Obituary: Aldo S. Parisot, 100

Aldo Simões Parisot, 100

Renowned cellist, pedagogue, and Yale School of Music Professor Aldo Simões Parisot passed away peacefully at 100 years old in his home in Guilford, Connecticut on Saturday, December 29th, 2018 with the loving support of his family and friends. Within his home on a beautiful afternoon and surrounded by his own paintings and family he passed listening to an early recording of Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão singing one of his favorite Brazilian folk songs from his childhood, “A Casinha Pequenina,” and concluded his journey hearing the Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 written by his dear friend and composer Heitor Villa Lobos.

Mr. Parisot was born in Natal, R.N., Brazil in 1918 to Luiz Parisot and Angela Simões. Both he and his younger brother Italo Babini learned to play cello from Mr. Parisot’s stepfather, cellist Tomazzo Babini. As a child prodigy Mr. Parisot began his career at 6 years old and made his debut with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra at age 12. By age 18 he became the ensemble’s principal cellist. It was in Rio de Janeiro that he came to the attention of an American attaché to the Brazilian embassy, Carleton Sprague Smith. Impressed with Parisot’s virtuosity, Smith offered to help him study abroad.

Mr. Parisot arrived at Yale in 1946 as a “special student.” He studied chamber music, and music theory with composer Paul Hindemith. In 1948, he auditioned for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra where he played professionally for two years but longed to be a soloist. In 1950, he gave his debut recital at Town Hall in New York City, launching an international solo career that produced recordings for RCA Victor, Angel, Westminster, and Phonodisc. As a performer, Mr. Parisot was renowned for his beautiful sound and astonishing technique. He performed on stages throughout the world, both as a recitalist and as a soloist with major orchestras under the batons of such eminent conductors as Bernstein, Stokowski, Barbirolli, Mehta, Monteux, Villa Lobos and others.

Mr. Parisot was driven to expand the cello repertoire, premiering numerous works for the instrument. Following his 1966 premiere of Donald Martino’s Parisonatina al’Dodecafonia, composed for and dedicated to him, The Boston Globe declared, “There is probably no cellist that can equal Parisot’s dazzling achievement.” The New York Times weighed in, saying, “Those at this performance are not going to forget [Parisot’s] feat overnight.”

Mr. Parisot is one of the rare musicians who loved teaching as much as he loved playing, having held posts at Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Juilliard School. In 1958, he joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music where he taught for 60 years, retiring just this past June. Cellists from around the world came to study with him with many going on to major careers. His full and expanded biography is available for review on his website at:

Mr. Parisot was a resident of Wilton, CT for 17 years while married to Ellen Lewis Parisot with whom he has 3 sons. He later married pianist Elizabeth Sawyer Parisot, also a professor at Yale School of Music, and they have lived in Guilford, CT since 1966. Mr. Parisot was also an avid graphic artist and painter. His home is adorned with many of his original paintings including interior doors, cabinets, and musical instruments. He describes his technique as “painting by ear.” His visual artwork exudes his love of color and texture and in that way is reminiscent of his musicianship and expressionistic of his native Brazil. Many of his works have been exhibited in concert halls and galleries around the world. He has donated the proceeds from the sale of his paintings to the travel fund that he founded for Yale School of Music students.

Mr. Parisot is survived by his wife of 52 years pianist and Yale School of Music professor Elizabeth Sawyer Parisot, his brother, cellist Italo Babini of San Diego, CA, and his three sons; Film Director, Dean (Aldo) Parisot of Los Angeles CA., Architect, Robert Parisot of Redding, CT, and Sculptor, Ricardo Parisot of Wilton, CT., his daughters-in-law Joleigh Parisot, and Katherine Throckmorton, along with 6 grandchildren, Michelle Parisot, Isabella Parisot, Daniella Parisot, Lucas Parisot, Aldo Parisot, and Lance Parisot. Mr. Parisot was predeceased by his beloved grandson Nicholas Parisot in 2008, his daughter-in-law, film editor Sally Menke in 2010, and former wife Ellen Lewis Parisot in 2015.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Aldo Simões Parisot will be announced at a later time to be held at Yale University. In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation be made in Mr. Parisot’s honor to the Yale Cellos Fund at the Yale School of Music, Office of the Dean.