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August 23, 2000

Violinist Louis Kaufman's Papers Acquired by Library of Congress

The Library of Congress recently acquired the personal papers of noted American violinist Louis Kaufman (1905-1994), thereby adding to its already rich collection of the personal papers of some of the most important American violinists of the 20th century, including Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Leonora Jackson McKim and Henryk Szeryng.

The gift of Annette Kaufman, Louis Kaufman's widow and longtime accompanist, provides a valuable collection of correspondence that includes letters to the Kaufmans from many important musical and artistic figures of the 20th century, including Milton Avery, Samuel Barber, Robert Russell Bennett, Leonard Bernstein, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Aaron Copland, Jascha Heifetz, Bernard Herrmann, Fritz Kreisler, Francesco Malipiero, Bohuslav Martinu, Darius Milhaud, Dimitri Mitropolous, Walter Piston, Francis Poulenc, George Rochberg, Richard Rodgers, Miklós Rózsa, Henri Sauguet, William Grant Still, Ernst Toch and others.

Louis and Annette Kaufman also amassed a significant art collection, much of which they have given to major institutions such as the National Gallery of Art and Syracuse University. The Kaufmans' collecting and lending activities with other artists, museums and dealers are also reflected in the correspondence. A collection of concert programs provides an overview of the Kaufmans' illustrious career.

The collection comprises some 9,000 items and is now available to researchers in the Library's Performing Arts Reading Room, located in the Madison Building at 101 Independence Avenue S.E.

Called "a violinist's violinist and a musician's musician" by The New York Times, Louis Kaufman was born in Portland, Oregon, and was sent to New York's Institute of Music Art (Juilliard) at the age of 13 to study with the influential violinist Franz Kneisel on the recommendation of Maud Powell and Efrem Zimbalist, who were themselves violinists of the highest caliber.

Annette Leibole, a gifted pianist and fellow student at the Institute, met Kaufman in 1932, married him a year later, and went on to be his accompanist for more than 50 years. They settled in Los Angeles, where Kaufman was active as a studio performer for more than 14 years in the film industry -- all the while continuing to give recitals there and in New York and, eventually, throughout the world.

Louis Kaufman was in great demand as a soloist in Hollywood during much of the 1930s and 1940s. His more than 400 solo film performances may be heard in "The Merry Widow," "Wuthering Heights," "Gone with the Wind," "Cleopatra," "Magnificent Obsession," "Show Boat," "Modern Times," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "The Treasure of Sierra Madre" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls," among others.

Kaufman also recorded a number of important violin works during his long career, including Aram Khachaturian's Violin Concerto, the Sonata for Violin and Piano by Aaron Copland (with the composer at the piano) and Vivaldi's Four Seasons (this latter recording won him the coveted Grand Prix du Disque in 1950). He premiered several violin concertos including those by Bohuslav Martinu, Henri Sauguet, and Darius Milhaud's Second Concerto and Concertino de Printemps, and he was a champion of such contemporary composers as Robert Russell Bennett, Samuel Barber, Ernest Toch and William Grant Still.

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PR 00-115
8/23/00
ISSN 0731-3527

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