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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
Mozart: Violin & Wind Concertos / Szeryng, Nicolet, Holliger [9-CD Collector's Edition]
Release Date: 10/16/2012   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001735302   Number of Discs: 9
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Paganini: Violin Concertos No 1 & 4 / Szeryng, Gibson
Release Date: 11/20/2007   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186178   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 76-100 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Hans Zender Edition Vol 2 - Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 6, Etc
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 999474 Release Date: 10/10/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Hans Zender
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Rubinstein Collection Vol 41 - Brahms: Violin Sonatas
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63041 Release Date: 10/10/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Artur Rubinstein
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  • 78.
    Paganini: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 3
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 468173 Release Date: 09/13/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 79.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Double Concerto
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 468172 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 80.
    Essential Bach
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 466465 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raymond Leppard,  András Schiff,  Alicia De Larrocha,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Raymond Agoult,  András Schiff,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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  • 81.
    Beethoven: Complete Sonatas & Concertos, Etc / Arrau, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462358 Release Date: 11/09/1999   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau,  János Starker,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 82.
    The Best Of Paganini
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 462865 Release Date: 06/15/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Ivry Gitlis,  Tasso Janopolou,  Arthur Grumiaux  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Stanislaw Wislocki,  Piero Bellugi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 83.
    Bach For Babies - Fun And Games For Budding Brains
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462949 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Celedonio Romero,  Maria Graf,  Irena Grafenauer  ... 
    Conductor:  Barry Rose,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Canadian Brass
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  • 84.
    Mozart: The Great Violin Sonatas Vol 2 / Szeryng, Haebler
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 462303 Release Date: 03/09/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ingrid Haebler,  Henryk Szeryng
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  • 85.
    Mozart: The Great Violin Sonatas Vol 1 / Szeryng, Haebler
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 462185 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ingrid Haebler,  Henryk Szeryng
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  • 86.
    Complete Beethoven Edition Vol 9 - Piano Trios
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453751 Release Date: 11/25/1997   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wolfgang Boettcher,  Eckart Besch,  Thomas Brandis,  Pierre Fournier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beaux Arts Trio
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  • 87.
    Debussy At Dawn
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 462035 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  George Pieterson,  Zoltán Kocsis,  Mitsuko Uchida,  Claudio Arrau  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Paul Paray
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Women's Chorus,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Bach: Sonatas & Partitas For Violin / Henryk Szeryng
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 453004 Release Date: 04/15/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng
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  • 89.
    Nightmoods - Moonlight
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453902 Release Date: 04/15/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Henryk Szeryng,  Pierre Fournier,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 90.
    The Best Of Baroque
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 456049 Release Date: 02/14/1997   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Claude Hermanjat,  Ursula Holliger,  André Pépin,  Szymon Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Szymon Goldberg,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Netherlands Chamber Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 91.
    Brahms At Bedtime
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454966 Release Date: 10/15/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John Lenehan,  Claudio Arrau,  Stephen Kovacevich  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio,  Berlin Philharmonic Octet members
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  • 92.
    Beethoven: Complete Violin Sonatas Vol 1 / Szeryng, Haebler
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 446521 Release Date: 01/23/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Ingrid Haebler,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Bach At Bedtime
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 446915 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    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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  • 94.
    Bach: The 4 Orchestral Suites, Etc / Marriner, Szeryng
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 446533 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 95.
    Szeryng Plays Kreisler And Other Treasures / Charles Reiner
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434351 Release Date: 04/25/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Charles Reiner
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  • 96.
    Musica Mexicana Vol 3 - Halffter, Moncayo, Ponce, Revueltas
    Label: Asv   Catalog: 871 Release Date: 02/13/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  José P. Moncayo García,  Manuel Ponce,  Silvestre Revueltas,  Rodolfo Halffter
    Performer:  Alfonso Moreno,  Henryk Szeryng
    Conductor:  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mexican State Symphony Orchestra,  Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 97.
    Beethoven: Complete Concertos Vol 2 / Kovacevich, Krebbers
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 442580 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Stephen Kovacevich,  Lidia Grychtolówna,  Herman Krebbers,  Henryk Szeryng  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Heinz Dressel,  Bernard Haitink,  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Folkwang Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 98.
    The Best of Saint-Saëns
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 442608 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  Daniel Chorzempa,  Henryk Szeryng,  Michele Campanella,  Bella Davidovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Edo De Waart,  Edouard Van Remoortel,  Neeme Järvi,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 99.
    Schumann, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Szeryng, Dorati
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434339 Release Date: 06/14/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Béla Bartók,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Charles Reiner
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 100.
    Mozart At Midnight
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 442493 Release Date: 05/10/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Nobuko Imai,  Iona Brown,  Peter Damm,  Antony Pay  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Iona Brown,  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Alexander Gibson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Orchestra of the 18th Century members  ... 
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