Classical Music

Violinist & Teacher Josef Gingold Passed Away in 1995

His famed students included Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Miriam Fried, and Jaime Laredo


Born in 1909 in Brest-Litovsk, Josef Gingold learned to play the violin at an early age. In May 1920, his family immigrated to New York where he began studies with Vladimir Graffman. He made his debut at New York City’s Aeolian Center in 1927 and a year later, Gingold and his mother moved to Brussels, where he started studying with virtuoso Eugene Ysaÿe.

After auditioning for Arturo Toscanini, Gingold won a spot in the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He became its Concertmaster, while occasionally soloing with the Detroit Symphony.

In 1947, George Szell asked him to accept the position of concertmaster with the Cleveland Orchestra. Gingold remained with the ensemble until 1960, when he joined the music faculty at Indiana University and was later named Distinguished Professor.

He also taught at Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Music School Settlement, and numerous other schools across the country. He served as the Concertmaster of the June Music Festival in New Mexico and led the Chamber Music Series at the Meadowmount School of Music in New York state for thirty summers.

For students around the world, he compiled and edited orchestral excerpts consisting of 300 works in the symphonic repertoire, that culminated in a three-volume work.

Gingold received a number of awards for his service to classical music — including the American String Teachers Association Teacher of the Year; the Fredrick Bachman Lieber Award for Distinguished Teaching at Indiana University; the Chamber Music America National Service Award; Baylor University’s Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers; and the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Golden Baton Award.

He helped found the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 1982. Under his artistic direction, the competition’s repertory, jury, or protocol set the standard. In 1994, Gingold stepped down as President of the Jury and bestowed the role to his student and colleague, Jaime Laredo.

Additionally, Gingold served on the jury of the Queen Elisabeth, Wieniawski, Paganini, Sibelius, Nielsen, Naumberg, Leventritt, and Tchaikovsky Competitions.

Josef Gingold died in January 1995 in Bloomington, Indiana.


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