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Henryk Wieniawski

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Henryk Wieniawski (July 10, 1835 Lublin, Poland - March 31, 1880 Moscow) was a Polish composer and violinist.

He was born into a Polish-Jewish family, whose father, Tobiasz Pietruszka, converted to Catholicism. His talent for playing the violin was recognized early on, and in 1843 he entered the Paris Conservatoire. After graduation, Wieniawski toured extensively, giving many recitals on which he was often accompanied by his brother Józef on piano. In 1847 Henryk Wieniawski published his first opus, a Grand Caprice Fantastique, the start of a modest but important catalog of 24 opus numbers.

When his engagement to Isabella Hampton was opposed by her parents, Wieniawski wrote Légende, Opus 17; this work helped the parents change their mind and the couple married in 1860.

At the invitation of Anton Rubinstein, Wieniawski moved to St. Petersburg, where he lived from 1860 to 1872, teaching many violin students and leading the orchestra and string quartet of the Russian Musical Society. From 1872 to 1874 Wieniawski toured the United States with Rubinstein. In 1875 Wieniawski replaced Henri Vieuxtemps as violin professor at the conservatory at Brussels.

During his residence in Brussels, Wieniawski’s health was in obvious decline, often stopping him in the middle of concerts. He gave a farewell concert in Odessa on April 1879 and died from a heart attack the following year in Moscow. He is interred in the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.

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