Louis Kaufman

Louis Kaufman

Louis Kaufman (May 10, 1905, Portland, Oregon – February 9, 1994, Los Angeles, California) was an American violinist and possibly the most recorded musical artist of the 20th century. He played the soundtrack on as many as 500 movies and over 100 musical recordings. He is also credited with reviving the music of Antonio Vivaldi with his recording of "The Four Seasons" in 1950, which won the Grand Prix du Disque.

With the recommendation of Maud Powell and Efrem Zimbalist, Kaufman started at the age of 13 to study with Franz Kneisel in New York City at the Institute of Musical Art, now Juilliard. He played the violin with the Musical Art Quartet from 1926 to 1933. His solo recital debut at New York's Town Hall in 1928 won him the Naumburg Award.

Subsequently, he performed chamber music with Pablo Casals, Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Gregor Piatigorsky, and Efrem Zimbalist.

He was an accomplished violinist, playing 15-minute radio recitals when he was asked to play the soundtrack for Ernst Lubitsch's movie "The Merry Widow"; this performance opened up a long career in performing soundtracks for Hollywood films, including such classics as "Casablanca", "Gone with the Wind", "The Diary of Anne Frank", "Wuthering Heights", "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Spartacus". It is variously estimated that he made 400 solo performances for movies and acted as the concertmaster for several hundred.

He also premiered a number of notable 20th century composers, including works by Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, and Bohuslav Martinů, and made the premiere recording [Kaufman and Kaufman 2003, p.124.] of Samuel Barber's violin concerto.

He and his wife, the pianist Annette Kaufman (née Leibole) often performed together. In September 2003, she published the book "A Fiddler's Tale - How Hollywood and Vivaldi Discovered Me" (ISBN 0-299-18380-7), with Louis Kaufman as principle author and Annette Kaufman as co-author.

The couple donated a large collection of personal papers to the Library of Congress in 2000, which included papers from such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Jascha Heifetz, and others. They also donated a large art collection to the National Gallery of Art and Syracuse University.

[http://youtube.com/watch?v=Xoq9QyZGOVE Louis Kaufman plays Saint-Saens Havanaise op.83]


* [http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2000/00-115.html Library of Congress profile of Louis Kaufman]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E0DC1038F931A25751C0A962958260 New York Times obituary of Louis Kaufman]
* Louis Kaufman and Annette Kaufman: "A Fiddler's Tale: How Vivaldi and Hollywood Discovered Me: My Adventures in Music and Art". 2003. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-18380-7
* [http://www.wnyc.org/stream/ram.py?file=ranews/fishko/fishko072503.ra WNYC Fishko Files on Louis Kaufman]


His Violins

Antonio Stradivari, violin 1727 Barrere
Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, violin 1774 ex-Beel Guadagnini violin 1775c ex-Zimbalist; ex-Kaufman
Nicolas Lupot, violin 1809
Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin copy of "La Pucelle" Stradivari #1489 c.1839

External links

* [http://www.symphony.org/news/room/03nd_fiddler.shtml American Symphony Orchestra League profile]
* [http://www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress/books/2232.htm University of Wisconsin Press profile of autobiography]
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0442209/ IMDB profile for Louis Kaufman]

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