Printer-friendly version
The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Who is in your violin family tree?

August 16, 2008 at 12:12 AM

I'd like to test my hypothesis: Seems like if you can make a connection to Ivan Galamian, Josef Gingold or Dorothy DeLay, you can connect with just about any violinist on the planet.

I was observing this while thinking about Kevin Bacon, degrees of separation, and Six Degrees of Simon Fischer.

So my question is, are you directly connected to any of these Big Three teachers, through one of your teachers? What is your "Teacher Tree"? If you don't know your violinistic lineage, you should check into it. Just like Great-Great Grandpa G√ľnther, whom you never saw or knew, gave you that enormous nose, taste for bratwurst and ability to tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue, your musical predecessors likely continue to offer techniques, philosophies, interpretations and attitudes toward the art of violin playing, through the way you learned (or are learning) from your teacher.

Here are my own incomplete and unscientific observations about the Big Three: When I think of Ivan Galamian, who taught several of my teachers, I think of a technical approach, developing the left side of the brain, working with permutations of rhythm, bowings, etc. for practice. For Josef Gingold, who was still at Indiana when I went there and influenced all the teachers there, I think of an attention to beautiful tone, a kind, nurturing but demanding teaching approach, expression, and fidelity to the composer's intentions. For Dorothy DeLay, I think of nurturing musical independence and attending to basics, even at the highest level.

Though Dorothy DeLay was Galamian's assistant, I'm going to count her as her own entity. That's another thing that you guys can argue with me about down below ;)

Now I know that these three teacher's aren't in everyone's lineage, so if your teacher traces back to another influence, please mark "none of the above" and tell us below in the comment section about your teacher's major influences.

I'm going to make some rules for this: Your family tree includes only teachers you've studied with (and paid for lessons, either directly or through school tuition) for at least a year, and people they'd studied with for at least a year. You can't claim a connection through one lesson, a week at an institute, or through your hairdresser or the guy next to you on the plane!

Also, you may have had all three in the tree; so it's okay to mark more than one.

From Ben Clapton
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 12:29 AM
My Current teacher says his teacher was Igor Ozim, who studied under Max Rostal (whom my teacher also spent a brief amount of time with) who studied with Carl Flesch. It's pretty amazing for me to think that I'm only 4 links away from Flesch.
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 1:15 AM
I studied 4 1/2 years under someone who was a student of Broadus Erle and Josef Gingold, and my current teacher did undergrad with Dorothy DeLay and Paul Kantor
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 1:20 AM
Sorry for the double post but my current teacher also did his graduate studies with Arnold Steinhardt, who I just read was a student of Ivan Galamian, so that's all 3!
From Corwin Slack
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 2:16 AM
I have three routes back to Ysaye

1. Through Leon Sammetini (one grandteacher)
2. Through Joseph Gingold (another grandteacher
3. Harold Hess yest another grandteacher.

I didn't study with any of these three just their students.

From Hannah Wright
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 2:57 AM
My current teacher studied with Delay at Juilliard.
From Andrew Paa
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 4:51 AM
My teacher studied with Paul Zukofsky who studied with Galamian. She also studied with Leonard Posner and David Schneider but I don't know who they studied with.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM
I go back to Auer about three ways. Unfortunately, Auer's philosophy was teach yourself.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 11:25 AM
My teacher in Pasadena studied with Mehli Mehta, who studied with Galamian. My current teacher studied with Raphael Bronstein (who studied with Leopold Auer) and Roman Totenberg (who studied with Carl Flesch).
From Tobias Seyb
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 5:39 PM
I don't know my violin family tree, but I once shook hands with someone who once shook hands with the Dalay Lama.


From Bill Busen
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 6:20 PM
Sorry, that would have to be the DeLay Lama.
From Milstein DeusEst
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 7:05 PM
My last teacher studied with Heifetz. Lots of fascinating stories...
From Royce Faina
Posted on August 16, 2008 at 8:56 PM
My teacher last semester, Dr.Pinell, had the pleasure of being taught a thing or two by Issac Stern. And of course I rank Javier and his wife Naomi right up there with the best.
From Bethany Morris
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 1:09 AM
David Oistrakh is my teacher's teacher. My high school teacher traces back to at least Joachim. I don't really take after either of them, I'm afraid.
From Cathy Gray
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 3:54 AM
I studied awhile with Igor Gruppman who studied with David Oistrach.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on August 17, 2008 at 3:59 AM
My current teacher studied with Paul Kantor, who was a Dorothy Delay student.
From William Wassum
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 12:28 AM
Two of my major teachers studied with Syzmon Goldberg, who was a student of Carl Flesch.
From Mara Gerety
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 9:13 AM
I know I've got Galamian and Gingold in there, not sure about DeLay but probably.

I have but one degree (Mr. Danchenko) separating me from David Oistrakh....which I'm perhaps a little too proud of...:)

From Mara Gerety
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 9:14 AM
incidentally, you might want to specify that this "Big Three" are the big three primarily of the American school.
From Jenny Fischer
Posted on August 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM
My violin teacher from High School knows Joshua Bell's first violin teacher.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support
your donation
or sponsorship campaign. is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Corilon Violins

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop