Friday, November 25, 2011

Russian Violinists

These Russian violinists (and a few more) are included among those about whom I have written micro biographies:  Joseph Achron, Iso Briselli, Zakhar Bron, Mischa Elman, Leonard Friedman, Elizabeth Gilels, Ivry Gitlis, Boris Goldstein, Alexei Gorokhov, Eduard Grach, Jascha Heifetz, Julia Igonina, Iliana Isakadze, Ilya Kaler, Leonid Kogan, Andrei Korsakov, Natasha Korsakova, Louis Krasner, Albert Markov, Nathan Milstein, Viktoria Mullova, David Oistrakh, Anna Rabinova, Vadim Repin, Alexander Schneider, Abram Shtern, Toscha Seidel, Vladimir Spivakov, Steven Staryk, Peter Stolyarsky, Maxim Vengerov, Abram Yampolsky, Zvi Zeitlin, Efrem Zimbalist,....  Even among avid and knowledgeable concert goers, only three or four are known.  I asked a violinist colleague the other day whether he had heard a certain recording by Ivry Gitlis.  He did not even know who Gitlis was.  It is generally agreed that Heifetz, Gitlis, Kogan, Milstein, and Oistrakh, are at the very top.  The others are superlative players who for reasons known only to a few, have never achieved that rank which bequeaths an aura of violinistic sainthood of sorts – more than mere historic immortality.  Nevertheless, they form the superstructure on which the others stand, the ones against whom we identify the greatest.  It is also interesting that some of the greatest Russian players were students of a Hungarian, not Russian, violinist: Leopold Auer.


  1. One of Felix Galimir's sisters was married to Louis Krasner.

  2. Why the russian violin makers are almost unknown?

  3. That is a good question. Even in the Russian State Collection, most of the instruments are Italian. I shall conduct some research and post something about that here.