Mieczysław Weinberg

Profile

Polish-Jewish composer Mieczysław Weinberg was born in 1919 in Warsaw. His father was a conductor and violinist, his mother an actress. In 1939 Weinberg fled from the Nazis to Russia – his parents and sister, who remained behind, were killed. Weinberg is the creator of a substantial oeuvre, ranging from symphony to string quartet, opera and song. His work is not particularly well known, although a Weinberg revival has been in motion for some time. In Moscow Weinberg lived near another Soviet era composer: Dmitri Shostakovich. The men knew one another well, and exchanged tips on composition. Weinberg and Shostakovich’s friendship can be heard in their music. Over his lifetime Mieczysław Weinberg’s music has been played by eminent musicians such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Kirill Kondrashin and Emil Gilels. Violinist Gidon Kremer, an advocate of Weinberg’s work, expresses the power of the composer’s oeuvre as follows: ‘Weinberg’s creative work is a response to the entire twentieth century, with all its unpredictable events, its pain and grief, its horrors and its hope for a better future. The music composed by this great artist touches the essence of the human soul and reflects its subtlest nuances like a mirror.’