Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
November 14
Can You Guess?
We read about Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's father.  Not only was he a composer, he also wrote a famous book.  Can You Guess the subject of Leopold Mozart's book?  (Sorry, no hint today.)

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1719 - Leopold Mozart,  German-Austrian composer and father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born.

1900 - Composer Aaron Copland was born.

1944 -Premiere of Dimitri Shostakovich's Piano Trio No. 2, with the composer on piano.  On the sam program as the premiere of his String Quartet No. 2. The Beethoven Quartet performed in Leningrad.

1970 - Santana's "Black Magic Woman" was released.

1980 - Leonard Bernstein conducted the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. Featuring an 80th birthday tribute of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. Copland was the narrator.

1985 - Premiere of Aaron Copland's Proclamation for Orchestra orchestration by Philip Ramey, by New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta

2001 - Premiere of Richard Danielpour's An American Requiem. Soloists with the Pacific Symphony, Carl St. Clair conducting

2002 - Premiere of Variations on Thelonious Monk’s 'Round Midnight'. The variations by Roberto Andreoni, Milton Babbitt, Alberto Barbero, Carlo Boccadoro, William Bolcom, Uri Caine, Filippo Del Corno, David Crumb, George Crumb, Michael Daugherty, John Harbison, Fred Hersch, Joel Hoffman, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gerald Levinson, Matthew Quayle, Eric Reed, Frederic Rzewski, Augusta Reed Thomas, and Michael Torke.

Did You Guess?
The book was called, A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing.  If you can find it, it is a very good text on technique.
Kogan's first teacher was Philip Yampolsky, who had studied under Auer.  "For the first two months," Kogan said, "I could not play more than five minutes without interruptions.  My left hand felt full of lead, and my head much heavier." Kogan managed to keep his enthusiasm alive even though he only played for a few minutes each day.  But he added "I cannot say that in my childhood I played with pleasure."  Kogan said, however, that Yampolsky had given him a solid foundation on which he could build his playing and a love of work.
Leonid Borisovitch Kogan
1924 - 1982
Leonid ("Leonia" to his friends) Borisovitch Kogan was born November 14, 1924.  Although his father played the violin, his parents did not consider themselves "musical." 

Kogan showed strong interest in the violin when he was very young.  At the age of 3 he was so fascinated with his father's violin that he would not go to sleep unless the violin was there beside him.  He began violin lessons when he was 7 years old.
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Kogan studied at Moscow's Central Music School. The curriculum, for gifted students, combined intense musical study with a standard general education. At age 17 he gave his first concert, playing the Brahms Concerto with the Moscow Philharmonic in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.  Then he began touring the USSR, even though he was still a student. Despite his early success, his parents maintained control of Kogan's career so that Kogan was not exploited. 

Kogan studied at the Moscow Conservatory from 1943-48 and returned 1948-51.  While still a student, Kogan was co-winner of the first prize at Prague's World Youth Festival in 1947. In 1951 he competed in the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, playing the Paganini Violin Concerto #1 with the Sauret cadenza.  His rivals in this contest included Michail Waiman and Olga Kaworsnewa.  Kogan took first place, Waiman took second.  David Oistrakh and Jacques Thibaud sat on the jury.

Kogan became a great friend of David Oistrakh, often listening to Oistrakh's evening classes and performance. Though 16 years older than Kogan, Oistrakh treated him as a colleague and an equal.  Kogan was also a great admirer of Jascha Heifetz, whom he called, "the ideal artist," and Szigeti.  Despite his obvious talent, Kogan naturally shunned publicity, and was never as well known as these other men.

In 1952 Kogan joined the teaching staff at the Moscow Conservatory, and was granted a full professorship in 1963.  Kogan married Elizaveta Gilels (also a concert violinist), sister of pianist Emil Gilels.  Kogan, Emil Gilels and Rostropovich formed a trio, recording works by Beethoven, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Brahms and Faure.  Kogan was the first Soviet violinist to play the Berg Violin Concerto.

Knipper, Krennikov, Karayev and Bunin, Khachaturian, Levitin and Vainberg all dedicated works to him.  Kogan had a repertoire of over 18 concertos, including Vivaldi and the Bach E major concerto. He would play the works in a grand cycle of 6 evenings under the title of " Development of the Violin Concerto." In 1976 Kogan was a member of the jury of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. In 1980 Kogan was invited to teach at the Academia Chigiana in Sienna, Italy.

Kogan a Guarneri del Gesù violin dated 1726 ( although he also had another one dated 1733 ), that Oistrakh acquired for him in the early 1960s. He had played a Stradivarius in the early years of his career. Kogan's son, Pavel, born in 1952, became a famous violinist and conductor, and his daughter, Nina, became a pianist.  She accompanied him in later years.

Leonid Kogan died while on tour, December 17, 1982.
When Kogan was 10 his family moved to Moscow, where he studied with Abram Yampolsky (no relation to Philip Yampolsky), himself a famous disciple of Auer. When Kogan was 12 years old, Jacques Thibaud listened to Kogan play.  Thibaud predicted a great career for Kogan.
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