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Henri Temianka (b1906)


The young Henri Temianka made a great impression on Carl Flesch who brought him to Philadelphia to study at the Curtis Institute, saying of him: ‘First class technical talent, somewhat sleepy personality, has still to awake’. He was evidently a good student, Flesch later commenting, ‘He has made an intensive study of my method of teaching, of which I consider him the best exponent in England.’

Temianka’s 1928 New York debut, described in the The New York Times as ‘one of the finest accomplishments in years’, launched him into a prolific touring career. Notable performances include the premiere of a suite which Benjamin Britten (then relatively unknown) had written for him, a Prokofiev concert in Moscow with the composer at the piano, and Vaughan Williams’s Violin Concerto in London in the composer’s presence. Also a fine violist, Temianka performed both solo parts of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, partnering Isaac Stern and William Primrose on separate occasions.

As his career progressed he became more involved with chamber music, conducting and teaching. His California Chamber Symphony Orchestra performed many premieres, as did the Paganini Quartet. Recordings include most of the Beethoven quartets, all of which the Paganini Quartet performed at Library of Congress recitals.

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