Szeryng, Henryk

views updated


SZERYNG, HENRYK (1918–1988), Mexican violinist of Polish birth. On *Hubermann's advice he studied with Karl *Flesch in Berlin. He also studied with Jacques Thibaud in Paris, starting his career in 1933. From 1933 to 1939 he studied composition with Nadia Boulanger. During World War ii he was liaison officer for the Polish government in exile in London, helped to relocate Polish refugees in Mexico, and performed for the Allied forces. In 1946 he was appointed professor of music at the National University of Mexico. Szeryng made his home in Mexico, and consistently championed the music of native Mexican composers. From 1954 he went on annual tours abroad. In 1970 he was made Mexico's special adviser to unesco. The Henryk Szeryng Foundation Career Award was created to help develop the careers of outstanding young violinists. A humanitarian and violinist of extraordinary gifts, Szeryng gained widespread admiration for his technical command, stylistic versatility, and musical intellect of rare insight. He gave the premieres of numerous works written for him, including compositions by Chavez and Penderecki and the first modern performance of Paganini's Violin Concerto no.3 (1971). His recordings include the major violin concertos, Bach sonatas and partitas, the complete Mozart works for violin and orchestra and chamber music, notably with Ingrid Haebler and Artur *Rubinstein. Szeryng visited Israel and made several recordings with the Israel po. He wrote chamber music and edited baroque violin works, especially those of Bach. His article "La tecnica del violin" (1970) was republished in Pauta Cuadernos de teoria y critica musical, 9:34 (Apr–June 1990), 84–98.


Grove Music Online; Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1997); I. Hermann. "Henryk Szeryng Kuenstler und Weltbuerger (1918–1988)," in: Das Orchester, 36 (Sept. 1988), 934–35; R. Klopcic, "Henryk Szeryng: Master of Bach and the Bow," in Strings, 8:1 (1993), 32–34.

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]