Henryk Szeryng

Biography

Born: September 22, 1918; Zelazowa Wola, Poland   Died: March 3, 1988; Kassel, Germany  
Polish-born violinist Henryk Szeryng was probably the finest product of Carl Flesch's legendary teaching career. Possessing an iron technique and a musical intellect of rare insight, Szeryng established himself as one of the pre-eminent concert violinists of the post-World War II decades.

Szeryng was born in 1918 to a wealthy Polish industrialist whose wife had a great love of music. Studies on the piano were abandoned for the
Read more violin, though Szeryng remained skilled at the keyboard for the rest of his life. Szeryng progressed quickly on his new instrument and by age nine was sufficiently proficient to perform the Mendelssohn concerto for famed violinist Bronislaw Hubermann, a friend of the family. On Hubermann's advice Szeryng was sent to Berlin to study with Carl Flesch; Szeryng would later declare that his technical prowess was solely due to that masterful teacher's influence. Two years later in 1933, Szeryng made his debut performance in Warsaw with the Beethoven concerto under Bruno Walter. That same year he embarked on a minor concert tour, soloing with orchestras in Bucharest, Vienna, and Paris.

Szeryng immediately took to the city of Paris and settled there for a period of further study and growth as a performer. There he came under the influence of legendary violinists Enescu and Thibaud, though he did not formally study with either. Szeryng also thought about pursuing composition as a career, and for six years took lessons from Nadia Boulanger.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 Szeryng enlisted with the Polish army. Being fluent in seven languages, he was assigned to General Sikorski as a translator, with whom Szeryng helped to relocate hundreds of Polish refugees in Mexico. During the war Szeryng gave hundreds of concerts for Allied troops around the globe, and in 1943, during a concert series in Mexico City, was invited to take over the string department at the University of Mexico. Szeryng accepted the offer, and assumed his duties in 1946.

He spent the next ten years in Mexico, and eventually took citizenship there. Performing infrequently, Szeryng was largely forgotten in the musical centers of Europe. A chance encounter with fellow Pole Artur Rubinstein in Mexico City convinced Szeryng to re-enter the musical scene. A New York debut in 1956 immediately established Szeryng as a leading violinist of the day, and for the next 30 years Szeryng divided his time between a globe-trotting concert schedule and his teaching duties in Mexico.

As a violinist Szeryng was unique; sometimes criticized for being too restrained, he was nevertheless capable of playing with warmth and fire when he felt compelled to do so (as in his magnificent performances of the Sibelius concerto). His excellent recordings include two full sets of the Bach Sonatas and Partitas, as well as the major violin concertos in the repertory (he has also championed and recorded the work of many composers from his adopted country of Mexico). Recordings of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas with Artur Rubinstein are particularly rewarding. Of note also is Szeryng's world-premiere recording of Paganini's E major Violin Concerto No. 3, which Szeryng himself reconstructed from parts held in the archives of the legendary Italian violinist's heirs.

Szeryng could at times be somewhat inconsistent. In live performances his calculated precision might turn cold, and in later years it is rumored that troubles with alcohol led to a somewhat deteriorated technical ability. Until his death in 1988 he traveled with a Mexican diplomatic passport, and was involved in various humanitarian projects through the United Nations; Szeryng never ceased believing in music as a unifying, healing power. Read less
Browse 26-50 of 112 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    The Essential Arthur Rubinstein
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 742461 Release Date: 10/06/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Pierre Fournier,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Alfred Wallenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra,  Symphony of the Air
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  • 27.
    Little Music Lovers - Bach
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001288902 Release Date: 09/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  John Lewis,  Michala Petri,  Elizabeth Selin,  Henryk Szeryng  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Iona Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 28.
    Ultimate Brahms [5-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001313402 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  János Starker,  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Bach Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001313002 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Pepe Romero,  Heinz Holliger,  György Sebok,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Iona Brown,  Arpád Gerecz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Les Solistes Romands,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Henryk Szeryng In Recital
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 37334 Release Date: 05/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tommaso Antonio Vitali,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Reiner,  Henryk Szeryng
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  • 31.
    Ultimate Classical Dreams - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001280302 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  Jack Brymer,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  David Zinman,  Frederick Fennell,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    The Number One Bach Album
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4765888 Release Date: 03/20/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Marisa Robles,  András Schiff,  Salvatore Accardo,  Pepe Romero  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  New Symphony Orchestra of London  ... 
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  • 33.
    Paganini: Violin Concertos No 1 & 4 / Szerying, Gibson
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416896 Release Date: 10/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Karel Ancerl - Smetana, Beethoven
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: 7015 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Bedrich Smetana
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Brahms, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Szeryng, Haitink
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416438 Release Date: 02/06/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Brahms, Khachaturian: Violin Concertos / Szeryng, Doráti
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434318 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Paganini: Violin Concertos No 1 & 4 / Szeryng, Gibson
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186178 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Deutsche Grammophon's Essential Beethoven Box
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000966672 Release Date: 10/02/2007   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Anatol Ugorski,  Henryk Szeryng,  Wilhelm Kempff  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Emil Tchakarov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  LaSalle String Quartet  ... 
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  • 39.
    Vivaldi: Four Seasons, Etc;  Mozart / Szeryng Et Al
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4210 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  José Luis Garcia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Dvorák: Die Hussiten; Brahms: Violin Concerto / Szeryng
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 719071 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    The Huberman Festival / Mehta, Zukerman, Stern, Perlman
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4250 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Isaac Stern,  Shlomo Mintz,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Ultimate Beethoven - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000765802 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Henryk Szeryng,  Claudio Arrau
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 43.
    Relaxing Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000666502 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Gabriel Fauré,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Carlos Bonell,  Jorge Bolet,  Andrés Segovia,  Julian Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Enrique Jorda,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Symphony of the Air  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 44.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000660302 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Pier Francesco Cavalli,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Andreas Scholl,  Barbara Bonney,  András Schiff  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Roger Norrington  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
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  • 45.
    The #1 Baroque Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4757492 Release Date: 07/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Henry Purcell,  Gregorio Allegri,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Bonney,  Alastair Hussain,  Andreas Scholl,  Eduardo Fernandez  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Stephen Cleobury,  Christophe Rousset,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Les Talens Lyriques  ... 
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  • 46.
    Hgtv Home, Ideas, Life - Creative Moods
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000673812 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John Wilbraham,  Philip Jones,  Maurice Hasson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sandor Végh,  David Zinman,  Herbert Blomstedt,  Antal Doráti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Mozart Ensemble,  Camerata Academica,  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 47.
    Mozart: Concertos & Arias / Gulda, Szeryng, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93129 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Henryk Szeryng,  Dennis Brain,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Lovers' Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000615202 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 49.
    Complete Mozart Edition 5 - Violin Concertos, Wind Concertos
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000601502 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Norman Jones,  Richard Morgan,  Gérard Poulet  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Iona Brown,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 50.
    Library Of Congress Vol 22 / Szeryng, Graffmann
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9179 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Gary Graffman
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