Friday, January 22, 2010

Mischa Elman

Mischa Elman (Mikhail Saulovich Elman) was a Russian (Ukrainian) violinist born on January 20, 1891 (Stravinsky was 9 years old.) He was known for his short stature, unusual vibrato technique, soulful style, and beautiful tone. He auditioned for Leopold Auer at age 11, playing Wieniawski's concerto in d minor and Paganini's 24th Caprice. Auer then had Elman admitted to the St Petersburg Conservatory, where he (Auer) was a violin instructor. (An amusing song later composed by the Gershwin brothers mentioned Mischa (Elman), Jascha (Heifetz), Toscha (Seidel), and a few other students of Leopold Auer.) In 1903, Elman began to play concerts in the homes of wealthy patrons and, in 1904, made his debut in Berlin. In 1905, he made his London debut with Glazunov's concerto. In 1908, he came to the U.S. and played in Carnegie Hall. He recorded extensively but not nearly as much as other violinists of his time (such as Heifetz, Menuhin, Gitlis, Francescatti, and Ricci.) Elman died on April 5, 1967, at age 76.

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