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Emanuel Feuermann (1902 - 1942)

Despite his premature death Emanuel Feuermann made a significant and lasting contribution to the cello’s reputation as a solo instrument, both in his performing activities and through teaching. Perhaps inevitably for one trained in the conservative Germanic tradition by Anton Walter, Friedrich Buxbaum (principal cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic and member of the Rosé Quartet) and Julius Klengel, but born into a progressive age, Feuerman evidenced stylistic changes during his short career. Klengel saw him as his greatest pupil, calling him ‘our divinely favoured artist and lovable young man’. As with many other European Jewish musicians, the trauma of escaping the dangers of World War II by moving to America brought eventual good fortune for Feuermann as word of his arrival spread fast and he attracted large numbers of fellow musicians to his concerts. He also quickly won over the New York critics, who ranked him second only to Casals. In 1938 he gave a ground-breaking set of performances in Carnegie Hall with the National Orchestral Association, playing thirteen works for cello and orchestra over four concerts. Feats like this, and high-profile collaborations with the likes of Eugene Ormandy, Artur Schnabel and Jascha Heifetz, undoubtedly did much to raise further the ascendant profile of the cello on the concert stage.




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