Wieniawski, Henri

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WIENIAWSKI, HENRI (1834–1880), Polish violinist and composer. Born in Lublin, Wieniawski entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of eight and three years later won the first prize in violin. After his first concert in St. Petersburg in 1848, he appeared in Finland, the Baltic provinces, and Poland. After further study in Paris (1849), he toured Europe with his brother Joseph, pianist, and in 1850 was appointed solo violinist to the czar. He taught at St. Petersburg for a year and then toured the U.S. with the pianist Anton *Rubinstein from 1872 to 1874. From 1874 to 1877 he taught in Brussels. Wieniawski's perfect technique, combined with warmth and delicacy, gained him wide admiration. After the fashion of other virtuosos, he also composed many works for the violin, including two concertos and his popular Légende, which he frequently played with his brother. His music is notable for its Slavic idiom and temperament, often exaggerated.

His brother, joseph (1837–1912), studied in Paris and later in Weimar under Liszt. From 1866 he taught at the Moscow Conservatory and founded his own piano school. After a sojourn in Warsaw, where he directed the Music Society, 1875–76, he settled in Brussels and became professor at the conservatory. His works include a piano concerto, waltzes, mazurkas, and Études.


J. Reiss, Henryk Wieniawski (Pol., 1931); I. Yampolski, Genrik Venyavskiy (Rus., 1955); L. Delacroix, Joseph Wieniawski (Fr., 1908); mgg, s.v.; Grove, Dict., s.v.

[Meir Katz]