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Collection Roman Totenberg Papers

Roman Totenberg Timeline

  • January 1, 1911

    Born, Łódź, Poland, to Adam and Stanislawa Totenberg.

  • 1914

    Moved with his family to Russia.

  • 1917

    Began studying violin with Alexei Ermolov, concertmaster of the Bolshoi Theatre.

  • 1921

    Moved back to Warsaw; enrolled at the Warsaw Conservatory and studied with Jozef Zarzembski.

  • 1922

    Debut performance as violin soloist, with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • 1925

    Studied with Mieczysław Michałowicz at the Chopin Conservatory.

  • 1927

    Met Karol Szymanowski and Victor Babin.

  • 1929-1932

    Studied with Carl Flesch at the Berlin Academy of Music.

  • 1932

    Moved to Paris.

  • 1932-1934

    Studied with Pierre Monteaux and Georges Enescu at the Paris Institute of Instrumental Music.

  • 1933

    Met Darius Milhaud following Paris debut.

  • 1935

    Adam Totenberg died, Stanislawa joined Roman in Paris.

    Won the International Mendelssohn Prize in Berlin.

    U.S. debut with National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., performing Beethoven's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, with conductor Hans Kindler.

    Received the Stradivari violin formerly owned by Nicholas Longworth as a gift from Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

  • 1936

    Performed at the White House.

  • 1937

    Toured South America with Artur Rubinstein.

  • 1938

    Immigrated to the U.S. and settled in New York City.

  • 1938-1942

    Concertmaster, New Friends of Music Chamber Orchestra.

  • 1939

    Performed for the first time at the Library of Congress.

  • 1940

    Gave premiere performance of Arthur Honegger’s Sonata for Solo Violin.

  • 1940-1942

    Director, Chamber Music Interstate Broadcasting Co. radio station WQXR.

  • 1942

    Married Melanie Shroder.

  • 1943

    Became a naturalized American citizen.

    With wife Melanie, purchased the Ames Stradivarius Violin (Stolen 1980 and recovered in 2015).

  • 1943-1944

    Head, violin department, Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, Maryland.

  • 1942-1953

    Performed with the Alma Trio (with pianist Adolph Baller, and cellist Gabor Retjo).

  • 1951-1957

    Head, violin department, Mannes College of Music, New York City.

  • 1951-1961

    Participated as teacher, soloist, and member of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Music Festival.

  • 1952

    Stanislawa Totenberg died.

  • 1953-1960

    In addition to his independent concert career, led tours across the United States as director and member of the Totenberg Ensemble.

  • 1959

    Gave premiere performance of William Schuman's revised Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.

  • 1962-1978

    Head, string department, Boston University.

  • 1963-1963

    Head, violin department, Peabody Conservatory of Music.

  • 1966

    Gave premiere performance of Darius Milhaud’s Music for Boston.

  • 1975

    Performed for the second and final time at the Library of Congress, with pianist Artur Balsam.

  • 1975-2012

    Performed and taught during summer chamber music program at Kneisl Hall, among the nation's oldest chamber music festivals.

  • 1978-1985

    Director, Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • 1981

    Named Artist Teacher of the Year by the American String Teachers Association.

  • 1988

    Awarded Poland's medal of merit, the nation's highest honor, for his musical contributions.

  • 1996

    Awarded Boston University' the Metcalf Prize for superlative teaching.

    Melanie Totenberg died.

  • 2011

    Celebrated his 100th birthday with a variety of events including celebrations at Boston University.

  • May 8, 2012

    Died at his home in, Newton, Massachusetts.

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