Biography

Jan Kubelík (July 5, 1880, Prague – December 5, 1940, Prague) was a famous Czech violinist, also acted as a composer.

After great success following his debut in Vienna, and in London (where he first appeared at a Richter concert in 1900), Kubelik toured in the USA in 1901. He made his first appearance for the Royal Philharmonic Society, London in the season of 1901-2, and in 1902 was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal (in succession to Eugene Ysaye). In 1902 he brought the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to London, having assisted it financially in the previous year. The Gramophone Company recorded him as obbligato to Dame Nellie Melba in 1904, a match which reflected the classical phrasing, tonal purity and security of his art and was an ideal complement to it. Their early version of the Bach-Gounod ‘Ave Maria’ (G.C. 03033) was recorded twice, in October 1904 and again in February 1905, and this was one of the great early classics of the gramophone, one of those records which ‘made’ the instrument a popular success, though the double celebrity single-sided title retailed at one guinea. Nine years later (when technology had improved) the partnership was reformed to re-make the record (as 03333), in May 1913 with organ accompaniment and again in October 1913. It was the latter version which then survived in the inter-war catalogue in two-sided form.

Kubelik made a number of recordings; wrote music, including six violin concertos; and continued to perform in public until his death. However, from the 1920s, with the advent of Jascha Heifetz, his career dwindled somewhat. Jan Kubelík died in Prague. Rafael Kubelík, the conductor, was his son.

Jan Kubelik also made an appearance in Robert Ludlum’s The Janson Directive. Carl Sandburg featured Jan Kubelík in his Chicago Poems, 1916.

Jan Kubelik’s acoustic recordings were made for The Gramophone Company, his 1935 Carnegie Hall concert was also recorded and has been reissued.

Edited by lark54 on 14 Jan 2008, 11:53

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