Di Tullio, Joseph

A native of Los Angeles, from a family of musicians, Justin studied cello with Ilya Bronson, Lauri Kennedy and Bronislaw Borisoff, all first cellists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He also studied for two summers with the famous cellist, Emanuel Feuermann. He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra when only 19; one of the youngest members ever selected. He remained with the orchestra until joining the Navy, where he served from 1942-45. While in service he was picked to perform with string quartet on the cruiser Augusta, accompanying President Truman to Potsdam and on other secret missions along with Sir Winston Churchill. Returning from the Navy, Justin was under contract to the Society of Motion Picture Producers orchestra until 1949. In 1951 he joined the NBC staff orchestra, and later free-lanced extensively in all types of motion-picture and television recording sessions. On YouTube and Spotify, he is listed on a number of recordings, such as The Ten Commandments (Elmer Bernstein, 1956 soundtrack recording), Mission Impossible (Lalo Schifrin, original TV soundtrack), and records by Frank Sinatra, The Monkeys, The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald. He died in 1974 at the age of 56.

Cellist Edgar Lustgarten writes, “I honestly believe that there was no other cellist that we knew, both professionally and as a friend, that was held as dearly. He had rare qualities- sincerity, warmth and encouragement for all his colleagues. He always had the highest of standards for himself and, therefore for others. Along with this he had a great sense of humor. Sometimes at work, under the most trying circumstances, he would come up with an hilarious comment that would immediately break all the tension. We always enjoyed his “salty” remarks that would take the arrogance out of those around him. We feel a great debt of gratitude for having had someone like Justin, who brought to our profession something very special.”


Di Tullio, Joseph

Joseph Di Tullio

Joseph DiTullio was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 4, 1907. His grandfather, Guistino DiTullio, was a clarinetist in Italy and the US. In 1914 his family moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after their arrival he began his musical studies, first on the violin and then on the cello. His teachers were some of the finest, including Andre Maquarre, conductor of the Boston Pops; Ilya Bronson, first cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Emanuel Feuermann.

As teenagers, Joseph along with his younger brothers Adolph (a violinist) and Mario (a pianist) formed the DiTullio Trio. When Joseph was 17, along with his younger brother Adolph, and three others, made one of the first coast-to-coast radio broadcasts. For one year the Trio was under contract with one of the major west coast radio stations, presenting a one-hour concert each evening. At age 20, he became a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he remained for 15 years. During that time, he formed the successful Philharmonic Trio.

During world War II Joseph entered the motion picture industry, first at Warner Brothers and then at Fox Studios where remained on contract from 1948 to 1970. This was the heyday of musical extravaganzas, where under the baton of Alfred Newman he performed in many Oscar-winning films, like The Sound of Music.

In 1970 he became a free-lance musician in the recording, motion picture and TV industries and was heard in such shows as Gunsmoke, Peyton Place, Bonanza and many others. As the same time he remained active as a soloist, performing with many community orchestras in the Los Angeles area.

When the Fine Arts Cello Ensemble was formed, Joseph sat next to his brother-in-law, Kurt Reher, on the first stand. This group performed music by Villa-Lobos, for Villa -Lobos, in a concert honoring him at UCLA.

Joseph formed a second version of the DiTullio Trio with his daughters Virginia (a pianist) and Louise (a flutist). The trio performed extensively on the west coast of the US and was chosen to play the opening concert of the first Brand Library Concert Series in Glendale, where they all lived.

One of Joe’s greatest contributions to the musical community was as a cello teacher, with many of his students becoming professional musicians. Besides a busy private studio, Joe worked on the faculties of Whittier College, Occidental College and UCLA.


Royer, Virginia Di Tullio

Virginia DiTullio Royer was a cum laude graduate of Occidental College. Here principal piano studies were with Alex Karnback, then pianist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and her uncle, Mario DiTullio, who studied in Germany with Karl Leimer, a renown teacher who taught Walter Geiseking. Her early training included years of experience in accompanying the students of her father’s cello class, an occupation she continued throughout her father’s life. She was considered an expert accompanist of the cello literature, including some accompanying for Gregor Piatigorsky’s cello class at USC. She also accompanied her uncle, Kurt Reher, principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She was also an expert accompanist of the flute, having frequently appeared in recitals with her sister Louise DiTullio. Virginia began her career performing recitals with her father, Joseph DiTullio, and soon after with her father and sister in the DiTullio Trio. After her father retired, her son, Ronald Royer, joined the trio. She was heard in many recitals throughout the United States, including regularly performing on radio broadcasts from the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum Chamber Music Concerts broadcast live on KFAC FM. She recorded two records of flute and piano music with Louise: one of music by Ferdinand, Friedrich Kuhlau, and Carl Reinecke for the Genesis label, and the other featuring the music of Sergei Prokofiev, Pierre Sancan, and Niccolo Paganini for the Crystal Record Company.

About a performance of the Pierre Sancan Sonatine pour Flute et Piano (which she recorded with Louise), Albert Goldberg wrote in the Los Angeles Times “Ensemble took on particularly fine shades of meaning … they achieved a rapport rarely encountered. There was never a subtlety, and there were lots of them, in the flute part that was not echoed with equal finesse by the piano”.

In the 1980’s, Virginia was the keyboard player (piano and harpsichord) for the Glendale Chamber Orchestra. In addition to her performance activities, she was a wonderful piano teacher.

Di Tullio, Louise

Louise Di Tullio

Her playing was heard nightly on television in shows such as: GunsmokeHawaii Five-OLittle House on the PrairieThe Waltons and Dallas.  The list of film composers with whom she has collaborated includes the most distinguished names in music today. Composer John Williams, arguably the most honored film composer in history, refers to Ms. DiTullio as being “in the very front rank among the world’s great flutists”.  Her playing can be heard on the albums of recording stars Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, Kenny G and Michael Jackson.  She has performed on numerous classical recordings ranging from chamber music to a concerto album with the English Chamber Orchestra.  Ms. DiTullio was the recipient of the “Most Valuable Player” award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for the years 1975-1978 and received the Emeritus Award in 1980.

While continuing her busy recording career, Ms. DiTullio has held the Principal Flute position in many Los Angeles area orchestras, including the Pacific Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra . A partial list of orchestras with which she has appeared as soloist includes the Boston Pops, the Pacific Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Mexico City Symphony and the Carmel Bach Festival.

Louise has served on the faculties of the University of Southern California, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and California Sate University at Fullerton.  Several of her students now occupy the Principal Flute chairs in a number of major symphony orchestras and fill the ranks of working flutists throughout the country.

Ms. DiTullio now divides her time between Los Angeles and Oregon, where she and her husband, trumpet player Burnette Dillon, reside in the countryside of the beautiful Willamette Valley.


Reher, Kurt

Kurt Reher was born in Hamburg, Germany, of a musical family that moved to Los Angeles when he was one. Kurt began taking violin lessons in New York at an early age, then switched to cello at the age of eight so that he could form a piano quartet with his violinist father, pianist mother and violist and older brother Sven. He spent three years at the Berlin Academy studying with Emanuel Feuermann and when in 1931 the Rehers returned to Los Angeles, Kurt began his career as a professional musician. In 1934 Otto Klemperer invited him to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and ten years later, he was appointed the orchestra’s principal cellist by music director Alfred Wallenstein.

From 1946 to 1958, Kurt was first cellist at 20th Century-Fox studios where Alfred Newman and many other composers wrote cello solos into their scores specifically for him. When he was not working at Fox, Kurt was in constant demand in all areas of commercial music.

In 1958 Kurt returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as solo cellist and remained there until his retirement in 1974. He made 48 appearances as soloist with the Orchestra. In his final year, he recorded Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote with the Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta for London Records.

During his entire career, Kurt devoted himself to the performance of chamber music. He was one of the founding performers of the influential new music series Monday Evening Concerts, which began as “Evenings on the Roof” in the late 1930’s. He formed and led a cello octet which was a successful ensemble for many years. Kurt died in Los Angeles on July 7, 1976.

His brother Sven writes, “Years of playing chamber music with Kurt in various organizations has been the highlight of my musical life. No one was more sensitive, more musical, and more in control of his instrument that Kurt. What a beautiful person and artist, and what a pleasure to have had rapport musically and socially with one’s own brother.” In 1974 illness struck Kurt and he knew he would not play the cello again. His response was, “I feel that I’ve been awfully lucky to play the instrument successfully all these years. How many other, with just as much, maybe more talent, were denied all the opportunities I’ve had? I’ve been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time…”