Little Known Violinists...

May 14, 2005 at 11:54 PM · In going through some of my teacher's old Lp's, I came across some really old recordings done some violinists that I've never heard of. I could of course research the internet, but I thought why not head to that fount of knowledge, V-com, and see if anybody can point me in the right direction!

Anyway, here's a few little-knnown violinists (with the recordings in parenthesis):

Hans Kalafusz (Bach concerti)

Louis Stevens (Brahms concerto)

Maureen Smith (Mendelssohn concerto with Adrian Boult conducting - this one's GOOD!)

Hyman Bress (Tchaikovsky Concerto - again with Boult)

Miklos Szenthelyi (Beethoven concerto, numerous lollipops)

Steven Staryk (recital album includes Saint-Saens Intro and Rondo Capricioso)

If I come across any others, I'll post them up here...

Replies (100)

May 15, 2005 at 12:33 AM · Hi,

Steven Staryk is actually quite well-known. He is Canadian born and was famous as a concertmaster, being concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and Toronto Symphony. He was a fabulous technician and later became a teacher. I am not sure if he is still alive, but he was living in the Western U.S. the last I heard about him.

I don't know the others. Sorry. Hope this helps!


May 15, 2005 at 09:10 AM · here is info on Maureen Smith

At 18 Maureen Smith won the BBC violin competition, and made her solo debut at the Proms. She studied with Eta Cohen (her mother) Endre Wolf, Gyorgy Pauk, and after awards of Gulbenkian Foundation and Leverhulme Fellowships, with Josef Gingold in Indiana and Szymon Goldberg in London. From the age of 14 she performed frequently as a soloist with the NYO. She has since played concertos with all the leading British orchestras under many distinguished conductors including Atherton, Barbirolli, Blech, Boult, Elder, Groves, Hicox, Horenstein and Sargent. Maureen has given recitals and chamber music concerts at all the major London venues, UK festivals (including Aldeburgh, Brighton, Cheltenham, Leeds and Three Choirs) and in Europe, US and Australasia. She has broadcast regularly, and made a number of recordings both as a soloist and chamber musician. She was the violinist in the Villiers Piano Quartet, of which she was a founder member, and subsequently formed a duo with the violist from the quartet, Simon Rowland-Jones. Maureen Smith has a wide experience of teaching. She was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1995, and has been a Professor at the RCM since 1997. In September 2002 she was appointed Deputy Head of Strings at the RCM She has regularly coached on chamber music courses, and given master classes in the UK and abroad.

more info at:

hope this helps

May 15, 2005 at 09:32 AM · Hans Kalafusz was my teacher until last year! He's professor at the Music Academy in Stuttgart,and until last year was concertmaster of the Radio Orchestra from the same town!He also plays in the "Deutsches Streichtrio".

May 16, 2005 at 04:04 AM · Don't know much about Bress. I had his Bach solo sonatas and partitas and I know he recorded the Ysaye solo sonatas, too.

I also had the Staryk recordings you mentioned. I did not find them especially moving, but that is a matter of taste. I know he did the solos for Scheherazade, but I do not remember the conductor or orchestra; was it Beecham? Reiner?

May 16, 2005 at 02:18 PM · Steven Staryk made an impressive recording of the Prokofiev concerto #1 and the Shostakovich concerto #1, available from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). It's not the very best ever, but it's good.

Hyman Bress is (was?) also a Canadian violinist who made quite a few recordings in the 1950s and 1960s. He played a lot of 20th-century music (Bloch, Bartok) and was very intense and virtuosic, but had the reputation for being a bit wild.

May 16, 2005 at 03:21 PM · Thanks, people. If anybody else has some "little-known" or other wise hard-to-find-out-about violinists, put 'em up here in a post. There are probably hundreds of great players whose names are simply on a cassette or CD with no bio listed whatsoever.

May 16, 2005 at 04:19 PM · Hello! I think I would add Wolfgang Marschner to your list!He's quite known in Germany but not overseas I think...He's a great teacher and founded some competitions (like the Spohr one that S.Katchatryan won a few years ago),plus he was a great violinist!I may be wrong, but according to what I read somewhere he was the 1st german violinist to record the Schoenberg concerto, and there's also a wonderful recording of Bartok 2...

May 16, 2005 at 06:31 PM · From Joseph Franke

Posted via on May 16, 2005 at 8:21 AM (MST)

>If anybody else has some "little-known" or other wise hard-to-find-out-about violinists, put 'em up here in a post. There are probably hundreds of great players whose names are simply on a cassette or CD with no bio listed whatsoever.<

Robert Gerle.

May 26, 2005 at 03:47 PM · I saw Robert Gerle's name at the end of someone's post. Robert Gerle is not a little know violinist, but one who achieved an excellent reputation in the late 50s, 60s and 70s. I studied with him in the early 60s and am moved to say that he played beautifully and with consummate ease. Rather than say he was "little known" I suppose one could say that he did not work at maintaining as high a profile as some other soloists, but he was fully as great an artist. He's still alive and playing, I believe. He's also a conductor.

May 26, 2005 at 03:51 PM · Thank you for that info, Frank. I posted his name because I wanted to know more about him and wasn't sure if he qualified as "little known" or not. I used to have his recording of the Barber Concerto, and I thought it was superb. Wish I could find another copy; I wore mine out!

May 26, 2005 at 03:52 PM · May I also add the names of Joseph Fuchs and William Kroll, the last two exponents of Franz Kneisel's "German school" of playing. These men were consummate musicians and artists, whether or not they achieved the kind of "household" fame of Heifetz or Stern.

May 26, 2005 at 04:34 PM · Scott, I can tell you a little more about Gerle's background. He was born in Hungary and studied with some excellent people, although I think he was too late for Hubay or von Veczey. He studied with Kodaly, though, and knew Tibor Szerly, Bartok's closest friend. Also, Leo Weiner, another very well know Hungarian composer. Gerle came to this country after the war and had a rather exciting experience which he recounted to me once. He was stopped by the Russians, I believe, who were looking for Hungarians who had been Nazi sympathizers or spies. He shared a name, as I recall it, with some wanted person. He explained that he was not a spy but a concert violinist, whereupon they demanded he prove the claim, which he did, by pulling out his violin and playing something rippling, probably Paganini, which he played very well. He concertized here in the states and in Europe for many years and taught in at least two or three schools, including the Peabody Conservatory, where I went. Gerle was one of the most civilized gentlemen I've ever known. His students adored him and when there was chamber music to be played on a student concert, he was there, volunteering his time as a coach. I heard him play several times, including one very dramatic peformance in a large, old church that had been converted into a small concert hall. What made the performance so dramatic was that, as he played the Ravel Tzigane, a thunderstorm broke outside and we could hear the roar and crackle and see the flashes of lightning throught he huge stained glass windows. It seemed somehow so appropriate an obligato. I later played in two orchestras he conducted and found that he was as great a teacher from the podium as from the chair in his studio at the Peabody. He was not without a sense of humor, either, and once joked that I was playing some Bach unaccompanied in such a way that it reminded him of an old Hungarian woman stuffing a goose to fatten it up for a holiday meal. I was applying too much pressure with the bow and playing much too tightly, and that was his way of chiding me about it. He was one of only two teachers I had who told me not so much to practice more, but to practice more intelligently. Knowing Robert Gerle was a wonderful experience.

May 26, 2005 at 04:11 PM · Frank,

What wonderful stories! Thanks again! I really appreciate the effort it took you to share that. And it confirms the humanity I thought I heard in the one single recording of his that I have heard, which is magic, but true.

May 26, 2005 at 11:02 PM · I believe that Steven Staryk was at one time teaching violin at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. I recall a friend mentioning that she had studied with him.

Ted Sinoski

June 15, 2005 at 02:01 PM · Is Robert Gerle still at CUA? I'm thinking about maybe applying there.

July 15, 2007 at 07:09 PM · Hi, Mr. Staryk now lives in Arizona. I talked to him about 1 1/2 yr ago..

July 16, 2007 at 12:23 AM · I'm reminded of a violinist named Marvin Morgenstern. As I recall, he had been a Dounis student. I heard him play some Mozart Sonatas on tv when I was a young man. Not too exciting, as I recall, but OK. Then, it seems that he disappeared off the face of the Earth. Anyone know more?

I have a vinyl record of one Claire Bernard performing - beautifully - concertos of Gavinies and Leclair. According to her bio on the record, she was born in Rouen in 1947, and studied with Szerying. In 1964 she won the Grand Prix at the Enesco competition. Anyone know what has since become of her?

July 16, 2007 at 01:58 AM · If anybody else has some "little-known" or other wise hard-to-find-out-about violinists, put 'em up here in a post.

Ok, here's one I've never seen on Ricardo Odnoposoff. My parents had a terrific recording of Prokofiev #1 by him dating from the 1950's, which I listened to a lot (apparently still available on a 6-CD set). I know he was from Argentina, but have never seen any mention of him on this site or anywhere else. I'd be curious if anyone here has heard him/of him. There is a brief biography here:

He died 3 years ago at age 90.

July 16, 2007 at 02:08 AM · Robert Gerle was 81 when he passed away on Oct. 29th 2005.

July 16, 2007 at 03:52 AM · Ricardo Odnopossoff was actually my teacher's teacher. He was Argentinian by birth but lived a lot of his life in Austria, where my teacher studied with him. I have a couple recordings of him playing Symphonie Espagnole, Bruch violin concerto #1, and Paganini "La Campanella". He has a truly amazing sound and sadly never really had the career he deserved.

July 16, 2007 at 04:08 AM · Recently I happened on a cheap recording by Miklos Szentelyi of a number of standard shorter violin pieces such as the Dvorak Romance and Zigeunerweisen (the recording is entitled something like "The Glory of the Violin"). I was working on the Dvorak Romance at the time and I listened to a number of violinists playing this music. Mr. Szentelyi's performance was among the best I've heard -- very free and eloquent, with a gorgeous violin sound. I hadn't heard of him before and wasn't expecting such an accomplished performance on a cheap record. I believe he is quite well-known in Hungary, but hasn't made a major international career, although he apparently has concertized in the US. He should be better known.

July 16, 2007 at 06:18 AM · Yeah, I think I've ran across that name before: Steven Staryk

July 16, 2007 at 12:26 PM · I have an old lp with Ricardo O. playing the Devil's Trill, the Vitali Chaconne, et al.

Staryk is mentioned on other threads - he's a great violinist.

July 16, 2007 at 12:50 PM · Lucy van dael (bach sonatas and partitas)

Eduard Melkus (corelli sonatas, Archiv)

July 16, 2007 at 01:13 PM · Dear joel,

my teacher who presently is the best italian violinist:

Francesco D'Orazio

(Luciano Berio complete duets + sequenza for solo violin, Decca)

(A. Schnittke, complete works for violin and piano, Stradivarius)

(Bach, Sonatas for violin and harpiscord, Amadeus)

(Nyman first world recording of violin concerto and Daugherty fire and blood, Amadeus)

but I don't want to do commercials for him

July 16, 2007 at 01:22 PM · When i was 13 i discovered recordings of Locatelli concerti and assorted Tartini sonatas by the I Musici soloist Roberto Micelucci. At the time i thought those were the most rollicking takes on italian baroque music i had ever heard, but since then i haven't heard anything else by him. I still think Micelucci is/was a great performer.

Another violinist who had a debut recording on CBC in the 80s was Victor Schultz. He was born in Winnipeg, and i think he may have studied with Galamian and DeLay. I remember seeing a video of him playing for Gingold; a young Joshua Bell played immediately afterwards, but i'm sorry to say for all of you Bell fans, Schultz sonned Bell in every way you can imagine. Somehow Bell has gone on to fame and stardom while Schultz hasn't, who knows why? I know maestro Schultz plays a lot around Winnipeg these days, and i recently came across another CBC recording of Schultz playing some modern sonatas; i may check it out soon. If anyone here has more information on this great violinist, please post it up. It is almost criminal for a violinist as good as he is to be anonymous!

When i was around 15, my teacher introduced me to a semi-legendary teacher at the U of T named Lorand Fenyves. At the time i considered him to be a local yokel, but over the years i have realized that he was truly one of the more special violinists i have ever heard. Sometimes you don't realize what you have until it is taken away from you. If you get a chance to hear his now out of print recording of the Bartok solo sonata, please do so. I place Fenyves' recording of it right up there with Menuhin's.

I've been told that the late Berl Senofsky was a fantastic violinist who played a mean Brahms VC, but i have yet to hear his recordings. Anyone here know of him?

Finally, anyone with any information on Herman Krebbers' best recordings, please post up! Krebbers is a vastly underrated violinist.

July 16, 2007 at 01:15 PM · My teacher in Belgium, Valere Lenaarts deserved notice that did not find him. I don't know if he ever recorded, except perhaps as concertmaster of the orchestra in Antwerp. He was second the year Artur Grumiaux won prize and went on to a solo career. Sue

July 17, 2007 at 02:28 AM ·

July 16, 2007 at 04:14 PM · I'd agree that Odnoposoff was very fine rather in the super-elite ligue, but I think Senofsky was more than that. I haven't heard the Brahms Cto., but have Cembal d'Amour and Bridge CDs with live performances of Brahms A major, Prokofiev (both F minor and D Major), Faure A Major, Debussy Sonatas, Stravinsky Suite Italienne, Schubert Sonatina in D, Walton Concerto and shorter pieces. I've also heard a fascinating Strauss Sonata. On that basis I'd say he was a great artist. The recording quality on some of these is poor and his playing isn't always absolutely polished, but his interpretations are usually extremely interesting, sensitive and exciting in a wide range of repertoire.

"Obscure" is relative. Odnoposoff and Senofsky, for example, taught in well-established conservatories, can be heard on CD, etc. But there are plenty of players who deserve to be better remembered. I recently came across recordings by a French violinist, Jeanne Gautier, beautiful playing and ahead of its time given that she was born at the end of the 19th century. But I could hardly find any information about her.

Best, Nathaniel

July 16, 2007 at 05:03 PM · Antonello, what is "little known" about him? The opus111 vivaldi series that are on sale everywhere features him.

More not so famous superivolinst are Shizuka Ishikawa, her Slavik recording is second to none ;) or Edith Peinemann that have made more recordings of the best kind than it is possible to list here. Or what about Nilla Pierrou whos Peterson-Berger concerto is unbeaten so far?

You cant add halfgood solists (perhaps better teachers) like Kalafusz. Tho I have a couple of cds with him too :)

July 17, 2007 at 02:28 AM ·

July 16, 2007 at 07:07 PM · Mattias,

I really didn't know my teacher was so well known all around the world!

In my experience in U.S. none knew him.

I'm glad to know that because he's very cool!!

July 16, 2007 at 07:56 PM · Endre Granat. We own his Ysaye sonatas on old LP.

Not well known, yet he may be the single most recorded violinist in the world.

July 16, 2007 at 11:00 PM · "Good Morning Raphael--Actually, there are a fair amount of recordings, concertos and encore pieces by Odnoposoff. Fine fiddler and interesting, but one can understand why he hasn't ascended into the Pantheon.

Did I spell bulvon correctly? Maybe its bulvan?

Do you remember when he publicly wore a Jewish mourners band for a month when Humphrey lost the election of 1968? Very high class, don't you think? Sort of in line with some of his music-making, you know the phrasing that would have been appropriate for the blue-haired ladies in the lobby of the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach around the same time, if you catch my meaning."

Well, Joel. You're certainly not short of opinions.

July 17, 2007 at 01:56 AM · One thing we can all agree on: like it or not, Isaac Stern was very famous - a household word. Let's give lesser-known fiddlers attention here. I promise that if you build it (i.e. make a new thread) my two cents will come.

July 17, 2007 at 02:44 AM · I don't know - but it sure ain't me. My point could not be simpler. This thread is about lesser known violinists. The subject of I.S. ought to have a seperate thread of its own. Clear enough?

And I would strongly suggest that you reconsider your tone and your language. I have a proven track record here. Just because you play the cello and have a large CD collection doesn't make you any sort of respected authority on things violinistic.

July 17, 2007 at 02:49 AM · My dear friends, I think I.S. has been discussed a lot in the past (see link below), and maybe we should just leave it so no one gets hurt.


July 17, 2007 at 05:37 AM · Hi Dion,

I'm very good friends with Victor, I've known him for almost 16 years. He's a wonderful person, to my knowledge you are right he did study with DeLay and Galamian at Juilliard pre-college. If you have any questions about him contact me.


July 17, 2007 at 07:04 AM · Here we go again.

If you want to talk about Stern, open a Stern thread!

July 17, 2007 at 06:52 AM · Actually, i take it back.

This is a 'Little Known Violinists' thread, after all.

And Stern was around 5'2.

July 17, 2007 at 07:36 AM · Has anybody further informations about Mikhail Fichtengoltz, all I know is, he teached a while at the conservatorium in Moscow, left a few recordings and some lovely transcriptions. A fellow poster of this forum has an example of one in his profile (Best Of Strauss), pretty charming, I wanted to play it, but it's impossible to get the sheets. Any informations about him?

July 17, 2007 at 12:38 PM · I remember Louis kaufman's recording of the 4 Seasons(Vivaldi) My then teacher told me he did a great deal of playing in Hollywood.

I also have the Bach Unaccompanied S&P by Hyman Bress--It sounds like it was recorded in a shower. The playing is well...all the notes are in place. Some places nicer than others.

July 17, 2007 at 01:18 PM · Again, I stand by my fairly long record on No, Joel, your background certainly does not disqualify you from offering your opinion. Nobody's does. But when someone enters pretty subito and comes on very strong, it does not have a very nice effect, as others have also noticed. I'm now willing to tone down, myself, and am most curious to hear more here about various people's experiences with lesser known violinists.

Dion - good one! Not to quibble too much, but I.S. was 5"6". Maybe just for fun we could start a thread about tallest and shortest fiddlers!

July 17, 2007 at 01:21 PM · Philippe Hirschhorn, Johanna Martzy and Julian Olevsky - now those fellas are little known and not discussed so far in this thread. Fire away!

July 17, 2007 at 01:29 PM · Someone put some Martzy up on youtube (audio only). I had never heard of her before. Her Bach is rather nice.

July 17, 2007 at 03:25 PM · Raphael, i stand corrected. Stern was around 5'6. Indeed, Stern was a round 5'6.

July 17, 2007 at 04:29 PM · I saw Stern only once in the late 50's. He played the Beethoven Con. The following year I saw a prodigy of Gingold's named Carol Sindell who at 11 years old blew him away. She has disappeared from view but wow what a talent!

July 17, 2007 at 05:22 PM · The Biel twins were pretty great at a young age. Wilfred and Gerald Biel. Martinu dedicated his concerto for 2 violins to them.

July 17, 2007 at 06:15 PM · I'm not sure how 'little known' is Israel Baker.

However- what a great violinist!

July 17, 2007 at 07:34 PM · Hi Joel,

I was also wondering that. I know he was good friends with Heifetz and was concertmaster for some chamber orchestras that accompanied Heifetz. Baker also played in many film soundtracks. I believe a violinist who posts here worked with him if I'm not mistaken (one of AR's students). I'm glad you're bringing up Stern, sooner or later the truth will all come out.

July 17, 2007 at 07:39 PM · Nate--

I know I'm off topic but I think the nicest and ugliest thing that can be said about Stern is that he was politically astute.

July 17, 2007 at 09:10 PM · Oh yeah Cecilia Hansen was an excellent violinist and one of Professor Auer's favorite pupils. I heard Heifetz was quite fond of her at one time. I have her recording of Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 4 and a few other works.

July 17, 2007 at 09:11 PM · Yes you're right Jay, it is a double edge sword so to speak.

July 17, 2007 at 11:26 PM · Or in Stern's case, a double-bun cheeseburger.

July 18, 2007 at 12:36 AM · He is still alive! I have played for him, years ago.

July 18, 2007 at 01:25 AM · Got another one: David Royce Morris. I've got a recording of him (as a teenager) called Overworked and Underplayed. Bluegrass, honky-tonk, old time country, some cajun, and some reels.

July 18, 2007 at 02:14 AM · How about Tossy Spivakovsky? Now there's a name that's too catoonish to be made up. He had the most amazing stage presence. Any fans of his out there?

July 18, 2007 at 02:20 AM · How about Tossy Spivakovsky? Now there's a name that's too cartoonish to be made up. He had the most amazing stage presence. Any fans of his out there?

July 18, 2007 at 02:27 AM · I have a recording of Tossy playing the Sibelius. I like it, or at least I did when I heard it.

You must have seen him play..?

July 18, 2007 at 02:49 AM · I also used to have a few recordings by Louis Stevens, including the Brahms....In the late '50's, 33RPM discs were available at our drug store for around $ .98 as I recall, and I purchased all I could afford, while working for $.60 per hour. Louis Stevens was one...Sascha Buloff another, and our local summer orchestra imported Guila Bustabo quite often for summer concerts...she was from Niagara Falls...played during the year in Europe...flashy, great precision and usually closed with a Paganini encore.

July 18, 2007 at 04:51 AM · William -

On the CDs available, you can get an idea of how he played. He held the violin unbelievably high - left Heifetz in the dust on that.

Someone else mentioned Caroll Sindell. She studied with Heifetz later on, and on the Heifetz Masterclass videos she plays the Bach A minor concerto. Her approach was a bit heavy IMO, but that could just be because performance practice hadn't gathered much support yet.

July 18, 2007 at 08:53 AM · Peter, you heard Bustabo perform "in the flesh"! Lucky you. A fascinating, controversial, rather tragic figure, and definitely a special violinist, past the height of her career and trying to rekindle it by the 1950s. Johanna Martzy was mentioned earlier, another great violinist, completely different from Bustabo. I'd say these two ladies, and a few others,are just a little less great than Camilla Wicks and Ginette Neveu among the outstanding women (but outstanding regardless of gender) violinists of that era. What they nearly all had in common was being struck with some form of tragedy in their lives.

In terms of cartoonish names, Tossy Spivakovsky is closely run by the excellent Mischa Mischakoff (his real name was Fishberg, which doesn't quite the same ring to it...a canny promoter knew wht he was doing, I guess).

July 18, 2007 at 01:44 PM · I'd like to put in a good word for a great violinist who did not achieve the fame I feel he deserved - CHARLES LIBOVE. I studied with him very briefly some years ago, after having attended numerous recitals of his at New York's Merkin Hall. A first-class fiddler, and serious artist, his programs were ususally duo recitals with his pianist/wife, Nina Lugovoy. They would typically feature 20th century sonatas, etc. But usually at the end of the recital, he would play a few show pieces. Hie teachers included Leah Luboshuts (sp?), Galamian, and Dounis. He was featured in a Strad article once, is mentioned in Henry Roth's "Violin Virtuosos" and released a couple of recordings. But somehow his reputation remained more among connoiseurs than a wider public. I heard his last recital a couple of years ago. I understand that he's not too well now, and probably won't be performing anymore - I think he's in the neighborhood of 80.

July 18, 2007 at 11:38 PM · Stuff Smith--very nice !--Jazz-Violin..

July 18, 2007 at 11:36 PM · Svend Asmussen--Jazz-Violin..

July 19, 2007 at 03:02 AM · Here are two for baroque fans to add to the list.

Susanne Lautenbacher. I have her old Vox Box of the Biber Mystery Sonatas, very fine performances. I believe she recorded a bunch of other stuff too.

And Sonya Monosoff, who at one time had the only other set of the Biber sonatas out beside Lautenbacher's. I know nothing about either violinist, other then some good (older) recordings. Anyone have any comments/info?

July 20, 2007 at 02:58 PM · Has anybody further informations about Ivan Cerkov? Perhaps a pseudonym? He has recorded famous concertos (Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Tjajkovskij). Or Jan Czerkov? Same?

July 21, 2007 at 02:34 AM · Gerhard Taschner, Siegfried Borries are two other unfamiliar names. Any comments, guys & gals?

July 23, 2007 at 04:26 PM · Taschner was "in fashion" a few years ago, quite a few recordings have been re-issued. I've never been overwhelmingly impressed (measured to the highest standards - his quality is some way from being a 1st-tier soloist). His Sibelius is interesting and his Bruch, as far as I remember, is exciting. I've always found it strange that he was one of the most popular violinists in Nazi Germany and yet sounds much more Jewish/Gypsy than Germanic.

A few hours ago I heard a gorgeous Mozart K.454 Sonata, the fiddler was Denise Soriano, French pre-WW2 artist. (pianist: Magda Tagliaferro). It is amazing how many magnificent women violinists there were around that time, certainly a good dozen. Nothing amazing in itself, exept that conditions didn't favour their careers. Such a shame that they are largely forgotten. Henry Roth's book on the great violinists is terrific in many ways, but his brief handling of women violinists is a big flaw.

July 24, 2007 at 10:09 AM · Nathaniel Vallois wrote: "I've always found it strange that he (Taschner) was one of the most popular violinists in Nazi Germany and yet sounds more Jewish/Gypsy than Germanic".

Taschner was Czechoslowakian by birth and became German when Hitler invaded that country. His most influential teachers were Bak and Huberman, both Jewish.

His popularity in Nazi Germany can also be explained by bringing back a style of playing that was sadly missing in Nazi Germany after the Nurnberg laws.

July 24, 2007 at 12:54 PM · What is your opinion of Taschner's playing? There is a 4 CD set on MDG for about GBP20 of violin & piano stuff. Worth buying this set?

July 24, 2007 at 09:31 PM · Tijn, that's interesting, I didn't realise Taschner wasn't German-born, his name suggests he was "ethnically" German. I hadn't thought about it but actually, without being able to compare now, it does strike me there's something of Prihoda in his playing, in his sound (though I think Prihoda was a more impressive player) and also of Huberman. A kind of exciting rawness. Cheng, I don't know that particular set, but if you're curious to hear something distinctive if not altogether outstanding, I'd say go for it. There may be some hidden gems in there.

By the way, Prihoda may be obscure to many - but there was one one stunning player. In some repertoire, he's at the very top of the tree.

Best, Nathaniel

August 24, 2007 at 02:27 PM · My contribution: (maybe some were named before)

Arve Tellefsen - Tasmin Little - Sergei Stadler

Tibor Varga - Liana Isakadze - Erick Friedman

Peter Rybar - Jacques Israelevitch - Patrice

Fontanarossa - Eduard Grach - Andrei Korsakoff

Gregory Feyghin - Igor Politkovsky (!!) - Boris

Golshtein - Janine Jansen - Vikor Tretyakov

Gerard Jarry - Kirill Troussov - Ingolf Turban

Josef Gingold - Toscha Samaroff -Eugene Fodor

Samuil Furer - Paul Godwin- Pavel Sporcl.

I have recordings by many others, but is


August 24, 2007 at 02:47 PM · I used to enjoy Ralph Holmes' Tchaikovsky concerto, and Alan Loveday's Brahms sonatas. I also listened a great deal to Julian Olevsky's Bruch and Mendelsson concertos.


July 6, 2009 at 06:55 PM ·

It appears that "Ivan Cerkov" is a pseudonym for Oliver Colbentson.  See

July 7, 2009 at 08:05 PM ·

Hyman Bress I believe was a South African who made among other things a compplete recording of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas.  IT sounds as if it was recorded in the shower without the water running but with all of the echo intact.

If I remember me a right Louis Stevens was a pseudonym for several different violinists among them Oistrakh--his 1948 Tschaikovsky was one of the more well known ones.

Staryk was a famous teacher and concertmaster--supposedly Beecham's favorite.  He's a really formidable player.

That's all I know.

July 10, 2009 at 01:10 AM ·

I just ran across Antal Szalai, whom I like better than some more well-known names.

July 10, 2009 at 04:57 AM ·

Galimir and Fuchs aren't so well known except as teachers.  Mayumi Fujikawa is a name I used to hear but never do any more...Also Erica Morini is a little obscure now. 

I found this list online which I noticed has some violinists I've never heard of.  It's also missing a number of my favorite violinists which sees weird to me.  

La Jolla has this music festival and they had Cho Liang Lin and Kyoko Takezawa as guest artists and nobody had heard of either them.  I personally think Lin's recording of the Mozart Concerti is one of the best (but I don't think he really counts as obscure) 

July 10, 2009 at 01:29 PM ·

Joel: I'm a member of the Tossy Spivakovsky fan club also. And I, too, heard him live - one time, at Grant Park in Chicago in about 1960. He played the Sibelius Concerto (I have his recording of the Sibelius and the Tchaikovsky), which was (as I understand it) a specialty of his. And you could understand why; his tone and approach and technique seemed ideal for the Sibelius.

But, yes, he not only had what could only be described as a "peculiar" way of holding the bow, but also some idiosyncracies in his interpretations. Some passages were stunning beyond words, and some just didn't seem right. Anyway, I'm still a fan. That's the great thing about great violinists - the individual approach of each sheds a different kind of light the music, and enables you to appreciate things about it you didn't realize before.

Be well.

July 10, 2009 at 04:35 PM ·

Leinsdorf briefly mentions Spivakovsky in his memoirs, owing to the latter's tenure as concertmaster in Cleveland back in the 40s.  It seems that he was better suited to the soloist's role.

July 10, 2009 at 10:20 PM ·


Joseph,  I heard mayumi Fujikawa many times in England when I was a kid.   She was very good at Mozart but ot really big enough sound or temperament to be a major soloist.  Until recenly she was teaching at the Royal Academy in London.    Kyoko Takezawa is a well known violinst in Japan and probably the rets of Asia.  She is somewhat notorious for the number of recordings she has made of the Butterfly Lovers cocnerto for Naxos. I belive her husband runs the company.....

Erica Morini can be seen on DVD with Szell playing Mozart five. She also reocrded some baroque duets with Milstein who thought highly of her.



July 11, 2009 at 06:51 AM ·

I actually had no idea Takezawa had recorded the Butterfly Lovers concerto, I knew her through the recording of the Barber she made that's usually sold along with Isserlis' recording of the Barber cello concerto.   

July 12, 2009 at 07:55 PM ·

Just to finish off this discussion, what about the famous, hithertoforeuptonow unknown younger brother of Niccolo Paganini - namely, Jascha Paganini. Like his older brother, JP was a child prodigy, but he was overshadowed by his older brother. JP was born in 1775 and died in 1903. Even though he made a couple of recordings at the dawn of the recording age, he was so old by then that his playing was just a fraction of his former glorious playing (one-sixteenth, if I recall).

JP's performances of the Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms violin concertos - with the respective composers in the audience - convinced all three composers that they did not want to write another one. He also advanced the technical capacity of the instrument by inventing the left-big-toe-vibrato technique, which he described in detail in his pedagogical treatise, "Del Arte Of Da Violin." Wieniewski considered encorporating this technique in his 2nd Violin Concerto, but then decided not to when he read the translation of Del Arte Of Da Violin from the original Italian.

JP also created a new formula for rosin, but it never caught on, at least in music. It did, however, become the central ingredient used by a national doughnut chain. His tone was said to be a combination of sweetness and chainsaw. And what can I say about his fingering and bowing technique that hasn't already been written about on a thousand bathroom walls?

So, you see, it is important to know your violin history.

July 13, 2009 at 04:45 PM ·

One more, please!  Does anyone have information about Roman Totenburg?  I have an old LP of him performing chamber music and would love to hear some concerti or solo work of his.


July 13, 2009 at 05:15 PM ·

Buri means Takako Nishizaki.

And I am not surpriced that some of you can't find information about some of the violinists, since _a lot_ of the names are spelled wrong.

December 26, 2013 at 02:23 PM · Miriam Solovieff

What a lovely tender, unaffected sound and ease...

December 26, 2013 at 05:18 PM · Ralph Holmes (died in the 1980s) and Alan Loveday (still with us, I think) were quite well known. And the only way that Tasmin Little is little known is that she is Little known - Enough puns on little (though doubtless someone will defy me with a clever one on a little of what you fancy)!

December 27, 2013 at 03:34 AM · David Rubinoff, or just "Rubinoff." He was associated with Jack Benny. He used to travel around to public schools giving concerts and promoting music education. He made a big deal of his "$100,000 Stradivarius violin." He came to our small town, probably around 1960, and played two concerts. Mostly encore type pieces probably. I went to both concerts, and it was the first time I'd heard a violin soloist. I was pretty impressed.

December 27, 2013 at 06:37 AM · Zoria Shikmurzaeva

Alexander Labko

Isn't Youtube great? There seems to not be too much of Shikmurzaeva, as she wasn't allowed to tour, but the same channel that the Labko video is from seems to be the source for a lot of his music.

December 27, 2013 at 06:58 AM · That Alexander Labko is a real treat. the Kroll Banjo and Fiddle - worth watching a million times for the skill in left and right hands, synchrony with piano, and arrangement.

December 27, 2013 at 07:15 AM · Alexander Labko is one of the greatest violinists to come out of the soviet union...possibly my personal favorite! He has the strength and robustness of the Soviet school, but the expressive devices of the Russian school

December 27, 2013 at 10:35 AM · These are wonderful. There are quite a few Zoria recordings but mostly when she was older and perhaps not quite the same brilliant star. Also, many are of lesser soviet composers, (IMO) long on technique and short on music. One of the best I have come across is this Faure romance treasure:


What a tragedy that she was (apparently) blacklisted and not allowed to travel to the west - after I guess they had exhausted her international prize potential. The recordings are all with piano - I have not come across a concerto yet (but would love to know if anyone has).

December 27, 2013 at 08:25 PM · Probably much better known in Poland and Australia than elsewhere, but Wanda Wilkomirska

Daniel, I see your youtube posts sometimes, and I think that I've discovered a fair bit of great stuff through them. I was blown away by Labko when I heard him, but the only recordings I could find were sonatas by Medtner.

Sharelle, I'm not one to pay too much mind to stage presence, but if there were anyone that I would want to take as a model on stage presence and having fun with the violin, then I think Labko would be at the top of the list, not to mention the actual musical aspects of his playing.

Elise, it is really too bad there isn't more of Shikmurzaeva. She has a great singing line and clarity that I also love in Kogan's playing. Of course, she is her own player.

I guess it's a good thing that artists don't have to worry about what the state has to say about their careers, although I'm sure there are still forces at work that might keep great players from being known, but here's to hoping that so many great players won't be left to be appreciated so late.

December 27, 2013 at 08:38 PM · The reason for the bump of this topic (but lost in the delightful subsequent waves) was Miriam Solovieff; anyone familiar with her?

December 27, 2013 at 09:26 PM · Zoria was very much loved in Russia, but could not break through the iron curtain. I know her daughter Julia Bushkova (also a great violinist and teacher) , who showed me some wonderful recordings.

December 28, 2013 at 12:02 AM · Good lord, you're all killing me! I have a measly 2GB wifi to last until the 1st of January, 2 adult children and a husband in the house all scrambling to their respective macbooks and ipads. Even on the first we only go back to 10 GB for the month, then someone is going to be forking out for the 6 GB booster again I suspect. How the bloody hell do you think I can even sample this stuff. Teasers! I'm suffering. Its a Christmas tragedy. A first world Christmas tragedy.

December 28, 2013 at 02:31 AM · Eddie South

December 28, 2013 at 04:24 AM · eddie south! fantastic violinist! fantastic story!

December 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Julia is Zoria's daughter?

I have listened to a number of her recordings and knew that Zoria was her teacher from her bio (that's how I found her - well that plus a Bach partita youtube dedicated to Zoria). She teaches at U North Texas and is a lovely player.

I'm going to be near there in March, I wonder if I could score a lesson, love her technique...

Thanks for that info...

December 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM · I'm going to close this out since the OP does not seem to be around anymore - but its a topic we have to restart. During my free time this Christmas I have been touring youtube and been quite humbled by the number of outstanding but unhearalded violinists out there. The question(s) why is very interesting in itself.

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