Chairman of the jury
Marcel Poot
Belgium, °1901 - 1988
Marcel Poot (1901-1988), the son of Jan Poot, director of the Royal Flemish Theatre, grew up in an artistic milieu. He took his first music lessons with the organist Gerard Nauwelaerts and subsequently studied solfège, piano and harmony from 1916 to 1919 at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels with Arthur De Greef, José Sevenans and Martin Lunssens. His first prizes in counterpoint (1922) and fugue (1924) were earned at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp with Lodewijk Mortelmans. He also studied composition and orchestration privately with Paul Gilson.

Together, Poot and Gilson published La Revue Musicale Belge, a periodical that appeared starting in 1925. In that same year, he and seven other of Gilson’s students set up the group known as Les Synthétistes, which aimed to create a synthesis of the achievements of current musical evolutions, without sacrificing their individuality. In 1930, he won the Rubens Prize, which allowed him to study for three years with Paul Dukas at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.

Marcel Poot began his career at the State Secondary School in Vilvoorde and also taught piano, solfège and music history at the music academy in that city. He taught practical harmony (1939) and counterpoint (1940-1949) at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels before becoming director of that school (1949-1966). Besides this, he was a lecturer at the Institut Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs, headmaster of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel (1970-1976), a member of the Royal Flemish Academy for Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts, a jury member for the Queen Elisabeth Competition (1963-1981), chairman of SABAM (composers’ rights organisation), the Union of Belgian Composers and CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), and he was a jury member for various composition competitions.
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Yvonne Astruc
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Joseph Calvet
France, °1897 - 1984
Joseph Calvet (1897-1984) studied at the conservatories of Toulouse and Paris with Guillaume Rémy and Edouard Colonne. In 1919 he founded the Calvet Quartet, with Léon Pascal, Georges Mignot (later on replaced by Daniel Guilevitch) and Paul Mas, highly successful until its end at the beginning of World War II. Joseph Calvet was a professor at the Conservatoire de Paris.



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Zino Francescatti
France, °1902 - 1991
Of Italian background, violinist Zino Francescatti was born in Marseilles in 1902. His real name was René-Charles Francescatti. Both his parents played the violin, and his father René had been a student of Paganini. The younger Francescatti performed the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 at his official Paris debut in 1925.

By that time he was already an experienced performer. He gave his first concert at age 5 and played the Beethoven violin concerto at 10. From his late teens he concertized regularly, and after arriving in Paris in 1924 he formed a duo with none less than Maurice Ravel and embarked on an international tour. In the 1920s and 1930s Francescatti toured the globe, although his U.S. debut didn't come until 1939, once again with the Paganini Concerto No. 1, in a New York Philharmonic concert.

Despite his fondness for Paganini, Zino Francescatti was more identified with elegant, natural-seeming playing than with sheer virtuoso fireworks. Later in life he toured and recorded with the similarly fluid French pianist Robert Casadesus in duo repertory; they recorded a complete set of Beethoven's violin and piano sonatas, lyrical works ideally suited to their combined styles. Living in New York but often returning to France to perform and teach, he made durable recordings of several major repertory works, including the Beethoven concerto with conductor Bruno Walter and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Zino Francescatti retired in 1976, moved back to France, and sold his prized Stradivarius instrument to Salvatore Accardo. In 1987 he used part of the proceeds to establish an educational foundation and a violin competition in the city of Aix-en-Provence.
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Henry Gadeyne
Belgium, °1894 - 1965
Henry Gadeyne (1894-1965) studeerde privé bij J. Smit, leraar aan het Koninklijk Conservatorium Gent. Hij speelde 1ste viool in het orkest van de Winterconcerten te Gent (1909-1940), in het orkest van het Kursaal te Oostende en in de Koninklijke Opera Gent. Tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog was hij violist-solist in de Symphonie de l’Armée de Campagne (Corneil de Thoran). Na de oorlog soleerde hij in België, Frankrijk en Groot-Brittannië. Hij werd leraar viool aan het Stedelijk Conservatorium in Oostende (1921-1965) en aan het Koninklijk Conservatorium Gent (1922-1959). Daar vormde hij o.m. G. Maes (virtuositeitsdiploma, 1935), O. Devriendt (1935), J. Clarysse en J.-P. Muller (HD, 1940), C. Clarysse (1937); R. van Elslande (1938), P. Dequeker (1939), R. de Bosscher (HD, 1949), A.-M. Rousseau (HD, 1950) en N. Lacombe (1955).
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Arthur Grumiaux
Belgium, °1921 - 1986
Of the Franco-Belgian school, Arthur Grumiaux is considered to have been one of the few truly great violin virtuosi of the twentieth century. In his relatively short life his achievements were superb. He brought to performances guaranteed technical command, faithfulness to the composer's intent, and sensitivity toward the intricate delineations of musical structure. His fame was built upon extraordinary violin concerto performances and chamber-music appearances with his own Grumiaux Trio.

Arthur Grumiaux was born in Villers-Perwin, Belgium, in 1921, to a working-class family, and it was his grandfather who urged him to begin music studies at the age of 4. He trained on violin and piano with the Fernand Quintet at the Charleroi Conservatory, where he took first prize at the age of 11. The following year he advanced his studies by working with Alfred Dubois at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, and also worked on counterpoint and fugue with Jean Absil. He received his first few major awards prior to reaching the age of 20; he took the Henry Vieuxtemps and François Prume prizes in 1939, and received the Prix de Virtuosité from the Belgian government in 1940. During this time he also studied composition privately in Paris with Georges Enesco, Menuhin's teacher. His debuts were made in Belgium with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn's concerto, and in Britain with the BBC Symphonic Orchestra in 1945.

Due to the German invasion of his homeland, there existed a short time gap between these two important events. During that time he played privately with several small ensembles, while refraining from public performance of any kind. Regardless of this slight delay in the initiation of his international career, once started, it quickly developed. Following his British debut, he advanced into Belgium academia when he was appointed professor of violin at the Royal Conservatory, where he had once studied. There, he emphasized the importance of phrasing, the quality of sound, and the high technical standards of artistry.

Arthur Grumiaux's playing has been included on over 30 recordings, nearly all under Philips, although his name is also seen on the labels of EMI, Belart and Music & Arts. The titles on these releases tend to be the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert, and on occasion include works by Ravel and Debussy. One of his greatest joys in life was his partnership with the pianist Clara Haskil. On occasion, the two would switch instruments for a different perspective and relationship. Grumiaux was left with a professional and personal absence when she died from a fall at a train station, en route to a concert with him.

In addition to his solo work, he has recorded Mozart quintets with the Grumiaux Ensemble, and various selections with the Grumiaux Trio, comprised of the Hungarian husband-wife duo Georges Janzer (violin) and Eva Czako (cello). His successful performance career led up to royal recognition, as in 1973, he was knighted baron by King Baudouin, for his services to music, thus, sharing the title with Paganini. Despite a struggle with diabetes, he continued a rigorous schedule of recording and concert performances, primarily in Western Europe, until a sudden stroke in Brussels took his life in 1986. At the age of 65, Arthur Grumiaux left behind the memory of his elegant and solid musicianship.
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Yehudi Menuhin
Great Britain, Switzerland, °1916 - 1999
Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York of Russian-Jewish parents, but later became a British subject. He made his violin debut at the age of seven with the San Francisco Symphony in Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, following this with a recital in New York a year later. By the time he was eleven he had made his historic debuts in Paris and Carnegie Hall, at twelve in Berlin and at thirteen in London, thus launching himself at an early age on a career that was to take him all over the world for the ensuing decades, playing with all the leading conductors and orchestras. In addition to his renown as a great musician he is equally recognized for his committed humanism, exemplified by his interest in and work for the young, for international understanding, and all the many causes he finds close to his synoptic mind and generous spirit.

lt was on his first visit to lndia in 1952 at the invitation of Prime Minister Pandit Nehru, that he met Ravi Shankar, developing a deep admiration for both Shankar and Indian music. Subsequently, they gave many concerts together and made numerous recordings which sold into the millions; the proceeds of all the coneerts given on his tours of India were donated to charity. In 1960 he was awarded the Nehru Peace Prize for International Understanding. Some thirty years later, in 1992, he was honoured with the title of Ambassador of Goodwill to UNESCO.

In recognition of the many concerts he gave for the Allied Forces during the second World War, flying over from America whenever he could find space in a military plane, Yehudi Menuhin was awarded numerous honours, amongst which were the Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Lorraine from France, the Order of Merit from Germany, the Ordre Leopold and the Ordre de la Couronne from Belgium, from England the Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal and in 1995 from Spain the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Merito Civil. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed a knighthood on him in 1965 and gave him the Order of Merit in 1987, followed by a life peerage in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 1993.

He is an Honorary Doctor of over 30 universities in different countries, including those of Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrew's and the Sorbonne as weil as being a Freeman of the cities of Edinburgh, Bath, Reims and Warsaw and holding the Gold Medals of the cities of Paris, New York and Jerusalem. He was also the first Westerner to be made an Honorary Professor of the Beijing Conservatoire in recognition of his concerts in China and of his endeavours in helping many young Chinese violinists to continue their studies in the West.

In 1963 he achieved one of his greatest ambitions, creating a boarding school for promising young musicians, starting from the age of seven and based on the Central School of Moscow, where the students receive both their scholastic and musical education under one roof. Numerous students of the Yehudi Menuhin School, which is officially associated with its Moscow equivalent, have gone on to earn university scholarships.
In 1977 he founded the International Menuhin Music Academy for young graduate string players in Gstaad, Switzerland, the site of the Menuhin Music Festival, of which he was artistic director for 40 years and for which he was awarded Swiss citizenship.

Yehudi Menuhin made his first record at the age of twelve and a year later began his long association with HMV/EMI, with whom he continued to record for many years. He has also recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (the complete Beethoven sonatas with Wilhelm Kempff) and conducted numerous orchestral works for Philips, Virgin, Nimbus and other labels. A great number of his early recordings have been reissued on CD on the occasion of his 75th and 80th birthdays by Biddulph Recordings, and IMG Records issued a boxed set of the complete Beethoven symphonies, performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia under the baton of Lord Menuhin.
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Ernst Morawec
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Philip Newman
Great Britain, °1904 - 1966
Philip Newman (1904-1966) was born in Manchester, the son of Harris Newman, cantor of Manchester's Great Synagogue. Cantor Newman, from Lodz in Poland, was considered one of the finest cantors of his day, gifted as both singer and musician. Philip's sister, Pearl, and brother Montague were also talented musicians. Philip became a pupil of Adolph Brodsky at the Royal Manchester College of Music, entering the College in 1917 aged 13 and leaving in 1920 without taking a diploma.

In 1924 Brodsky advised him to attend the Brussels Conservatoire to study with Albert Zimmel, Ysaÿe's first assistant. After just one year, he won the 'Premier Prix de Violon' with maximum marks and distinction, playing the very difficult Violin Concerto in F sharp minor Op. 23 by H. W. Ernst. During his time in Brussels he also studied with the violinists Henri van Hecke and Cesar Thomson. At this time he became the friend of Antoine, the son of Eugene Ysaÿe, who asked him to perform Ysaÿe's 4th Solo Sonata for his father but Newman refused saying that he did not think himself ready to play for the man who from an early age he had considered to be the supreme violinist. Six years later Antoine was to become Newman's manager.

Philip Newman spent the years 1928 to 1932 in Berlin studying with Willy Hess who was by then Germany's foremost violinist, and had been a pupil of the great Joseph Joachim. Here he learned a style different to that of the Belgian school of which he was by now a fine exponent. In Berlin he was exposed to the height of musical culture, and Newman planned that after studying with Hess he would move on to study in other conservatoires with Henri Marteau and then finally to Ottokar Sevcik, but these plans were not be fulfilled.

In 1931 Philip Newman went to Ysaÿe's house as Ysaÿe was dying. Climbing the stairs he took out his violin and performed the master's 4th Solo Violin Sonata dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, the very work he was so reluctant to play previously. The last notes that Ysaÿe heard were those played by Philip Newman. The last words that Ysaÿe spoke, were to Philip Newman, 'Splendid... but the finale... a little too fast...' At Ysaÿe's funeral Newman took the strings which he had previously taken from his violin and tied them around a wreath which he placed on Ysaÿe's grave.

Philip Newman's first major recital took place in his hometown of Manchester in the mid 1920's, for which his father had hired the Free Trade Hall. However his first big concert was in Ostend where he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto. For some unaccountable reason his official British debut with orchestra did not take place until 1935, again in the Manchester Free Trade Hall.

In 1951 Philip Newman began his long service as a judge of the Queen Elisabeth Competition which had replaced the Ysaÿe Violin Competition. For many years he was also a member of the panel of judges at the Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in Moscow where he represented the British Council. In 1937 Philip Newman had been introduced to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, becoming her personal professor of the violin. The Queen had for many years devoted much of her time to the violin and had performed privately with many distinguished musicians, she herself was a great patron of the arts and an accomplished violinist. In 1964, the Queen was involved with such outstanding musicians as Casals, Stravinsky, Schweitzer and Newman in the founding of the Symphonicum Europaea. The Queen attended most of Newman's concerts, and presented him with a gold mounted bow by Francois Tourte, one of the world's finest bow makers. The long association with Queen Elisabeth ended with her death in 1965.

In 1942 Philip Newman took refuge in Portugal and finally arrived in Lisbon where he became the first non-national Professor of the violin at the National Academy of Music. During his long stay in that city he organised and promoted concerts for charity including many for the International Red Cross. In that same year he acquired a fine Guarnerius del Gesu dated 1741 which had been purchased for his use by his cousin Isaac Wolfson. Many years before that Ysaÿe had contemplated buying the same violin. The violin was the favourite instrument of the virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps (at Vieuxtemps' funeral it was carried behind his coffin on a velvet cushion and is now known as the ex-Vieuxtemps), and is considered one of the finest violins in existence by both experts and players alike.

During the remainder of the war years, Philip Newman devoted even more time to giving concerts for refugees, later extended to concerts for under-privileged people in Africa. In 1950 he left Portugal to tour England, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany, receiving excellent reviews from both critics and fellow musicians. On 22 and 23 November he appeared again in Manchester's Free Trade Hall playing the Beethoven Concerto Violin Concerto with the Halle Orchestra conducted by John Barbirolli. In 1954 he agreed to undertake 28 concerts in the Belgian Congo and Angola, but just before finalising the details, he received news that his father had died; nonetheless he continued the tour as planned. He met Albert Schweitzer in Lambarene, and towards the end of the tour visited Johannesburg where it is known that he recorded works by Paganini and the Beethoven Violin Concerto for the South African Broadcasting Company.

On his return to Europe, Philip Newman joined his old friend Casals to play at the opening of the Prades Festival. The Festival of Pollensa, which Newman founded in 1962, became the major activity of his remaining years. A galaxy of artists appeared with him during the September Festival events. One year's programme had Ruggiero Ricci, Pierre Fournier and Friedrich Guida. Newman's last concert took place on 4th September 1966 at the Festival and the last piece of music he ever played was at the request of a journalist the same evening. It was the Recitative and Scherzo Caprice by Kreisler. A tour of the Soviet Union was planned but Philip Newman died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Majorca on 23 November 1966, one year to the day after his beloved friend Queen Elisabeth. Ironically, he was that very evening to have taken part in a television broadcast to mark the anniversary of her death.

Throughout his career Philip Newman received many honours and awards. In Belgium, he was an Officer of the Order of the Crown. Portugal awarded him its highest honour, Knight Commander of St. James of the Sword, and for his work during the war years the Order of St. John together with the Order of Christ. He was also awarded the Ysaÿe and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium medals and later decorated with the Order of Merit and the Order of Leopold. Yet another distinction was a commissioned oil painting which now hangs in the National Gallery, Lisbon.
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David Oistrakh
Russian Federation, °1908 - 1974
David Oistrakh (1908-1974) is considered the premiere violinist of the mid-twentieth century Soviet Union. His recorded legacy includes nearly the entire standard violin repertory up to and including Prokofiev and Bartók. His violin studies began in 1913 with Pyotr Stolyarsky. Later he officially joined Stolyarsky's class at the Odessa Conservatory, graduating in 1926 by playing Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto. Performances of the Glazunov Concerto in Odessa and Kiev in 1927, and a 1928 debut in Leningrad (Tchaikovsky Concerto) gave him the confidence to move to Moscow. He made his premiere there in early 1929, but the event went largely unnoticed. In 1934, however, after several years of patiently refining his craft, he was invited to join the Moscow Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of full professor in 1939.

Meanwhile, David Oistrakh was gaining success on the competition circuit, winning the All-Ukrainian contest in 1930, and the All-Soviet competition three years later. In 1935 he took second prize at the Wieniawski competition. In 1937 the Soviet government sent the now veteran violinist to Brussels to compete in the International Ysaÿe Competition, where he took home first prize.

With his victory in Brussels, Soviet composers began to take notice of their young compatriot, enabling him to work closely with Miaskovsky and Khachaturian on their concertos in 1939 and 1940, respectively. In addition, his close friendship with Shostakovich led the composer to write two concertos for the instrument (the first of which Oistrakh played at his, and its, triumphant American premiere in 1955). During the 1940s David Oistrakh's active performing schedule took him across the Soviet Union but his international career had to wait until the 1950s, when the political climate had cooled enough for Soviet artists to be welcomed in the capitals of the West.

The remaining decades of his life were devoted to maintaining the highest possible standards of excellence throughout an exhausting touring schedule (he returned to the U.S. six times in the 1960s), and he began a small but successful sideline career as an orchestral conductor. His death came suddenly in Amsterdam in 1974, during a cycle of Brahms concerts in which he both played and conducted.

Throughout his career David Oistrakh was known for his honest, warm personality; he developed close friendships with many of the leading musicians of the day. His violin technique was virtually flawless, though he never allowed purely physical matters to dominate his musical performances. He always demanded of himself (and his students) that musical proficiency, intelligence, and emotion be in balance, regardless of the particular style. David Oistrakh felt that a violinist's essence was communicated through clever and subtle use of the bow, and not through overly expressive use of vibrato. To this end he developed a remarkably relaxed, flexible right arm technique, capable of producing the most delicate expressive nuances, but equally capable of generating great volume and projection.

As a teacher, David Oistrakh maintained that a teacher should do no more than necessary to help guide the student towards his or her own solutions to technical and interpretive difficulties. He rarely played during lessons, fearing that he might distract the student from developing a more individual approach, and even encouraged his students to challenge his interpretations. Perhaps the best evidence of the Oistrakh's gift for teaching is that he felt that he gained as much from the teaching experience as his students did.
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Louis Persinger
United States of America, °1887 - 1966
American violinist, pianist and teacher Louis Persinger (1887-1966) had early lessons in Colorado, appearing in public at the age of 12. His main studies were at the Leipzig Conservatory (1900-04) under Hans Becker (violin), Carl Beving (piano) and Arthur Nikisch (conducting), who described him as 'one of the most talented pupils the Leipzig Conservatory ever had'. He then settled in Brussels for three years, combining studies under Eugène Ysaÿe with concerts in Belgium and Germany and two summers' coaching from Jacques Thibaud.

Returning to the USA, he made his debut in 1912 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, followed by many engagements with orchestras. In 1914 Nikisch invited him to become leader of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1915 he became leader of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Two years later he resigned to form his own string quartet and to direct the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco (1916-28), where he began his teaching career.

One of his earliest pupils was Yehudi Menuhin, whose family followed Persinger to New York in 1925. An accomplished pianist, he was the accompanist for Menuhin's first New York recital in 1926 and on his American tour in 1928-9. On his 75th birthday Louis Persinger gave a recital at the Juilliard School, playing half the programme on the piano and half on the violin.

Louis Persinger taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music (1929-30), and in 1930 succeeded Leopold Auer at the Juilliard School, where he taught the violin and chamber music until his death. Among his pupils were Isaac Stern, Ruggiero Ricci, Guila Bustabo and Camilla Wicks. He said that his unorthodox teaching method was 'based on keeping a child's interest, in sensing what might be amusing or arresting to him, and in using as few pedantic words as possible. I teach through the sound of the instrument.' Menuhin wrote that Persinger 'has done perhaps more than anyone else to establish a genuine American school of violin playing'. He served as a member of the jury in the Queen Elisabeth and Wieniawski competitions, and published transcriptions and editions of violin music.
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Remy Principe
, °1889 - 1977
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Joseph Szigeti
Hungary (Republic), United States of America, °1892 - 1973
Violinist Joseph Szigeti's (1892-1973) father and his uncle were both professional musicians and gave him music lessons. He advanced so quickly that he was soon assigned as a pupil of Jenö Hubay, later entering the celebrated virtuoso's advanced class. He began to play in public at age ten and made his formal debut in Berlin in 1905 at the age of 13. Joseph Joachim offered to teach him, but he chose to remain with Hubay.

After making his London debut when he was 15, Joseph Szigeti remained in Britain until 1913, giving frequent concerts and becoming a favorite. His partners in recitals included such illustrious musicians as Myra Hess and Ferruccio Busoni. Busoni, a pianist-composer and also a deep-thinking philosopher on the nature and future of music, became a formative influence on Szigeti. As with others in his line of work, his concert career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Settling in Switzerland in 1913, he accepted a position as a violin professor at the Geneva Conservatory, where he gave master classes from 1917 to 1924.

Upon returning to the concert scene in the early 1920s, Joseph Szigeti rapidly became a famous international name in classical music. He was noted for his quick understanding and advocacy of new music, and took up the cause of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor Op. 19, which he played it at the I.S.C.M. Festival in 1924. Later that same year he performed this work on his Russian tour, giving the Concerto its Leningrad premiere. He made his American debut in 1925, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in Carnegie Hall. During the 1930s he also toured in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa.

In 1938, Joseph Szigeti premiered Ernest Bloch's Violin Concerto in Cleveland. Among other first performances given by, or works dedicated to, Szigeti were Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1, Alan Rawsthorne's Sonata, Bloch's Le nuit exotique, and the violin concertos of Casella and Frank Martin. His interest in new music led him to become a persuasive advocate of many great violin works that had been premiered by others, including music by Ravel, Roussel, Milhaud, Stravinsky, and Alban Berg. With the outbreak of World War II, he settled in the United States.

Upon his arrival in America in 1940, Hungarian composer Bela Bartók renewed an earlier friendship with Joseph Szigeti, and they played some concerts together, including a famous one at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He also took up Bartók's new Violin Concerto (No. 2), playing it widely. Through Szigeti's influence, Bartók was commissioned to write a new classical work for clarinetist Benny Goodman. Bartók responded with Contrasts, scored for the uniquely non-blending ensemble of piano, violin, and clarinet, thereby including Joseph Szigeti in the work's premiere. He played frequently in America during the war years, and afterward resumed his international career. He took part in the 1950 Prades Festival organized by cellist Pablo Casals. He was naturalized as an American citizen in 1951.

By 1960, Joseph Szigeti had scaled down the number of his personal appearences, and in that year he settled in Switzerland. He subsequently withdrew from the concert stage, and taught only a limited number of students. He wrote scholarly studies on great works of the violin repertory, the history of the violin and its playing styles, and made changes to his already published autobiography. Joseph Szigeti was also a welcome member of the juries on several international violin competitions, where his discerning ear and wise judgment were highly influential.
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Gerhard Taschner
Germany, °1922 - 1976
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Carlo Van Neste
Belgium, °1914 - 1992
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Sandor Vegh
Hungary (Republic), France, °1912 - 1997
World-famous violinist, chamber musician and conductor, Sándor Végh (1912-1997) was one of the internationally best-known Hungarian musicians of the twentieth century. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music under Nándor Zsolt (from 1924 to 1929) and Jenő Hubay (from 1929 to 1931), and studied composition from 1928 to 1929 under Zoltán Kodály. He made his début as a violinist with a work by Richard Strauss, conducted by the composer, in 1927. He graduated in 1930 and won the Hubay and Reményi Awards of the Music Academy. From 1941 to 1946 he was professor of violin at the Music Academy and subsequently left Hungary.

Together with Ilonka Krauss and László Vincze he founded the Hungarian Trio, and in 1935 he became a member of the New Hungarian String Quartet, with which he participated in the world première of Bartók’s Fifth String Quartet in 1936. In 1940 Sándor Végh founded his own string quartet, together with Sándor Zöldi, György Janzer and Pál Szabó. Consisting of excellent soloists, the Végh quartet was a resounding success worldwide. They won First Prize at the International Musical Competition in Geneva in 1946, following which they went on numerous tours around Europe, North and South America, and produced several recordings. Their repertoire included practically every string-quartet masterpiece, and they performed entire series of Beethoven’s and Bartók’s string quartets. Sándor Végh also enjoyed a significant international career as a solo violinist (the complete solo violin works of Bach being one of his specialities), and he continued playing into his old age.

He made use of his rich experience as a performer in his increasingly important activities as a teacher. He taught in Basle, Freiburg, Düsseldorf and Salzburg. In 1952 he met Pablo Casals, at whose invitation he taught and gave concerts in Zermatt, Prades and Marlboro. He appeared with the top artists on the musical scene. In Cervo, Italy, he founded his own chamber music festival in 1964; he taught and gave concerts extensively, regularly conducted the Sándor Végh Chamber Orchestra and the Marlboro Festival Orchestra. In 1972 he was involved in setting up yet another establishment at the initiative of Hillary Tunstall-Behrens in Cornwall, the International Musicians’ Seminar Prussia Cove. However, the pinnacle of his career as a teacher was the foundation of the Camerata Academica (1978) in Salzburg, which consists of the current students of the Mozarteum. In the last period of his life he performed extensively with immense success, and made numerous recordings with the chamber orchestra that is widely regarded as the repository of Austrian traditions.
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