A rare picture of Barjansky
|Birth name||Serge Alexandre Barjansky|
Serge Alexandre Barjansky (16 December 1883 – 1946) was a Russian virtuoso cellist. Barjansky’s cello was an outstanding Stradivarius instrument which became known as the Barjansky Stradivarius. This instrument is now played by Julian Lloyd Webber.
He was born in Odessa. While following his doctorate in mathematics, he studied the cello at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Leipzig with Julius Klengel (1859-1933), famous cellist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He first appeared in London on 28 June 1909 at the St.James' Hall. In 1911 he performed three concertos in one evening with the London Symphony Orchestra and in the 1912-13 season he played the Dvořak Concerto at The Queen’s Hall London with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Edward Elgar.
Barjansky was the dedicatee of Ernest Bloch's Schelomo and gave the first performance of the Cello Concerto by Frederick Delius in Vienna in 1923. Barjansky was married to the sculpturess Catherine Barjansky and there is much biographical material concerning the Barjanskys in her autobiography ‘Portraits with Backgrounds’ (London/Geoffrey Bles 1948).
In Delius As I Knew Him, Eric Fenby writes of Barjansky: "I was not prepared to find so unusual-looking a man. He was of medium height, pale and thin, but he had a striking head, with high forehead and a mass of long bushy hair. I perceived him to be an extremely likable fellow, and one of those rare musicians who give the impression of being musical." And Jelka Delius wrote: "He looks extraordinary when he plays, so ecstatic with a delicate, sensitive face and hair like an Italian primitive."
- Emmanuelle Dijon, Joseph Lewinski (1998). Ernest Bloch (1880-1959): sa vie et sa pensée, Volume 1. Slatkine. p. 679.
- Barjansky, Catherine (2005). Portraits with Backgrounds. Kessinger Publishing. p. 29. ISBN 1-4179-9814-8.