Henryk Wieniawski (1835 - 1880)
A pupil of Massart at the Paris Conservatoire, the Polish violinist Henryk Wieniawski began his career as a virtuoso in earnest in 1851, spending some three years in Russia, giving concerts and writing music for his own use. After further concert tours he accepted an invitation from Anton Rubinstein to join the staff of the St Petersburg Conservatory, where he served from 1860 until 1872. Exhausting concert tours of the United States of America were followed by his appointment as the successor to Vieuxtemps at the Brussels Conservatory, where he taught until 1877. At the same time he continued his concert tours, brought to an end only by ill-health and his death in Moscow in 1880, at the age of forty-four.
Wieniawski’s compositions were principally for his own use. They include two important violin concertos as well as a number of pieces designed to display his technical and romantic musical accomplishments. His Souvenir de Moscou, Souvenir de Posen and Le carnaval russe may be considered a concession to Russian audiences, while the Reminiscences of San Francisco were no doubt designed as a compliment to the audiences of that city.