Jascha Brodsky is a famous violinist from Ukraine, and a music mentor to several of today’s world renowned violinists. He was a violinist who performed in the Curtis String Quartet which he formed with his three other music partners. In 1997, Jascha Brodsky died at the age of 90.

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Background of Jascha Brodsky

Born in 1907 in Kharkiv, Ukraine (a state in the then-Soviet Union), Jascha Brodsky started his violin studies under the tutelage of his violinist father at the age of 6. He later studied at the Conservatory of Tblisi in Geogia, and by 1926, he had performed successfully in orchestras all over the Soviet Union.

That same year in 1926, he left his country to study in Paris with French Violinist, Lucien Capet. He also played for Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer and who was also regarded as one of the greatest composer in the 20th century. He also had the opportunity to perform with pianist Vladmir Horowitz and violinists Nathan Milstein and Mischa Elman.

A few years later, he moved to Belgium where he studied under the legendary violinist Eugene Ysaye.

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Achievements of Jascha Brodsky

In 1930, Jascha Brodsky enrolled into the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and studied with Efrem Zimbalist. That same year, he became the first violinist of the ensemble and thus, the formation of the Curtis String Quartet with three of his partners.

The Quartet was disbanded in 1981, due to the passing of the quartet’s founding violist, Max Aronoff.

Jascha Brodsky - Curtis String QuartetCurtis String Quartet in 1933. Left to Right: Orlando Cole, Benjamin Sharlip, Jascha Brodsky, Max Aronoff.
Credit: Curtis Institute of Music 

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In 1932, Brodsky joined the faculty of Curtis Institute of Music, and was later appointed to the Efrem Zimbalist Chair of Violin Studies, which he held until his retirement in 1997.

Brodsky also founded the New School of Music with his Aronoff, a school to train musicians specifically for a career in chamber music or in orchestra. He continued to teach when the New School of Music merged into Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in 1986. There, he was appointed Professor Emeritus.

Jascha Brodsky’s greatest achievements in his entire music career, is his grooming of world renewed violinists like Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz and Nadia SalernoSonnenberg, as well as many violinists in major American orchestras.

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Interesting Facts of Jascha Brodsky

During his career, Jascha Brodsky once played on the 1697 Molitor Stradivarius violin, one of the most expensive violins in the world. The violin fetched a world record price in a public auction in 2010, at US$3.6 million. Musicians who played the Molitor Strad includes Elmar Oliveira and Ethel Stark.

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