PSO bass player mixed intensity, fun
As a big man onstage at Heinz Hall with a double bass just slightly taller than he was, Ronald Cantelm dwarfed Denise Albensi, a 5-foot-tall teacher from McKeesport ushering and working the Green Room there to earn a little money while taking in music and dance.
“He was a great, big guy. ... He almost didn't fit in our house, it seemed,” said Denise Cantelm, 59, who met Ronald at the venue and married him in 1986. “He was the ‘Great Bear,' and our son was his ‘cub.' ”
Ronald Cantelm, formerly of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, died suddenly on Sunday in his Mt. Lebanon home. He was 64.
Born and raised in an Italian family in Philadelphia, Mr. Cantelm started learning piano at a young age from his grandfather, a musician, and his grandmother, a piano teacher. His parents encouraged him to practice at any time of day, and he would apply a laser-like focus to his music, said Norman Cantelm, Mr. Cantelm's youngest brother. A third brother, Larry, now 61 and living in California, played drums with Mr. Cantelm in a rock-and-roll band called “Just Men,” which would practice in the family's basement while Norman Cantelm sat on the steps and watched.
“In a three-bedroom house, there were five children — I shared a bedroom with my brothers — but he was able to saw away on that double bass whenever he wanted,” said Norman Cantelm, 56, of Fort Lauderdale.
Mr. Cantelm applied that intensity and drive to whatever captured his interest, be it camping, canoeing, skiing or food, Norman Cantelm said. He'd retell stories of his adventures or discuss good meals they'd shared, as if they were legendary.
“His excitement just made everything more fun,” Norman Cantelm said. “His highs were so high.”
Mr. Cantelm graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and played for two years with the New Orleans Symphony. He joined the PSO in 1975 at 25 and retired in 2012.
Before his health declined, Denise Cantelm said her husband was an active bicyclist, tennis player, golfer, fisherman and horseback rider, often sharing activities with their son, Vincent Cantelm, 23, of Morgantown, W.Va.
“I would never have had any of the opportunities I did if not for him,” Denise Cantelm said.
Mr. Cantelm was predeceased by his father, Jennaro. In addition to his wife, son and brothers, he is survived by his mother, Norma, 81, and his sisters Louise, 54, and Roxanne, 52, all of Havertown, Delaware County.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Bernard Parish in Mt. Lebanon, with interment to follow in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Peters. Memorial donations can be made to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Road trip increases in difficulty
- Redbank Valley’s Truitt, Kittanning’s Robb win PIAA 1st-round bouts
- Police looking for man they say assaulted a 13-year-old girl
- Seneca Valley special-needs student left on bus
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Loose barges on the Mon highlight woes of winter’s end
- Federal jury says gas company shorted owners on royalties
- Drug charges filed against Monaca mother, daughter in teen’s death
- Pittsburgh has enough salt despite delivery refusal on Thursday, official says
- Agent: Polamalu undecided whether to play in 2015
- Springdale Twp. police car crashes into veterinary clinic