Josef Gingold, one of the most revered violin teachers of the twentieth century, taught many of today’s soloists and teachers. Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Miriam Fried, Jaime Laredo, Joseph Silverstein, Andrés Cárdenes, and Lucie Robert are just a few names in the pantheon of his students. He is justly remembered for his warmth, knowledge, and ability to pass on his incredible knowledge. Gingold was, however, also an incredible violinist and soloist in his own right.
Josef Gingold was born in Brest, Belarus in 1909 and emigrated to the United States in 1920, studying violin in New York City. He moved to Belgium to study with the great Eugène Ysaÿe for many years, premiering Ysaÿe’s Sonata №3 for Solo Violin. In 1937, Gingold moved back to the U.S. to join the NBC Symphony under Toscanini. He became concertmaster and frequent soloist for the Detroit Symphony and then concertmaster for the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. In the mid-sixties, Gingold joined the illustrious faculty of Indiana University in Bloomington, where his teaching career took off.
In 1938, NBC asked four members of Toscanini’s great orchestra to create a string quartet. The quartet was formed around the most famous at the time, the violist William Primrose, but the other members weren’t slouches! Oscar Shumsky, Harvey Shapiro, and Josef Gingold. The Primrose Quartet recorded only a few 78’s for RCA before WWII ceased their trajectory and plans, but these recordings are glorious!
In 1973, Gingold made an absolutely extraordinary recording of the Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello with his Indiana University colleague, Janos Starker.
Except for Kreisler’s own recordings, no one can play the Kreisler’s compositions with as much elan as Gingold. In 1976, he released a recording of Kreisler’s music. It’s paired with a great recording of Fauré’s Sonata for Violin and Piano from 1966.