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A Gold Watch for Adolphe Pollitzer

Adolphe Pollitzer

Adolphe Pollitzer

“Adolphe Pollitzer (1832-1900), a Hungarian Jewish violinist, was one of the best teachers in London.”

[A History of British Music, Volume 1967, Part 2, p.526 - 1967 by Percy Marshall Young]

“Adolphe Pollitzer was one of the most celebrated violin teachers of the day, with large numbers of successful pupils. Amongst the friends of the eminent teacher’s youth had been numbered both Mendelssohn and Ernst: in fact it was Ernst who had first suggested London as a place for Pollitzer to pursue his career.”

[Edward Elgar: A Creative Life, p.74 - 1999 by Jerrold Northrop Moore]

Two of his famous students were:

  • Sir Edward William Elgar (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934)
  • Harold Bauer (28 April 1873 – 12 March 1951)

  • Sir Edward William Elgar

    Sir Edward William Elgar


    “From this drudgery it seemed that Adolphe Pollitzer might offer an escape. Elgar’s finances were meagre, and he claimed to have ‘lived on two bags of nuts a day’ so as to afford the journey to London and Pollitzer’s fee. The violinist was distinguished as player and teacher.”

    [Elgar, p.10 - 1993 by Robert Anderson]

    “It is nice to find, near a printed collection of Elgar’s works, a set of ten Caprices by Pollitzer, given to Elgar in 1885, ‘in remembrance’.”

    [The Musical times: Volume 98, p.310 - 1957]

    “He wrote also about the Etudes caracteristiques op. 24, published in 1892 by Chanot: ‘Five of the studies (dedicated to Pollitzer), mainly for the “poise” of the bow, although the left hand is not neglected, were published long after their inception’. Multiple stopping is fiendishly exploited in them.”

    [Elgar, p.390 - 1993 by Robert Anderson]

    Harold Bauer

    Harold Bauer


    “I became a pupil of Adolph Pollitzer, who at that time was considered, I believe, the greatest violin teacher in London. Under his direction, I learned the entire violin repertoire, and each time I played in public my master lent me his beautiful Joseph Guarnerius violin.”

    [Harold Bauer - His Book, p.15 - 1948 by Harold Bauer]


    “The early history of the instrument was outlined in a letter from the late Alfred E. Hill, dated October 7th, 1932, reading in part: “The instrument was for many years the property of Adolphe Pollitzer, a player of some distinction born at Budapest in 1832 and dying here, in London, in 1900. He was trained for his profession in Vienna and subsequently had lessons from Alard in Paris …He came to England in 1851 and settled in London. …It was from his own lips I learned that it was on the advice of Alard, he purchased the instrument from Claude A Miremont, the Paris violin maker. On the death of Pollitzer the violin passed into the hands of Mr. Charles Morris.”"

    [Violins and Violinists' Magazine: Volumes 11-12 , p.314 - 1950 by Ernest N. Doring]

    The Pollitzer-Koessler Violin (1736)

    The Pollitzer-Koessler Violin (1736)*

    *Guarneri del Gesu’s ‘Pollitzer-Koessler’ (1736) claimed to be owned by Kyra Sator and held in storage by Prof. Dietmar Machold and valued at US$6,200,000 (2003). A dispute between both parties is reported in Der Spiegel (10.12.2007).

    “About five years ago it was played by Yehudi Menuhin during one of his American tours. He was so impressed by the tonal merits of this instrument that he requested the owner allow him the use of it for an evening for a performance of the Bartok Violin Concerto which he was playing with the Chicago Symphony. This was a startling request not only since he would not have time to practise, but also because he had with him the famous “Soil” Stradivari of 1714 and the equally celebrated “D’Egville” del Gesu of 1735.”

    [The Strad, Vol. 85, No. 1009, p.9 - May 1974]

    Adolphe Pollitzer (23 July 1832 – 14 November 1900)

    At the age of thirteen, Adolphe Pollitzer played “…the Mendelssohn Concerto before its composer, winning his enthusiastic commendation…”

    [An Encyclopedia of the Violin, p.390 - 1966 by Alberto Bachmann]

    “Hungarian violinist and teacher; born at Budapest. He early went to Vienna, studied the violin under Böhm, and composition under Preyer, and took the first violin prize at the Conservatory in 1846. He later had instruction from Alard at Paris. In 1851 he went to London and there remained the rest of his life, for many years leading the orchestra of Her Majesty’s Theatre; also the New Philharmonic and the Royal Choral Society. His reputation was made, however, as professor of violin at the London Academy of Music, where he was engaged from 1861 to the time of his death, becoming director of that institution in 1890. His original compoaitions include ten caprices for the violin, and several small works for violin and piano.”

    [The American History And Encyclopedia of Music: Musical Biographies, p.168 - 1908, Compiled by Janet M. Green, Edited by W. L. Hubbard]

    “POLLITZER, ADOLPHE (youngest of 19 children). b. Buda-Pesth 23 July 1832; pupil of Böhm the violinist at Vienna from 1842; gained first prize for playing at Vienna conservatorium 1846; came to London 1851; leader at the Opera under Costa many years; leader of New Philharmonic orchestra and Royal Choral Soc.; professor of violin at London Academy of Music 1861, director March 1890 to death; trained many professional and amateur violinists who presented him with a gold watch at Hôtel Métropole, London 18 Feb. 1888; composed Ten caprices for the violin; revised and edited many of De Bériot’s compositions, also those of Alard, Ernst, Leonard and Singelée. d. 43 Hamilton terrace, St. John’s Wood, London 14 Nov. 1900. Groves’ s Dictionary of music 1907, iii 783; I.L.N. 8 Dec. 1900 p. 841 prt.

    [Modern English Biography: containing many thousand concise memoirs of persons who have died since the year 1850, with an index of the most interesting matter, Volume 6, p.2074 - 1921 by Frederic Boase]


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