The only American to win the Wieniawski

The only American to win the Wieniawski


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2023

The death has been communicated of Charles Treger, winner of the 1962 Wieniaswki Competition in Poland, which made a great stir amid the Cold War freeze.

He went on to make an international career, played a 1723 Stradivarius, toured for seven years as a duo with Andre Watts and was a founding member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Charles Treger died on January 12 at the age of 87,

his daughter Robin Lyn Treger writes:
Dad left us late Thursday night to join his beloved Debbie who left us almost exactly a month ago. Pages could be filled with all the accomplishments, awards, recordings, accolades of this world renowned violin virtuoso. In 1962 at age 27 Dad became the first and, to date, only American to win the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poland which ignited an international career spanning 50+ years. He maintained a prolific touring schedule with every leading orchestra and such conductors as Abbado, Ozawa, and Boulez. A founding member of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he further fulfilled his love of chamber music with pianist Andre Watts, touring as a duo for 7 years. Other collaborations included such artists as Serkin, Ax, Stern, Zukerman, Perlman, Rostropovich, Menuhin, and many others. Dad’s personal commitment to students and young people drew him to teaching in his later years in his private studio, master classes at various institutions, succeeding Ivan Galamian as President and Director of the famed Meadowmount School of Music, and serving on foundations and arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation. Dad’s instrument was the beautiful 1723 “Hartmann” Stradivarius. He played for US Presidents and the Queen of England. RIP Dad, your music and inspiration lives on in all of us. We love you.”


  • Nurhan Arman says:
    RIP violinist Charles Treger. I remember his beautiful playing when we recorded the Moszkowski Violin Concerto with the Louisville Orchestra and Jorge Mester.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      What a fine artist he was; I do not understand why there were not more recordings featuring his playing. I seem to recall he and other 1962 winners recorded Wieniawski pieces for a Polish label.

      Treger also recorded the fearsomely difficult Joachim “Hungarian” Concerto in Louisville, including the complete tuttis that were cut from the Aaron Rosand recording for Vox. I heard him in recital and had the chance to play in the orchestra when he performed the Beethoven Concerto (our conductor had emailed me the sad news of his death earlier today). I remember him coming over to the violin section and quietly remarking that he was using the Milstein cadenzas.

    • Herbie G says:

      I too have that LP and the marvellous recording of the Joachim Hungarian Concerto on Louisville. Totally agree – a marvellous player. RIP

  • Tom M. says:

    I saw Charles Treger and André Watts at Queens Collège in New York in the early ‘80s.

  • KANANPOIKA says:

    Played the Symanowski 2nd Concerto with him….must have been in the late 1960’s. Stunning playing.

  • Margaret Koscielny says:

    Treager played for many years, touring with Raymond Hanson, while both were on the Faculty of the Hartt College of Music. It was an incomparable musical combination. A beautiful violinist! And, extraordinary accompanist.

  • Claudia Spielman says:

    Charles Treger was my violin teacher during my Freshman year at Stony Brook. What a wonderful violinist! I learned a lot from him. May he Rest in Peace.