Cover photo for Robert Samson Bloch's Obituary
Robert Samson Bloch Profile Photo

Robert Samson Bloch

d. November 4, 2023

Beloved violinist, teacher, father, grandfather, and friend to many, Robert Samson Bloch died peacefully in Davis, CA, on November 4 at the age of 89. 

Born in Chicago, Bob received his master’s degree in composition from the University of Chicago and a Diploma from the Conservatoire de Musique in Brussels. He was a member of the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, was principal second violin of the Minnesota Orchestra, and played with the Lyric Opera in Chicago and toured with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He taught at Cornell University, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and UC Davis, where he was on the faculty for more than 25 years and founded the Bloch String Quartet. He also taught many young musicians privately, and his students noted his kindness, patience, and constant encouragement. Bloch’s career awards include a Premier prix avec distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Brussels, as well as a First Prize in the Young Artists Contest of the Society of American Musicians, the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, and an Alfred Hertz Memorial Fellowship. 

A constantly searching, funny, and inquisitive soul, Bob was taking classes in Portuguese and German, reading good books, playing good music, telling jokes, and communing with friends and family up until the very end of his life. He will be remembered for his benevolence, remarkable humbleness, encyclopedic knowledge, and artistic vision. He will be missed by many friends, family members, and former students.

Bob is survived by his two daughters, Julia Bloch (Syd Zolf) and Sarah Modrow (Jonathan), three grandsons, Isaac, Dominic, and Rafael, and his former wife and close friend, Susan Erickson. A celebration of life will be held in Davis in 2024.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in Bob’s memory to the musical charity of your choice.


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