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Andre Gertler (1907 - 1998)

André Gertler may have become better known had he not been such an avid advocate of new compositions. This, though, was to the advantage of all as it allowed insight into much contemporary repertoire, particularly the works of Béla Bartók and Alban Berg, for which Gertler was an advocate to many conductors, orchestras and audiences during his career.

Through a scheme where older students taught very young pupils, Gertler entered the Liszt Academy in Budapest at the age of six. Here the legendary Jenő Hubay—a former pupil of Joachim—taught, developing, as described by Carl Flesch, a ‘specifically Hungarian school’. It was this tradition that so influenced Gertler, who also studied composition with Kodály. Also on the staff was Bartók with whom Gertler formed a firm friendship, going on to give many violin and piano recitals with him and learning at first hand the composer’s performance intentions for his own music. This association continued until 1938 and has given us a comprehensive audio documentation of Bartók’s works for violin.

During the 1950s Gertler became well known in the UK, particularly for his performances of Berg’s Violin Concerto. During the 1955 BBC Proms season he played this work with Sir Adrian Boult, in a concert also featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. According to Sir Malcolm Sargent this symphony, receiving its second performance that season, was included to ensure Berg’s work had an audience!




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