Lev S. Ginsburg

Lev Ginsburg was born on January 28, 1907, and died in 1981. He was a musicologist, a cello teacher, a historian and the author of more than twenty books and hundreds of articles related to all aspects of music and instrumentalists. He was born in Mogilev (Byelorussia). His parents were both physicians, but his mother loved music and would go about the house humming opera arias. At the age of eleven he commenced cello lessons with Leopold Yushdevich at the Mogilev Music Studio. Ginsburg remembers Yushdevich as a talented self-made musician, who could sing on the cello with amazing beauty. Only four years later he moved to Moscow where he studied for a a year with Abraham Mogilevsky at the Alexander Glazunov Music School, and then with Mark Yampolsky and Semon Kosolupov at the Moscow Conservatory (which was then known as the "Brothers Rubinstein Music College.) He recalls that his studies of the Davidov concertos were an entire school of cello playing for him. Ginsburg graduated after three years, instead of taking the normal five year course.

Ginsburg began his professional career at the age of 25, and played solo concerts and with chamber groups and orchestras all over Russia. He was assistant principal cellist of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1932-1934. He taught cello at Moscow Conservatory, and then shifted his chief interest eventually to musicological research, though he continued teaching cello until 1969. Ginsburg published his first book in 1938: "Luigi Boccherini and His Role in the Development of the Cello."

During WW2 Ginsburg was a member of a military "concert brigade," and participated in more than 500 concerts in hospitals and military units.

After the war he became a well-known judge at many cello competitions (Vienna, Prague and the Casals Competition in Budapest), and he lectured throughout Europe on aspects of musicology. In 1961 he was invited by Pablo Casals to participate in the Festival in Prades.

He developed several course of study that became implemented into the curriculum of the Soviet Conservatories. He made friends with most of the well-known cellists and other musicians of his generation, and had an extensive collection of interesting memorabilia, for example a pipe from Casals, and many autographed photographs of him with Marechal, Piatigorsky, Shostakovich, Kodaly and so on.

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