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Gary Kosloski

Document submitted to the graduate faculty

of the School of Music
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree Doctor of Music,
Indiana University.

May, 1977
ProQuest Number: 10296671

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Accepted by the faculty of the School of Music, Indiana University,

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iractor of Document



LIST OF E X A M P L E S .................................................. ...

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................................................... iv

INTRODUCTION................... . ................................... 1


I. BIOGRAPHY.................................................... 4

II. AUER AS A VIOLINIST...................... 12

III. AUER AND THE TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN C O N C E R T O ..................... 19

IV. THE AUER STUDENTS.............................................. 42

V. THE "RUSSIAN S C H O O L " .......................................... 50

VI. AUER AS A TEACHER.............. 60

VII. AUER STUDENTS ON AUER..........................................81

VIII. CONCLUSION.................................................... 92

APPENDIX............................................................... 95




1. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 8, violin part, mm. 1-3...................................25

2. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 8, violin part, mm. 4-8...................................26

3. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 9, violin part, mm. 5 - 1 1 ...................................27

4. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 10, violin part, mm. 3 - 8 .......... 28

5. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major' 1st movement,

p. 10, violin part, mm. 9-11, p. 11,mm. 1-3...................29

6. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 12, violin part, c a d e n z a .............. 30

7. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 12, violin part, cadenza, footnote ..................... 30

8. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 12, violin part, c a d e n z a .................................. 30

9. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 15, violin part, mm. 4 - 6 ............................... 31

10. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 17, violin part, mm. 13-14, p. 18, mm. 1 - 2 ................ 32

11. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 19, violin part, mm. 1 - 4 .................................. 33

12. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 19, violin part, mm. 5-8, p. 20, mm. 1 - 6 ................. 34

13. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st movement,

p. 20, violin part, mm. 9-12, p. 21, mm. 1-2................. 35

14. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 2nd movement,

p. 23, violin part, mm. 6 - 8 .................................. 36


15. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 2nd movement,

p. 23, violin part, mm. 18-26.......... 36

16. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 24, violin part, mm. 66-83............. 37

17. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 26, violin part, mm. 41-49.............................. 38

18. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 28, violin part, mm. 6 - 3 0 ......................... 39

19. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 28, violin part, mm. 44-47.............................. 40

20. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 30, violin part, mm. 1 - 2 4 ........... 40

21. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 30, violin part, mm. 40-49.............................. 41

22. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement,

p. 30, violin part, footnote, mm. 1-7..................... 41

23. Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor, 3rd movement,

p. 14, violin part, mm. 31-38.............................. 78


This document has been prepared during the tenure of two consec­

utive positions, one in Detroit and one in Cleveland. Consequently,

research materials have been gathered from the libraries of various

institutions whose supervisors and directors have been kind enough

to permit me the use of their facilities. These include the librar­

ies of Wayne State University, Oberlin College, the Cleveland Insti­

tute of Music, and Baldwin-Wallace College.

For the many examples I have cited from the Oistrakh-Mostras

edition of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35, I

would like to extend my thanks to the International Music Company

for their kind permission to reprint them. I would also like to

thank the C. F. Peters Company for their permission to reproduce the

example from the Flesch edition of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in

E Minor, Opus 64,

As well as resource materials, in each city there were special

people who, as friends and scholars, offered me their moral support

at times when it was most needed and greatly appreciated. I would

like to extend my sincerest thanks to them at this time. Louise M.

Conklin, former chairperson of the Music Department and Professor

Emerita, Wayne State University, was a constant source of support,

especially during the preparation for my final Qualifying Examinations

Here at Baldwin-Wallace College, my friend and colleague Dr. Kenneth H

Levison, Assistant Professor of German, provided much encouragement

throughout the actual writing process and critical scrutiny during

the tedious proofreading stage.

The colleagues and faculty members at Indiana University who have

given me support are too many to list, but I would especially like to

thank Dr, Charles H. Webb, Dean of the School of Music, for his per­

sonal encouragement and his faith in me.

Finally, it is to Dr. Josef Gingold, Distinguished Professor of

Music, my teacher, document advisor and mentor, that I owe the

greatest debt of gratitude. It was he who initially suggested

Leopold Auer as a topic, and who has had the patience and solicitude

to help see it to its completion. Professor Gingold has virtually

been my greatest fund of information and research materials. Not

only has he generously supplied me with many books, long out of

print, from his own private library, but his own vast and encyclopedic

knowledge of violinists and musicians has been a constant source of

inspiration and guidance. His influence in my life has been enormous,

not only as a sterling musician, but also as a human being of im­

measurable worth. I consider my years of working with him to be some

of the most privileged in my lifetime. For this, for his continued

friendship and council, and for much, much more, I owe a lifetime of


Berea, Ohio

The qualities that determine the greatness of a teacher are as

difficult to describe as those qualities that determine the greatness

of a man; one would have to be something of a philosopher, psycholo­

gist, and historian to be able to capture and define them. Yet as

difficult as it might be to articulate the nature of greatness, it is

immediately recognized and understood by many persons who profess to none

of the preceding occupations. It is always onerous to try to analyze

and explicate something which is comprehended so instinctively.

We have all, at one time or another, experienced the phenomenon

of coming into contact with someone who possesses certain human

qualities in greater degree and measure than the norm, and as a result

of this contact have been inspired to greater understanding or

acquired deeper levels of knowledge. That inspiration might be trans­

mitted quite unwittingly or unintentionally, and in retrospect, it

is always difficult to ascertain what exactly itwas that made the

inspiration so exhilarating. But the experience is unique and dis­

tinct, and remains with us for the rest of our lives, leaving an

indelible mark on our minds.

Very few are so endowed with such a quality to inspire, but those

few who are, proportionate to their gifts, have assured their place

in history through the exercise of these gifts by influencing and

inspiring others who, in turn, have made a contribution to humanity.

This contribution to the nobility of life can be made in many fields,


science, politics, philosophy, or art. It is with this latter area

that this study is concerned: the artistic contribution of the life­

time of one man.

It is also difficult to write about music, the most abstract of

the arts, for it does not easily lend itself to verbal articulation

or empirical evaluation. It can be measured in decibels and fre­

quencies or analyzed theoretically. Its form and structure can be

ascertained as can its harmony and counterpoint, tempo and rhythm.

But these physical qualities have little to do with the essence of

music, what gives it life and meaning to those who listen. And words

themselves can only inadequately express this aspect of music. As

Goethe once wrote to Zelter, "I hear so much said about music; which

is always an ill subject for c o n v e r s a t i o n . ' One would have to have

recourse to another art form, perhaps poetry, to capture its essence,

and even then it might not become any more comprehensible. It is

enigmatic that an art so inarticulate can communicate so as to

touch the very substance of our being. Though it may be dumb, it is

not mute. For music is truly one of the purest expressions and

noblest creations of mankind.

Given the inadequacies of language and no pretense to poetic

abilities on the part of this writer, the task of analyzing, arti­

culating and giving reasons for the greatness of the teaching and

influence of Leopold Auer in the world of music becomes doubly elusive

and arduous. The purpose of this study is to examine and substantiate

^As quoted in Carl Flesch, The Art of Violin Playing (New York:
Carl Fischer, 1924-1930), II, 1.

his success and importance. This can be done by tracing the history

of his life and career, commenting on the composers with whom he came

into contact and whose works bear his name in dedication, tracing the

influence of his playing and personality on those works, and analyzing

his approach to the technique of violin playing, the music he taught,

and the students to whom he taught it. But even with this examination

completed, one can only glean the shallowest understanding of the art

of Leopold Auer, both as a violinist and especially as a teacher. To

go one step beyond that is to give the spirit of the man.

As difficult as it always is to communicate something of trans­

cendent beauty in a wordless art, how much more difficult must it be

to impart the understanding of this to those in search of it I Beauty

of expression is one goal of music, and to teach it with the inspi­

ration that Auer achieved is also a manifestation of great art.

The understanding and communication of beauty in art is rarely

found, and the sharing and passing on of this understanding is a noble

pursuit. Jascha Heifetz once said, "To be an artist is like being

entrusted with something precious for a brief time. It is an artistTs

duty to hand it on like those Greek runners who passed on the lighted

torch one to another."'*' It is the hope of this writer that some of

this same spirit and flame to which Heifetz' teacher, Leopold Auer,

was so passionately devoted, can be shared through this study.

As quoted in notes for the record album, The Heifetz Collection:

A Retrospective in Six Volumes 1917-1955 (RCA), ARM-0942-0947, p. 27.


Leopold Auer was born on June 7, 1845, in the small Hungarian

town of Veszprem, the son of a housepainter. Between the ages of four

and five, he displayed an aptitude for music and was duly presented

with a violin, which was then the most popular and easily accessible

instrument in Hungary for families of modest means to start their

children*s musical education. At the age of eight, the Auer family

moved to Budapest. There, at the conservatory, Leopold entered the

class of Ridley Kohne, who was then the concertmaster of the National

Opera Orchestra. He remained under the tutelage of Kohne until 1856.

His progress was such that he was invited to make his Budapest debut

playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at the National Opera House at

a benefit concert.

As a result of the success of this performance, the talent of the

young boy was brought to the attention of certain music lovers who

undertook to send him to Vienna for further studies with Jacob Dont.

Auer later stated that it was, in fact, Dont who initially laid the

solid foundation of his violin technique. It was also at the Vienna

Conservatory that he received his first instruction in theory and

piano and had his first experience playing in an orchestra. At that

time, he came into contact with Joseph Hellmesberger, who enjoyed a

great reputation as a musician and quartet player, and who conducted


the student orchestra in which he played.

However, in 1858, due to his family1s limited financial resources,

young Auer was obliged to leave the conservatory, from which he re­

ceived a diploma and a silver medal, having completed his courses with

honors. Then he and his father, and a needy pianist, toured the pro­

vinces in order to raise money to support the rest of the Auer family

who remained in Budapest. During the course of his travels, he met

Karl Goldmark in Vienna, and played for the great Belgian violinist,

Henri Vieuxtemps, in Graz. He received but slight encouragement from

the master, however, and only disparaging remarks from Madame

Vieuxtemps. As Auer later relates in a highly amusing anecdote in

his memoirs, Mme. Vieuxtemps found his use of sentimental glissandi


In the spring of 1861, their travels eventually brought them to

Paris. Although he did not receive formal instruction in Paris, Auer

did come into contact with many influential musicians, notably,

Rossini, Berlioz, Gounod, and Ignaz Moscheles. He was, in fact, in­

vited by Rossini to play at one of his monthly musical soirees, an

important salon at that time, where many musicians of Paris gathered.

He appeared at the Concert des Jeunes Artistes, playing the Concerto

No. 8 ("Gesangszene”) of Spohr with Hector Berlioz conducting. It was

in Paris where Auer was first exposed to the highly controversial

music of Richard Wagner when he attended the Paris premiere of

Tannhauser and witnessed the subsequent furor that it created.

^Leopold Auer, My Long Life in Music (New York: Stokes, 1923),

pp. 33-35.

In the fall of the same year, young Auer and his father left

Paris for Hanover and further studies, this time with the great

violinist Joseph Joachim. This period of study, from 1861-1863,

proved to be most important for the young man. Not only did Joachim

develop in him a real artistic sense by virtue of his own sterling

example and inspiring teaching, but during his years in Hanover, he

came into contact with some of the most important musical personalities

in Europe at the time: Ferdinand David, Niels Gade, Clara Schumann,

and Johannes Brahms, with whom he once played the Beethoven Sonata ,

Opus 47 ("Kreutzer"), in a concert in Hamburg.

It was after the Auers left Hanover in 1864, having once again

exhausted their resources, that the young violinist was invited by

Ferdinand David to play in Leipzig at the Gewandhaus, where exactly

twenty years earlier, his master, Joachim, had made his auspicious

d£but. The concerts at the Gewandhaus had by that time launched many

distinguished careers, and began to rival the influence Paris exerted

in establishing many young artists on the concert stage. Auer's

performance on this occasion, with the young Carl Reinecke conducting,

was outstanding, and brought in the wake of its success, an offer of

the position of concertmaster in Dusseldorf, a post which he readily


His official duties in Dusseldorf were relatively light. There­

fore, the nineteen-year-old violinist afforded himself the opportunity

to travel to various cultural centers (London, Paris, Cologne, and

Brussels) to hear the great artists of the day perform and to make

their acquaintance, thereby broadening his general musical knowledge

and experience.

In 1866, at the age of twenty-one, Auer left Dusseldorf to become

the concertmaster of the Hamburg Orchestra, a position which also

included playing first violin in the resident string quartet. The

quartet scored quite a success, and at the same time the young vio­

linist was introduced to a vast chamber music repertoire. Auer was

then asked to substitute for the first violinist of the Miiller

brothers' quartet, who had fallen ill. This group was enjoying great

popularity in Germany at the time. Therefore, in addition to his

Hamburg duties, he was on tour for extended periods with the Miiller


Upon his return from a series of London concerts in the summer

of 1868, Auer received a communiqud from Nicolai Zaremba, the newly

appointed director of the Imperial Conservatory of St. Petersburg.

At their subsequent meeting, Zaremba offered Auer the post of professor

of violin at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and soloist to the Court

of the Grand Duchess Helena. It was with his acceptance of this

position in St. Petersburg, where he remained until 1917 and the out­

break of the Bolshevist Revolution, that Auer began the most fruitful

and gratifying years of his life.

Russia in the 1860's was indeed a new and flourishing musical

frontier. It was starting to experience the effects of its musical

renaissance at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and , with the

rising tide of nationalism in the second half of the century, Russian

musicians were determined to cultivate their own musical resources.

They wished to establish conservatories of the same calibre as those

in Leipzig, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna so that their gifted youth

would not be obliged to leave the country in order to further their

musical education, as had hitherto been the case.

The splendid results of this tremendous building program were

chiefly due to the persevering and heroic efforts of the brothers

Rubinstein, especially Nicholas, who founded the Moscow Conservatory

and served as its director until his untimely death in 1881. He was

also director of the Russian Musical Society. In St. Petersburg, his

brother, Anton Rubinstein, better known as probably the greatest

pianist of the post-Liszt generation, was also director of the Imperial

Conservatory there until 1867 (when Zaremba succeeded him), and again

from 1887 until 1890. Both of the Rubinsteins attracted musicians

and pedagogues of the first order to Russia to teach in the conser­

vatories, personalities which included at one time or another Theodore

Leschetiszky, Henri Wieniawski, Alexander Dreyschock (one of Liszt’s

great pupils), Charles Davidoff, the brilliant 'cellist, and many

others. Therefore, it is not surprising, with a roster of such musi­

cal eminence, that both the St. Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories,

burgeoning with great native talent, began producing such composers

as Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Taneyev, and Glazounov. Leschetiszky, later

in Vienna, brought forth a profusion of magnificent pianists which

rivalled the products of the redoubtable Franz Liszt in Weimar, Among

his greatest students one could mention Paderewski, Friedman,

Gabrilowitsch, and later, Brailowsky, Schnabel, and Moiseiwitsch.

There was also the legendary Josef Hoffmann, who went to Dresden to

study with Anton Rubinstein. And by no means pale in comparison, was


the class of Leopold Auer, which produced some of the most fabulous

violinists the musical world has ever heard. Indeed, Russia at that

time, was a treasure-chest of great musical talent.

The gifted young products of this cultural milieu were well pro­

vided for. Once they had reached and often surpassed the exacting

standards set by the educational system of the conservatories, they

were absorbed into it and found themselves assuming teaching positions

to train the next generation of talented Russians. For example, this

was the case with Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff, who taught at the

Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories respectively, and later,

Taneyev, Arensky, Glazounov, and Safonoff, who were important pedagogues

as well as composers. This self-perpetuating cycle was greatly stimu­

lated and animated by the strong spirit of Russian nationalism so

prevalent at the time, especially in the more progressive St. Petersburg.

The very essence of this nationalism was embodied by the so-called

"Russian Five" (Balakireff, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Borodin, Mussorgsky,

and Cui), a very important musical influence who took it upon them­

selves to become the self-appointed guardians and protagonists of the

nationalist element in Russian music then being composed and presented

to the public. They crusaded constantly for the performance of new

Russian music, and were not above voicing their criticism of such

figures as both Anton and Nicholas Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, and

Arensky, for ignoring their own Russian musical heritage in their

compositions and being nothing more than mere exponents of German

Romanticism. Right or wrong, they were a highly controversial and

vociferous group, who wielded considerable influence in Russia.


So it was into this musical climate that Auer entered in 1868,

the youngest member in a stellar faculty of which he was to become an

integral part. Besides his teaching duties at the Conservatory, he

led the St. Petersburg Quartet, which included Jean Pickel, Weickmann,

and Davidoff. One of their main functions was to perform the chamber

music works of many of the young talented composers, thus giving them

an opportunity to hear their works played. Auer was also solo vio­

linist for performances of the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1885, he

accepted the formidable position as director of the symphony concerts

of the Russian Musical Society, a post which had been held with varying

degrees of success by Edouard Napravnik, Hans von Biilow, the eccentric

German pianist and conductor, and finally Anton Rubinstein. As a con­

ductor, Auer proved himself highly capable. During the course of his

leadership, he introduced his audiences to the larger works of Berlioz

(the Requiem, amongst other works), Schumann, and the then-contro­

versial Wagner, as well as many works by young Russian composers,

especially Tchaikovsky, whom he greatly admired. Whenever possible,

he would also give young Russian artists the opportunity to appear as

soloist with the orchestra. For his sincere and persevering efforts,

Czar Alexander II decorated him with the Cross of the Order of

St. Vladimir. Yet however noble AuerTs attempts were at making this

organization viable both financially and artistically, he resigned

after five years of dedicated work, following an unfortunate disagree­

ment with the board of directors over a deficit of 4,000 roubles. The

following season, with Napravnik once again as musical director and

revised policies, the orchestra was disbanded.


During the next few years, which witnessed the untimely deaths

of Tchaikovsky and Anton Rubinstein in 1893 and 1894 respectively,

Auer was busy both as a conductor and soloist. In 1894, he played

and conducted concerts dedicated exclusively to the music of

Tchaikovsky in Odessa, Berlin, and Munich, all of which met with great

success. Again, in 1902, he played in Vienna, Belgrade, Sophia, and

Constantinople, where, at a command performance for the Sultan Abdul

Hamid II, he was decorated. As always, he propagated the music of

Tchaikovsky at all these concerts, particularly in Vienna.

From the year 1903, until his death, Auer devoted his time pri­

marily to the teaching of the violin. During the course of those

twenty-seven years, some of the most brilliant talents availed them­

selves of his masterful teaching. Never before in the history of

violin pedagogy have so many resplendent violinists come out of the

studio of one teacher. He taught in St. Petersburg before the out­

break of the Revolution in 1917 until the political situation became

so explosive that he was forced to leave from Norway in the midst of

a summer master class. Auer immigrated to the United States where he

taught first in New York, and then for a period at the Curtis Institute

in Philadelphia. He died at Loschwitz on July 15, 1930, at the age

of 85, having lived a very full life. Auer contributed most signifi­

cantly to the musical life of two countries and presented the musical

world with a magnificent generation of violinists.



Had Auer not achieved his international reputation as a pedagogue,

he would still be remembered today as one of the great violinists of

his time. And had he not devoted himself completely to teaching in

his later life, he might perhaps have achieved an even greater repu­

tation strictly on his merits as a soloist. He was recognized for his

interpretations of the classical concerti and the music of Russian

composers, especially that of Tchaikovsky, which he played with great

success throughout Europe and England. He was well known also as a

chamber musician, especially in England as well as in Russia. Alberto

Bachmann, in his Encyclopedia of the Violin, describes Auer's playing

as follows: "As a performer on the violin, he possesses a nobility of

style second only to J o a c h i m . A n d Carl Flesch in his Memoirs, which,

in fact, is a highly objective survey of all the major musical person­

alities with whom he came into contact during his lifetime, summarizes

Auer's playing: "As a violinist, his chief virtues are said to have
been his clean technique and his elegance."

Somewhat less than favorable are Szigeti's youthful recollections

of Auer's performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Mengelberg

"^Alberto Bachmann, An Encyclopedia of the Violin (New York:

Da Capo Press, 1975), p. 339.
Carl Flesch, Memoirs (New York: Macmillan, 1957), p. 252.


conducting in 1913 in St. Petersburg. Szigeti records his disappoint­

ment that the old master, who was by then approaching seventy, did not

"outdo" his young brilliant students in terms of the tone, technical

perfection, and dlan which he had come to expect from an Elman, a

Heifetz, or a Zimbalist. But, as Szigeti himself later acknowledges:

"This juvenile anticipation was of course absurd."^

Among the highlights of AuerTs early career was his Budapest

debut at the age of 11 playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Opus 64,

(1856), his Paris d&but at age 16 playing the Spohr Concerto No. 8

(1861), with Hector Berlioz conducting, the important Gewandhaus d6but

in Leipzig at the age of 19, and later in the same year, 1864, his

London d&but. During the following years, there were concerts in

Dusseldorf, Hamburg, chamber music concerts with the Muller Quartet,

and a tour of the European capitals organized by the New York impre­

sario Ullman, in the company of such famous artists of the day as

Carlotta Patti, Jules Lefort, David Popper, and Rudolf Wilmers.

Among AuerTs most important musical activities in St. Petersburg

were those connected with the highly regarded Imperial Russian Ballet.

In 1872, he succeeded Henri Wieniawski, who had embarked on an

American tour with Anton Rubinstein, as the solo violinist for the

Imperial Ballet. This magnificent troupe later evolved into the

famous Ballet Russe under the direction of Serge Diaghilev, and in­

cluded among its numbers dancers such as the legendary Wassily Nijinsky

and Anna Pavlova. Auer's function was to play only those violin solos

^Joseph Szigeti, Szigeti on the Violin (London: Cassel and Co.,

1969), p. 171.

written especially for the ballets. This was certainly considered a

post of high esteem, since his predecessors included Wieniawski as

well as Vieuxtemps. Often, the calibre of music in these solos was

very high and most prominent, especially from those famous ballets

by Tchaikovsky, Delibes, and Glazounov. Mischa Elman, one of the

great Auer pupils, made these observations regarding this post:

Auer was a great virtuoso player. He held a unique

place in the Imperial Ballet. You know in many of
the celebrated ballets, Tchaikovsky's for instance,
there occur beautiful and difficult solos for the
violin. They call for an artist of the first rank,
and Auer was accustomed to play them in Petrograd.
In Russia it was considered a decided honor to be ^
called upon to play one of those ballet solos. . . .

Along with this prestigious appointment came the title "Soloist to the

Czar" and a sizeable annual stipend. Auer retained that post until

he retired from it in 1906.

Along with his playing and teaching activities in St.Petersburg,

Auer made several trips to London in the 1870's, where he appearedas

soloist during the summer season of the Promenade Concerts at Covent

Garden. At this time London was a second home for many French

musicians and literary figures who had abandoned their residences in

Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). It was during this

sojourn that Auer came into contact with important personalities like

Gounod, Saint-Saens, and the novelist Turgenev, all of whom met

regularly at the salon of the still influential singer and person­

ality, Madame Pauline Viardot-Garcia.

In Russia, Auer advanced his career further by appearing as

^Frederick H. Martens, Violin Mastery (New York: Stokes, 1919),

p. 49.

soloist with the Russian Musical Society, and also in trios with

Anton Rubinstein and Charles Davidoff before Czar Alexander II and

King Oscar of Sweden (1875). He met Pablo de Sarasate in

St. Petersburg in the late 1870's, and enjoyed the opportunity to

renew his friendship with his colleague Henri Wieniawski. It was

in 1876, while on tour in Warsaw, that Auer met a sixteen-year-old

piano student named Jan Paderewski, who accompanied him at sight in

concert, and for whom he predicted a great future. In 1878, he

dutifully made his pilgrimage to Weimar to meet the venerable and

august Franz Liszt and to study further the "new music" of Liszt and

Wagner, some of which he later introduced in Russia.

During the next three decades, Auer led an active concert career,

both as a violinist and conductor, in the leading centers of Europe

and Russia. The success he won and the reputation he earned confirm

the fact that Auer was a splendid violinist. An examination of his

own arrangements and original cadenzas, which, for the most part,

have given way to modern tastes and are no longer a part of the

standard repertoire, would indicate that he was a fully equipped

virtuoso. His editorial work on violin music (especially the

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Opus 35, which will be discussed later

in greater detail) shows his concern for displaying the violin as

a singing instrument and never abusing the nature of its capabilities.

This concern was typical of the nineteenth-century violin virtuoso's

approach and attitude to music for his instrument. In this,

Auer followed the tradition of Paganini, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps, and

a host of lesser lights, who conceived their works from a violinistic


point of view, and for whom a magnificent andfluid technique was in

itself a thing of beauty.

This, in combination with a superb musical and artistic sense,

made Auer a violinist of the first order, as one can hear from the

only two recordings he ever made. These two discs were recorded by

the aging master on the occasion of his 75th birthday, asa souvenir

for his students.^ In spite of the artist*s advanced age and the

acoustical inadequacies of the recording techniques of the day, one

can still get some idea of Auerfs fiery temperament in the effortless

way in which he dashes off the Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 1. At the

other end of the emotional gamut, one can hear the sweetness and

beauty of his tone in his gently lyrical and very moving reading of

the Tchaikovsky Melodie, Opus 42, No. 3.

This wonderful combination of gentle lyricism, beauty of sound,

and volatile temperament, which he also communicated in his teaching,

made Auer and those of his students who shared these attributes with

him the ideal interpreters of Russian music. And his influence was

felt by the young composers who came intocontact with him, several

of whose works bear his name in dedication. Two such examples which

have retained their place inthe repertoire and withstood the rigors

of changing musical tastes are the Serenade Melancholique, Opus 26

(1875) , of Tchaikovsky, and the Concerto in A Minor, Opus 82 (1905)^

of Alexander Glazounov, dedicated to Auer and premiered in London in

^There was also a gala Carnegie Hall concert in celebration of

his eightieth birthday, whose participants were the guest of honor,
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Josef Hoffmann, Efrem Zimbalist, Jascha Heifetz,
and Paul Stassevitch.

1905 by his thirteen-year-old protggd, Mischa Elman. Glazounov

(1865-1936), a student of Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakoff, and a very

distinguished composer, also served as director of the St. Petersburg

Conservatory from 1906 until 1928 when he left Russia permanently

and settled in Paris. He was a good friend and colleague of Auer’s

and, as director of the Conservatory, helped him to secure a relaxation

of residency restrictions to permit the parents of his Jewish students

to live in St. Petersburg with their children.

Two works dedicated to Auer that have since faded into obscurity

are the Fantasie Russe, Opus 30 in E Major (1878),of Napravnik, and

the Suite, Opus 28 (1911), of Taneyev. Edouard Napravnik (1839-1916),

although Czeck by birth, came to St. Petersburg in 1861, where he

remained until his death. He was active as a conductor and premiered

operas by Dargomizhsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakoff. Thus, he

was largely responsible for the restitution of the failing Russian

opera to its former vigor. He was also conductor of the Russian

Musical Society from 1869-1881, and he showed remarkable talents as an

organizer and administrator. As a composer, he possessed excellent

technical command and taste, but displayed a certain lack of indivi­

duality, being perhaps too strongly influenced by Tchaikovsky. His

Fantasie Russe had the unique distinction of being performed for

Liszt by Auer when he visited the great composer in Weimar in 1878.

Serge Ivanovich Taneyev (1856-1915) was considered to be among

the most learned of Russian composers. As a student, he studied with

Nicholas Rubinstein at the Moscow Conservatory, and later Tchaikovsky,

whose composition class he inherited when Tchaikovsky forsook teaching


to devote his time exclusively to composition. In the late 1870Ts,

Taneyev was Auer's accompanist during a tour of Russia. In 1885, he

became director of the Moscow Conservatory, relinquishing the position

to Vassily Safonov in 1889. He was a good friend of Tchaikovsky and

gave the Moscow premier of the Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor. He

championed Tchaikovsky's works throughout his lifetime. As a composer,

Taneyev had no sympathy with the nationalists. His own works tend to

be well constructed but rather dry and academic.



Of all the works dedicated to Auer, the one most frequently

associated with his name is the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Opus 35.

The original dedication to Auer was later withdrawn by Tchaikovsky,

and rededicated to Adolph Brodsky (1851-1929), who gave the work its

Vienna premiere. The stories that have filtered down through the

years about Tchaikovsky withdrawing the dedication in a fit of temper

because Auer had ungraciously ^pronounced the work to be "unplayable"

are shrouded in a romantic haze obscuring what few vague facts we are

able to glean. Nevertheless, there are some puzzling inconsistencies

which remain difficult to explain.

When Tchaikovsky presented the work to Auer in 1878, Auer writes

in his autobiography that he recognized the intrinsic beauties and

solid merits of this concerto immediately:

Tchaikovsky . . . came to see me one day in St. Petersburg to

show me a Concerto for violin and orchestra which had
already been engraved and was ready for circulation, and
which bore the dedication 'A Monsieur Leopold Auer.T

Profoundly touched by this mark of his friendship, I

thanked him warmly and at once had him sit down at the
piano, while I, seating myself beside him, followed with
feverish interest his somewhat awkward piano rendering
of the score. I could hardly grasp the entire content
of the work at this first audition; but was at once struck


by the lyric beauty of the second theme in the first move­

ment, and the charm of the sorrowfully inflected second
movement, the 'Canzonetta.

But in spite of its musical merits, Auer states that he felt that

there were certain passages and sections which were completely unvio-

linistic, and promised the composer to give it his attention and

suggest certain changes and revisions which would render the work more

playable. However, due to other duties, Auer laid the Violin Concerto

aside, and it was not until after several years had elapsed that he

turned his attention to the work and provided the long overdue revi­

sions he had promised the composer.

In the meantime, Tchaikovsky proceeded to have the work published,

in spite of his distress at Auer's initial pronouncement that the

writing was ill-adapted for the instrument. In this instance, though,

in spite of his over-sensitivity which often bordered on the neurotic,

the composerfs dismay was somewhat justified. During the composition

of the work, Tchaikovsky was in Clarens, Switzerland, with his brother,

Modeste, under strict medical orders. He was recovering from a com­

plete physical and emotional breakdown which he suffered as a result

of his brief but disasterous marriage to Antonina Ivanova Miliukova.

During this time, he and his brother were joined by his close friend

and devotee, Joseph Kotek (1855-1885), who, incidentally, was one of

the witnesses at Tchaikovsky's wedding. Kotek had just been dismissed

from the household of Tchaikovsky's invisible patroness, Nadeszda

von Meek, because of his loose tongue and indiscreet gossiping, which

was not tolerated by the imperious Countess von Meek.

^Leopold Auer, My Long Life in Music (New York: Stokes, 1923),

pp. 208-209.

Kotek was a former student at the Moscow Conservatory where he

met Tchaikovsky, then the newly appointed professor of composition,

whose classes he probably attended. He was a brilliant young vio­

linist, a student of Ferdinand Laub, and graduated from the Conser­

vatory with highest honors in 1875. He then went on to Berlin where

he studied with Joachim. Kotek died prematurely of consumption in

Switzerland at the tragically young age of 29, hardly fulfilling his

promise. Nevertheless, in the course of his short life, he composed

some valuable etudes and a violin concerto of worth, both of which

show him to have been a gifted composer and a violinist of no mean

ability. In fact, Tchaikovsky dedicated his early Valse Scherzo (1875)

to the young violinist, who remained a faithful friend to the composer

during his brief lifetime. This devotion was returned on the part of

Tchaikovsky, who went to Switzerland during Kotek1s final illness and

arranged for an allowance to take care of his dying friend’s needs.

It was Kotek, incidentally, who was instrumental in establishing the

famous liaison between Tchaikovsky and Mme. von Meek, who provided

the composer with the financial security to leave his position at the

Conservatory and devote his time and energy completely to his own com­

posing. And since Kotek was at the same time a friend of Tchaikovsky’s

and an intimate of the von Meek household, he provided the Countess

with answers to the many questions about the composer whose work she

had come to admire to an almost obsessive degree. It was this same

quality of garrulousness in Kotek’s character which prompted

Mme. von Meek’s encouragement and financial assistance for Tchaikovsky

and which eventually led to his own dismissal from the household.

It is inconceivable, since Kotek was in Clarens with Tchaikovsky

during the writing of the Violin Concerto, and having so excellent a

violinist at his disposal, that Tchaikovsky would not have wanted to

hear some, if not all, of the work. And is it not feasible to think

that perhaps he might have consulted with Kotek on certain technical

matters with which he might not have been familiar? All things con­

sidered, it is difficult to believe that Kotek was unaware of the work

at this point, and accepting this probability, it is not difficult to

understand Tchaikovsky's dismay upon hearing Auer's unfavorable

reaction. In fact, Auer's curious statement regarding the concerto's

unplayability becomes all the more incongruous in light of the fact

that many of the changes in his later "revised version" are more diffi­

cult, technically, than the original. So, whether Auer's reaction to

the work and subsequent delays were prompted by an overly cursory

initial perusal, resentment of Kotek's possible intervention, or pre­

occupation with personal matters (in a letter to his publisher,

Jurgenson, Tchaikovsky complains of intrigues on the part of Auer to

dissuade the French virtuoso, Emile Sauret, from playing the work),

all this remains purely in the realm of conjecture.

Several years elapsed before anything more was heard about the

concerto. In fact, it was not until December 4, 1881, that Adolph

Brodsky, at that time a professor of violin at the Moscow Conservatory,

unbeknownst to Tchaikovsky, who was then in Rome, took it upon himself

to premiere the concerto in Vienna. The riotous disapproval and

miserable impression created by the Vienna audition of the work (of

which Tchaikovsky later learned via newspaper critiques) brought the


composer only further distress and heartbreak. Eduard Hanslick

(1825-1904), anti-Wagnerian, supporter and friend of Brahms, and the

powerful music critic at the time for the Neue freie Presse in Vienna,

fell upon the work with merciless vitriol and reduced it to shreds

in a blistering review. Tchaikovsky writes of the incident to his

patroness, Mme. von Meek:

All my compositions, Hanslick says, are 1uneven, coarse,

savage and in bad taste,' As for the violin concerto,
the beginning is tolerable, but the further it goes
the worse it gets. At the end of the first movement,
says he, the violin does not play but roars, shouts
and bellows. The Andante begins pleasantly, but soon
plunges into the atmosphere of a Russian feast, where
everybody is drunk and the faces of the people are
brutal and revolting. 'A critic,' Hanslick goes on to
say, 'once called a picture so realistic that it stank;
when hearing Tchaikovsky's concerto I realized that
music also may stink.*

Isn't this a strange criticism? I have no luck with

critics. Since Laroche left Russia there isn't a
person at home who has a friendly word for me on the
printed page. And now in Europe my music is called
'stinking. '-*■

But, in spite of the changed dedication and any embittered

feelings on the part of the composer, Auer produced his revisions

^Catherine Drinker Bowen and Barbara von Meek, Beloved Friend

(New York: Random House, 1928), pp. 411-412.
In all fairness to Auer, it must be stated that changed dedica­
tions are certainly not unknown among the works of Tchaikovsky. Along
with the Violin Concerto and the circumstances surrounding its dedica­
tion and rededication, there is an even more tempestuous story con­
nected with the ever-popular Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor, Opus 23,
originally dedicated to Nicholas Rubinstein, who tore the work to
shreds on his first examination, and which was subsequently rededicated
to Hans von Biilow, who premiered the work in Boston with enormous
success in 1875 on his American tour. The little known Concert
Fantasie, Opus 44 (1884),for piano and orchestra, was similarly
dedicated originally to Annette Essipov (1851-1914) at one time a
Leschetiszky pupil who later became his wife. This was later changed

and had his "version" published also by Jurgenson. As has already

been observed, these changes were not made with the intention of

simplifying the difficulties, for, in many cases, the alternatives

are more demanding than the original. Rather, they were made with

the intention of providing a musical text that was conceived violinis-

tically, instead of awkward writing that seemed to Auer to be foreign

to the very nature of the instrument.

One of the most interesting editions of the Tchaikovsky Violin

Concerto both from a violinistic and musicological point of view is

the one published by the International Music Company, edited by the

two eminent Soviet violinists and pedagogues, D. Oistrakh and

K. Mostras.^ In preparing this edition, the editors had the following

material at their disposal: the composer's autograph of the orches­

tral score, the orchestral score and parts published by Jurgenson

during the composer's lifetime, and the violin and piano score edited

by Auer and published by Jurgenson. They point out the various differ­

ences and discrepancies between these three texts, leaving it to the

performer to decide which "version" he will ultimately play.

The first important change that Auer suggests occurs during a

transitional bridge into the development section letters D and E in

to bear the name of Sophie Menter (1846-1918) in dedication, who was

a former student of Tausig and Liszt and professor of piano at the
St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1883-1887. She was also the wife of
David Popper, the famous cellist and colleague of Auer's.

P. I. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35 , Edited

by D. Oistrakh and K. Mostras, (New York: International Music Company,
1956). All examples from this work are drawn from this edition.
Reprint permission granted by the publisher.

the aforementioned edit ion. The change is, in this case, a simplifi­

cation, for he eliminates the double stops thereby reducing the figure

to simple staccato triplets.

cresc. poco a poco

Example 1. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 3, violin part, mm. 1-3.

Auer’s concern in this instance was that the double stop passage might

sound too muddy due to the rather heavy detache fouette stroke that

would be necessary for it to sound. Therefore, he eliminates the

sixths, thereby delineating the uppermost notes of the sequence so that

they are more easily heard. He does, however, restore the double

stops five measures before rehearsal letter E, which would perhaps

lead one to question the need for the initial simplification.

A few measures later, he transcribes the measure an octave lower

in order to lead into the following measure more smoothly since an

octave displacement at some point is necessary to contain the ascending


sequence and prevent it from over-reaching the range of the instru­

ment. Here Auer suggests an octave lower transposition one measure

before Tchaikovsky.



Example 2. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 8, violin part, mm. 4-8.

In Example 3 Auer makes a most interesting revision. Instead of

the arpeggiated dominant sevenths leading to a restatement of the A

theme in A Major at the Moderato assai, Auer completely rewrites the

passage in a most exciting fashion, starting with an elaborated D Major

scale in thirds, and ending with a chromatic scale in tenths. Jascha

Heifetz, in his three recordings of this concerto, plays this bravura

figure, even further elaborated, to brilliant effect.



Mode rato assai

Example 3. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 9, violin part, mm. 5-11.

In the ballet-like solo part of the Development section marked

molto sostenuto il tempo, moderatissimo (Example 4), Auer reduces


certain triple stops to double stops to lighten the texture and to

assure the graceful, dance-like character of this section.

molto sostenuio il tempo, moderatissimo

2 4 3

Example 4. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 10, violin part, mm. 3-8.

A few measures later, Auer transposes certain passages and even

isolated notes an octave higher, giving a quasi-antiphonal effect of

a highly demanding virtuoso nature for the soloist, emphasizing even

more the dance-like implications with gymnastic leaps on the finger­

board which must be executed with ease and accuracy (Example 5).


V *)

ti p 7 ' isa a sT
L i j = ^ = ^ o |
V '
i o g / ^ p j
f\ ii 3-

Example 5. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 10, violin part, mm. 9-11, p. 11, mm. 1-3.

Up to the cadenza, Auer's suggested changes have had an intrinsic

quality very much in keeping with the essence of the original. In the

cadenza, his changes are more of an ad libitum nature.^- His changes

Incidentally, the cadenza bears a distinct resemblance to that

of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, written some 34 years earlier
(1844) in that it is provided by the composer himself. But more
important, structurally, it resembles the Mendelssohn in that it
appears at the end of the Development section rather than its more
traditional position at the end of the Recapitulation just before the

are designed to increase the virtuoso element. Instead of a simple

D Major arpeggio (Example 6), he suggests a D Major scale in thirds

(Example 7), and instead of an E Major arpeggio played legato

(Example 8), he suggests that this be executed employing a staccato


Example 6. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 12, violin part, cadenza.

a d lib.

Example 7. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 12, violin part, cadenza, footnote.

V is-,

Example 8. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 12, violin part, cadenza.

To a large extent, the changes in the Recapitulation parallel

those suggested in the Exposition. In Example 9, in order to continue


the upward motion of the figure, Auer proposes a transposition an

octave higher.

Example 9. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 15, violin part, mm. 4-6.

At the Poco piu lento (Example 10), there is a simplification of

the passage in triplet sixteenth-note double stops to single notes,

corresponding to the similar change suggested in the Exposition

(Example 1).

Poco piu lento

i« * 3
7B~ fJC
if *■
_ i o ■> t poco a voco \ cresc.


Example 10. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 17, violin part, mm. 13-14, p. 18, mm, 1-2.

There is a transposition four measures before the Coda of the

blazing virtuoso scales in double stops that were found in the

Exposition (Example 3), this time arriving in the tonic key of

D Major (Example 11).

ere vc.

Example 11. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 19, violin part, mm. 1-4.

Three measures after the Allegro giusto in the Coda, Auer changes

the figuration of the sequential arpeggios to maintain them in a

higher, more brilliant register (Example 12).


4Allegro giusto


resies rcstez i 1

Example 12. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 19, violin part, mm. 5-8, p. 20, mm. 1-6.

At the stringendo indication at letter 0, Auer has the second

statement of the ascending sequence in double stops repeated an

octave higher, logically continuing the rising pattern of the


f o l stringendo

bafca. P - H

s5m jTirof~>l
r v iZ T U j



O f


Example 13. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 1st

movement, p. 20, violin part, mm. 9-12, p. 21, mm. 1-2.

In the beautiful lyric "Canzonetta," Auer suggests only two

changes, and these are both transpositions of the original text an

octave higher. The first (Example 14) continues Tchaikovsky's

original line to a conclusion an octave higher.


Example 14. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 2nd

movement, p. 23, violin part, mm. 6-8.

The second transposition occurs at letter D in Example 15,

where the principle theme of this movement is stated for the last

time an octave higher. Not only is this more effective dramatically,

but for the first time in the entire slow movement, the theme moves

out of the somber middle register of the violin.

$ £ te


Example 15. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 2nd

movement, p. 23, violin part, mm. 18-26.
Auer's most important and constructive changes in the last move­

ment are the cuts he suggests, which have become almost universally

adopted by violinists in performances today. The suggested deletions,

according to Auer, were done with the consent and approval of the
composer. These cuts eliminate superfluous and redundant repetitions

of material which are quite unessential to the overall form of the

movement, and which, in fact, weaken it considerably. In this in­

stance, Auer's proposals tighten the basic structure of the movement,

giving it a greater sense of balance and cohesiveness.

The first cut occurs 16 measures after Tempo I and extends for

12 measures, indicated by the sign in Example 16.

aAll the cuts in this movement are suggested by L. Auer

Example 16. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 24, violin part, mm. 66-83.

Since the same thematic section reappears twice during the course of

the movement, Auer consistently cuts the same 12 measures each time.

■^Leopold Auer, Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation (New

York: Carl Fischer, 1925), p. 137.

This occurs 24 measures before letter E on page 27, mm. 22-33, and

again 32 measures before letter I, page 31, mm. 2-13.

Seven measures before the Molto meno mosso at letter D, Auer

eliminates Tchaikovsky’s octaves, substituting only the upper notes

in his edition, which is definitely less cumbersome and equally

effective (Example 17).

Molto meno mosso

Example 17. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 26, violin part, mm. 41-49.

Before letter F, 8 and 18 measures respectively, Auer suggests

two parallel cuts of four measures indicated again by the sign

in Example 18, thereby eliminating more redundant material.


Example 18. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 28, violin part, mm. 6-30.

There are also two minor changes in the text that Auer suggests

which occur twice, before the Poco meno mosso, 9 and 13 measures

before letter G, in the ascending sixteenth-note passages before the

restatement of the second theme. In the first change, Auer suggests an

A instead of the C-natural in the second sixteenth note of the third

measure of Example 19, and, in the following measure, the third

sixteenth note, he suggests an F-natural for the C-natural that

Tchaikovsky indicated.


Example 19. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 28, violin part, mm. 44-47.

As indicated in Example 20, a further cut of 10 measures is

proposed by Auer, which further eliminates tedious repetitions.

Quasi andante

Example 20. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 30, violin part, mm. 1-24.

One of the most brilliant and effective textual changes that

Auer makes in this movement occurs during the seven measures before the

final Tempo I. For Tchaikovsky's original monotonous repetitions

(Example 21), he substitutes a dazzling ascending broken chord

virtuosic figure, shown in Example 22.

a poco stringendo

Tempo I

Example 21. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 30, violin part, mm. 40-49.


Example 22. Tchaikovsky, Violin Concerto in D Major, 3rd

movement, p. 30, violin part, footnote, mm. 1-7.


Auer’s most significant and memorable contribution has yet to be

discussed— his teaching. Few teachers have ever reached the apogee of

renown that Leopold Auer enjoyed as a violin pedagogue. He was one of

the most sought-after teachers in the first three decades of the

twentieth century. To be a pupil of the great Auer was a hallmark of

talent and ability. One could do no better. Ysaye, Sevcik, Hubay all

had their followers and produced brilliant violinists, but not in the

numbers that Auer did. To be accepted as an Auer student brought an

immediate type of distinction for the aspiring young violinist. One

was automatically in the company of violinistic luminaries who cap­

tured the imagination of a concert-going public, and who, to an unpre­

cedented extent, dominated violin playing for the next two generations.

Needless to say, not all Auer students, or so-called Auer students,

were of this calibre. But the brilliance of the stars was undeniably

of the first magnitude, and Auer’s reputation and eminence became

further enhanced with the growing success of their careers.

As has been previously noted, in the second half of the nine­

teenth century, Russia was experiencing a musical renaissance with

a strong nationalistic undercurrent. The musical Meccas at this time

were the Conservatories at either Moscow or St. Petersburg, the latter


regarded as the more progressive of the two. And with the illustrious

faculty that taught at both these institutions, there was no longer

any need for talented young Russian musicians to leave their native

country to further their musical education. The talent emerged in

overwhelming numbers from the four corners of this land, and the most

gifted gravitated to these two Conservatories. So, it was the com­

bination of these two factors, brilliant talent and exceptional

teaching, which accounted for the prodigious output of extraordinary

musicians from Russia who enjoyed such enormous public favor in the

first decades of this century.

Auerfs first great violin talent who went on to establish an

international career was Efrem Zimbalist. Zimbalist was born in

1889 in Rostov-on-Don, and studied with Auer in St. Petersburg from

1903 to 1907. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in

1907, winning the gold medal and a scholarship of 7000 rubles, and

went on to make his Berlin d£but on November 7 of the same year

playing the Brahms Violin Concerto, Opus 77, to great critical acclaim.

In December, he made his London d§but, which was followed by other

European performances. He was invited to Leipzig to perform with the

Gewandhaus Orchestra on January 1, 1908, which made him the first

violinist to be so invited since the recent death of Joachim on

August 15 of the preceding year. He made his American debut on

October 27,1911, in Boston, at which time he also gave the first

American performance of the Glazounov Violin Concerto in A Minor.

After many more successes, he settled permanently in the States, and

in 1928 was appointed to the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music


in Philadelphia. He subsequently became director in 1941. Zimbalist

was married twice. His first wife was the famous singer Alma Gluck,

with whom he recorded several songs with violin obbligato, and for

whom he wrote many songs. His second wife was Mary Louise Curtis Bok,

who, in fact, was the founder of the institute bearing her name.

Later, Zimbalist developed an interest in early Italian Baroque

violin music written by such masters as Marini and prepared perfor­

mance editions of their works. Although none of his own works have

gained any lasting recognition, Zimbalist did compose. His composi­

tions include a violin concerto, a sonata for violin and piano, a

string quartet, and various works for orchestra, such as his American

Rhapsody, Portrait of an Artist, and the Concert Fantasy on Rimsky-

Korsakoff’s Cog d ’Qr . Mr. Zimbalist, still alive at the time of this

writing, is 85 years old.

The next of the truly great violinists to come to Auer’s class

was Mischa Elman (1891-1967), who perhaps did even more than Zimbalist

to enhance and solidify Auer’s reputation as a teacher. Elman was

born in Tolna, and received his early training at the Imperial Music

School in Odessa from Max Fiedemann, a pupil of Brodsky. He made his

local debut at the age of eight playing the Seventh Concerto of

de B£riot. While on tour in Elisabethgrad, Auer heard this great

young talent play and immediately wrote to Alexander Glazounov, the

director of the Conservatory, arranging for a scholarship and at the

same time accepting Elman into his class.

Elman himself states that he studied with Auer foronly ayear


and four months.^- But this must have been a period of the most inten­

sive kind of preparation, since during this time, Auer arranged for

his Berlin d&but which took place on October 14, 1904, and created a

sensation. This was as bold as it was risky because not long before,

Franz von Vescey, the Hungarian Wunderkind and proteg& of Joachim,

had just made his enormously successful debut in Berlin (which was

then the musical center of Europe and the domain of the still reigning

Joachim), and comparisons were inevitable. But the young Russian

violinist took the capital by storm, firmly establishing both his

reputation as an artist and Auer’s as a teacher. In March of 1905,

Elman made an equally successful London debut. After this, his study

with Auer became sporadic at best, so numerous were his engagements.

An American tour followed in 1908, during which he made his New York

debut on December 10, playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with

the Russian Symphony Orchestra. He became an American citizen in 1923,

and went on to establish a reputation as one of the greatest violin­

ists of the age.

Elman was one of the first pioneers in the recording industry to

enjoy national and international fame. His early recordings for Victor

of the Dvorak "Humoresque" and the Schubert-Wilhelmj "Ave Maria" be­

came so popular that they literally established his name as a household

word among violinists. Elman enjoyed a memorable career and a follow­

ing that remained faithful to him throughout his lifetime. His playing

was characterized above all by the beauty and sweetness of the enormous

■^Frederick H. Martens, Violin Mastery (New York: Stokes, 1919),

p. 47.

sound that he drew from his Stradivarius. It was so sensuous and

distinctive that it was referred to as the "Elman tone."

The last violinist to be considered in detail in this triumvirate

of Auer students Is Jascha Heifetz. Heifetz was born on February 2,

1901, in Vilna. He started studying the violin at the age of three

with his father, Ruvin Heifetz, who was himself an accomplished player.

He continued studying at the Vilna Conservatory with Elias Malkin and

graduated at the age of eight. In 1907, the six-year-old prodigy

created a furor in Kovnov playing the Mendelssohn Concerto. In 1910,

he became the youngest member of Auerfs class in St, Petersburg. His

study continued for the next six years, interrupted only intermittently

by triumphant concerts, which included his debuts in Berlin (at the

age of 12) with Artur Nikisch conducting, in Vienna with Safonov, and

at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig again with Nikisch conducting. After

escaping with his family from Russia during the Revolution, Heifetz

made his memorable New York debut on October 27, 1917, in Carnegie

Hall. His long-awaited London debut took place on May 5, 1920, at the

Royal Albert Hall. He became a naturalized American in 1925.

During the course of his career, the rest of which is now history,

Heifetz popularized the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor, Opus 47,

and the Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 63,of Prokofiev. He also

commissioned new concerti by Gruenberg, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Rosza,

and Walton, all which he has played publically and recorded.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Heifetz has dominated

violin playing for half a century. Flesch, one not known for hasty

or superficial judgments, wrote of him as a "model of perfection."


The uncanny infallibility of his technique, the ravishing beauty of

his sound, and the breadth and poetry of his readings have given

violin playing a new standard by which excellence is measured. In­

deed, the reputation of Jascha Heifetz is one unequalled in the history

of violin playing since Paganini.

But at the same time in Auer's class, there were others, who,

although they did not go on to establish careers of such magnitude,

were wonderful violinists and made significant contributions in their

own right. Among them is Toscha Seidel, who started playing the violin

at age seven, studying with Max Fiedemann in Odessa, and then contin­

uing with him in Berlin before becoming a member of Auer's class in

1912. Later, he too immigrated to the United States and had a signifi­

cant career. There was also the fabulously gifted Miron Poliakin from

Kiev, for whom Auer held the highest hopes. He made an impressive

American ddbut, but found that he suffered excessively from nerves and

could not continue the strain of performing; he later returned to the

Soviet Union in the 1930's. Cecilia Hansen was another remarkable

violinist who was a member of the class at this time. She made many

auspicious European appearances and built a promising career in both

Europe and the United States.

Other important members of Auer's class from 1905 until the

Russian Revolution included Mishel Piastro; Josef Achron, known later

for his many fine compositions; Max Rosen; Josef Borissoff (brother

of Piastro); Eddy Brown, an American violinist, who had just completed

his studies with Hubay; Jaroslav Siskovsky; Yuri Eidlin; Emil

Mlynarski, who later went on to become a conductor of note; Richard


Burgin, for many years the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony

Orchestra; Raphael Bronstein; Alexander Hilsberg, former concert-

master of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alexander Bloch; Nalbandian,

Kreuger, Sergei Korguev and Paul Stassevitsch, all of whom were Auer's

assistants at various times; Samuel Dushkin, best known for his

Stravinsky transcriptions and his work with the composer; and finally,

Nathan Milstein, who had previously worked with Stoliarsky in Odessa

and came to study with Auer shortly before the Revolution.

Between the years 1906 and 1911, Auer, whose reputation had been

spread by Elman1s recent d&but, taught in London during the summer

months. His class attracted several English and American students,

including Francis MacMillen, Roderick White, Isolde Menges, and

Kathleen Parlow (a Canadian) , many of whom followed him to

St. Petersburg for the winter months to continue their studies.

From 1912 until 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War,

Auer conducted his summer classes at Loschwitz, near Dresden, where

.new American students Thelma Given, David Hochstein, and Ruth Ray,

along with his many former students and regular students in

St. Petersburg, came to study. During the summers of the war years,

Auer taught in Norway, at which time Maia Bang studied with him. She

later wrote a violin method book based on Auer's teaching principles.'*"

In 1918, during the initial perilous days of the Russian Revolution,

after a brief tour in Scandinavia, without being able to return to

his beloved Russia, the master departed for the United States.

"*"Maia Bang, Maia Bang Violin Method; provided with original

exercises and suggestions by Leopold Auer and based on his teaching
principles (New York: Carl Fischer, 1923-1925).

The careers of his brilliant students had already made Auer a

legendary figure by the time he arrived in New York, and it was not

long before he became the most sought after teacher, soon developing

a large class. He first taught privately in New York and later at

the School of Musical Art (which later became the Juilliard School of

Music). He also taught for a few years at the Curtis Institute and

was succeeded by his student Efrem Zimbalist upon his departure. His

summer master classes were first held at Lake George, New York, and

later at the Chicago Musical College. Among his better known pupils

from this period (and there were many) were Sylvia Lent, Gilbert Ross,

Joseph Knitzer, U s e Neimack, Carlos Sedano, Joseph Coleman, Max

Pollikoff, Paul Bernard, Ruth Breton, Margaret Sittig, Gladys Anderson

Gingold, John Corigliano, Harry Farbman, Benno Rabinoff, and Oscar

Shumsky. The list is endless. This gives only a brief summary of the

most talented violinists who passed through Auer's studio.



In any discussion of Auer’s contributions to violin pedagogy,

one would agree that his innovative approach to right-hand technique

is the most important. Carl Flesch, in his exhaustive and indispen­

sable volumes, The Art of Violin Playing, discusses various methods

of holding the bow from an historical and analytical point of view.

He divides these into three basic schools: (1) German, which he calls

the older manner, (2) Franco-Belgian, the newer manner, and (3) Russian,

the newest manner. He credits Leopold Auer as being the first to

teach the latter bow hold to his students, but at the same time ob­

serves that there is speculation that Henri Wieniawski also held his

bow in this way. The basic difference between these various schools

is the point of contact between the bow stick and the index finger.

For example, Flesch describes the German School, as practiced by

Joachim and his followers, as having the lower surface of the index

finger pressing on the stick between the first and second joints, the

thumb opposite the middle finger, and the rest of the fingers pressed

closely together as determined by the position of the index finger.

The bow hair is moderately tensed.

The Franco-Belgian School as demonstrated by Massart's and

^Carl Flesch, The Art of Violin Playing, 2 vols. (New York:

Carl Fischer, 1924-1930). Hereafter cited as Flesch, Art.


Vieuxtemps* students, notably Ysaye, has the stick coming into contact

with the index finger at the extreme end of the second joint, which

is notably separated from the other fingers of the hand with the thumb

opposite the middle finger. Flesch describes the bow hair as exces­

sively tight and the stick, consequently, at an inclined position.

The Russian bow grip as proposed by Auer has the index finger

coming into contact with the stick at the line separating the second

and third joints, leaving the remainder of the index finger free to

embrace the stick with the first and second joints. The interval

between the first and second fingers is not exaggerated and the little

finger remains on the stick only in the lower half of the bow, and a

more extended angle of the hand in the upper half causes the little

finger naturally to come off of its own accord. The bow hair is

slack. Flesch credits this way of holding the bow with achieving the

greatest tonal sonority:

I believe that with this way of holding the bow the

greatest tonal results are attainable with a minimum
development of strength.^

Flesch then goes on to describe the actual physical mechanics of the

right arm motion in each of the preceding schools. With the German

School, he observes, the arm is held horizontally, that is, with a

dropped or lowered elbow close to the body, and the position of the

thumb strongly pressed against the lower surface of the index finger

between the first and second joints. In the Franco-Belgian School

the thumb appears across from the second finger pressing laterally

towards the end of the second joint. During the execution of the

1Ibid., I, 51.

bow stroke, there is some pronation of the lower arm, which is a

slight clockwise outward turning from the elbow joint at an angle of

twenty-five degrees. Flesch states, however, that the greatest pro­

nation occurs when the Russian manner of holding the bow is adopted

and the turning motion of the arm is some forty-five degrees. He sup­

ports his argument that this method yields the maximum tonal results

with the least expenditure of force by observing that the greatest

pressure exerted by the arm on a fixed object, in this case the bow,

always results in the greatest pronation, or tendency to turn the fore­

arm out as much as possible. Therefore, there is an automatic change

in the angle of bow hair to string which flattens the hair at the tip,

which is the lightest part of the stick. In order to maintain consis­

tency of volume at this point of the bow, the fullest weight of the

arm is brought to bear by the broadest surface of the first finger.

The opposite is true during the process of the up-bow when the raising

of the wrist and elbow reduces the amount of hair on the string near

the frog, which is the heaviest part of the bow.

Nicolai Sikorsky, supporting this view, explains that it is the

very nature of the way the bow is held that provides for an automatic

accommodation for changing requirements of weight and bow angle, by

virtue of the position of the first finger which acts as a fulcrum.^

Flesch concludes his analysis with a personal endorsement of the

Russian approach. This, one might add, was not part of his own

N i c o l a i Sikorsky, The Russian School of Violin Playing (private


technical schooling, which he received at the hands of Marsick, thus

making him a product of the Franco-Belgian tradition. This says a

great deal for the depth of Flesch*s analytical approach to pedagogy

and also for the broad-minded attitude with which he approached the

problems of violin playing. He summarizes:

Having established by experience that the Russian

manner of holding the bow enables the most effort­
less manner of tone production, as well as combining
with this the greatest stability on the part of the
stick. I ascribe it less to the position of the
index finger itself, than to the powerful
turning of the lower arm in the elbow-joint, whereby
the pressure of the index finger on the stick , takes
place automatically in the most natural, that is,
the most strength-conserving manner. 1

Before going on to describe various teaching approaches he would

employ in its acquisition, Flesch displays a remarkably open mind in

the following astute and undogmatic statement:

The supremacy X claim for the Russian manner of

holding the bow is in no wise weakened by calling
attention to the numerous outstanding violinists
of other schools; the only valid standard of
comparison would be that afforded by the teaching
results covered by a large circle of variously
gifted pupils.2

This remark is indicative of two things. First of all, it shows

Flesch, himself one of the great pedagogues of the post-Auer genera­

tion, to be an unbiased yet critical observer of violin methodology.

But it also shows the far-reaching impact that the Auer students and

the Auer school had on violin playing in the early decades of the

twentieth century.

^Flesch, Art, I, 52.


Joseph Szigeti, in his less analytical and less objective book,

Szigeti on the Violin (London: Cassell, 1969), supports the pre­

ceding statement:

With hindsight can we not ask ourselves whether

our conception of the Auer School does not owe
its existence to the unique and individually
differentiated gifts of this triumvirate (Elman,
Heifetz, Zimbalist) rather than to some "new
approach" on the part of the master himself?-®-

He goes on to raise what he considers to be a curious and provocative


Even the so-called "Russian bowhold" which Carl

Flesch attributes to Auer (or rather to his out­
standing disciples) does not seem to represent
Auer’s intention entirely. The recently published
A. Moser-Nbsselt Geschichte des Violinspiels
(Vol. II, Hans Scnneider, Tutzing bei Mtlnchen,
1967) points out that in Auer’s Graded Course of
Violin Playing (Carl Fischer, New York, 1926) he
advocates the "Old" "Campagnoli bowhold" (fingers
close together on the stick) and not the so-called
"Russian" one that (rightly or wrongly) bears his

In light of all that has been written and observed regarding the

so-called "Russian" bowhold, from his own writings it would seem that

Auer himself did not make hard and fast rules about the placement of

the index finger on the stick of the bow, nor the pronation of the

forearm during the drawing of the bow. Indeed, he probably would have

been amazed to firv d all of this the object of such close analytical

scrutiny. Nowhere .n his writings does Auer specifically indicate the

exact placement of fingers on the stick such as described by Sikorsky

and Flesch. In point of fact, he shares with Flesch the pragmatic

^Szigeti, op. cit., pp. 171-2.

2Ibid., p. 172.

observation that there is no "correct” way to hold the bow and that

the approaches are varied and must be adapted to individual physical

needs. This type of open-mindedness to individual approach seems to

characterize truly great pedagogues. Often, it is the less gifted

assistants and disciples who through blind application of principles

develop the rigid strictures that later become mistakenly identified

or associated with the "school." The founders and namesakes would

abhor that rigidity and those inflexible qualities which were never

a part of their own teaching.

In Violin Playing As I Teach It, Auer states very simply:

I myself have found that there can be no exact and

unalterable rule laid down indicating which one or
which ones of the fingers shall in one way, or
another grasp and press the stick in order to
secure a certain effect. . . . Only as the result of
repeated experiment can the individual player hope
to discover the best way in which to employ his
fingers to obtain the desired effect.

This is not the statement of a doctrinaire pedagogue. Indeed, Auer

goes on to discuss the various bow holds employed by his colleagues

Joachim, Wieniawski, Sarasate and Ysaye, pointing out the differences

in their approaches based on individual shape and arm proportions:

Joachim, for instance, held his bow with his second,

third and fourth fingers (I except the thumb), with
his first finger often in the air. Ysaye, on the
contrary, holds the bow with his first three fin­
gers, with his little finger raised in the air.
Sarasate used all his fingers on the stick, x-rtiich
did not prevent him from developing a free, singing
tone and airy lightness in his passage w o r k . ^

He does not endorse anyone*s approach as being definitive or even

^Leopold Auer, Violin Playing As I Teach It (New York: Frederick

A. Stokes, 1921), p. 36. Hereafter cited as Auer, Violin Playing.

^Ibid., p. 36.

preferable, but points to the greater end that each of these artists

tried to produce, a glorious violin sound:

We may observe the same causes and the same effects

in the bow technique of the virtuosi of the present
time. They may have nothing in common either in
talent or temperament, yet, notwithstanding this
fact, each one will, according to his own indivi­
duality, produce a beautiful tone. The tone of one
may be more sonorous, that of the other more trans­
parent, yet both will be ravishing to hear, and not
even the closest attention will enable you to divine
which form or degree of finger-pressure the artist
has exerted to produce his tone.-^

In discussing Auerfs method books, A Graded Course of Violin

Playing (8 vols.), to which Messrs. Szigeti and Moser-Ndsselt refer,

one must bear in mind that Auerfs most significant pedagogic contri­

bution was not the instruction of beginning violin students. Indeed,

his class was always comprised of the most technically advanced and

musically gifted students, whom from the first he could teach on the

highest artistic level. In fact, technical difficultiesand problems

were most often relegated to one of his many capable assistants.

Nevertheless, a lifetime of playing and teaching the violin gave Auer

a unique and intimate knowledge of the art, which he outlines in this

series of method books. They move at too accelerated a pace to be

used as a course of study for the average beginning violin student,

since in the course of eight books, Auer progresses from the basic

beginnings of violin playing in the first book to the final virtuoso

grade in the last. But as he states:

1Ibid., p. 37 f.

This Graded Course of Violin Playing . . . is not in­

tended as a Method in the usual sense of that term
but as a complete practical and reliable outline of
violin study which may be pursued with beneficial
results by the student and applied by the teacher
in such measure and for such particular purpose as
the needs of students (either individually or
collectively) may demand.

Nonetheless, in each volume there are numerous interesting and useful

exercises and observations that show Auer’s acute perceptions and

keen insights into the complexities of violin playing and how to avoid

or work out the pitfalls that may arise.

Since it is intended to explain concepts at a more rudimentary

level, his discussion on how to hold and draw the bow is more detailed

and explicit than the rather general discussion of right-hand technique

in Violin Playing As I Teach It. He begins his discourse by stating

that physical differences determine, to some extent, every violinist’s

particular manner of holding the bow. But then he does go on to out­

line his basic approach to the position of the bow in the right hand,

the security and function of each finger, the action of the wrist and

the proper attitude of the arm during the execution of the strokes:

Auer describes his bow hold as follows:

The index finger presses laterally on the stick at

the beginning of its third joint, at the same time
embracing it with its first and second joints. As
shown there is little space between the index and
middle fingers, the index finger assuming the gui­
dance of the bow, and the little finger only touching
it at its lower half while p l a y i n g . ^

In the ensuing discussion of right-hand technique, Auer draws

^Leopold Auer, A Graded Course of Violin Playing, 8 vols. (New

York: Carl Fischer, 1926), preface.

2Ibid., I, 12.

special attention to the function of the wrist. He describes a motion

where the basic wrist position is not changed, but also in which the

surface of the hair during the course of a down-bow gradually in­

creases the closer one gets to the tip:

Not all the hairs are used at all times, and in

drawing the bow from nut to tip (down bow P I ),
it is started with the edge of the hair and for
which the wrist is dropped. In drawing the bow
in this way it is gradually turned until the full
width of the hair comes to rest on the strings
and this without visible change of the wrist

A1 though he does not state it explicitly, in order for this to be

accomplished, the forearm must be free enough in its motion from the

elbow and able to rotate on its axis, thereby not disturbing the basic

position of the wrist (and fingers) which Auer stresses so much. In

other words, this is the pronation that Flesch observes and remarks

on in his later study.

Auer's statements regarding position are amply illustrated with

photographs of the master himself demonstrating various attitudes and

admonitions about the right arm. The observation made by Moser-NBsselt

regarding Auer demonstrating the "old Campagnoli" bow hold which

Szigeti execrates rather derisively as being contradictory is based

on these photographic illustrations. In all fairness to Auer, several

factors must be mentioned in his defense. First of all, photographic

art was certainly not then the sophisticated science into which it has

developed today. This might perhaps explain the rather stilted and

unnatural attitude of the photos. Second, it should be taken into

consideration that when these photographs were taken (the book was

1Ibid., I, 13.

published in 1926), Auer was around 80. Third, as has been pointed

out in the previous quotations from his pedagogical writings in

Violin Playing As I Teach It and A Graded Course of Violin Playing,

nowhere does Auer make hard and fast dogmatic statements about the

manner in which to hold the bow. In both volumes he makes concessions

and exceptions for individual physical differences before outlining

his general principles for what he considers to be the most efficient

and effective manner of holding the bow. Certainly, after a lifetime

devoted to the violin in all its aspects, both as a distinguished

artist and respected and successful teacher, Auer, taking his own

physical limitations into consideration (he was quite small in stature),

came to his own solution of right arm problems adhering to his own

guidelines and the exceptions for which he allows. But most signi­

ficant of all is the fact that when the bow is picked up and held in

any position with the relaxed wrist that Auer stresses in all the

descriptions, regardless of school, the stick will have a natural

tendency to drop by sheer virtue of gravity, if there is no violin

string or object upon which it can come to rest. This is the case in

illustrations 8 and 9 in the first volume of his text."^ If one

proceeds to observe the following illustrations (numbers 11-14), one

finds that the position of the hand on the stick, the position of

the contact of the finger joints, and the attitude and pronation of

the arm during the process of drawing a down-bow, are exactly what he

describes in the preceding pages, analyzed by Flesch, and practiced

by the numerous disciples and followers of the school.

1Ibid., I, 12-13.


Admittedly, Auerfs most significant technical innovation was

his whole approach to the right arm and to the question of the bow

hold and how this subsequently affected and changed bow technique.

Yet by studying his teaching treatise, Violin Playing As I Teach

It, one can note and appreciate other concepts which, even though

not revolutionary in nature, show what Auer considered important

and, in turn, give a better idea of the character of his instruc­

tion, From the outset, Auer outlines the basic prerequisites with

which a child must be equipped before he would even consider the

feasibility let alone advisability of his pursuing a career.

Though the qualities he demands are not in themselves unreasonable,

they must be of the highest order: an acute sense of hearing, a

physical conformation of the hand that is adaptable to violin play­

ing, a strong feeling for rhythm, and an intuition or an instinct

that would permit an easyacquisition of technical skills, or

1*esprit de son metier, as he puts it, as well as a sensibility to

subtleties of musical nuance and artistic expression. This all pre­

supposes the necessary desire and ambition and the capacity to profit

from excellent teaching. He does not minimize the difficulties; on

the contrary:

The majority of those who wish to become musicians, in

spite of the fact that they may possess musical gifts,


have no idea of the difficulties they will have to surmount,

the moral tortures they will be called upon to endure, the
disillusions they will experience, before they win
recognition. . * . The history of music, and of the great ^
musicians, offers endless examples to corroborate what I say.

On the basis of statements like this, and indeed, from the tenor

of all his writings, it is obvious that Auer was not a music educator

in the traditional sense of the word, but rather a teacher for

great talent. His interest was not to expose young people to music

only to enrich their lives, but rather to extract every measure of

talent that lay within those few whose dedication to art was all-

consuming. His was never the approach for the dilettante. Judging

by his preliminary prerequisites, the standards are enormously high,

and, as he proceeds, they never vary. This attitude and approach

will be confirmed over and over again as we examine the writings of

this great teacher and of those who worked with him. In contrast
to pedagogues like Flesch and Sevcik, his approach is quite un-

analytical. But his point of departure was talent.

In terms of physical approach to the instrument, Auer stresses

a high position of the violin which, he feels, frees the left hand

for ease of motion, and also increases the vibration of the instru­

ment. He is adamant about the use of any type of shoulder pad or

supporting device and forbids any of his students to use one. He

reasons that such devices dampen the open vibration of the back of

the violin, causing a great loss of sonority. This caused no small

difficulties for many of his students who had accustomed themselves

^Auer, Violin Playing, p. 8.


to the use of such a pad. Regarding problems of shifting and

general mobility of the left hand, Auer advocates a relaxed thumb

placed rather forward in relationship to the other fingers, to

permit easy movement ascending or descending.

The chapter on how to practice, although brief, contains many

timely and pertinent observations. Once again, Auer presupposes

natural ability before mentioning any modes of slow practice to

solve difficulties. In fact, he goes so far as to state that due

to any number of physical or psychological limitations, those whom

he feels were never born to play the violin should be discouraged

from so doing. He does not subscribe to the theory that through

careful, analytical and assiduous practice, limitations can be

overcome. As to the amount of practice, he simply states that

individual needs will be determined by individual talent. Auer does

emphasize, however, the need for relaxation in between periods of

intense concentration:

My advice— based on the experience of years— is never to

practise more than thirty or forty minutes in succession,
and to rest and relax for at least ten or fifteen minutes
before beginning work again. If this plan is carried out,
and I should once more like to emphasize its value, the
student, in order to practise from four to five hours a ^
day must have, actually, six or seven hours at his disposal.

One of the most fascinating, if contradictory, sections of the

Gilbert Ross recounts his experience on this point with Auer

in his own most interesting and highly personal account called,
"The Auer Mystique," The Michigan Quarterly Review 14 (1975): pp.

‘Auer, Violin Playing, p. 47.


book is AuerTs discussion of vibrato, AuerTs point of view is still

very much reflective of nineteenth-century styles and tastes. He

regards vibrato as an occasional effect, not unlike a glissando, to

be used as a means of heightening the effect of certain singing

phrases or embellishing the beauty of even single notes. He frankly

deplores the use of a constant vibrato, considering it bad taste

and a form of dishonesty used by many poor violinists to conceal

faulty intonation or bad tone production. He goes on at consider­

able length condemning the musical instincts of those violinists

who have no need of it as an artifice to mask weaknesses, but who

use it consciously, believing the beauty of sound to be enhanced

by its constant presence. He recognizes the effectiveness of

vibrato when used sparingly and in the appropriate moments, but

decries its overuse as an unartistic breach of taste:

But their musical taste (or what does service for them
in place of it) does not tell them that they can reduce
a program of the most dissimilar pieces to the same dead
level of monotony by peppering them all with the tabasco
of a continuous vibrato. No, the vibrato is an effect,
an embellishment; it can lend a touch of divine pathos
to the climax of a phrase or the course of a passage,
but only if the player has cultivated a delicate sense
of proportion in the use of it.-*-

Clearly, Auerfs uncompromising view is reflective of tastes

formed by hearing great virtuosi of his generation and before. This

included artists such as Joachim, Sarasate, Wieniawski, Vieuxtemps,

who played in this fashion using vibrato sparingly only on expressive

notes, and they were considered the definitive arbiters of what was

^Lbid., pp. 60-61.


good taste in violin playing in their time. In that way, Auer is

of another age, and it must not have been without difficulty for

him to witness the changing criteria of taste infiltrate his class,

shaping and influencing the playing styles of some of his most

gifted prodigies in spite of his own vehement disapproval. When

one brings to mind three of the greatest exponents of the Auer

school, Elman, Heifetz and Seidel, one of the most striking fea­

tures is the glorious incandescence and throbbing sensuousness of

their sounds, all three with the individual and unique stamp of

their personalities. But all three are permeated with a constant

and gorgeous vibrato. It is probably reflective of them and

students like them, that Auer, in spite of his earnest exhorta­

tions says:

As a rule I forbid any students using the vibrato at all

on notes which are not sustained, and I earnestly advise
them not to abuse it even in the case of sustained notes
which succeed each other in a phrase.^

He is reluctantly forced to admit, though:

The excessive vibrato is a habit for which I have no

tolerance, and I always fight against it when I observe
it in my 2pupils— though often, I must admit, without

Indeed, the emergence of a constant vibrato and the shaping of

the tastes of an entire musical generation is of enormous interest.

Flesch discusses this phenomenon in The Art of Violin Playing, tracing

the development of the vibrato and its sparing use from Spohr to

^Ibid., pp. 62-63.

2Ibid., I, 40.

Joachim and Thompson and Sarasate to Ysaye*s close but lovely vibrato,

"which followed closely every mood of his admirable personality [and]

became the ideal goal of the generation around 1900,"'*'

However, it is Kreisler to whom he attributes the final

establishment of present-day tastes in vibrato:

Kreisler . . . driven by an irresistible inner urge, started

a revolutionary change in this regard, by vibrating not
only continuously in cantilenas like Ysaye, but even in
technical passages. This fundamental metamorphosis has
put his indelible stamp on contemporary Violin-playing,
no matter whether one agrees with it, or not.2

Flesch also makes note of the fact that Kreislerfs particular

penchant for a continuous vibrato was not well accepted in the early

stages of his career, and, ironically, because of it (and his "un­

steady rhythm"), he was not admitted to the second violin section of

the Vienna Hofoper when he auditioned for the position in 1896!

Nevertheless, he, more than anyone else, was uniquely responsible

for swaying artistic taste in terms of sound, capturing the imagina­

tion and admiration of his public, and leading violin playing into

the twentieth century. Historically, he bridged the gap between the

generation of the unforgettable Ysaye and the dominance of the Auer

superstars to follow the century:

Thirty years ago his manner of performance, borne on the

wings of tempestuous sensuality, supported by an exacerbant,
intensive vibrato, and communicating an excitement which
whipped up its auditors, was not yet in conformity with the
then ruling taste of the time. . . . Kreisler defends the
principle of lending soulfulness even to the passage-work

^Flesch, A r t , I, 40.


that seems apparently dryest, by means of a slight vibrato

which fuses with the actual tone to make an indivisible unit.
On this basis he has formed for himself a style of perfor­
mance which represents the contemporaneous ideal of beauty
in violin playing in its perfection,^

After delivering his views concerning the appropriate employment

of vibrato, Auer, in his next five chapters, makes general observa­

tions on various other aspects of violin technique in a solid, if

uninspired way. Apart from his discussions of the detache stroke and

the son file, which he describes as forming the foundation of all bow­

ing technique, he defines and gives general principles for producing

the following bow strokes: the mar tele, produced at the point of the

bow by pressing down on the string using the wrist exclusively; the

up-and down-bow staccato, which Auer teaches after the manner of

Wieniawski's brilliant execution of this stroke, that is, using only

the upper arm and stiffening the wrist to the point of inflexibility;

the staccato volant ("flying staccato"), where the bow leaves the

string after each note in an elastic manner, as opposed to the firm

staccato, by combining the use of the wrist and the upper arm; the

spiccato sautille, a springing stroke in the middle of the bow,

which Auer derives from a slight detache using the wrist, and which

he develops by means of exercises on two strings; the ricochet-

saltando, a rebounding springing bow stroke achieved by allowing the

bow to drop on the string with an elastic motion of the wrist, con­

trolling the resulting rebounds; the tremolo, a series of successive

up-and down~bow ricochet—saltando strokes (quite a different meaning

from the present day orchestral tremolo), for which Auer cites

1Ibid., II, 75.


pieces by de Beriot, Francois Prume, and Henri Marteau in which it

appears; and finally, the arpeggio, or arpeggiando bowing, which is

also derived from the ricochet-saltando, only crossing over three or

four strings as it bounces on each of them, as in, for example, the

well-known transition passage from the cadenza into the recapitula­

tion of the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto,

Opus 64.

More than once in the discussion of these various bow strokes,

Auer stresses the need for demonstration in the teaching process

(which he, himself, must have done to a large extent) and in certain

cases relies on natural aptitude for acquisition of these strokes:

Here again, only visual demonstration of the methods of

playing the staccato is of actual service to the student.
But on the ground of long experience, I must admit that
something besides proper instruction in playing the
staccato is necessary to success. The student must have ^
in addition a certain natural predisposition to the stroke.

In his chapter on left-hand technique, Auer first discusses the

problems of change of position, or shifting. He does not offer any

mechanical analysis of the procedure, or explain how to achieve it

with accuracy and ease, but he does stress that the process should be

effected unnoticeably and inaudibly. He cautions against the thumb

clutching the neck of the instrument, which would impede the ease

of motion of the shift. Apart from this, he gives little attention

to the thumb and dismisses it as follows:

Altogether too much is made of the thumbTs importance,

it seems to me. So often pupils coming to me from
abroad ask me how to handle the thumb. I always tell

^Auer, Violin Playing, p. 73,


them not to think about it too much, and give them the
rules I have just laid down.^

Of considerable more interest in Auer’s discussion of left-hand

technique, is his reaction to the more widely discussed question

of the pressure of the fingers on the strings. Once again, Auer

recognizes the difference in finger strength in various pupils, but

he states quite clearly that he is in complete disagreement with the

concept of relaxation of the fingers of the left hand insofar as

their application to the string is concerned. He feels that the

actual pressure of the fingers should be determined by the physical

strength of the individual violinist. In other words, the more

finger pressure the student is capable of applying, especially in

the upper positions, the better. He goes on to stress assiduous

practice of scales and exercises at an early age, when the muscles

are still elastic and pliable in order to acquire the necessary

strength and agility in the hand:

I stress this whole matter of the sacrifices which the

beginner must make for his art’s sake in connection with
the study of scales and special exercises, because this
indispensable and not too attractive means to perfection
is one to which the student must of necessity devote
himself in the earliest stages of his work,^

Auer cautions, however, that painstaking work at an early age

be guided by a vigilant and competent teacher who will maintain a

steady rate of progress by not assigning the student works of

exceedingly great difficulty which he cannot master. In these cases,

1Ibid., p. 88.

2Ibid., p. 93.

the students technical equipment is over-challenged, resulting in

the start of faulty work habits in the effort to overcome the

difficulties. Auer does, however, cite two rare exceptions, Mischa

Elman and Toscha Seidel, to whom, as young children, he assigned

works that were clearly beyond their ability at the moment, the

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and the Concerto N o . 9 of Spohr

respectively. But by sheer dint of their perseverance and by virtue

of their extraordinary talents, they both surmounted the difficulties.

This, perhaps more than Auerfs actual discussion of various indi­

vidual aspects of violin playing, gives us a clearer insight into

some of the reasons for his enormous success as a teacher. He

obviously expected hard work and sacrifice from his students, but

when a particular student showed talent, he had an unfailing

instinct for challenging that talent and developing it to its

maximum potential. One can see that more and more clearly as one

continues to examine his treatise on violin playing. Certainly his

technical comments and observations are astute and correct, but in

his discussions of fingerings, double stops, the production of

trills, ornaments, and artificial and double harmonics, we find no

revelations that would, in themselves, explain either the particular

strength of his teaching, or his success. In fact, apart from the

development of his unique bow hold and the general application of

logical and sound pedagogic principles, Auer really has very little
new to say technically. Certainly teachers like Sevcik and Flesch

were making far greater contributions to the analytical world of

violin technique. But they never produced the students Auer did,

certainly not in such numbers. No, we must look past these somewhat

disappointing chapters to his discussions of style and nuance to

get a better insight into the personality of the man.

The two last chapters, which comprise approximately one half

the pages of the book, are by far the most interesting. Here he

puts aside any attempts at analysis and speaks from the heart,

articulating his own very definite feelings about the art of inter­

pretation and the responsibilities of the artist to the music he

interprets. Often he speaks aphoristically, and any number of

apothegms can be quoted out of context, which could easily serve as

mottoes for inspiration: for example, "Monotony is the death of

music. Nuance is the antidote for monotony,"^ or, "Art begins

where technique ends." But when they take their place in the

logic of his argument, one begins to understand the strength of his

personality and the ardour of his presentation.

His ideas are stated strongly and uncompromisingly. They are

highly personal and instinctual, and he relies heavily on those

intangibles, inspiration and temperament. In fact, when he discusses

the art of phrasing and tries to enunciate some rules or principles

to serve as guidelines, he finally relents as if to give up, stating:

Phrasing, like other more aesthetic branches of the art

of violin playing, is one of those things for which a
detailed scheme of instruction cannot well be laid down.

1Ibid., p. 144.

2Ibid., p. 154.

It is almost impossible to make specific suggestions for


He counts on the innate musicality and sensitivity of the

student to respond to what is heard and what is suggested. But once

again, he is not dictatorial:

It [phrasing] can be demonstrated, violin in hand, but

not described. Furthermore, the violinist is character­
istically so dependent on the mood of the moment, the
accidental influence of temper and disposition, that the
same musician seldom plays the same phrase twice in
exactly the same manner.2

His statements on style are, indeed, so highly personal and

so geared towards bringing out the individual personality of the

artist, that many present-day musicologists would take issue with his

views on the basis of recent research into performance practices*

Auer opens his argument with the famous quotation of Buffon: ”Le

style est l'homme meme,” and continues with the contentious state­

ment: "I believe that style in literature is the author, and

certainly in music it is the musician himself*”

Even though one can disagree with the basic premise of his

argument, he continues in such a convincing and sincere way that one

cannot help but respect his devotion for the art he tries to serve.

He emphasizes the importance of declamation in music based on a

thorough understanding of the essential character of the movement

or sections of a movement. His approach to what he calls style is,

1Ibid., p. 165.

Ibid., pp. 165-166.

3Ibid., p. 169.

essentially, a communicative one; that is, the elements an artist

can suggest in performance and communicate to his audience,

according to his own personal grasp of the basic character of the

music* Nowadays, the meaning of style has been re—defined as the

understanding of correct performance practices of the day and

re-ascribed to the appropriate rendering thereof on the concert

platform. Auer deplores the circumscribing of the individuality

of each artist by the dictates of what was considered correct style

and tradition:

Tradition in reality weighs down the living spirit of

the present with the dead formalism of the past. For
all these hard and fast ideas regarding the interpreta­
tion of older classic works, their tempi, their nuances,
their expression, have become formalisms, because the
men whose individuality gave them a living meaning have
disappeared. . . . Let them [the violinists of today]
express themselves, and not fetter their playing with
rules that have lost their meaning. Let them not hamper
that most precious individual quality the artist has—
his style— with the dusty precepts handed down from
times gone by.^ Beauty we must have, tradition we can
dispense with.

This is not a very scholarly point of view. But it does not preclude

the possibility of expressing one's individuality within the bounds

of good taste and a basic stylistic knowledge of what scholarly

research tells us. And indeed, Auer does in his own way subscribe

to this approach providing it is not restrictive of the natural

inspiration and the individual personality of the artist:

Another century, other music— other music another style.

Of course we do not play Bach as we play Tschaikowsky.
But that is not really because tradition tells us that
Bach requires a different interpretation. Musical

1Ibid., p. 176.

instinct is sufficient. We play Bach differently because

his music itself makes us observe certain canons of taste,
certain modes of expressional procedure in presenting
his Sonatas or his Concertos.-^

Auer believes that music is something of the moment, an in­

tangible, once heard, forever lost, with only the essence of its

communication lingering in the memory. Therefore, if a performance

of a work does not convey anything of beauty offered personally

and sincerely, it means nothing to him, however correct it might

be stylistically. In fact, he goes so far as to state that style

is determined largely by the tastes of the period from which it

emanates. Furthermore, to try to recreate a tradition on the

basis of historical evidence is to be unmindful of the stylistic

tastes that shape the aesthetic of the present, which impedes

progress and the further development of style and taste:

Historical style, traditional style: I acknowledge

that there are such things, just as we have armor
in museums and time-hallowed observances. And I will
not withhold due respect to all musical tradition which
serves a useful purpose, which is a contribution to
the general history of music. Style, however, is
incidental to its period. . . . Style in reality is the
temporary crystallization, at various periods, of the
ideals of violin interpretation best suited to the
intellectual and musical feelings of the periods in
question, and born of the violin music of those periods

Decrying the blind observance of tradition, he continues with these

persuasive statements:

Beauty and not tradition is the touchstone of all style.

And what may be beauty in style during the eighteenth

1Ibid., p. 183.

2Ibid., p, 182.

century is not necessarily that in the twentieth. . . . The

truth of one age is bound to be modified by the events of
another, for truth is progressive. The aesthetic truth
of one period— the interpretive truth of one generation—
may be accounted a falsehood by the tenets of the next.
For each age sets its own standards, forms its own judg­

Whether one agrees with AuerTs viewpoint on style or not, one

cannot deny the strength and fervor of his dedication to the

expression of beauty in music. His statements are eloquent and

sincere and are reinforced with his enormous strength of character

and integrity. His devotion to individual expression combined with

his intense and demanding personality must have given his teaching

an exciting, inspiring quality that was overwhelming for his

impressionable young students. And when one considers the depth of

his commitment to his aesthetic , to enter into the spirit of the

composer to create and communicate something of beauty, to use all

technical means to achieve this end, and to breathe life into

music, one is hard-pressed to say which approach is valid and

which ends justify which means.

We now enter into difficult philosophical grounds: artistic

license , the role of the interpreter, the artist as creator or re­

creator , the personality of the artist vis-a-vis the Urtext, the

importance of performance practices versus the demands of aesthetics.

Obviously, Auer leaned heavily towards the subjective. Paraphrasing

his own words, every epoch has its own aesthetic and assigns certain

values to what it deems important. If one cannot completely agree

1Ibid., p. 175,

with his approach, one certainly cannot ignore the magnitude of

his results, nor can one deny the importance of his influence.

In Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation (New York:

Carl Fischer, 1925), we find Auer on more familiar ground. Here

he no longer deals with the basic principles of violin playing,

or offers solutions to problems and difficulties he expected his

master students to have already eliminated. Auer now shows himself

as the artist-teacher, not the analytical pedagogue, a role to

which he was ill-adapted. Now one can get a better insight into

what it might have been like to study with the great teacher by

reading his discussions of major works of the repertoire in terms

of interpretive and artistic considerations. He assumes that the

reader and student are technically equipped enough to dispose of

the mechanical problems. Technique per se (i.e., bowings and

fingerings) is discussed rarely, and, when done, only as a means to

provide a certain nuance or artistic effect that he might suggest

or that the composer indicates. Technical means are assumed,

not provided. It seems that Auer had little patience with mechan­

ical difficulties, and his students were expected to rise to his

level by virtue of their perseverance and application.

In his discussion of chosen masterworks, Auer gives valuable

performance suggestions gleaned from his experience as both an

artist and teacher. He allows his poetic and temperamental nature

free reign in many descriptions of particular works and the exact

character and spirit one should bring to them. Here Auer is

most effective. He tries to verbalize his own deeply personal


feelings and insights into a work, not to prescribe a dogmatic and

constricting interpretation. Rather, he provides an aesthetic

medium in which the student can best work to bring out his own

unique and special qualities in order to mold his own interpretation.

As Auer himself states in his introduction:

The observations, hints and suggestions which I have to

offer are not put forward as ironclad rules, as uncon­
trovertible laws. . . . I have tried in every case, where
a detail of interpretation might be open to question, to
give reasons which have prompted my own idea of how it
should be handled, with due regard for the validity of
Other and dissenting opinions. . . . Should they help him to
express more perfectly the soul, the thought, the spirit
of the creators of all that is finest in violin music,
I shall be well content.1

Auer’s choice of repertoire in his interpretive volume is quite

representative of what a late nineteenth-century violinist, schooled in

the tradition of Dont and Joachim, would play. Reflecting his German

training and exposure to Joachim and Hellmesberger, there is the standard

popular Baroque fare: Tartini, Devil’s Trill Sonata; Corelli, La Folia

Variations; Vitali (David, ed.), Chaconne; Nachez's adaptation of sev­

eral Vivaldi concerti; and some late Baroque works by Nardini and Locatel-

li. Then one finds a reverent discussion of the Bach Sonatas and Par­

titas for Solo Violin, three Mozart concerti (the predictable Concerto

in D Major, K. 218, and the Concerto in A Major, K. 219, and surprisingly

enough, the Concerto in E-Flat Major, K. 268, of doubtful

authenticity, and three Handel sonatas. He

Leopold Auer, Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation (New

York: Carl Fischer, 1925), p. ix. Hereafter cited as Auer, Masterworks.
Probably more David than Vitali.

linits his survey of the works of Beethoven (apart from the great

Violin Concerto, Opus 61, to the Sonata in A Major, Opus 47

("Kreutzer") , and the two Romances, Opus 40 and 50*

In a way his review of the concerted works is more interesting,

since he brings to them not only his own insights based on his years

on the platform and in the studio, but those of others. Here one

can benefit from the richness of a lifetime that spanned the second

half of the nineteenth century to the third decade of the twentieth.

He passes on the opinions and performance practices of those great

artists with whom he came into contact and had the pleasure of

knowing: Joachim, Wieniawski, Sarasate, Vieuxtemps, Wilhelmj, and

Sivori. Thus does one get a sense of tradition in AuerTs discussion

of Joachim’s "Hungarian" Concerto, Opus 11, when he states that at

the time of writing, he was the only Joachim student still living

to have studied the work with the master* The same is true when

he mentions Joachim’s profound and deeply spiritual readings of

the Beethoven and Brahms concertos, works with which he was unfor­

gettably associated throughout his lifetime. He recalls

Wieniawski's unique style, the panache with which he played his own

works, and also his fabulous staccato and the dazzling way he

played the well-known passage in the last movement of the Mendels-

sonn Violin Concerto (Example 23), doubling each note:

^Permission to reprint the music in Example 23 has been granted

by the C.F. Peters Corporation, New York, Copyright, 1927.

p p tranquillo

Example 23, Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor, 3rd

movement, p. 14, violin part, mm. 31-38.

Auer describes the purity and elegance of Pablo de Sarasate’s play­

ing, especially of those works dedicated to him, such as the Bruch

Scottish Fantasy, Opus 46, and the Concerto in D Minor, Opus 44,

the Saint-Saens Concerto in B Minor, Opus 61, and the Lalo

vSymphonie Espagnole, Opus 21.

Of course, Auer’s consideration of and suggestions concerning

the works of the Russian School ring with special authenticity,

notably the concertos of Tchaikovsky, Glazounov and Rimsky-

Korsakoff’s Fantasie de Concert sur les themes Russes. He also

shows himself to be a great admirer of the works of Henri Vieuxtemps,

whom he discusses at length, as well as two other masterpieces of

the Franco-Belgian school, the Cesar Franck Sonata in A Major and

the Poeme, Opus 25 , of Ernest Chausson. Although Auer could be

criticized for his taste in choice of works and also for the fact

that he does not venture into the twentieth century, he does point .

out the merits of two violin concertos that have unjustly fallen

from the standard repertoire, the Dvorak Concerto in A Minor, Opus 53?

and the Elgar Concerto in B Minor, Opus 61 (in the latter work, Auer

ventures past 190Q by ten years, but Elgar^s idiom is, of course,

thoroughly nineteenth century).

Many times in the book, especially in the pre’rRomantic music,

Auer is stylistically and musicologically weak. He expresses

opinions and views that are unacceptable to present-day musical

scholarship, such as his feeling that the two Bach concerti in

E Major and A Minor are inferior works and are of little musical or

pedagogic value,^ and his ill-advised cuts in the last movement of

the Mozart Concerto in A Major, K, 219, which, he feels, elide

"repetitions which unnecessarily extend it." These are only two

examples of many.

But to use Auer's Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation

as a handbook for stylistic and musicological reference would be a

misguided notion, and to criticize it for its weaknesses in that

respect would be all too easy. In doing so, one would miss the

whole point of what Auer tries to convey, that is, a personal

expression on a very subjective level of his opinions and reactions

to certain works and how he feels one might approach them, based on

a lifetime of performing them, teaching them, and hearing them

performed. To quibble about scholarly weaknesses is to miss the

very essence of the book, which is, indeed, its strength. Auer makes

no pretensions to being a musicologist, so one very simply must turn

a blind eye the few times he makes a statement that is unacceptable,

^Auer, Masterworks, p, 30,

^Ibid., p , AO,
or draws conclusions refuted by modern scholarship. His musicianly

instincts and his yiolinistic expertise are too strong to negate

the book’s great intrinsic value and sincerity. And although it

does not succeed as a stylistic handbook} it does as an inspira­

tional one. Herein lies the key to his greatness as a pedagogue.



Having discussed Auer’s writings on violin pedagogy and musical

interpretation, the final assessment of his greatness as a teacher

ultimately lies in his effect on his students. Thanks to the miracles

of technology, we enjoy a magnificent aural testament to the

brilliance of that class in the innumerable recordings made by so

many of its members. For a thorough understanding of Auer’s actual

teaching process, one cannot judge only by listening to the finished

products alone, but must turn to the verbal testimony of those

students who spent years working under his careful supervision.

In descriptions of Auer’s teaching, certain Leitmotivs keep

recurring, often expressed differently, but essentially the same in

meaning. First of all one would have to conclude that there is no

particular "Auer method" or any systematized approach or formalized

program of study that would warrant the title of "school." Apart

from his specialized manner of holding the bow, the chief character­

istic emblematic of the "Russian School of Violin Playing" was, very

simply, its geographic location, Russia.'

Over and over one finds stressed that Auer’s teaching was

geared towards the individual. The unique talent of the student and

his rate of progress and assimilation determined the particular

teaching program. There was no prescribed and inflexible violinistic


curriculum which all the Auer students followed, Jascha Heifetz,

certainly one of AuerTs most brilliant students, confirms this in

his own cryptic way, discussing the concept of the Auer school or


I believe people are a little over-zealous in observing

certain rules— one position according to a certain
method, a different position according to another.
People ask me what method and style I use in bowing. I
really haven't any ideal I really never have been able
to find out what the so-called "Auer method" is, even
though I studied with him,l

In another interview some thirty years earlier, a younger and more

effusive Heifetz expresses the same opinion somewhat differently:

Yes, he is a wonderful and an incomparable teacher; I

do not believe there is one in the world who can possibly
approach him. Do not ask me just how he does it, for I
would not know how to tell you. But he is different
with each pupil— perhaps that is one reason he is so great
a teacher.2

What factors might have prompted Auer to adopt an attitude of

teaching his students as individuals? First of all, one must bear

in mind that with a country as vast as Russia, Auer must have been

presented with a wide variety of talents, especially in the earlier

years of his teaching career before the names of Zimbalist and

Elman catapulted his reputation as a pedagogue to international

fame. From the 1880Ts and even 1890's, one hears of no famous

students emanating from Auer's class. It is to be assumed, then,

that Auer had somewhat less talented students with whom he could

^As quoted in Samuel and Sada Appelbaum, With the Artists

(New York: John Markert, 1955), p. 43. Hereafter cited as
Appelbaum, Artists.
As quoted in Frederick H. Martens, Violin Mastery (New York:
Stokes, .1919), p. 82.

do little. Perhaps his less structured approach met with little

success in these instances. But when he was presented with a

student who showed promise, he shaped his approach to suit the

needs and potential of that student, who was evidently better able

to respond to it in a positive way.

One gets this impression in regard to his use of technical

study material and his approach to technique in general. Most of

his students confirm that Auer did not teach technique per se .

In spite of the fact that Auer gives a list of studies and etude

material in the final chapter of Violin Playing As I Teach It, it

is a pretty perfunctory review and most of his students state that

he rarely assigned technical studies. He was exigent about tech­

nical work and was a great advocate of scale study. But these

were things the student was to do on his own. One notable exception

to this policy that we know of was Thelma Given who records that

Auer, finding her technically deficient when she first came to him,

assigned her nothing but etudes and scales for six months.

This speaks very well for Miss Given and the high regard Auer

must have had for her innate gifts, for more than adequate and

competent technical ability was an assumed pre-requisite for his

class. As he explained:

I insist on a perfected technical development in every

pupil who comes to me. , . . And a great deal of technical
work has to be done before the great works of violin
literature, the sonatas and concertos, may be approached.
In Petrograd my own assistants, who were familiar with
my ideas, prepared my pupils for me.-*-

^Martens, Violin Mastery, p. 16.


There were also students who came to Auer as finished products

with whom he worked on a purely artistic level* Such was the case

with Eddy Brown who states:

X never gave a thought to technic while I studied with

him— the great things were a singing tone, bowing, and

Indeed, the assistants, who at various times included such fine

violinists as Paul Stassevitch, Alexander Bloch, Victor Kuzdo, and

Raphael Bronstein, and who themselves later became important teachers,

were able and devoted repetateurs. They were concerned only with the

working out of mechanical difficulties and the execution of exer­

cises and studies assigned by Auer, He was concerned with aspects

of pure technique only insofar as they affected overall musical

expression. Toscha Seidel says that he expected each student to

"work out his own salvation.” The details of the actual working

out were unimportant to him. That was left to the help of the

assistants or the ingenuity of the student, Seidel also remembers

Auer saying, "Play with your feet if you must, but make the violin
sound!" Technique was regarded only a means, not an end in itself.

Discussing Toscha Seidel, H. F. Peyser expresses a view of

AuerTs students which was generally accepted during the 1920's:

The transcendental technic observed in the greatest

pupils of his [Seidel's] master, a command of
mechanism which makes the rough places so plain that

1Ibid,, p. 29,

2Ibid., p. 219.

3Ibid., p. 223,
the traces of their roughness are hidden to the un­
practiced eye.l

Indeed, three of his greatest students, Seidel, Elman and Heifetz

all of them renowned for their mastery of their instrument, re­

count the indirect ways Auer worked with technical considerations

each of them with an individual approach. Seidel also records:

The professor encouraged us to find what we needed

ourselves. I remember that once— we were standing
in a corridor of the Conservatory— when I asked him,
"What should I practice in the way of studies?" he
answered: "Take the difficult passages from the
great concertos. You cannot improve on them, for
they are as good, if not better, as any studies
written." As regards technical work we were also
encouraged to think out our own e x e r c i s e s . ^

Misha Elman, in a charming story about a lesson before his

auspicious Berlin debut at the age of eleven, compares Auer's

approach in reference to various technical points to "secrets"

which, if he were clever, he would pick up on or "catch" when

the master would play certain passages for him,

Jascha Heifetz, for whom even at an early age technical

problems barely existed, recounts Auer's light-handed approach

to this Wunderkind's technique:

I never played exercises or technical works of any

kind for the Professor. . . . The Professor's pupils were
supposed to have been sufficiently advanced in the
technic necessary for them to profit by his wonderful
lessons in interpretation. Yet there were all sorts
of technical finesses which he had up his sleeve, any
number of fine, subtle points in playing as well as

1Ibid., p. 219.

2Ibid., pp. 223-224.

3Ibid., p. 48.

interpretation which he would disclose to his pupils.

And the more interest and ability the pupil showed,
the more the Professor gave of himself'^

Yet apart from the excellent technical preparation done by the

assistants, AuerTs relentless urgings and his own readiness to

demonstrate (he taught with the violin in his hand), the class it<-

self provided great stimulation and motivation for development of

the highest technical and musical standards. Auer generally taught

in master-class fashion. In these classes, which in Russia met

on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Stassevitch recalls Mthe competitive

feeling was so keen among the students at the Conservatory that each
one was compelled to work hard technically,"

Heifetz, certainly one of its pace-setters, corroborates this

with his own reflections on what he gained from the class:

Aside from what we each gained individually from the

Professor's criticism and correction, it was interesting
to hear the others who played before one's turn came,
because one could get all kinds of hints from what
Professor Auer told them. I know I always enjoyed
listening to Poliakin, a very talented violinist, and
Cecile Hansen, who attended the classes at the same
time I did.3

Yet as remarkable as the technical results were from Auer's

individualized non-technical approach, only the loftiest ideals of

musicianship were recognized as the ultimate goal. This is by far

the strongest section of his volume Violin Playing As I Teach It,

and the exposition of these ideals w as his whole aim and purpose

^Tbid., pp. 82-83.

Appelbaum, Artists, p, 303,
Martens, Violin Mastery, pp. 83-84.

in the writing of Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation.

Artistry and beauty of feeling were the raisons d'etre for his

teaching and, indeed, for his whole approach to music. This is

echoed time and time again by his various students who have

emphasized the strong interpretive aspect of Auer's teaching. For

example, Eddy Brown states: "Auer [was] more interested in the

interpretive, artistic educational end, which has always claimed

his a t t e n t i o n . J o s e f Borissoff, who studied with Auer for five

years, wrote: "He was a genius as a teacher, especially as regards

phrasing and interpretation."

But as was the case with his approach to technique, Auer

geared his teaching of the interpretation of a work to suit the

personality of the student to whom the work was being taught. Once

again the pragmatic, individual approach was very much in evidence.

Mishel Piastro writes:

The Professor's great gift in teaching was interpreta­

tion, making the very soul of the great violin repertoire
numbers clear to those whom he taught. I have heard
people accuse him of suppressing individuality, but I
cannot agree with them. He never opposed individuality,
unless it was taking the wrong course, and the idea that
all Auer pupils play in the same way is ridiculous. All
you need do is to go to concerts given by any two pupils
to realize that each plays in a manner distinct from
every other one.^

Thus, the only strictures Auer put on the individuality of his

1Ibid., p. 27.
Frederick H, Martens, String Mastery (New York: Stokes,
1923), p. 19.

3Ibid., p. 127,

students were those determined by aesthetic principles of form and

structure, and good taste. Here Auer felt it his duty as an

artist and a teacher to offer guidance and criticism should a student

overstep these boundaries, Paul Stassevitch quotes his teacher as


Everything you play must make musical sense! It is not

enough to say "I feel it this way!" There must be
reasons for everything based upon the structural logic
of the workjl

And Auer himself explicitly records this same viewpoint:

I always have made an individual study of each pupil, and

given each pupil individual treatment. And always, always
I have encouraged them to develop freely in their own way
as regards inspiration and ideals, so long as this was not
contrary to esthetic principles and those of my art,^

But he adds a qualifying principle which, in a way, explains how

such a flexible, personal, pragmatic approach produced such

brilliant results:

My idea has always been to help bring out what nature

has already given, rather than to use dogma to force a
student's natural inclinations into channels I myself
might prefer. And another great principle in my teach­
ing, one which is productive of results, is to demand
as much as possible of the pupil. Then he will give you

It is a practically infallible combination that insures success

in teaching— the establishment of standards whose excellence is

limited only by the quality of the talent that aspires to achieve

them. This is what Auer means by bringing out "what nature has

Appelbaum, Artists, p. 304,

Martens, Violin Mastery, pp. 15-16.

3Ibid,, p. 16.

already given." But this presupposes that nature has already given

something to be brought out. As was always the case in his class,

talent was a prerequisite. Auer could do little for the un-

talented student. He had neither the patience nor the ability for

working with those who had nothing innately to offer. And they,

in turn, could not meet the high standards or survive the competi­

tion and striving for excellence that he inspired in his class.

He could not, as could Sevcik, for example, take a student of

mediocre talent and make an excellent violinist out of him. Auer

was, as David Hochstein so astutely observed, "an ideal teacher

for the greatly gifted."^

Given talent, Auer could accomplish wonders, "To demand as

much as possible of the pupil" was no small consideration when one

studied with him. The greater the talent, the greater the demands.

But high standards and great expectations do not alone account

for the success Auer achieved in having them fulfilled. This

final aspect of Auer’s teaching contributed so much to his success:

the irresistible force of his personality. He was a man of deep

and rich emotional qualities, and a volatile temperament. There­

fore, his musical demands often took the form of pleas, exhortations,

moments of inspired eloquence, and also moments of explosive wrath.

Indeed, the strength of his personality insured that the demands were

met; of all of the qualities that made his teaching distinctive, it

was this aspect mentioned most by his students. Eddy Brown,

^Ibid., p. 93.

testifying to the force of Auerfs inspiration, states:

Auer, a temperamental teacher, literally drags out of

him whatever there is in him, awakening latent powers he
never knew he possessed* • • • There is a higher ideal in
violin playing than mere correctness, and Auer is an
inspiring teacher.^

Even Elman, unwilling to give too much credit to his contem­

poraries in the class, remarked:

There was a magnetism about him: he literally hypnotized

his pupils into doing better than their best— though in
some cases it was evident that once the support of his
magnetic personality was withdrawn, the pupil fell back
into the level from which he had been raised for the time

Paul Stassevitch recalls that "Auer was intensely emotional.

He would yell, plead, demand the musical effect he wantedI’1 Gilbert

Ross, in an eloquent and moving recollection of his work with his

teacher, echoes this same sentiment:

The master’s true greatness lay in his power to penetrate

to the heart of the music, perceive its character and some­
how communicate this to his pupils, and in his capacity
to arouse them to higher levels of technical mastery and
expressive eloquence.^

Frequently his exhortations would be to use the bow more freely

in order to "sing" always on the instrument.Irritation might also

be expressed over faulty intonation; many of his students relate

Auer’s sensitivity about good pitch.

But the greatest outbursts were reserved for the approach to the

1Ibid., p. 26,

2Ibid., p. 47.
Appelbaum, Artists, p. 303.

Gilbert Ross, "The Auer Mystique," Michigan Quarterly Review 14

(1975): 312.

music itself* Auer had a deep respect for the great works in the

repertoire, such as the Brahms and Beethoven concertos, which he

taught with special reverence. Here, by means of his wonderful in­

sight and commanding personality, he could inspire a student and

fill him with a profound comprehension of the essence of the music.

If the aesthetic boundaries had been overstepped, or the attitude was

not sufficiently humble, the student would earn an unforgettable

chastising and display of temper. But these were the risks of

being an Auer student, risks that were taken willingly by hundreds,

if not thousands > of students who wanted the experience of studying

with him. The testimonials from students of the period are numerous

and deferential. And they all express a common feeling of devotion

and esteem for the inspiration that Auer communicated to them. But

even more important and lasting, our musical sensibilities still

bear witness to the great legacy of magnificent violinists that he

gave the musical world.



In this work, I have tried to give a critical analysis of

Leopold Auer and the so-called "Russian School" which he is credited

with founding, and give reasons for his extraordinary success. It

is evident that this success was not achieved through a purely

analytical, technical approach, for there were others far more

influential and effective in that regard than he. But they lacked

that one particular personal quality which Auer possessed in such

overwhelming abundance, the ability to breathe inspiration into

his students. And this is a quality that cannot be measured or

taught. It is something that had to be experienced.

Perhaps, the most important testament to the greatness of a

teacher is his ability, by sheer force of personality, to bring out

the innate and unique musical personality of each of his students.

For it is no mere accident of fate that such remarkable violinists

developed from the talents who came to study with him. It takes a

certain greatness to recognize greatness in others; moreover, it takes

a great teacher to evoke that same quality in those few students who

possess it.

Admittedly, there was great talent, and there is a grain of

truth in Alexander Saslavsky's unwitting remark, that "one reason

why Auer has had such brilliant pupils is that poor students were


received at the Petrograd Conservatory free of charge. All they had

to supply was talent,1,1 But talent in the hands of a lesser

teacher would never have come to such a bountiful and varied

fruition. One must know how to "demand as much as possible of the

pupil," but one must also have the artistic integrity, the inspira­

tion, and the compelling personality to justify the expectation.

This was hardly a "school" in the continuing sense of the word,

and to assign the appellation The Russian School of Violin Playing

to Auer’s class would be, in a way, a misnomer. Auer produced a

class of individualists. And contradictory as it may seem, the one

universal trait in his instruction of his pupils was the latitude

he allowed them to develop a unique style of their own. It is this

quality of individual development that his great students shared in

common. Thus they can be thought to represent a "school" only

to the extent that they all studied with the great master. When

Auer died, the Russian School of violin teaching died with him. He

was a school unto himself.

The memory of the greatness of an artist in the minds of his

listening public is tragically short. Even in this day and age,

when the miracles of the recording industry can "immortalize" a

performance, that immortality lasts only as long as its popularity

in the record catalogues. Music, by its very nature, is a temporal

art, and the greatness of its artists, who are consecrated to its

service, evaporates with the dying notes of their last performance.

The recording industry has only managed to prolong that echo. Even

^Martens, Violin Mastery, p. 215.

in the years to come, with the unpredictable and inevitable shifts

in taste and style, these historic performances committed to wax to

preserve their greatness for posterity will lose that magic incan­

descence of the moment of their creation, and to the unsympathetic

ears of future generations will be regarded as no more than curios­

ities and oddities. As Auer himself said, "each age sets its own

standards, forms its own judgments."^-

This is an honest but sad description of the evanescent nature

of the art of music, a description which at the same time embodies

its glory and its tragedy. But one must go on to make an equally

sad observation, that the longevity of an artistes reputation

rarely exceeds the boundaries of his productive years, and then is

only as great as the success of his last performance. Such would

have been the case had Auer never taught. But an artist-teacher

plays a very different role in the course of music. He shapes and

contributes to its very development and evolution, and, by doing so,

with whatever success, earns his place in the annals of music

history by virtue of the contribution of his work. And so Auer has

earned his place. He presented a concert-going public with a

class of violinists that has never been rivaled. What these stu­

dents have had to share and impart, either by playing or teaching,

extends and prolongs that memory and influence to yet future genera­

tions. When Auer made the memorable statement, "Demand as much as

possible of a pupil. Then he will give you something!" little did he

realize that what his pupils would give him would be his legacy.



Auer, Leopold

12 Characteristic Preludes (in Form of Melodic Studies) ,

Opus 9 , c. 1924. — —

Graded Course of Violin Playing, 8 volumes.

Bang, Mala

Violin Method: Based on the Teaching Principles of L. Auer

and Provided with his Original Exercises and Suggestions.
7 Parts , 1919-1920.

Bach, Johann Sebastian

Six Sonatas for Violin Solo [sic], c. 1917.


Auer, Leopold

Cadenzas for Brahms* Violin Concerto in D , Opus 77, 1916.

3 Cadenzas for Beethoven*s Violin Concerto in D , Opus 61, c. 1917.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Cadenza for Concerto N o . 2 in D, c. 1921.

Cadenza for Concerto No. 3 in G , c. 1921.

Cadenza for Concerto N o . 4 in D, c. 1921.

Cadenza for Concerto No, 5 in A, c. 1921.

1A11 works listed were edited for Carl Fischer, New York, unless
otherwise specified.


Tartini, Giuseppi

Cadenza for Le Trille du Diable (The DevilTs Trill) Sonata.


Auer, Leopold

Hungarian Rhapsody, Opus 5. Leipzig: Kistner, [186-?].

Romance, Opus 4. Berlin: Bote.

Tarantelle de Concert in G Minor, Opus 2.

Bazzini, Antonio

The Dance of the Goblins (La Ronde des Lutins) . New York: G.

Schirmer, 1921,

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Chorus of Dervishes. "Etude " from The Ruins of Athens, 1916.

Concerto, Opus 61, c. 1917.

Romance No. 1 in G , Opus 40, and Romance No. 2 in F , Opus 50,


10 Sonatas. Piano part ed. R. Ganz, 1917.

Sonata in A ("Kreutzer"), Opus 47. Piano part ed. R. Ganz, 1917.

Turkish March. "Scherzo " from The Ruins of Athens, 1916.

Brahms, Joannes

Concerto in D , Opus 77, 1916.

Concerto in D , Opus 77. Piano part ed. by A. Schnabel.

Sonata No. 1 in G , Opus 78. Piano part ed. by R. Ganz, c. 1917.

Sonata No. 2 in A , Opus 100. Piano part ed. by R. Ganz, c. 1917.

Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Opus 108. Piano part ed. by R. Ganz, c. 1917.

l, Max

Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Opus 26, 1921.

Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Opus 44, 1919.


Chopin, Frederic

Nocturne in E Minor, Opus 72.

Conus, Jules

Concerto in E Minor, c. 1927.

Corelli, Arcangelo

La Folia. Variations (Folies d ^ s p a g n e ) Edited by David-Auer, c. 1922.

Dont, Jakob

Agite (Unrest), c. 1921.

Etincelles (Sparks) .

Drigo, Richard

"Serenade" from the ballet Les Millions d'arlequin.

Valse-bluette. New York: G. Schrimer, 1906.

Ernst, Heinrich Wilhelm

Concertino in D Major, Opus 12. New York: G. Schirmer, c. 1921.

Concerto in F-Sharp Minor, Opus 23, c. 1919.

Glazounov, Alexander

Concerto in A Minor, Opus 82, c. 1920.

Goldmark, Carl

Concerto, Opus 28, c. 1922.

Grieg, Edvard

Sonata No. 2 in G , Opus 13. Piano part ed. by R. Ganz, c. 1925.

Handel, George Frideric

6 Sonatas. Piano part ed. by C. Friedberg, c. 1919.

Kreutzer, Rodolphe

Concerto No. 19 in D Minor, c. 1919.

Mendelssohn, Felix

Andante, from Violin Concerto, Opus 64.


Concerto, Opus 64, c. 1917.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Concerto No. 2 in D, Piano part ed. by L. Strasser, c. 1921.

Concerto No. 3 in G, Piano part ed. by L. Strasser, c. 1921.

Concerto No. 4 in D. Piano part ed, by L. Strasser, c. 1921.

Concerto No. 5 in A. Piano part ed. by L. Strasser, c. 1921.

Paganini, Niccolo

Caprice No. 2 4 , c. 1922.

Popper, David

Gavotte No. 2 , Opus 23. Auer-Saenger,

Spinning Song. Concert Etude, Opus 55, No. 1,

Rode, Jacques-Pierre

Concerto No. 1 in D Minor.

Rubinstein, Anton

Melody in F, Opus 3. Auer-Saenger.

Schumann, Robert

Dedication (Widmung).

The Prophet Bird (Vogel als Prophet) . G. Schirmer, New York.

The Walnut Tree (Per Nussbaum).

Spohr, Ludwig

Concerto No. 2 in D Minor,Opus2.

Concerto No. 6 in G Minor,Opus28.

Concerto No. 7 in E Minor,Opus38.

Concerto No. 8 in A , Opus 47.

Concerto No. 9 in D Minor,Opus55,

Concerto No. 11 in G, Opus 70.


Tartini, Giuseppi

Sonata in G Minor.

Le Trille du diable (The Devil's Trill) Sonata.

Tchaikovsky, Peter I.

Air de Lensky (0 Days of Youth) from Eugene Onegin.

Andante Cantabile, from String Quartet, Opus 11.

Concerto in D , Opus 35.

Melodie, Opus 42, No. 3.

"Valse11from the Serenade for Strings, Opus 48. Auer-Saenger.

Vieuxtemps, Henri

Concerto No. 2 in P-Sharp Minor, Opus 19.

Concerto No. 4, in D Minor, Opus 31. Augener, London.

Viotti, Giovanni Battista

Concerto No. 29 in E Minor.

Vital!, Tommaso

Ciaccona in G Minor. Charlier-David-Auer.

Wagner, Richard

Dreams (Traume) from the Five Poems.

LohengrinTs Farewell to Elsa.

Wieniawski, Henri

Capriccio-Valse, Opus 7.

Concerto No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor, Opus 14.

Zeitlin, L.-- Achron, J.

Eli Zion (God of Zion).



Auer, Leopold

"Fiddlers Two" from Book II, Graded Course of Ensemble Playing? 1926.

Wieniawski, Henri

Caprices, Opus 18, for two violins. G. Schirmer, New York.


Auer, Leopold and Gustav Saenger

Graded Course of Ensemble Playing, 6 Books, 1926-1927.


Abell, Arthur M. "Leopold Auer as a Virtuoso.11 Musical Courier 76,

no. 9 (1918): 14.

Appelbaum, Samuel and Sada. The Way They Play. Books I and II.
New Jersey: Paganiniana Publications, 1972.

. With the Artists. New York: Markert, 1955.

Auer, Leopold. A Graded Course of Violin Playing. 8 vols. New York:

Carl Fischer, 1926.

. My Long Life in Music. New York: Stokes, 1923.

. Violin Playing As I Teach It. New York: Stokes, 1921.

. Violin Masterworks and Their Interpretation. New York: Carl

Fischer, 1925.

, and Gustav Saenger. Leopold Auer Graded Course of Ensemble

Playing. 8 vols. New York: Carl Fischer, 1926.

Bachman, Alberto. Encyclopedia of the Violin. Translated by Frederick

H. Martens. Edited by Albert E. Weir. New York: Da Capo Press
Paperback, 1975. Original edition, New York and London: Appleton,

Bang, Maia. Maia Bang Violin Method: Provided with Original Exercises
and Suggestions by Leopold Auer and Based on his Teaching Principles.
9 vols. New York: Carl Fischer, 1923-1925.

Bowen, Catherine Drinker, and Barbara von Meek. Beloved Friend. New
York: Little, Brown and Co., 1937.

Brook, Donald. Violinists of Today. London: Rockcliff, 1948.

Cobbett, Walter Willson. Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music. 2 vols.

London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963.


Dubourg, George. The Violin. London: Robert Cocks and Co., 1878.

Duleba, Wladyslaw. Henryk Wieniawskl. Krakow: Polski Wydawnictwo

Myzyczne, 1968.

Erlich, A. Beruhmta Geiger der Vergangenheit and Gegenwart. Leipzig:

Payne, 1893.

Ella, Prof. Musical Sketches Abroad and at Home. London: Reeves, 1878.

Elman, Saul. Memoirs of Mischa Elman’s Father. New York: Privately

printed, 1933.

Farga, Franz. Violins and Violinists. Translated by Egon Larsen. New

York: Macmillan, 1950.

Flesch, Carl. The Art of Violin Playing. 2 vols. Translated by Fred­

erick H. Martens. New York: Carl Fischer, 1924-1930.

. Memoirs. Translated by Hans Keller. London: Rockcliff, 1957.

French, Maida Parlow. Kathleen Parlow. Toronto: Ryerson, 1967.

Gee, John, and Elliot Selby. The Triumph of Tchaikovsky. New York:
Vanguard, 1960.

Gingrich, Arnold. A Thousand Mornings of Music. New York: Crown, 1970.

G r ove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 9 vols. 5th edition. Edited

by Eric Blom. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1954. Reprinted 1970.

Kolodin, Irving. "Heifetz On Records." Notes in booklet, The Heifetz

Collection A Retrospective in Six Volumes 1917-1955, for the record
album of the same title (RCA), ARM4— 0942-0947.

Kiizdo, Victor. "A Summer with Auer in Loschwitz." Musical Observer 6

(1912): 774-775.

Lahee, Henry C. Famous Violinists of Today and Yesterday. Boston:

Page, 1899.

Lochner, Louis. Fritz Kreisler. New York: Macmillan, 1950.

Martens, Frederick H. String Mastery. New York: Stokes, 1923.

. Violin Mastery. New York: Stokes, 1919.

Menuhin, Yehudi. Violin (Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin). New York:
Viking, 1971.

Moser, Andreas. Joseph Joachim. Berlin: Behr Verlag, 1898.


Neumann, Frederick, Violin Left Hand Technique. Urbana, Illinois:

American String Teachers Association, 1969,

Newmarch, Rosa, Tchaikovsky. New York: Scribner*s, 1908,

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, and Mary Lawton, Paderewski Memoirs, New

York: Scribner’s, 1938,

Pasquali, G,, and R, Principe, II Violino, Milan: Edizioni Curci,


Raaben, Lev. History of the Violin. Leningrad: Mastera Sovetskovo

Kamerno instrumentalnovo ansanbla, 1964,

Rivarde, Achille. The Violin and Its Technique. London: Macmillan,


Ross, Gilbert. ’’The Auer Mystique.” The Michigan Quarterly Review 14

(1975): 302-322. --------- ----*------- 1-------

Salesky, Gdal. Famous Musicians of a Wandering Race. New York:

Bloch, 1927.

Schang, F. C. Visiting Cards of Violinists. Stuart, Florida:

Southeastern Printing Co., 1975.

Schonberg, Harold C. The Great Pianists. New York: Simon and

Schuster, 1963.

Schwarz, Boris. Music and Musical Life in Soviet Russia 1917-1970.

London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1972.

Sikorsky, Nicolai. The Russian School of Violin Playing. Privately

printed [1971].

Stravinsky, Igor. Stravinsky: an Autobiography. New York:

Schuster, 1936.

Szende, Otto and Mihaly Nemessuri. The Physiology of Violin Playing.

Translated by I. Szmodis. London: Collet’s ,1971.

Szigeti, Joseph. A Violinist’s Notebook. London: Duckworth, 1964.

_______________. Szigeti on the Violin. New York: Praeger, 1969.

______________. With Strings Attached: Reminiscences and Reflec­

tions . New York: Knopf, 1947.

Volpe, Arnold. Bridge Between Two Musical Worlds. Miami:

University of Miami Press, 1950.

Warrack, John. Tchaikovsky. New York: Scribner*s, 1973.

Wechsberg, Joseph. "Heifetz An Appreciation." Notes in booklet, The

Heifetz Collection A Retrospective in Six Volumes 1917-1955, for
the record album of the same title (RCA), ARM— 0942-0947.

____ . The Glory of the Violin. New York: Viking, 1973.


Brahms, Johannes. Hungarian Dance No. 1 in A Minor, performed by

Leopold Auer. Victor ASCC A 123.

Tchaikovsky, Peter I. "Melodie," from Souvenir d'un lieu cher,

Opus 42, No. 3, also performed by Leopold Auer. Victor ASCO A 123.

Editions of Music

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix. Violin Concerto in E Minor, Opus 64.

Edited by Carl Flesch, New York: Peters, 1927.

Tchaikovsky, Peter I. Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 35. Edited by D.

Oistrakh and K. Mostras, New York: International Music Company,


Personal: Born: 27 September, 1948

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Citizenship: Canadian
Home Address: 55 Barrett Road, Apt. 407
Berea, Ohio 44017
Home Telephone: (216) 826-0332
Studio Telephone: (216) 826-2103

Education and Degrees:

1964 A.M.U.S. (Violin) University of Saskatchewan
1962-1966 Central Collegiate, Regina, Saskatchewan
Senior Matriculation, High School Diploma
1969 L.Mus. (Violin) University of Saskatchewan
1969 B.Mus. in Performance (Violin) with great
distinction; University of Saskatchewan,
Regina Campus
1971 M.Mus. in Performance (Violin) with
distinction; Indiana University
1971-1974 Doctoral Studies, Indiana University
Qualifying Examinations passed February, 1975
1977 D.Mus. in Performance and Music History and
Literature, with distinction; Indiana

Document Topic and Fields: "The Teaching and Influence of

Leopold Auer"
Director of Document: Dr. Josef Gingold,
Distinguished Professor of Music
Minor Fields: Music History and Literature
Art History

Scholarships and Awards:

Recipient of five Silver Medals from the
Toronto Conservatory of Music
1966-1969 Recipient of Undergraduate Music Scholarships;
University of Saskatchewan
1968 Recipient of Canada Council Grant for summer
study in Switzerland
1969 Recipient of Governor-General1s Gold Medal
for the most distinguished graduate
1969-1974 Teaching Assistantships; Indiana University
1971-1973 University Fellowship; Indiana University
1971-1974 Doctoral Fellowship; The Canada Council

1961-1969 Howard Leyton-Brown, Regina Conservatory of
Music; University of Saskatchewan
1969-1974 Josef Gingold, Indiana University
Summer Studies: 1968 Max Rostal, Adelboden, Switzerland
1972 Tadeusz Wronski, Indiana University
1974 Franco Gulli, Indiana University
Chamber Music Studies.: William Primrose, Janos Starker,
Gyorgy Sebok, Georges Janzer

Orchestral Experience:
1966-1969 Assistant Concertmaster, Regina Symphony
1966 & 1967 National Youth Orchestra (Canada),
1st Violins
1969 Concertmaster, International Congress of
Strings (Los Angeles)
1970 Concertmaster, Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra
1972-1973 Concertmaster, Indianapolis Philharmonic
1971-1974 Concertmaster, Indiana University Concert
1974-1975 Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 1st Violins
1975- Concertmaster, Ohio Chamber Orchestra

Chamber Music:
1975- Violinist in the Elysian Trio, Baldwin-Wallace
College, Berea, Ohio

Solo Appearances:
Indiana University Concert Orchestra
Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra (3 appearances)
Regina Symphony Orchestra
Violin Soloist in premiere of David Baker's Concerto
for Double Bass, Solo Violin, String Quartet,
and Jazz Band, with Gary Karr (Bloomington,
Frequent recitalist on CBC, both English and French
Many recitals in both Canada and the United States

Teaching Experien c e :
1966-1969 Teaching Assistant, Regina Conservatory of
1969-1974 Teaching Assistant, Indiana University
1975- Assistant Professor of Violin, Baldwin-
Wallace College, Berea, Ohio;
Head, Department of String Instruments,
Baldwin-Wallace College