Arthur Grumiaux

Belgian Violinist (1921, Villers-Perwin – 1986, Brussels)

Arthur Grumiaux was a solo violinist; he performed internationally from the age of 18. He belongs to the Franco-Belgian school of violinists, along with Henri Vieuxtemps, Eugène Ysaÿe and César Thomson. He is best known for his pure, tempered renditions of Mozart.

Grumiaux grew up in a music-loving family. His grandfather taught him music theory from a very young age. He quickly recognised that Grumiaux was gifted and gave him his first violin. The young boy performed for the first time in concert when he was only five and a half years old. He continued studying the violin and piano at the Conservatoire in Charleroi, before joining the class of Alfred Dubois, a disciple of Eugène Ysaÿe, at the Brussels Conservatoire. Grumiaux won his first competition in 1935 at only fourteen years old. During this period he studied harmony with Jean Absil and won a premier prix in this discipline. In 1939, Arthur Grumiaux won the Vieuxtemps contest and continued his training in Paris with Georges Enesco.

His reputation grew upon his return to Belgium, where he won the Belgian National Competition. The war, however, quickly halted his promising young career: the state attempted to pressure him into accepting the role of Konzertmeister of the Staatskapelle in Dresden. He categorically refused, and instead spent the war illegally playing for American and British soldiers. His career took flight after the Liberation; he became Assistant to his teacher Alfred Dubois, before replacing him in 1949.
In 1945, Arthur Grumiaux began performing internationally with pianist Clara Haskil; Pablo Casals had introduced the pair in 1950. In 1967, Grumiaux founded a string trio with violist Georg Janzer, of the Vagh Quartet, and cellist Eva Czako. He later formed a piano-violin ensemble with György Sebok and Walter Klein. Grumiaux played many instruments throughout his career, including several Stradivarius violins such as the Titan (1715) and the General Dupont (1727), a Guarnerius del Gesu (1744), a Vuillaume, a Chanot and a Guadagnini of 1723.

Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Arthur Grumiaux 

1949 :  Replaced his former teacher Alfred Dubois at the Brussels Conservatoire
1950 :  Dinu Lipatti invited him to form a duo. Lipatti died several months later. Grumiaux instead began working with pianist Clara Haskil.
1951 :  Went on his first tour of the United States
1956 :  Recorded Mozart's Concertos for Violon in Vienna to mark the composer's bicentenary
1957 :  Recorded the violon and piano parts of Brahms' Sonata n°2 and Mozart's Sonate K481
1967 :  Formed a string ensemble with Georg Janzer and Eva Czako.