Music: No Frowning

The face, and the walrus mustache, were familiar to San Franciscans, but they were not used to seeing him sitting down, with a viola tucked under his chin. Last week San Francisco concertgoers saw their symphony's conductor, famed old Pierre Monteux, sitting in with a string quartet.

San Franciscans had almost forgotten that their conductor was once one of the world's finest violists. Now 73, he hadn't played in public concert for nearly 40 years, but he had kept in practice at his summer home in Maine, playing trios with his neighbors—one of them Violinist Tossy Spivakovsky. To prepare himself for his...

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