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Mischa Elman (1891 - 1967)

Mischa Elman (born Mikhail Saulovich) had one of the longest careers of anyone included in this book. His early career is dominated by his status as one of Auer’s most celebrated pupils, in which he enjoyed a friendly rivalry with Franz von Vecsey. Auer’s estimation of Elman can be gauged by the fact that he threatened to resign from the St Petersburg Conservatory if its authorities refused to admit him. Indeed, his St Petersburg début was made through an act of deception: Auer feigned illness at the last minute so that Elman could take his place. Popular enthusiasm for his playing is evidenced by reports of concerts in London. The critic of The Strad magazine noted his ease of execution in the ‘terrific difficulties’ of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto upon his Queen’s Hall début on 21 March 1905, writing: ‘From the moment he stepped onto the platform until he played his last encore at 11.20pm (and even then the public seemed to want some more) his success in this country was an assured thing.’ Critics in New York in 1908 were rather more circumspect, considering his playing over-emotional.




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