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ON THIS DAY | Legendary Concertmaster Michel Schwalbé was Born in 1919

A student of Moritz Frenkel, George Enescu and Jules Boucherit, he served as Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic for almost 30 years


Polish-born violinist Michel Schwalbé began violin lessons at the age of eight with Maurycy Frenkel in Warsaw. Due to the Second World War, he fled to Switzerland, where he began his new musical career. In addition to solo engagements and string quartet performances, he was the concertmaster of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Swiss Festival Orchestra in Lucerne — and taught in Geneva as the successor of Joseph Szigeti.

In 1957, Herbert von Karajan offered him the position of first concertmaster with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Although reluctant at first, his return was a sign of his reconciliation with post-war Germany.

Schwalbé was praised for his unforgettable violin solos, to which Schwalbé responded in an interview for the Magazin der Berliner Philharmoniker, "I always tried to realize what I felt internally — no more than that."

Schwalbé was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany First Class.








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