Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Henryk Szeryng

Henryk Szeryng was an extraordinary Polish violinist born on September 22, 1918. He owned the violin whose picture is shown in the previous blog. He began his violin studies at age 7 and, after his prodigious talent was recognized, continued with Carl Flesch in Germany (1929) and Jacques Thibaud in Paris later on. He made a sensational debut in 1933 (in his early teens) and started concertizing right away, even while continuing further studies. In 1946, he became a naturalized Mexican citizen in appreciation of Mexico's efforts to take in several thousand Polish war refugees. He was the only violinist who travelled on a diplomatic passport after he was appointed Ambassador for Cultural Affairs by the Mexican Government. It is not clear to me whether he was fluent in six, seven, or eight languages. There are varying accounts. In addition to being a virtuoso of the highest caliber, he was a great humanitarian and philanthropist. There is insufficient space and time to post even a few of this phenomenal violinist's accomplishments here. I must therefore refer you to his wonderful, official website - There are many, many recordings by this great artist and several amazing videos on YouTube. One thing which is not well known is that he also composed concertos and chamber music. He died unexpectedly on March 3, 1988, at age 69.


  1. Stories abound about his having drinking problems, though these problems never affected his playing.

  2. Stories abound about Szeryng's drinking problem. Nonetheless, the drinking never seemed to get in the way of his playing.