Diran Alexanian

Cello, Musical Artist

1881 – 1954


Who was Diran Alexanian?

Diran Alexanian was an Armenian cello teacher. He studied cello with Friedrich Grützmacher in Leipzig, as well as played chamber music with Johannes Brahms and violinist Joseph Joachim. At a young age he was an accomplished cellist, performing at age seventeen the solo part of Richard Strauss's Don Quixote.

At age twenty, Alexanian settled in Paris, where he met Pablo Casals. Casals had seen Alexanian perform, and noticed that Alexanian's fingering was in line with his new way of playing the cello. They got to know one another, finding they had similar views on general technique and interpretation of music.

In 1921, Alexanian became the assistant to Casals at the École Normale de Musique, which Casals had founded with Alfred Cortot, August Mangeot, and Jacques Thibaud in 1919. There, he and Casals put their revolutionary ideas into practice. Students from around the world came to study with him at this time, including Gabriel Cusson, Maurice Eisenberg, Antonio Janigro, Gregor Piatigorsky, Hidayat Inayat Khan, Pierre Fournier, and Emmanuel Feuermann. During his tenure at the school, Alexanian published his 1922 book on cello technique, Traite Theorique et Pratique du Violoncelle, as well as his famous edition of the Bach Suites in 1929.

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on July 23, 2013


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