Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jan Hrimaly

Jan Hrimaly was a Czech violinist and teacher born (in Pilsen, Hungary) on April 13, 1844.  He is known for having written a Scale Study book which is still in use today.  He is unusual in that he spent the major part of his career in Russia – in fact, once he established himself in Moscow, he never returned to his native country.  His father was an organist and composer and his first teacher was probably an older brother - Vojtech.  All of Hrimaly’s other brothers and sisters were musicians as well.  It has been said that he and three of his brothers actually founded the very first string quartet in Czechoslovakia.  It had to have been prior to 1861.  Hrimaly enrolled at the Prague Conservatory in 1855 at age 11.  His violin teacher there was probably Moritz Mildner.  Hrimaly graduated in 1861 and quickly became concertmaster of an orchestra in Amsterdam.  Nobody seems to know which orchestra.  He was 18 years old.  He was there for four years.  At age 23, he was appointed violin teacher at the Moscow Conservatory.  He then took over as violin professor for his father-in-law, Ferdinand Laub, in 1874.  He was 30 years old.  Hrimaly remained at the conservatory until the year of his death – 46 years.  That is probably one of the longest tenures of all time, if not the longest.  In 1874, 1876, and 1882, he took part in premiering Tchaikovsky’s second and third string quartets and piano trio, in that order.  Between 1874 and 1906, he was also concertmaster of the Russian Musical Society Orchestra in Moscow, although I don’t know what that is or was.  It can be assumed he was an outstanding teacher since he lasted so long at his teaching post.  His students include Josif Kotek, Reinhold Gliere, Stanislaw Barcewicz, Alexander Petschnikov, Julius Conus, and Peter Stolyarsky.  Hrimaly died on January 24, 1915, in Moscow, at age 70.  Were it not for his scale study book, he would likely be quite (unjustly) forgotten.  

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