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Josef Gingold (1909 - 1995)

At his death Josef Gingold, a pupil of Ysaÿe, was one of the last violinists with direct links to nineteenth-century playing. Accordingly, his musical taste (particularly for short virtuoso pieces) and style, incorporating portamento after many had expunged it, made him appear old fashioned to some. Nonetheless, he was very highly regarded as both a teacher and a player. In the former rôle he taught many students of note (Joshua Bell, Jaime Laredo, Miriam Fried, Joseph Silverstein) over more than thirty years. Fritz Kreisler was enthusiastic about his performances, attending his concerts as often as he could.

Gingold began learning the violin with Vladimir Graffman, whom he credited with ‘opening his mind’ to the instrument’s potential. In 1927 he went to Ysaÿe in Belgium, returning to the US in 1929. In 1937 he joined the NBC orchestra under Toscanini and made recordings with the Primrose Quartet in the war years when he also became concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, then the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. Gingold later named Szell as the greatest influence upon him as musician and teacher.




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