Charles Castleman

Virtuoso Violinist, Professor at UM Frost School of Music

December 2019

Charles Castleman was a child prodigy who began playing the violin when he was three years old. He performed at age six with the Boston Pops, and by age nine was a television regular, appearing with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan and Jack Benny. As an adult he has remained among the most active violinists in the world, playing with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Chicago, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Shanghai, to name a few. He has released numerous CDs, was a Ford Foundation Concert Artist, has been broadcast on NPR and BBC, and has conducted master classes in London, Vienna, Helsinki, Kiev, Hong Kong, Tokyo and many others.

Latest Endeavors

Donated a 1748 Guadagnini violin valued at $1 million to the University of Miami because “no one was playing it” (he prefers his Stradivarius). Performed Brahms Double Concerto in October and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in November, both at UM’s Frost School of Music.

What He Says

“By the time I was 15 or 16, I had an incredible level of fame. It was kind of fun to have people recognize you, but I didn’t want to have that kind of life,” says Castleman. “You can’t settle down, and you don’t really have
a choice of what to play. You are doing what someone else wants.” So Castleman settled in at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where he taught for 40 years. Then Dean Shelly Berg of the Frost School offered him a new role at UM, where he could teach and perform in a variety of genres. “They [Eastman] expected me to keep doing what I was doing until I couldn’t do it anymore,” he says. “I wanted to be in a situation that would challenge me in different ways.”