Abraham Rosen, 91, harpist supreme, legal scholar, union activist in search of justice, a fair wage scale and public respect and appreciation for his fellow musicians and colleagues, died on May 30.
One of a family of three brother harpists, he was the first born in 1916 of a Russian émigré mother who gave birth to two additional sons in the first 5 years of her marriage.
This woman had an overpowering dream that her sons would become professional musicians, and focused her every effort on the realization of this desire.
A piano was rented and lessons were begun.
At this point, it is a moot question whether Abe and his brothers might have gone on to successful careers as musicians; but luck or destiny provided a series of fortuitous happenstances, that helped provide the happy realization of their mother’s dream.
Abe and his younger brother Myor were attending the Paul Hoffman Jr. H.S. in New York City, run by the then-famous child psychologist, Angelo Patri.
By sheer coincidence, the New York Philharmonic Scholarship Committee chose this school to begin a 20-lesson pilot class in harp.
At the end of the lessons, a competition was to be held and the winner was to receive a harp scholarship to study with a member of the New York Philharmonic as teacher.
Abe and his brothers Myor and Robert each won the competitions in turn and were each awarded what became full scholarships at Juilliard, to study under the tutelage of the famous Marcel Grandjany.
The rest is history.
Abe went on to become principal harpist with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, followed by the CBS Symphony.
Over his long career Abe did numerous recordings, TV appearances, transcriptions, and finally years of Broadway musical shows.
Abe graduated from Queens College in his later years, where he studied music and labor law.
Abe served on the Executive Board of Local 802 for many years.
He was loved and will be sorely missed by his family and countless musical colleagues.