Joseph Szigeti


Schubert Club Performances:

  • January 17, 1934
  • November 18, 1940

Joseph Szigeti

This aristocrat among Hungarian virtuosos began his long career as a child prodigy. He studied at the Budapest Academy with Jenő Hubay, one of the foremost violin teachers of the late-19th and early 20th-centuries, and had achieved considerable renown in Europe when he made his US debut under Stokowski at Carnegie Hall in 1925 and began undertaking tours to every corner of the world. In both of his Schubert Club recitals, in 1934 and 1940 – the year he settled in the USA – Szigeti played Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata. Earlier in 1940, he performed it at the Library of Congress with his longtime friend and fellow Hungarian émigré, Béla Bartók. (The great composer and pianist had arrived in the US only two days earlier.) Fortunately for posterity, their recital was recorded on acetate discs. The “Kreutzer” performance is a unique document of recreative genius:

Szigeti appeared in the 1944 movie Hollywood Canteen, playing a bagatelle by a Dresden violinist-composer named Franz Schubert (no relation). Here he is, introduced by Bette Davis:

ON THIS DAY | Violinist Joseph Szigeti Died in 1973

In the 1950s, near the end of his career, he visited CBC’s Montreal studios on three separate occasions, all of them filmed. In 1954, with the Radio Canada Orchestra conducted by Wilfrid Pelletier he offered this performance the Czardas No. 3 by his teacher Hubay:

Artist note by Richard Evidon

From the Schubert Club Archive:

Program from Szigeti’s 1940 concert

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