Jerome Gross - Surgeon and Violinist
10300 Lake Shore Boulevard
Dr. Jerome Gross was a practicing surgeon on the staff of Mount Sinai and Women’s Hospitals at City Hospital (MetroHealth System). However, Dr. Gross was probably best known as an accomplished violinist. He had been a student of Tosha Seidel and Oscar Shumsky and studied chamber music with Arthur Lowser, an internationally known pianist. Despite the heavy demands of the medical profession, he found time to practice from one to six hours daily. At City Hospital, where he was head of surgery, he practiced in the morgue, the only soundproof room in the building.
He made frequent recital and orchestral appearances throughout the country and often made solo appearances with the Cleveland Philharmonic. He appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of George Szell, exhibiting such extraordinary talent that Szell said that if Dr. Gross had desired, he could have been concertmaster of any orchestra in the country. He often played for Bratenahl community concerts.
Gross founded the Cleveland Friends of Music, a non-profit organization that provided opportunities for talented young musicians to be heard. The organization also provided scholarships for aspiring young artists and arranged benefit concerts.
Self-taught in the Russian language, Dr. Gross became friends with and backed such Russian artists as violinist David Oistrakh and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
His prized possession, which his wife called, “the second Mrs. Gross,” was a Golden Stradivarius violin called the Kiesewetter and dated 1731. The Kiesewetter Stradivarius, circa 1723, is an antique violin fabricated by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The instrument derives its name from its previous owner, German composer, and violinist, Christophe Gottfried Kiesewetter. To Dr. Gross, it symbolized everything good and perfect in the world of art.
Jerome Gross was born in Russia, on May 15, 1904. He grew up in Cleveland and began studying the violin at age 10. The eldest of five brothers who all became doctors and musicians, he worked his way through Adelbert College, Fordham University and the Western Reserve University School of Medicine by playing in theater orchestras and hotel string quartets.
Jerome married Janet Moss in 1938. Janet was born on November 25, 1913, to Herman and Florence Moss and a cousin of Robert Hays Gries. She grew up at 10305 Lake Shore Boulevard. Jerome and Janet had two children: David born on December 10, 1938, and Kathleen (Lucatorto) born on January 22, 1941. Both attended Bratenahl School.
Dr. Gross had been in ill health for some time and died on February 15, 1969, in Los Angeles while visiting relatives. Gross wrote his own epitaph: “Here lies a man who did not accomplish all he set out to do. His goals were too many and too high, and he knew it. But he had a darn good time trying!” Janet died on September 14, 1996. Both are buried in Mayfield Cemetery.