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Speaking of centennials . . . March 5, 2012, would have been the 100th birthday of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s former principal cello from 1959 until 1985, the legendary Frank Miller.

Miller died on January 6, 1986, and at the CSO’s subscription concert the following week on January 16, Sir Georg Solti broke with protocol and spoke to the audience from the stage, to honor him:

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I have never addressed the public before a concert—this is the first time in my life. But I think I have to make an exception, because I want you to join me to celebrate the memory of a wonderful man. Our beloved solo cellist who died last week, my dear Frank Miller.

“Frank was a wonderful man, a wonderful musician, an incredible leader of a section, somebody who won’t be so quickly coming to this world. Frank was a legend in his lifetime and Frank will be a legend to generations to come.

“To speak about Frank for me is very difficult; I loved him very dearly, and I thank him for sixteen years of wonderful cooperation. He was a gentleman, he was a devoted musician, a devotion which makes this orchestra as they are.

“Music was his love, music was his life, music was everything for him. We will desperately miss him. There will never again be a Frank Miller. Never.

“I would like to play you the Nimrod variation from Elgar’s Enigma, a piece which I know he loved very much. And I would like to ask you, when we finish the music, join me in silence to pay tribute to this wonderful, dear man.”

Correction: Miller died on January 6, not January 8 as originally posted.

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