Bronislaw Huberman Passes Away

June 16, 1947

Known as one of the most cherished violinists of his generation, and one of the greatest Jewish musicians of all time, Bronislaw Huberman passed away at his home in Switzerland at the age of 64.  Huberman was born in Czestochowa, Poland in 1882. Studying at the Warsaw Music Conservatory from a young age, he was quickly recognized as a child prodigy, touring and performing all over Europe by the age of 11. Most recognized in Europe and the United States for his virtuoso classical performances, Huberman was also the mastermind and fundraiser behind the Palestine Symphony Orchestra.

The Palestine Symphony Orchestra was formed in the early-mid 1930s by Huberman with his own funds. Huberman was able to liberate ninety European Jewish musicians endangered by the Holocaust and bring them to Palestine.  A beacon of hope for these musicians, the orchestra also became a symbol of sophistication and culture for the growing Yishuv in Mandate Palestine. The guest conductor for the orchestra’s opening concert in Tel-Aviv on December 26, 1936 was Arturo Toscanini, a world-renowned Italian maestro. Even in its first season, the orchestra consistently filled concerts halls and venues throughout Mandate Palestine. Now called the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, it has a reputation as one of the best philharmonic orchestras in the world.

After creating the Palestine Orchestra, Huberman continued his work as a concert violinist. Based in Switzerland, where he was able to find refuge from the Holocaust, Huberman travelled and performed throughout the world.  In February 1936, during a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York, his Stradivarius Violin was stolen. Later recovered, the instrument was sold to contemporary violin virtuoso Joshua Bell in 2001 for nearly $4 million.

The photo shows the album cover of “Bronislaw Huberman in Performance.”