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Paul Makanowitzky (Violin)

Born: June 20, 1920 - Stockholm, Sweden
Died: February 24, 1998 - Freeport, Maine, USA

Paul Makanowitzky was born in Stockholm to Russian parents. He began violin studies at age 4 as a pupil of Ivan Galamian - who taught at the Russian Conservatory in Paris from 1924 to 1937 - and with Jacques Thibaud.

Paul Makanowitzky's recital debut in 1929 in Salle Gaveau, Paris, astonished the music world. Critics wrote that "the public expected a well-rehearsed puppet, and discovered a true musician." He was dubbed a prodigy among prodigies. What was most striking in the plethora of praise that followed his appearances throughout Europe were phrases rarely associated with child performers: "stupefying authority", "remarkable elegance", "sensitivity", "authority", "purity of style." Makanowitzky made his New York debut in 1937. In 1942, still a Swedish subject, Makanowitzky volunteered, to the consternation of his managers and Galamian, to fight for America in World War II.

At war's end, Paul Makanowitzky returned to the violin, rebuilding his career as a soloist and was soon engaged by USA leading orchestras under Pierre Monteux, Paul Paray, Vladimir Golschmann and Serge Koussevitzky among others. In 1954, Makanowitzky met Noël Lee. As a duo they concertized extensively between 1954 and 1964. The Boston Herald's P.C. Brooks praised them as " the best ensemble playing to be found anywhere in the world." The duo recorded all the J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven and Johannes Brahms violin & piano sonatas.

In 1966, Paul Makanowitzky accepted teaching posts at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute and the Meadowmount School of Music. He was also a visiting professor at Brandeis University, Toho-Gaukuen in Tokyo and the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He retired from performing in 1967 and joined the strings faculty of the University of Michigan where he served until 1983.

Source: Liner notes to the 4-CD album 'Beethoven: 10 Sonatas for Violin & Piano; Bach: 6 Sonatas for Violin & Piano' (Doremi, 2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2009)

Paul Makanowitzky: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

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