Ivan Galamian

Violinist, Musical Artist

1903 – 1981


Who was Ivan Galamian?

Ivan Alexander Galamian was an influential Iranian-born violin teacher of the twentieth century.

He was born in Tabriz, Iran to an Armenian family, soon after his birth his family emigrated to Moscow, Russia. Galamian studied violin at the School of the Philharmonic Society there with Konstantin Mostras until his graduation in 1919. He was thrown in jail at the age of fifteen by the Bolshevik government. It was the opera manager at the Bolshoi Theater who rescued Galamian; the manager argued that Galamian was a necessary part of the opera orchestra, and the government allowed him to go free. He moved to Paris soon thereafter, studying under Lucien Capet in 1922 and 1923. In 1924 he debuted in Paris. Due to a combination of nerves, health, and a fondness for teaching, Galamian eventually gave up the stage in order to teach full-time. He became a faculty member of the Russian Conservatory in Paris, where he taught from 1925 until 1929. His earliest pupils in Paris include Vida Reynolds, the first woman in the Philadelphia Orchestra's first violin section, and Paul Makanowitzky.

In 1937 Galamian moved permanently to the United States of America. In 1941 he married Judith Johnson in New York City. He taught violin at the Curtis Institute of Music beginning in 1944, and became the head of the violin department at the Juilliard School in 1946. He wrote two violin method books, Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching and Contemporary Violin Technique. Galamian incorporated aspects of both the Russian and French schools of violin technique in his approach. Galamian founded the summer program Meadowmount School of Music in Westport, New York. He died in Manhattan, New York City, at the age of 78.

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Jan 23, 1903
  • United States of America
  • Armenia
  • Juilliard School
Lived in
  • Tabriz
Apr 14, 1981
New York City

on July 23, 2013


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