The Catholic University of America

Ivan Galamian (1903-1981)

Photo of Meadowmount Faculty (circa 1967)


Ivan Galamian was one of the greatest violin teachers of the 20th Century. Born in Tabriz, Persia (Iran), his family emigrated to Moscow where he studied violin with Konstantin Mostras (a pupil of Leopold Auer). At the advent of the Bolshevik revolution he fled for Paris where he studied with Lucien Capet. Then, in 1937, with war imminent, he came to the U.S. where he began teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and at The Juilliard School in New York City.

He was an incredibly dedicated teacher. He would teach 9 hours every day -- a bit less on Sundays. At the time I was studying with him at Juilliard he had approximately 104 students and several full-time assistants. Some students would see him once a month, others twice a month, and a few every week. His assistant teachers taught the students their lessons in the weeks when they didn't see him.

What I appreciate about the man was his infinite patience and his quiet humility. Outside his studio was displayed a quote from Senneca: "Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power." A man of very few words, he rarely gave compliments to his students on their playing. He believed that a violinist's playing should speak for itself, without the help of spin-doctors, and that only complete dedication to practicing over many years could yield meaningful results.

Who are the other people in the picture?

Dorothy Delay -- Internationally renowned violin teacher who was at this time an assistant to Ivan Galamian.

David Garvey -- Well known pianist, and staff accompanist at Meadowmount.

Ronald Leonard -- Currently Principal Cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who was serving on the faculty at Meadowmount.

Josef Gingold -- Chamber music coach at Meadowmount, he was formerly Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Sally Thomas -- Assistant to Ivan Galamian, now a eminent teacher at Juilliard.

Paul Makanowitzky -- A remarkable artist and amazing teacher (with whom I also studied) who was an assistant to Ivan Galamian.

Michael Avsharian -- Assistant to Ivan Galamain.

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