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JOSEPH SZIGETI

The Hungarian violinist Joseph Szigeti (1892–1973) was a pupil of Jenő Hubay in Budapest, after earlier teaching from his father and his uncle. He began his international career in Berlin in 1905, then establishing himself in London, where he lived from 1907 until 1913. After the war he taught very briefly in Geneva and continued his career as a travelling virtuoso, ready to accept new compositions, which he effortlessly took into his repertoire. Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 was first heard in Paris in 1923 and the following year Szigeti played it in Prague and introduced it to audiences in Leningrad. He was associated with Bartók, playing both the latter’s second Violin Concerto and collaborating with the composer and Benny Goodman in a memorable performances of the former’s Contrasts. He settled in the United States in 1940 and took out citizenship eleven years later. Szigeti’s first recording of Prokofiev’s fine concerto was made in 1935, with Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.


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