Poland, and began his musical studies at the age of five. He made his solo debut at age ten, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Hull House Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Performances as a recitalist and orchestra soloist brought the young violinist many awards and critical praise.
While still in his early teens, he and his family moved to Los Angeles, where his music studies continued and he appeared as soloist with various orchestras and on radio.
Geller then became Assistant Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra; following his three years in Texas he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1951, becoming one of its youngest members. He has served as Concertmaster of the California Chamber Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Society (comprised of Los Angeles Philharmonic members), and other musical organizations in the Los Angeles area.
For nearly 25 years, he was the Philharmonic's Associate Concertmaster.
Drafted as a machine gunner in the infantry of the U.S. Army, Geller received the Purple Heart after being injured at the "Battle of the Bulge" (1944-45).
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 20, at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary located at 6001 W. Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90045 at 3pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Irving's name to the Jewish National Fund, Trees for Israel or the American Cancer Society.