Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Otto Joachim

Otto Joachim is a German (some would say Canadian) violinist, violist, composer, teacher, conductor, and instrument maker, born in Dusseldorf, Germany, on October 13, 1910 (Heifetz was 9 years old.) He studied violin in Germany from 1916 until 1931. I have no idea about what he did between 1931 and 1934, but I do know that in 1934 (until 1949), he taught in Singapore and China. In 1949, intending to settle in Brazil, he traveled from China by way of Canada and within a very short time opted to stay there. He was Principal violist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for some time and taught at the Montreal Conservatory and at other music schools (in Montreal) as well. He has also conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, among many other ensembles. Joachim, understandably, is not a prolific composer, but he has managed to write more than thirty works of some variety. His specialty is electronic and twelve-tone music (with German and French titles) which few people have ever heard. I have never heard any of it myself nor do I intend to. Today, he is 99 years old.

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