Aaron Rosand is an arch-Romantic violinist, a beneficiary of two venerable European schools of violin technique as they were transplanted and grew in American music schools. A native of Hammond, IN, he was the child of a Polish father and a Russian mother. He made his debut at age 10 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his mature style was formed by two teachers, Leon Sametini of the Chicago College of Music and Efrem Zimbalist Sr. at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute. The former was a student of the great French virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, the latter of Leopold Auer, a Hungarian-born player who was the original dedicatee of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Maintaining a vigorous schedule of master classes in his later years, Rosand passed along those French and Russian traditions to a new generation of students, and he combined elements of his teachers' styles in his own playing. Pablo Casals, who knew Ysaÿe's playing firsthand, likened Rosand's work to that of the Belgian master.
Appearing with major orchestras all over the U.S. and Europe for more than six decades, Rosand shone in High Romantic concerto repertoire and, with his full beard and dark good looks, seemed very much the exotic European genius despite his U.S. Midwestern origins. He has been perhaps best known for his large body of recordings on the budget-priced Vox label, where his interpretations of central concerto repertory were often deemed "best buys" by critics. Perhaps his most characteristic discs were those on which he ventured into lesser-known, late Romantic territory, well in advance of the current trend toward rediscovery of the music of that era. A late 1990s double-CD set offering concertos and shorter works by Ernst, Godard, Lehár, Joachim, Hubay, Enescu, Ysaÿe, and Wienawski was a good example.
Rosand did not slow down at all upon reaching senior citizen status, marking his 75th birthday with a Philadelphia performance of the Sibelius violin concerto and issuing a series of new recordings on the Audiofon label. By that time, the musical world was in the midst of a full-scale rediscovery of the Romantic aesthetic -- but for Rosand, it had never really declined.