Monday, December 14, 2009

Samuel Dushkin

Samuel Dushkin was a Polish (some would say American) violinist born on December 13, 1891 (Stravinsky was 9 years old.) He is remembered as the violinist who premiered the Stravinsky violin concerto and who collaborated with this Russian composer in nearly all of his works for violin. He was never considered a virtuoso violinist but rather a very respectable musician. A not-too-flattering review of his New York Town Hall recital of February 9, 1943 is fairly typical. He initially studied at the Paris Conservatory and later with Leopold Auer and Fritz Kreisler. His European debut took place in 1918. He also premiered Prokofiev's Sonata for Two Violins (with Robert Soetens) in 1932. The famous Stravinsky violin concerto premiere was given on October 23, 1931 with the Berlin Radio Orchestra with Stravinsky himself conducting. The premiere was also broadcast. Dushkin premiered the work in the U.S. as well. Later on, with Stravinsky on the podium, he was the first to record the work. The well-known Dushkin Stradivarius (1701) is named after him, although he also owned one other Strad, a Guarnerius, and a Guadagnini. His widow (Louise) was the founder of the Harlem School of the Arts. (She died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.) Dushkin died on June 24, 1976, in obscurity, at age 84.


  1. Hello,

    This is a very interesting article about Samuel Dushkin. However, I have one correction. His wife was not the founder of The Harlem School of the Arts, mezzo-soprano Dorothy Maynor was the founder. HSA is currently celebrating its 45th anniversary. You can learn more about Dorothy Maynor and The Harlem School of the Arts at

    Thank you,

    Melody Gross
    Communications and Marketing Associate
    The Harlem School of the Arts
    645 Saint Nicholas Avenue
    New York, NY 10030

  2. Thank you so much for this correction. All the best to you and the Harlem School of the Arts!!!