Henryk Wieniawski

Born on 10th of July 1835 in Lublin, died on 31st of March 1880 in Moscow. The distinguished Polish virtuoso violinist and composer.

The fact that he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire – against regulations – at the age of eight is testament to his uncommon talent. Graduating from the Conservatoire at the age of twelve he was awarded first prize at the diploma competition. After private studies for a further two years, he embarked on a concert career with his younger brother, Joseph, a pianist. “The child prodigies” aroused general admiration with their mature playing. Henryk, however, returned to Paris in order to complete his education by studying harmony with Henri Collet. In 1851 both brothers again set out on a concert tour of Europe, which included Russia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Paris, and London.
In spite of strenuous concert giving, Henryk composed and an increasing number of his works were published by the most respectable German and French publishers. During that time Violin Concerto No. 1 in F sharp major, Op. 14 (performed for the first time as a whole in 1853 in Leipzig) and many miniatures were written.
In 1859 Henryk became a virtuoso at the imperial court in St Petersburg, where he stayed for twelve years, teaching a violin class at the conservatory. Following a personal slight he left Russia and together with Anton Rubinstein made a grand two-year tour of the United States. After returning to Europe he became a professor of violin at the Brussels Conservatory (replacing Vieuxtemps during his illness) between 1874–1877. During his successive concert tour in Moscow he developed heart disease. He took advantage of the hospitality of Nadezhda von Meck – the well-known patroness of Tchaikovsky. Despite careful medical care he died at the age of 45.

Wieniawski’s output comprises 46 compositions. Some of them, however, were written as occasional pieces, from purely virtuosic motives and at present are of historic importance only. The two concertos: in F Minor Op. 14 (publ. 1853) and in D Minor Op. 22 (publ. 1870) as well as a number of miniatures including polonaises, mazurkas, kujawiaks, Scherzo-tarantelle, Gigue, Légende have a place in the concert repertory. Wieniawski’s lasting achievement was the perfection of aspects of violin texture, notably in the domain of articulation, figuration and ornamentation, evident in the most popular didactic collections: L’école moderne Op. 10 and Etudes-caprices Op. 18.

Phot. Archive and Library of Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society in Poznań
Przewiń do góry