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Ukranian-Born Violinist Mischa Elman Died On This Day in 1967


Legendary Ukranian-born American violinist Mischa Elman died on this day in 1967 – aged 76.

A few years after his birth in 1891, it became discovered that Mischa had perfect pitch. His father had hesitations as to whether his son should become a musician, the career was not considered high on the social scale, despite this Mischa's father presented him with a small violin at the age of four, prompting the youngster to teach himself several melodies.

Shortly after, Elman moved to Odessa to enroll at the Imperial Academy of Music to study with Alexander Fiedemann. Here, Pablo de Sarasate provided a glowing recommendation, foreseeing Mischa as a potential great talent of Europe.

At just 11 years old, he auditioned for Leopold Auer, showcasing his skills with Wieniawski's Violin Concerto No. 2 and Paganini's Caprice No. 24. Auer was thoroughly impressed and facilitated Mischa's tuition-free acceptance into the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1902. Auer's estimation for Elman is evident from his ultimatum to resign from the Conservatory should its administration decline Elman's admission.

In 1903, Elman commenced giving concerts in the residences of affluent patrons of the arts, and his professional debut in Berlin impressed the audience. His introduction to London in 1905 featured the British premiere of Alexander Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A minor. Captivating the audience at Carnegie Hall in 1908, Elman left a lasting impression on American listeners, he would tour here frequently.

The summer of 1914 saw him touring Australia. With the outbreak of World War I in Europe, Elman returned to the United States, where his family joined him in October 1914. Became a naturalized US citizen in 1923, in his early American career Mischa sometimes performed in as many as 107 concerts in a 29-week season.

His extensive recording legacy spanned more than six decades, and his record sales exceeded two million.

Elman passed away in his Manhattan apartment on April 5, 1967, just hours after completing a rehearsal with Seiger. He was laid to rest in the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Mr Elman is remembered as one of the finest violinists of the 20th century - noted for his passionate portamento and beautiful tone.



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