Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leonid Kogan

Leonid Kogan (Leonid Borisovich Kogan) was a Russian (Ukrainian) violinist and teacher born on November 17, 1924 (Heifetz was 23 years old.) There are actually two dates given for his date of birth - I arbitrarily chose this one. He was a modest and quiet man but possessed an astonishing technique, powerful tone, and expressive insight. Kogan began studying violin with his father while still a very young child and by age 10 was taking lessons from Abram Yampolsky. From 1934 until 1951 he continued studying - first at the Central Music School (until 1943) and then at the Moscow Conservatory (until 1951.) However, since he had already made his debut in 1941 at the Moscow Conservatory, his concertizing career actually started in that year. He won first prize at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in that same year, giving an unforgettable performance of the D major Paganini concerto which is still talked about. He started teaching at the Conservatory in 1952. His many recordings are now very much sought after. There are many videos of his on YouTube and he also has a fan page on MySpace. For a time, his daughter Nina was his piano accompanist. He was well-known for shunning publicity though he was one of the finest violinists of all time. He died unexpectedly while on tour on December 17, 1982, at age 58. It has been rumored that the KGB poisoned him.


  1. Leonid Kogan: un genio assoluto!!!

  2. Information is incorrect. He died in the train going to the concert in Moscow suburbs. KGB didn't care about Kogan. Why then not to poison David Oistrkh?