Virtuoso Violinist Henryk Szeryng, 69
Mar. 03, 1988
PARIS (AP) _ Virtuoso violinist Henryk Szeryng, a Polish emigre and Mexican citizen who gained fame after performing extensively for Allied troops during World War II, died today in West Germany. He was 69.
Szeryng died at 4 a.m. in Kassel, West Germany, of a cerebral hemorrhage he suffered early Wednesday, his Paris and New York offices said.
A recipient of numerous international awards, the violinist was to have played in Brussels Wednesday night with the Orchestra of Sarrebruck and begin a U.S. tour in a few weeks.
''Real music lovers want emotion - great moments - which Szeryng's playing gives them,'' Arthur Rubinstein, who died in 1982, once said.
Szeryng had a preference for resurrecting neglected works and bringing relatively unknown contemporary works to the public. In 1971, he reconstructed and gave the first performance in modern times of Paganini's Concerto No. 3.
He made numerous recordings and authored several publications on technique and interpretation.
Szeryng was born in Warsaw Sept. 22, 1918 and educated in West Germany, then in France, where he studied under Gabriel Bouillon and Nadia Boulanger at the Paris Conservatory. In 1937, he graduated with the coveted First Prize.
Szeryng was firmly associated with the French school of violin playing, although the major musical force behind him was Carl Flesch.
At the outbreak of World War II, Szeryng, who spoke eight languages, was appointed liaison officer and interpreter for Gen. Wladislaw Sikorski, premier of the Polish government-in-exile and commander of the Free Polish Army.
In 1941, he went with Sikorski to Latin America in search of a home for about 4,000 Polish refugees. The refugees were accepted by Mexico. Moved by this humanitarian gesture, Szeryng took on Mexican citizenship in 1946.
During the war, he performed more than 300 concerts for Allied troops.
He eventually became an adviser to the Mexican government on cultural matters, but he maintained his base in Europe. He lived in Paris for about 20 years, but for the past five years he lived in Monaco and went to Mexico about twice a year.
He was decorated by governments from Italy to Finland, including France, which gave him its illustrious Legion of Honor in 1984.
Szeryng made his American debut in Carnegie Hall in 1943 and went on to make numerous recordings, reaping a Grammy award for one of them.
In 1970, he was appointed special music advisor to Mexico's UNESCO delegation in Paris.
Encouraged by Rubinstein to extend his musical activities worldwide, Szeryng did so, increasing his reputation and making numerous recordings with Rubinstein.
Funeral services are to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco, at a still unspecified date, his Paris office said.