Born in Moson, Hungary, in 1873, Carl Flesch received his first violin lessons at age five from a saddler who played at the local church. He was taken to Vienna when he was 10 and studied with Adolf Back for two years. In his teens, his mentors included Jacob Grün and Josef Maxintsak.
Traveling to France at age 17, Flesch attended the Paris Conservatoire studying under Charles Sauzay and Martin Pierre Marsick. During his first tour of America in 1914, he recorded over 40 record sides for Thomas Edison.
Flesch's students included Bronislaw Gimpel, Ivry Gitlis, Szymon Goldberg, Ida Haendel, Josef Hassid, Ginette Neveu, Alma Moodie, Max Rostal, Eric Rosenblith, Henryk Szeryng, and Henri Temianka.
From 1924, Flesch was head of the violin department at the Curtis Institute. The pianist in the recording, Harry Kaufman, also led Curtis' Department of Accompanying for 17 years.
In 1928, Flesch was appointed to Berlin’s Musikhochschule, teaching there during the winter months while teaching privately in Baden-Baden over the summer. The Baden-Baden Flesch Akademie was created to continue that tradition.
He published several instructional books including the 1923 “The Art of Violin Playing,” where he advocated for the violinist as an artist rather than merely virtuoso. His “Scale System” — initially a supplement to his 1923 publication — is now one of the most important study books for violinists.
Flesch was made to leave Germany in 1935 by the Nazi regime and eventually moved to Lucerne, Switzerland, giving masterclasses until his death in 1944.