Belgian violin virtuoso, composer, and celebrated pedagogue Eugène Ysaÿe was born on this day in 1858.
Ysaÿe was a child prodigy who studied with Henri Vieuxtemps and became a master of the Franco-Belgian school of violin playing — known for elegant, polished sound and bow technique that involved a flexible right wrist, a bent fifth finger, and middle fingers draped around the stick. In 1901, Ysaÿe was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal.
Legendary pedagogue Carl Flesch once described him as "the most outstanding and individual violinist I have ever heard in my life."
As a composer, Ysaÿe is remembered well for his virtuosic Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27, unaccompanied Sonata for Cello, Op. 28, and eight Poèmes for various string ensembles.
He also served as the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1918-1922 and was also a highly proficient violist, cellist, and pianist.
Ysaÿe’s famed students included virtuosi Josef Gingold, Nathan Milstein, William Primrose, Louis Persinger, Jascha Brodsky, and Oscar Shumsky.