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Henryk Szeryng (1963)
Henryk Szeryng (22 September 1918 – 8 March 1988) was a violin virtuoso of Polishmarker and Jewish heritage.

Early Years

He was born in Żelazowa Wolamarker, Polandmarker. Henryk started piano and harmony training with his mother when he was 5, and at age 7 turned to the violin, receiving instruction from Maurice Frenkel. After studies with Carl Flesch in Berlinmarker (1929-32), he went to Paris to continue his training with Jacques Thibaud at the Conservatorymarker, graduating with a premier prix in 1937.


He made his solo debut on January 6, 1933 playing the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the Romanian George Georgescu. From 1933 to 1939 he studied composition in Parismarker with Nadia Boulanger, and during World War II he worked as an interpreter for the Polish government in exile (Szeryng was fluent in seven languages) and gave concerts for Allied troops all over the world. During one of these concerts in Mexico Citymarker he received an offer to take over the string department of the university there.

In 1946, he became a naturalized citizen of Mexicomarker.

Szeryng subsequently focused on teaching before resuming his concert career in 1954. His debut in New York Citymarker brought him great acclaim, and he toured widely for the rest of his life. He died in Kasselmarker.

Notable Recordings

Szeryng made a number of recordings, including two of the complete sonatas and partitas for violin by Johann Sebastian Bach, and several of sonatas of Beethoven and Brahms with the pianist Arthur Rubinstein. He also composed; his works include a number of violin concertos and pieces of chamber music.


He owned the Del Gesu "Le Duc", the Stradivarius "King David" as well as the Messiah Strad copy by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume which he gave to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The "Le Duc" was the instrument on which he performed and recorded mostly, while the latter ("King David" Strad) was donated to the State of Israel.


"In 1941 he accompanied the prime minister to Latin America to find a home for some 4,000 Polish refugees; the refugees were taken in by Mexico, and Szeryng, in gratitude, settled there himself, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1946. Throughout World War II, he appeared in some 300 concerts for the Allies. After the war, he pursued a brilliant international career; was also active as a teacher. In 1970 he was made Mexico's special adviser to UNESCO in Paris. He celebrated the 50th anniversary of his debut with a grand tour of Europe and the U.S. in 1983."

"A cosmopolitan fluent in 7 languages, a humanitarian, and a violinist of extraordinary gifts, Szeryng became renowned as a musician's musician by combining a virtuoso technique with a probing discernment of the highest order."


  1. Tanomura, Tadaharu, "Henryk Szeryng Discography Part 2: Orchestral Works"
  2. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001.


Awards and Recognitions

Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:

  • Grand Prix du Disque 1959 for the Brahms violin concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pierre Monteux
  • Grand Prix du Disque for the Bach Solo Sonatas and Partitas (DGG)

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