“He was a motorcyclist and a violist. A coffee connoisseur and a world traveler. A storyteller, straight-talker and backgammon lover,” writes Elizabeth Bloom in Tuesday’s (10/1) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Richard M. Holland was nothing if not eclectic. And when he did things, he didn’t just scratch the surface. Mr. Holland played viola for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1972 until his retirement in 2006. His daughter, Jennifer, recalled hearing about his audition for the PSO. ‘They asked him to play a tune, and he was able to play four notes with one movement of the bow,’ Ms. Holland … said. At that moment, ‘they just said, “hire that man,” ’ she said. Mr. Holland passed away in his home in Wilkinsburg on Sept. 14. He was 68…. Born on Dec. 5, 1944, in Yonkers, N.Y., Mr. Holland grew up on a chicken farm in New Hampshire and studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston and the New School of Music in Philadelphia. Playing the viola led him to a spot in the United States Air Force Strolling Strings, through which he was able to travel across the world and perform in front of several world leaders.”

Posted October 3, 2013