American violinist fiddler Mark O'Connor has this week made a number of startling public allegations - including his belief that the founder of the Suzuki Method of music education was 'one of the biggest frauds in music history.'
O'Connor, 53 who claims to have spent a number of years delving into Dr Shinichi Suzuki's life, has alleged the founder infactually made up components of his back story - including his association with physicist Albert Einstein and tutelage by famed German pedagogue Karl Klingler.
“Shinichi Suzuki had no violin training from any serious violin teacher that we can find. He was basically self-taught, beginning the violin at the age of 18 - and it showed,” O'Connor has claimed.
In a blog post, published on October 16th, O'Connor has produced a number of historical documents in which he suggests proves Dr Suzuki was never registered as a student at the Berlin Conservatory, as stated in Suzuki's academic essays and biographies – and that his 1923 audition report was clearly marked as 'Refused'.
“Shinichi Suzuki was deceitful about his music credentials and training to American violin teachers, academics, and unsuspecting families who wished to have good violin lessons for their children," O'Connor has said, “....he had no professional credential to tout … but the lie about Klingler got him a seat at the table with serious violin pedagogues and therefore a chance to market his books and approach with trumped up credibility."
According to the American Suzuki Association there are currently more than a quarter of a million Suzuki students being taught by 8,000 teachers worldwide.
Many of today's top soloists and orchestral musicians began their musical education with Suzuki's teachings – including virtuosi Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Ray Chen, Leila Josefowicz, Stefan Jackiw, Nicola Benedetti, Julia Fischer and Arabella Steinbacher.
O'Connor is the founder of 'The O'Connor Method – A New American School of String Playing.'