Roman Totenberg, born in Poland, made his debut at age of 11 as soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic. He studied with Carl Flesch in Berlin and later with Georges Enesco and Pierre Monteux in Paris. Acclaimed the world over as a master of his instrument, and for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary music, Totenberg has appeared with most of the major American orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Washington Symphonies. In Europe he has performed with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw. In recital he has appeared at the White House, Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, the Library of Congress, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in every major American and European city. He has been featured in the music festivals at Salzburg, Aspen, Tanglewood and Kneisel Hall. He is currently professor at Boston University.
When he was 18 years old, Roman Totenberg won the Mendelssohn prize in Berlin playing the Brahms Violin Concerto. Ever since then his name has been linked with outstanding performances of this concerto. Hailed by Virgil Thompson as “establishing standards of musicianship,” the famous American critic and composer wrote, “Technically speaking, Mr. Totenberg can play anything his predecessors could. He is, in fact, more expert than most of them. He is the smoothest bow arm of all and, in consequence, the most evenly sustained legato line. He plays on pitch, in time, and without bumpiness; and he has rhythm. He also has temperament, the ability to put himself inside a piece, which is valuable, and stylistic understanding, the knowledge of how one piece or period differs from another, which is indispensable. He has by gift, moreover, an awareness of music’s continuing line that enables him to project a work as a single, whole thing, and to hold thus by sheer musical communication almost any musical person’s interest.”