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Szymon Goldberg (1909 - 1993)

Szymon Goldberg began playing the violin at the age of seven in Warsaw with Czaplinski. Subsequently he studied with Mieczysław Michałowicz who also taught Josef Hassid and Ida Haendel. Although he made his début at the age of twelve in Warsaw (with Paganini’s Violin Concerto in D major) Flesch, his teacher in Berlin, made him wait a further year before allowing him to make his first appearance in that city with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Bach’s E major Concerto, Joachim’s Hungarian Concerto and Paganini’s Concerto No. 1. By all accounts Flesch’s caution was wise: Goldberg immediately received numerous playing engagements.

As a Jew Goldberg was forced to leave Germany in 1934, despite Furtwängler’s strenuous attempts to obtain permission for him to stay. During his time in Berlin he became a member of the Hindemith String Trio, replacing Josef Wolfsthal upon the latter’s early demise. He then went to London and, forming a partnership with pianist Lili Kraus, toured Europe, the Far East and the Dutch East Indies. It was whilst on tour in 1942 that he became a prisoner of the Japanese who sealed up his house, leaving his violin—the ‘Legnitz’ Stradivarius—inside. One of Goldberg’s neighbours climbed in through an unsecured window and rescued the instrument; sadly, his collection of bows and sheet music was lost.




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