Arthur Grumiaux

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Arthur Grumiaux
Background information
Birth name Arthur Grumiaux
Born (1921-03-21)21 March 1921
Villers-Perwin, Belgium
Died 16 October 1986(1986-10-16) (aged 65)
Brussels, Belgium
Occupation(s) Violinist, pianist

Arthur Grumiaux, Baron Grumiaux (French: [gʁy'mjo]; 21 March 1921 – 16 October 1986) was a Belgian violinist who was also proficient in piano.


Born in the Belgian town of Villers-Perwin, to a working-class family, Grumiaux was only four years old when his grandfather urged him to begin music studies. He trained on violin and piano with Fernand Quinet (who was also a composer and conductor) at the Charleroi Conservatoire, and there he took first prize at the age of 11. The following year he advanced his studies by working with Alfred Dubois at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels, and also worked on counterpoint and fugue with Jean Absil. He received his first few major awards prior to reaching the age of 20; he took the Henri Vieuxtemps and François Prume prizes in 1939, and received the Prix de Virtuosité from the Belgian government in 1940. During this time he also studied privately in Paris with the famous Romanian violinist George Enescu, Yehudi Menuhin's teacher.


His debuts were made in Belgium with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra playing Mendelssohn's concerto, and in Britain with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1945. Due to the German invasion of his homeland, there existed a short time gap between these two important events. During that time he played privately with several small ensembles, while refraining from public performance of any kind. Regardless of this slight delay in the initiation of his international career, once started, it quickly developed. Following his British debut, he advanced into Belgium's academia when he was appointed professor of violin at the very same Brussels Conservatoire where he had once studied. There, he emphasized the importance of phrasing, the quality of sound, and the high technical standards of artistry.

His playing often brought comparisons to another great Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe and also to Pablo de Sarasate of Spain. Overall, his reputation and renown among violinists themselves was such that his legacy is felt by hearing elements of his unmistakable style and standards present in several new generations of violinists.

One of his greatest joys in life was his partnership with the pianist Clara Haskil, the Romanian-born Swiss classical pianist. On occasion, the two would switch instruments for a different perspective and relationship. Grumiaux was left with a professional and personal loss when she died from a fall at a train station, en route to a concert with him.


Grumiaux's playing was included on over 30 recordings, nearly all under Philips, although his name is also seen on the labels of EMI, Belart and Music & Arts. The titles on these releases tend to be the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert, also including works by Corelli, Franck, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky, Paganini and Alban Berg. In addition to his solo work, he recorded Mozart quintets with the Grumiaux Ensemble, and various selections with the Grumiaux Trio, which consisted of Grumiaux and the Hungarian husband-wife duo Georges Janzer (viola) and Eva Czako (cello). (Janzer had been a founding member of the Vegh Quartet, in which he served from 1940–1978).

Grumiaux's recordings of Bach's Sonatas & Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin are frequently cited as a supreme reflection of the violinist's art and as first choices among the many recordings available. One movement from this set, the "Gavotte en rondeaux" from the Partita No. 3, is included on the Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft, as a sample of the culture of Earth.


Grumiaux's successful performance career led up to royal recognition, and in 1973 he was created a baron by King Baudouin of Belgium for his services to music, thus sharing the title with Paganini and with the organist Flor Peeters.

His violins[edit]

He owned both a Guarneri and a Stradivarius. The Guarneri was the "Rose" Guarneri del Gesu of 1744. The Stradivarius was "Ex-General Dupont" 1727. He also owned a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume from 1866 (now known as ex-Grumiaux). The last luthier of Arthur Grumiaux was Antoni Jassogne (Brussels).


Despite a struggle with diabetes, Grumiaux continued a rigorous schedule of recording and concert performances, primarily in Western Europe, until a sudden stroke in Brussels took his life in 1986 at the age of 65.


Logo of the competition
Princess Léa of Belgium in 2015 rewards the winners

In 2008, The International Arthur Grumiaux Competition for Young Violinists[1] was created in Namur and dedicated to the memory of the Belgian violinist. The competition was created in 2008 under the name of "Bravo!" competition. It takes place at the Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie in Namur.[2] In 2015, the competition was supported by the foundation Baron Arthur Grumiaux [3] and was renamed International Arthur Grumiaux Competition for Young Violinists.[4] The same year, Princess Léa of Belgium rewarded the winners at the Royal Theater of Namur.

The competition takes place every year in Namur, Belgium.[5]

Prize winners[edit]

There are four categories of prizes, based on the age of the performer: category A : through 10 years old, category B ages 11–13, category C ages 14–17, and category D ages 18–21.[6]

Year 1st Prize Cat A 1st Prize Cat B 1st Prize Cat C 1st Prize Cat D
2015 Japan NAKANO Lina (Grand prize)

Turkey ÇATAKOĞLU Gökçe
Belgium KIM Theodore

Austria KARLS Lorenz

France FAULISI Luka

Italy CARDAROPOLI Gennaro Romania RIMBU Remus
2014 Belgium VAN DER REST Pauline (Grand prize)

Ukraine BLYUMIN Matviy
Austria LIST Darya

Austria SCHMÖLZER Eva Lucia

France WAKAMATSU Hana Lucia

Austria TING Belle Chang-Yuan Belgium DEBROEYER Quentin
2013 Belgium Cooreman Alexandra (Grand prize)

Ukraine Vasylieva Varvara
Russia Yushkovskaya Maria

Austria Walder Julian(Grand prize)

Russia Pashchenko Snezhana

Azerbaijan Ibrahimova Aytan

France Durand-Rivière Suzanne

Czech Republic Šroubková Olga

Belgium Michaluk Maxime

2012 Switzerland von Albertini Emilia (Grand prize)

France Voisin Morgane

Belgium Csikos Anett France Girard Grégoire -
2011 Sweden Lozakovitj Daniel - Belgium Willem Floris

France Decamps Sarah
Azerbaijan Seyidova Jeyla

2010 Germany Guo Linda Latvia Egorovs Andrels

Russia Martynov Fedor

- -
2009 Germany Boschkor Laras

Russia Kuzmina Alexandra

Belgium Levy Maya Russia Grauman Marina Spain Managadze-Postnikova Nikolai
2008 HungaryBelgium Csikos Anett HungaryBelgium Csikos Vilmos KoreaBelgium Lee Jae-Eun -


  1. Mr. Igor Tkatchouk - Belgium - President of the jury
  2. Mrs Dora Schwarzberg - Austria
  3. Mr. Roman Fedchuk - Czech Rep
  4. Mrs Tetiana Zolozova - France
  5. Mrs Anna Sundin - Sweden
  6. Mr. Philippe Descamps - Belgium
  7. Mr. Muhammedjan Turdiev - Turkey
  8. Mrs. Tatiana Samouil - Russia
  9. Mrs. Shirly Laub - Belgium
  10. Mr. Alexei Moshkov - Russia


  • Roth, Henry (1997). Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century. Los Angeles, CA: California Classics Books. ISBN 1-879395-15-0
  • Bibliography L. and M. Winthrop, A. G.: GLOIRE DE L'ÉCOLE BELGE DU VIOLON (Lausanne, 1996).
  • "Arthur Grumiaux." BAKER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF MUSICIANS Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001.

External links[edit]