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ROMAN TOTENBERG

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BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Description: Violinist, USA

Known For: His debut at the age of twelve as soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in 1923.

Instruments: Violin

Music Styles: Classical

Location: Poland

Date Born: 1st January 1911
Location Born: £ódŸ, Poland

Date Died: 8th May 2012
Location Died: United States of America Aged 80

CONTACT DETAILS
Web Site: Roman Totenberg at 90

Other Links: See below:

YOUTUBE VIDEO

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Roman Totenberg

A Polish-American violinist and educator.

Born in £ódŸ in a Jewish family, the son of Slanislava (Vinaver) and Adam Totenberg, Totenberg was a child prodigy, studied with Michalowicz in Warsaw, and made his debut at the age of twelve as soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in 1923.

He was also awarded the gold medal at the Chopin Conservatory/Warsaw and continued his studies with Carl Flesch in Berlin, where he won the International Mendelssohn Prize in 1931, and later with George Enescu and Pierre Monteux in Paris.

He made both his British debut in London and his American debut in New York in 1935.

Totenberg appeared with numerous American orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Washington Symphonies. In Europe he performed with all major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw.

In 1988 he was awarded the highest Medal of Merit by the Polish Government for his life-long contributions to Polish society.

Roman Totenberg died on the 8th of May, 2012. Aged 101 years.

Recording career

Totenberg recorded under various labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Telefunken, Philips, Da Camera, Musical Heritage, Vanguard, Titanic and VQR. Recordings also appeared on Heliodor, Dover, Musical Heritage, and Remington label.

Professional life[edit]

Totenberg toured South America with Artur Rubinstein, and gave joint recitals with Karol Szymanowski. He gave many concerts comprising the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas and all Bach Brandenburg concertos. His diversified repertoire included more than thirty concerti. Among the many contemporary works he introduced are the Darius Milhaud Violin Concerto No. 2, the William Schuman Concerto, and the Krzysztof Penderecki Capriccio. He also premiered Paul Hindemith’s Sonata in E (1935), the Samuel Barber Concerto (new version) and the Bohuslav Martinů Sonata, as well as giving the American premiere of Arthur Honegger’s Sonate for violin solo. Under the patronage of the eminent violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and along with pianist Adolph Baller and cellist Gabor Rejto, Totenberg formed the Alma Trio in 1942–43 at Menuhin’s Alma estate in California.

Totenberg appeared with numerous American orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Washington Symphonies. In Europe he performed with all major orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. He played under eminent conductors including Stokowski, Kubelik, Szell, Rodzinski, Fitelberg, Jochum, Rowicki, Krenz, Monteux, Wit, Steinberg and Golschmann. In recital he appeared at the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in every major American and European city. He was featured with the most important music festivals of the world, notably at Salzburg’s Mozarteum, the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where he was appointed chairman of the string department in 1947.

Pedagogy

In addition to his concert activities, Totenberg held the position of Professor of Music at Boston University, where he headed the string department from 1961 to 1978. He also taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Music Academy of the West, the Aspen School of Music, the Mannes College of Music and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which he directed from 1978 to 1985. Notable pupils of his include Yevgeny Kutik,Mira Wang

In 1983 he was named Artist Teacher of the Year by the American String Teachers Association, and in April 2007 he was honored with the New England String Ensemble’s Muses & Mentors Award for his great artistry and significant contributions to string education.

In 1988, he was awarded the highest Medal of Merit by the Polish government for lifelong contributions to Polish society.

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