Adolph Brodsky

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Adolph Brodsky (1851–1929)

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 [1].

During his foreign tours in the late 1880s, Tchaikovsky frequently visited Adolph and his wife Anna at their home in Leipzig, where he met Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg.


After the successful 1881 performance of his Violin Concerto in Vienna, Tchaikovsky withdrew the original dedication to Auer, and future editions were inscribed: "À Monsieur Adolphe Brodsky".

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 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).


External Links

Notes and References

  1. 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 Tchaikovsky Research Bulletin No. 4 (2022).