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 74 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    Bach Adagios - Over 2 1/2 Hours Of The Most Beautiful Music
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000944302 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Lisa Beznosiuk,  Trevor Pinnock,  Simon Standage,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Agoult,  Arpád Gerecz,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  English Concert,  Camerata Bern  ... 
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    The Huberman Festival / Mehta, Zukerman, Stern, Perlman
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4250 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johan Halvorsen  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Benyamini,  Shlomo Mintz,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Ultimate Violin Classics - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000895302 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Ruggiero Ricci,  Henryk Szeryng,  David Oistrakh,  Lev Oborin  ... 
    Conductor:  Piero Gamba,  Sir Alexander Gibson
    CD: $21.99
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  • 36.
    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
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  • 37.
    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  ... 
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  • 38.
    Mozart: Concertos & Arias / Gulda, Szeryng, Et Al
    Label: Swr Music   Catalog: 93129 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Henryk Szeryng,  Dennis Brain,  Maria Bergmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Lovers' Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000615202 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Charles Dutoit,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $23.99
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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    Beethoven Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000445002 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Arthur Grumiaux,  Claudio Arrau,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Eliahu Inbal,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 42.
    Library Of Congress Vol 20 - Beethoven / Szeryng, Graffman
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9165 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Henryk Szeryng
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  • 43.
    Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven: Violin Sonatas / Szeryng, Tocco
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 631041 Release Date: 11/30/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  James Tocco
    CD: $19.99
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  • 44.
    Greatest Hits - Violin
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000192002 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edouard Lalo,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Jerry Bock  ... 
    Performer:  Shlomo Mintz,  Kyung-Wha Chung,  Phillip Moll,  Henryk Szeryng  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Lakatos Róbert,  Andrew Litton,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Roby Lakatos Ensemble,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 45.
    Schoenberg: Piano & Violin Concertos;  Berg: Violin Concerto
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000174102 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alban Berg,  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Zvi Zeitlin,  Alfred Brendel
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 46.
    The Art Of Henryk Szeryng
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4231 Release Date: 03/04/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josef Suk,  Pablo de Sarasate,  José Sabre Marroquin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Charles Reiner
    Conductor:  Jorge Mester,  Gabriel Bouillon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Radio Canada Orchestra,  Pasdeloup Concert Association Orchestra
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 47.
    The #1 Bach Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472758 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Wolfgang Rübsam,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Karl Richter,  Barry Rose,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 48.
    Trio - Brahms: Complete Concertos, Overtures /Brendel, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 473267 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Henryk Szeryng,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 49.
    Evening Adagios - Over 2 1/2 Hours Of Peaceful Evening Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470780 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Kjell Lysell,  Bengt Forsberg,  Mats Lidström,  Ulf Forsberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  István Kertész,  Riccardo Chailly,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Vienna Haydn Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 50.
    Trio - Bach: Brandenburg Concertos, Etc / Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 470934 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  William Bennett,  John Birch,  Denis Vigay,  Kenneth Sillito  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $25.49
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