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Ivan Galamian

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Ivan Galamian was one of the most influential violin teachers of the Twentieth Century.

He was born in Tabriz, Persia on February 5, 1903. His parents were Armenians from Russia, but his family emigrated to Moscow, Russia soon after his birth. Galamian studied violin at the School of the Philharmonic Society there with Konstantin Mostras (a student of Leopold Auer) until his graduation in 1919. He moved to Paris, France, during the Bolshevik Revolution and studied under Lucien Capet in 1922 and 1923. In 1924 he debuted in Paris. Due to a combination of nerves, health, and a fondness for teaching, Galamian eventually gave up the stage in order to teach full-time. He became a faculty member of the Russian Conservatory in Paris, where he taught from 1925 until 1929. His earliest pupils in Paris include Vida Reynolds, the first woman in the Philadelphia Orchestra's first violin section, and Paul Makanowitzky.

In 1937 Galamian moved permanently to the United States of America. In 1941 he married Judith Johnson in New York City. He taught violin at the Curtis Institute of Music beginning in 1944, and became the head of the violin department at the Juilliard School in 1946. He wrote two violin method books, Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching (1962) and Contemporary Violin Technique (1962). Galamian incorporated aspects of both the Russian and French schools of violin technique in his approach. Galamian founded the summer program Meadowmount School of Music in Westport, NY. Some of his most well known pupils are Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Kyung-Wha Chung, and Michael Rabin. His most notable teaching assistants — later distinguished teachers in their own right — were Dorothy Delay, Sally Thomas, Pauline Scott, Robert Lipsett, Margaret Pardee, Lewis Kaplan and David Cerone. Galamian held honorary degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Oberlin College, and the Cleveland College of Music. He also was an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Ivan Galamian passed away on April 14, 1981. The violin practice videos on this site are based on Galamian style technique.


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