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Paul Kochanski (1887 - 1934)

Like many others of his generation, Kochański studied violin first with his father. At seven he went to the school of the Odessa Imperial Music Society to learn with Emil Młynarski, a former pupil of Leopold Auer. When Młynarski founded the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in 1901 he appointed Kochański as concertmaster and became a substitute father to him, determined to groom him as a world-class soloist. Polish sponsorship enabled him to undertake further studies with César Thomson at the Brussels Conservatoire in 1903, graduating after only four months with the premier prix avec la plus grande distinction. Kochański was evidently aware of the different characteristics of the two schools, attributing his right-hand ‘interpretative’ style to his Russian training and that of his ‘technical’ left hand to the Belgian Thomson.

At the start of his career as a touring soloist Kochański met Arthur Rubinstein; the two immediately struck up an enduring friendship and a musical partnership that produced numerous memorable performances of Romantic chamber repertoire throughout Europe. Later the pair became associated with Szymanowski in the Young Poland movement, promoting new music in Warsaw; in 1916 Szymanowski wrote his Violin Concerto No. 1 for Kochański, who also flexed his muscles as a composer by contributing the cadenza. He later produced violin transcriptions of a number of Szymanowski’s works, as well as of others such as Schubert, Falla, Ravel and Bizet.



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