Worked for film composers including Goldsmith, Herrmann
Paul Shure, who served as concertmaster on hundreds of movie scores over more than 50 years and was one of founding members of the legendary Hollywood String Quartet, died Dec. 8 at his home in Seattle. He was 89.
Shure was an acclaimed violinist who not only played on film and TV scores but also performed classical repertoire throughout his career with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles String Quartet, among others.
He was born in Chicago but came to L.A. as a child. He graduated with honors from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute and also studied with Russian violinist and composer Joseph Achron; at 18, he became the youngest member of the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductor Leopold Stokowski.
Shure’s career was interrupted by Navy service during WWII.
After the war, he joined the 20th Century-Fox staff orchestra and became its assistant concertmaster. In 1948, with Fox concertmaster Felix Slatkin, Shure helped launch the Hollywood String Quartet, widely considered to be the first American chamber-music group to have an international impact through its Capitol recordings.
With Slatkin and Shure on violins, Slatkin’s wife Eleanor Aller on cello and Paul Robyn (later Alvin Dinkin) on viola, the Hollywood String Quartet became one of the nation’s leading chamber ensembles, playing a wide variety of works that ranged from Beethoven to Hindemith.
Frank Sinatra, a fan of their work, hired the HSQ to accompany him on his 1957 album “Close to You.” The quartet toured the U.S. and Europe during its decade-long existence. In 1997, as its sole surviving member, Shure accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Classical Awards, voted by an international panel of record reviewers.
In 1959 Shure joined the faculty of Ohio’s Oberlin Conservatory. He returned to Hollywood in 1961, becoming concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (from 1972 to 1987) and serving in a similar capacity with the California Chamber Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony and others.
As concertmaster for such top film composers as Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Ernest Gold, Bill Conti, Charles Fox and Gerald Fried, he led the string sections and often played violin solos. His wife Bonnie Douglas, whom he married in 1966, was also a top violinist in film and TV ensembles. Both often played in the Academy Awards orchestras.
During Shure’s long career, he played under such famed classical conductors as Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, Igor Stravinsky and Neville Marriner.
In the late 1990s, Shure and Douglas moved to Seattle, where they continued to play in opera and chamber ensembles.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, include four children and two grandchildren.