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Henryk Szeryng (9/22/1918 - 3/03/1988)

Henryk Szeryng was born in the same tiny town as Chopin, taking Mexican citizenship after World War II. He was taught piano by his mother from the age of five, and received his first formal violin lessons two years later from Maurice Frenkel, a former pupil of Leopold Auer. After hearing Szeryng play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Huberman advised him to go to Berlin to finish his training; this he did, first under Willy Hess, then with Carl Flesch.

During World War II Szeryng gave over 300 concerts for Allied troops, later moving to Mexico to serve on the staff of the exiled Polish premier General Sikorski. His concerts thereafter were mostly near his new home, although meeting Arthur Rubinstein in 1950 precipitated a number of tours elsewhere. Szeryng was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque six times and other accolades for his recordings, as well as a significant number of national honours. Thus, as with Stern and Menuhin, his musical achievements were balanced by a strong desire to use his international reputation to beneficial effect.

Szeryng’s recordings testify to a surefooted and muscular artist, akin to many of the newer talents emerging in the first third of the twentieth century, with a sound that increasingly embodied stylistic similarity with his contemporaries. As with many of these players, a powerful, sonorous tone is the defining characteristic, with a pervasive and conspicuous vibrato, and a generally precise approach to the written score.




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