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This Day in UMS History: The Paganini Quartet (Jan 16 & 17, 1948)

January 16 & 17, 1948
Rackham Auditorium

The Paganini Quartet
Henri Temianka, first violin
Robert Courte, viola
Gustave Rosseels, second violin
Gábor Rejtö, violoncello

In 1948, Bartók was new music – the composer had died only two years before.  The first of the Paganini Quartet’s three concerts at Rackham Auditorium in the space of two days started in the Baroque with an arrangement of a Vivaldi concerto, traveled through the late and great Beethoven Quartet in B-flat major, Opus 130 (for the quartet fanatics out there, they performed the new ending Beethoven wrote for the piece, not its original ending, now known as the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133) and ended with the first of Bartók’s six string quartets. The Paganini Quartet has its own connection to Ann Arbor and the UM community: Gustave Rosseels, the second violinist, became a Professor of Violin in 1957 at the UM School of Music (as it was known then).  His name survives in the scholarship for a string quartet, to be given annually to a UM student string quartet and to be called the Rosseels Quartet – of which, incidentally, I am currently the first violinist.

The three concerts by the Paganini Quartet comprised UMS’s 8th Annual Chamber Music Festival (the precursor a today’s Chamber Arts Series).  Below is the original advertisement from 1948 — the best seats for season tickets cost only $3.60!

“This day in UMS History” is an occasional series of vignettes drawn from UMS’s historical archive.   If you have a personal story or particular memory from attending the performance featured here, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.