Pioneering String Players from The Strad Archives | To concentrate

Below is a selection of photographs from an exhibition held at the Barbican Library in London, celebrating The Strad’s 125th anniversary year in 2015.

During the first half of the 20th century The StradeThe pages of reflect the growing number of female string players who are making a name for themselves professionally in Europe and America. While learning a musical instrument was once seen as a woman’s accomplishment, changing attitudes have encouraged a growing number of talented women to enter the concert stage as soloists and musicians. orchestra, and to continue their studies in the most prestigious institutions in the world.


The StradeThe May 1901 issue featured the cellist Miss Muriel Handley, one of the many female cellists who had “established a reputation based on solid musical knowledge, admirable technique and an unfailing artistic sense”. Coming from a musical family, Handley first studied piano and organ, and was eventually allowed to take cello when the appearance of a “woman’s name” among a list of cello students from the Royal Academy broke the prejudices that existed in the minds of his parents. ‘. She then won a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music.


Adila and Jelly von Aranyi (later Jelly d’Arányi and Adila Fachiri) appeared in The StradeAugust 1912 issue – violin duo sisters and great-nieces of violinist and composer Joseph Joachim. Adila, the eldest of the two, studied with her famous great-uncle in Berlin after graduating from the Royal Academy in Budapest, while her younger sister Jelly studied with Jenö Hubay, also at the Royal Academy in Budapest. Budapest. “They showed they had the art of playing duets with complete sympathy and understanding,” reported The Strade. Bartók dedicated his Violin Sonatas to Adila (although Jelly premiered the works), while Ravel dedicated his Tzigane to Jelly.


In December 1900 The Strade present Elsa Ruegger, a Swiss-born cellist who studied at the Brussels Conservatory and made his first public appearance at a charity concert at the age of eleven. After winning first prize in the Conservatory’s “Prüfung Competition”, she toured Europe in 1895 and made her first appearance in London in 1897. “As a player, Miss Ruegger’s technique is magnificent in its finish. Its tone is full, round and refined and its intonation flawless, while its bow is singularly scratch-free,” wrote The Strade.


The StradeAugust 1914 issue featured Elsie Southgate. The 25-year-old first studied the violin “as an accomplishment without thinking about appearing in public”. However, she studied at the Royal Academy of Music on a scholarship as a pupil of Émile Sauret and later performed at the Promenade concerts in London, Germany and Paris. “Then I got married and gave up the violin, as I thought,” she said. But “having remained a widow with two dependent children, I thought to see if I could succeed in a variety theater. I had my chance at a matinee at the London Pavilion. Result: a month of engagement, and I’ve been booked since.


The Strade profiled the largely self-taught Eda Kersey (1904-44) in October 1931 – “one of the few female violinists who really matter” and a first-rate soloist, who recorded Bax’s Concerto.

Viennese violinist Erica Morini (1904-95) appeared in the June 1925 issue. A respected virtuoso, she recorded many works, including concertos by Tchaikovsky and Brahms with Rodzinsky.

Russian violinist Galina Barinova (1910-2006) was a great exponent of Sibelius and Glazunov concertos, and made recordings with Sviatoslav Richter.

japanese soloist Nejiko Suwa (1920-2012) recorded Bach solo in 1979-80, when she was a little past her best, but it makes for a rewarding listen.


Maud Powell was the first American violinist to achieve international fame. Born in Illinois in 1867, she traveled to Europe at the age of 13 to study with Henry Schradieck at the Leipzig Conservatory, Charles Dancla at the Paris Conservatory and Joseph Joachim at the Hochschule in Berlin. In 1885 she performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto in her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic under Joachim and again with the New York Philharmonic under Theodore Thomas. She was one of the first champions of the Sibelius Violin Concerto in the United States and Europe.

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