Daniel Stabrawa is a Polish violinist, teacher, and conductor born (in Krakow) on August 23, 1955. He is very well-known as the concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and easily one of the best concertmasters in the world. In addition, as almost all concertmasters have done for centuries, he performs as soloist or chamber music player as often as he can. Stabrawa began his violin lessons at age 7. He later studied with Zbigniew Szlezer at the Music Academy in Krakow. He entered the Paganini violin competition in 1978 and came in a respectable sixth place. He became concertmaster of the Polish Radio Symphony in Krakow in 1979. He was 24 years old. He probably worked somewhere else prior to this but I don’t know where. In 1980 he again entered the Paganini violin competition and again came in sixth place. He first joined the Berlin Philharmonic in 1983. He was 28 years old. Herbert Von Karajan was chief conductor back then. Three years later, Stabrawa was appointed concertmaster – actually one of three concertmasters. (German orchestras usually hire three concertmasters considered equals – they are known as first concertmasters. They also hire two or three concertmasters of lower rank. It is very unusual for all three first concertmasters to be present for even a few concerts; however, it is also highly unusual for all three first concertmasters to be absent at the same time so this arrangement guarantees that a first concertmaster is always available to play. Therefore, an associate or assistant concertmaster rarely gets to sit in the first chair.) In 1985, Stabrawa began playing – as first violinist – in the Philharmonia Quartet (with Christian Stadelmann on second violin, Neithard Resa on viola, and Jan Diesselhorst on cello - Dietmar Schwalke replaced Diesselhorst in 1999. All are Berlin Philharmonic players.) Here is a YouTube video of the quartet playing a movement from the second of Beethoven’s Opus 59 quartets. The quartet recently completed recording all of Beethoven’s string quartets. Stabrawa taught at the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years - from 1986 to 2000. In 1994, he took an interest in conducting. He began conducting the Capella Bydgostsiensis Chamber Orchestra in 1995 (possibly 1994) and conducted it for at least seven years, although I do not know if he is still conducting that ensemble. It resides in Bydgoszcz, Poland, about 225 miles northeast of Berlin and 175 miles northwest of Warsaw. He has been quoted as saying that he actually conducts very little, which is understandable given the heavy concert schedule maintained by the Berlin orchestra. He has stated: “If you can direct, that helps a lot as concertmaster. Orchestra musicians have always felt they could do better than the conductor. But when you stand in front, you realize: Conducting's like playing the violin, you have to have an incredible technique; you need to know how it works. Every little wrong movement is transferred to the orchestra. Conducting is as hard as playing violin.” In 2008, he founded the Stabrawa Ensemble Berlin. As far as recording, Stabrawa has recorded most of the orchestral repertoire as a concertmaster, though he has also recorded some solo works. His solos in Korsakov’s Scheherazade are second to none (and I should say I have heard quite a few.) His sound has always been described as being very beautiful. You can judge for yourself here (in a short video, playing one of Jeno Hubay’s concertos with his Berlin colleagues) and here, playing a Wieniawski piece (Opus 20.) This one features him with Nigel Kennedy playing a little-known duo concerto by Vivaldi. Stabrawa has played a violin by Francesco Ruggeri from 1674 and might still be playing it - of that I am not certain.