Russian violinist (b. 21 March/2 April 1851 in Taganrog; d. 22 January 1929 in Manchester) born Adolf Davidovich Brodsky (Адольф Давыдович Бродский).
Son of the violinist David Brodsky, Adolph took up the instrument even before his fifth birthday, soon becoming a pupil of Joseph Hellmesberger (1828–1893) at the Vienna Conservatory. He began his professional career as a lecturer at the Moscow Conservatory (1875–1878), and subsequently professor at the Leipzig Conservatory (1883–1891), where he established the Brodsky Quartet. In 1882, he married Anna Skadovskaya at Sevastopol in the Crimea.
In 1891, he travelled to the United States to serve as first violinist of the New York Symphony Orchestra (1891–1894) under Walter Damrosch. In 1895 he returned to Europe, where he accepted an invitation from Sir Charles Hallé to teach at the recently founded Royal Manchester College of Music in England, and to lead the Hallé Orchestra. Hallé died shortly after the Brodskys' arrival in Manchester, and Brodsky took over as principal of the College — a position which he held until his death. He also founded a series of chamber concerts by the quartet that still bears his name.
Tchaikovsky and Brodsky
It was in 1881, after Leopold Auer had rejected Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Op. 35 (1878) as too difficult to play, that the composer was greatly impressed when Brodsky took on the task of premiering the work to a hostile Viennese audience .
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
17 letters from Tchaikovsky to Adolph Brodsky have survived, dating from 1875 to c. 1891, all of which have been translated into English on this website:
- Letter 432b – 1875 (?), from Moscow
- Letter 1924 – 1/13 January 1882, from Rome
- Letter 2008 – 15/27 April 1882, from Moscow
- Letter 2013 – 4/16 May 1882, from Kamenka
- Letter 2036 – 3/15 June 1882, from Kamenka
- Letter 3111 – 26 November/8 December 1886, from Moscow
- Letter 3169 – 31 January/12 February 1887, from Klin
- Letter 3444 – 28 December 1887/9 January 1888, from Berlin
- Letter 3526 – 15/27 March 1888, from Vienna
- Letter 3868 – 2/14 June 1889, from Frolovskoye
- Letter 3877 – 16/28 June 1889, from Frolovskoye
- Letter 3898 – 9/21 July 1889, from Frolovskoye
- Letter 3938 – 15/27 September 1889, from Moscow
- Letter 3949 – 4/16 October 1889, from Moscow
- Letter 4488 – 30 September/12 October 1891, from Moscow
- Letter 4515 – 19/31 October 1891, from Maydanovo
- Letter 5065f – unknown (after October 1891).
Letter 4488 was jointly addressed to Adolph and his wife Anna Brodsky.
21 letters from Adolph Brodsky to Tchaikovsky, dating from 1882 to 1891, are preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 320–340).
Notes and References
- Although for many years the Vienna performance was believed to have been the concerto's premiere, this had actually already been given in Hannover on 1/13 March 1880, by the concertmaster of the city's Hofkapelle, Georg Haenflein, conducted by Ernst Frank — apparently without Tchaikovsky's or Brodsky's knowledge. See (2022).