Busted: A great violinist in Scotland

The Polish-American violinist Henri Temianka, who was born in Greenock and spent his childhood there, will be commemorated tomorrow, his 110th birthday, with the presentation of a bronze bust to his home town museum.

He left Scotland at the age of nine to study with Carel Blitz in Rotterdam but he remains Greenock’s most celebrated son.

Aside from his solo career, Temianka founded and played first violin in the Paganini String Quartet.

He died, aged 85, in 1992.


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  • Henri Temianka wrote an autobiography, “Facing the Music. An Irreverent Close-up on the Real Concert World” (published in 1973).

    Listen to Temianka and read his book.

  • It its time, the Paganini Quartet was perhaps the most virtuostic of its genre, making outstanding RCA recordings of Op.18 and late Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel and piano quintets of Brahms and Schumann with Arthur Rubinstein.

  • Love this book, sometimes hilarious. When David Oistrach asked HenryTemyanka to show Jewish ghetto of Los Angeles they went to Beverly Hills. I met HT in Paris 1985 and talked about this book.

  • His book is one of my favourites. It is so funny and well written and has been on my bookshelf for many years. There is a set of him playing the Beethoven violin sonatas that is well worth hearing as well as a set of the Paganini Quartet playing selected Beethoven Quartets.

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