William Primrose
1903 - 1982
I never met William Primrose.  In fact I don't know much about him other than what I learned researching him with regard to this website.  But I think I would have liked him.

It seems to me that he was a man with a good spirit, a confident humility and a strong faith in God.

Two incidents that I found researching Mr. Primrose are recounted here.

In 1939 NBC invited him to form the Primrose Quartet. Primrose was particularly amenable to the suggestion, for quartet playing was his "first and greatest love in music." Although his work with the symphony and the quartet sometimes kept him busy twelve hours a day, he wrote home to his father that he was "thankful, very thankful . . . to be busy, and to be happy in my work as I have never been before."

"I . . . am grateful to God that my solo career has gone so well these past three seasons.  1941-42 saw me with some thirty-two concerts, and when I signed up with the Judson office, I was quite prepared to be satisfied with similar seasons for some time to come.  You can imagine my surprise when last season turned out to be forty-five concerts, and my amazement when Judson informed me I had sixty-four this season!"

Most people tend to attribute success to themselves and to their own skill.  Primrose indicates grattitude to God.

And then I found the account Primrose gave of his visiting a school for children with special needs in Kansas.  Remeber that these were different times, and that attitudes and language were different.  But listen to the message in the man's heart.

"
I met the young man who was in charge of this musical therapy program . . . a nobody in the music profession, as we great ones might have judged him. Whoever had heard of him, and of what importance was he in the music world? But he brought me to a shuddering awakening! He had as one of his many patients that morning a pathetic piece of humanity, a small boy bereft of most of his faculties, bereft of those things which we take for granted every moment of our lives. The little chap filled me with a sort of pity and terror, in that he had no eye sockets to house his blindness. But this young music master was stimulating the mite with specially thought-out rhythms beaten on a drum.

The poor little fellow could feel the pulse of the drum even if he couldn't hear it. The face of the boy gradually and miraculously . . . or so it seemed to me . . . showed an apprehension, and awareness of this. And even though one usually looks for awareness and emotion in the eyes, of which he had none, there appeared to suffuse his face some blessing, some benediction, some compensation from God. That, I exulted in myself, is what it is all about. If ever I might be granted with my gift to achieve what that young man had achieved with this pitiful member of humanity, I felt I might then be able to say with true understanding, 'All things come from thee, Oh God, and of thine own have we given thee.'
"
HOME
Playing the Viola: Conversations With William Primrose