The Kennedy Center

Alexander Schneider


Alexander Schneider
(violinist/conductor, born October 21, 1908, Vilna, Russia; died February 2, 1993)

Michael Steinburg in The New Grove hails Alexander Schneider as "one of the most unquenchably energetic figures in the public musical life of the USA." Indeed, his whole life was dedicated to the nurturing of chamber music and musicians.

Since moving to the United States in 1938 as a member of the famed Budapest Quartet, Schneider has been a major influence in music--mainly chamber music, not only as a violinist and conductor but as a concert organizer and devoted teacher of young artists. In addition to founding the Albeneri Trio and the Scheider Quartet, he was directly involved in organizing the Casals Festival in Prades and Puerto Rico, the Israel Festival , and was a principal figure at the Marlboro Music Festival for many years. In addition, Schneider was a member of the faculty of numerous leading institutions. As guest conductor, Schneider appeared with major prominent orchestras, as well as with his own Brandenburg Ensemble. A champion of contemporary music, he premiered works by such composers as Babbitt, Boulez, and Stravinsky.

The New School Concerts, which Schneider founded, have afforded several luminous New York dubuts. He also founded the New York String Orchestra Seminar, an annual Christmas event including chamber music coaching and concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, to aid in the professional training of young artists. In the 20th year of the seminar, he said: "The purpose is to get young people to learn how to make music. When you make music it has to come from your heart, from your soul, or it has no meaning" (Newsweek).

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