Brodsky, Adolf, famous Russian violinist; b. Taganrog, April 2, 1851; d. Manchester, England, Jan. 22, 1929. A precocious violinist, he made his public debut at the age of 9 in Odessa. He was then sent to Vienna, where he studied with Joseph Hellmesberger Sr., and played the second violin in his string quartet. From 1866 to 1868 he was a violinist in the Vienna Court Orch. In 1873 he returned to Moscow, where he studied with Ferdinand Laub, whom he succeeded in 1875 as prof, at the Moscow Cons. In 1881 he made a European tour, and on Dec. 4, 1881, in Vienna, he gave the world premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, which Tchaikovsky in gratitude dedicated to him, after it had been rejected by Leopold Auer as unplayable. He was praised for his virtuosity, but Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was damned as badly written for the violin; the review by Eduard Hanslick, which described the music as emitting a stench, became notorious for its grossness, and caused Tchaikovsky great pain. From 1883 to 1891 Brodsky taught violin at the Leipzig Cons., and also organized a string quartet there (with Hugo Becker, Hans Sitt, and Julius Klengel), which enjoyed an international reputation. In 1891 he went to America and served as concertmaster of the N.Y. Sym. Orch. until 1894. In 1895 he went to England, where he became concertmaster of the Halle Orch. in Manchester (1895–96). He also taught violin at the Royal Manchester Coll. of Music, becoming principal in 1896. In England he changed the spelling of his first name to Adolph. His wife publ. Recollections of a Russian Home (London, 1904).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire