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Barrère, Georges (31 October 1876–14 June 1944), flutist and conductor, was born in Bordeaux, France, the son of Gabriel Barrère, a furniture maker, and Marie Périne Courtet. As a child in Paris he played in a fife, drum, and bugle corps and began flute studies with Léon Richault. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Henry Altès (1889–1893) and Claude Paul Taffanel (1893–1896), who became his mentor. Barrère graduated with the ...

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Beck, Johann Heinrich (12 September 1856–26 May 1924), conductor, composer, and violinist, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Charles Beck, a businessman, and Rebecca Butler. He was one of five children, all boys, all of whom played the violin. He was educated in Cleveland and spent most of his life there, although he attended the Leipzig Conservatory from 1879 to 1882. He made his acclaimed European debut at the Leipzig Gewandhaus as violinist in his own String Quartet in C Minor. His diploma read in part: “In Theory Mr. Beck possesses highly advanced knowledge, in practical Composition, ...

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Bergmann, Carl (12 April 1821–10 August 1876), conductor, cellist, and composer, was born in Ebersbach, Saxony, the son of middle-class parents. His talent for music manifested itself early, and he was a pupil of Adolph Zimmerman at Zittau as early as 1827 and later studied with the organist-composer Adolph Hesse at Breslau. By 1842 he was playing cello and occasionally conducting the orchestra in Breslau and in these capacities toured central and eastern European cities between 1842 and 1848. His early compositions, written before 1848, apparently included an opera and a symphony....

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Braham, David (1838–11 April 1905), composer, conductor, and violinist, was born near London. His father and brother were musicians, as were two of his sons and four of his nephews. In his teens Braham decided to become a professional harpist but, according to one source, gave up the instrument when a British coach driver informed him that he was welcome aboard but his bulky instrument was not. Shortly thereafter he began studying the violin and became an accomplished performer though he never aspired to a career as a concert soloist. As a youth he played violin in various London music halls....

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Casals, Pablo (29 December 1876–22 October 1973), cellist and conductor, was born Pau Carlos Salvador Defilló de Casals in El Vendrell (Catalonia), Spain, the son of Carlos Casals i Riba, a musician, and Pilar Ursula Defilló i Amiguet. Casals demonstrated his musical gift early, joining his father’s church choir at age five and later studying violin, piano, and organ with his father. He discovered the cello in 1888 and entered the Municipal School of Music in Barcelona. Casals studied cello with José García, his only teacher on the instrument, but even then he was rethinking accepted techniques of cello playing. He was joined in Barcelona by his mother and brother, helping support the family by playing in a café. He graduated in 1893 with highest honors in cello, piano, and composition....

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Dohnányi, Ernst von (27 July 1877–09 February 1960), composer, concert pianist, teacher, and conductor, also known as Ernó and baptized Dohnányi Erno Jeno Frigyes, was born in Pozsony, Hungary-later known as Pressberg, then Bratislava, Slovakia. (The population of Pozsony was approximately half Hungarian and half German, so Dohnányi was comfortable with the language and heritage of both.) He was the son of Frederick von Dohnányi (Dohnányi Frigyes), professor of mathematics and physics at the Royal Catholic Chief Gymnasium (Királyi Katolikus Fögimnásium) and an accomplished cellist and composer. Dohnányi's mother, Ottilia Szlabey, was tiny; she was sometimes referred to as fiercely determined and willing to sacrifice her comfort for others. Dohnányi embodied these characteristics as an adult helping family and friends survive the vicissitudes of wartime Europe. His sister, Mitzi, was a year younger. A brother died in infancy. When traveling outside of Hungary, he called himself Ernst von Dohnányi....

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Gabrilowitsch, Ossip (07 February 1878–14 September 1936), pianist and conductor, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the son of Salomon Gabrilowitsch, a successful member of the bar, and Rosa Segal, who was German-Russian. (According to modern conventions of transliteration from the Cyrillic, the surname would be rendered Gabrilovich.) When Gabrilowitsch was four, his oldest brother, George, gave him piano lessons for a short time, but soon a professional teacher, Olga Theodorowitsch, took over the lessons. She also arranged for Anton Rubinstein to hear the ten-year-old Ossip play. Rubinstein was very impressed and insisted that the boy enter the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Rubinstein oversaw Gabrilowitsch’s music education, which consisted of piano lessons with Victor Tolstoff and composition with Glazunov, Liadov, and Navratil....

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Hill, Ureli Corelli (1802–02 September 1875), violinist and conductor, was born in Connecticut, the son of music teacher and composer Uri K. Hill and Nancy Hull. Hill was named Ureli after his father and his father’s physician friend, “Eli,” and Corelli after the seventeenth-century Italian violinist. When Hill’s parents separated in 1811, each parent agreed to take one son (another sibling had died earlier). Hill lived with his father in New York City and began studying violin. His brother, ...

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Humiston, William Henry (27 April 1869–05 December 1923), organist, conductor, and composer, was born in Marietta, Ohio, the son of Henry Humiston and Margaret Voris. As a child, Humiston moved to Chicago with his family, where he completed high school in 1886. He continued his education at Lake Forest College, graduating in 1891 with a B.A. During these years and even later, he studied piano and harmony with ...

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Hupfeld, Charles Frederick (1788–15 July 1864), violinist, conductor, and composer, was born in Germany. The identities of his parents are not known. He was probably related to Bernhard Hupfeld, a composer and violinist trained in Italy, who served as director of music at the University of Marburg. Charles Hupfeld was closely associated with Henry Hupfeld, Bernhard’s eldest son, who was also a violinist. Charles Hupfeld arrived in Philadelphia as an excellent violinist and probably studied the violin in Germany, but no details of his life there are known....

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José Iturbi Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1933. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103667).

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Iturbi, José (28 November 1895–28 June 1980), pianist and conductor, was born in Valencia, Spain, the son of Ricardo Iturbi, a gas company employee who supplemented his income tuning pianos, and Teresa Baguena, an opera singer. His musical talent became apparent at an early age. Iturbi entered the Escuela de Musica de Maria Jordan when he was five and by age seven was earning money by giving lessons himself and performing in silent movie theaters, at balls, and at recitals. He entered the Conservatorio de Musica in Valencia and also studied privately under Joaquin Malats. Citizens of his hometown raised donations to send the young Iturbi to the Conservatoire de Musique in Paris to complete his studies, where he worked under the tutelage of Staub. After graduating with first honors, Iturbi moved to Zurich and earned money playing in a fashionable café. There he attracted the notice of the director of the Geneva Conservatory, who immediately hired Iturbi to be head of the conservatory’s piano department. In June 1916 Iturbi was married to Maria Giner, who died soon after the birth of their daughter, Maria....

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Jenkins, Edmund Thornton (09 April 1894–12 September 1926), clarinetist, composer, and conductor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Daniel Jenkins, a former slave, minister, and founder-director of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, and Lena James. Jenkins attended the Avery Institute in Charleston. As a child, he learned to play violin, clarinet, and piano. His first music teachers were his father and other instructors at the orphanage, which was founded in December 1891 and formally incorporated as the Orphan Aid Society in July 1892. By the time he was fourteen years old, Jenkins had learned to play all the instruments of his father’s brass band. In 1908 he entered Atlanta Baptist College (now Morehouse College) where he studied violin with Kemper Harreld. Jenkins participated in the symphony orchestra, glee club, and other musical activities. During vacations he performed, directed, and toured with the orphanage band. Jenkins left college during the summer of 1914 to travel with the band to London for the Anglo-American Exposition, organized by the Hungarian ...

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Serge Koussevitzky. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115913).

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Koussevitzky, Serge (26 July 1874–04 June 1951), double-bass virtuoso and conductor, was born Sergei Aleksandrovich Kusevitskii in Vishny-Volotchok, Tver (now Kalinin), Russia, the son of Alexander Koussevitzkii and Anna Barabeitchik. Both of his parents were musical; his mother was a pianist and his father, a ...

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Ethel Leginska Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-97196).

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Leginska, Ethel (13 April 1886–26 February 1970), concert pianist, conductor, and composer, was born Ethel Liggins in Hull, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Thomas Liggins and Annie Peck. A child prodigy, Leginska gave her first public piano recital at the age of seven. In 1900 she won a scholarship to study the piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt under James Kwast and theory under Bernhard Sekles and Ivan Knorr. In 1904 she began a three-year period of study with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna and in Berlin. In 1907, the year of her London debut, she married Roy Emerson Whittern, an American who was studying composition; he later changed his name to Emerson Whithorne....

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Leinsdorf, Erich (04 February 1912–11 September 1993), conductor and pianist, was born Erich Landauer in Vienna, the son of Julius Ludwig Landauer, a pianist, and Charlotte Lobl. His father died when Erich was three. Erich began his music education during his elementary school years and became a serious piano student by the age of seven. Later he took specialized music training at the University of Vienna, graduating in 1930, and at Vienna’s Music Academy, where he obtained his diploma in 1933. His courses included studies of the piano and cello, as well as composition classes....

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David Mannes Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1925. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-4872-002).

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Mannes, David (16 February 1866–25 April 1959), violinist, conductor, and educator, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Mannes, a merchant, and Nathalia Wittkowsky. Mannes’s parents and elder brother had immigrated to the United States in 1860. With financial help from a cousin, Mannes’s father had opened a clothing store on Seventh Avenue in New York City. Mannes was born in the impoverished family’s home above the store. As a young child Mannes created his first violin from a cigar box, a piece of wood, and a string. His parents, hoping to encourage him, bought him a cheap violin and arranged for his intermittent studies. One of his earliest and most influential teachers was John Douglas, an African-American violinist, who had studied in Dresden with Eduard Rappoldi. Douglas was a talented, European-trained violinist who was never able to secure a chair in a symphony orchestra in the United States; he refused to charge Henry Mannes for David’s lessons. In New York, Mannes also studied violin with August Zeiss, Herman Brandt, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, and Carl Richter Nicolai, Brandt’s successor as concertmaster of the Philharmonic. As a young adult Mannes traveled to Germany to study with Heinrich de Ahna, second violin of the Joachim Quartet, and Karel Haliř, a violin professor at the Hochschule für Musik. His violin studies culminated in six months in Brussels with celebrated violinist Eugène Ysaÿe....