Sunday, November 15, 2015

Endre Granat

Endre Granat is a Hungarian violinist, music editor, and teacher born (in Miskolc, Hungary – about 100 miles northeast of Budapest) on August 3, 1937.  He is best known for having recorded prolifically in Los Angeles as a studio (session) musician, (as did Louis Kaufman, Toscha Seidel, and Israel Baker before him), where he almost always served as concertmaster.  He has played and recorded for hundreds of movie soundtracks, CDs, and Television shows.  Granat is easily the most experienced studio violinist working today.  He may also be the only concert violinist in history whose wife was a murder victim (1975).  His first teacher was his father (Josef Granat) who was the concertmaster of the Budapest Philharmonic for many years.  He then studied with Gyorgy Garay at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest in his native country.  I don’t know at what age he entered the Academy.  He fled the country during the revolution in 1956.  He was 19 years old.  He then spent five years living in Switzerland although his initial plans were to go to Paris, France.  Between 1956 and 1964 he was concertmaster or a section violinist with the Hamburg Symphony, the Orchestra of the Suisse Romande, and the Gothenburg Symphony.  He also graduated from the conservatory in Basel with a Master’s degree during that time.  In 1962 he entered and won a violin competition at Heidelberg, Germany.  He was 25 years old.  He came to the U.S. in 1964 and studied further with Josef Gingold at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.  Granat was assistant concertmaster with the Cleveland Orchestra from 1964 to 1966.  In 1967 he participated in the Queen Elizabeth violin competition and came in lower than fifth place – I don’t know how much lower.  He was 30 years old.  He then studied for five years with Jascha Heifetz in Los Angeles.  Between 1975 and 1977, he played very little, spending two years in South Korea studying God-knows-what.  I did not take the trouble to find out; however, he and pianist Edith Kilbuck did record the complete works for violin and harpsichord by J.S. Bach in 1976.  When he returned from Korea, he began playing in the studios in Los Angeles where he has been working ever since.  Granat has taught at various music schools during different times in his career, including the Royal Academy of Music in Gothenburg (Sweden), Seoul National University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and USC in Los Angeles, where he might still be teaching.  He has also frequently participated in several music festivals in the U.S. and abroad and intermittently concertized as a soloist working with some of the world’s conducting luminaries, including George Szell, Zubin Mehta, and Georg Solti.  He was concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony in California from September 1983 to June 1993.  With regard to that experience, Granat has said: “It's one thing to have a great number of wonderful players; it's another thing to have a great orchestra.  Eighty extraordinary musicians do not equal an extraordinary orchestra.  That takes years.”  Granat plays a 1721 Domenicus Montagnana violin which he acquired in 1968.  He may have sold that violin in 2005. 

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