Norbert Brainin

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Norbert Brainin
Brainin with the Amadeus Quartet
Brainin with the Amadeus Quartet
Background information
Born(1923-03-12)12 March 1923
Vienna, Austria
Died10 April 2005(2005-04-10) (aged 82)
London, England
Associated actsAmadeus Quartet

Norbert Brainin, OBE (12 March 1923 in Vienna – 10 April 2005 in London) was the first violinist of the Amadeus Quartet, one of the world's most highly regarded string quartets.[1]

Because of Brainin's Jewish origin, he was driven out of Vienna after Hitler's Anschluss of 1938, as were the violinist Siegmund Nissel and violist Peter Schidlof. Brainin and Schidlof met in a British internment camp. Like many Jewish refugees they had the misfortune to be confined by the British as "enemy aliens" after reaching the UK.

Brainin was released after a few months, but Schidlof remained in the camp, where he met Nissel. Finally Schidlof and Nissel were released, and the three of them were able to study with violin pedagogue Max Rostal, who taught them free of charge. It was through Rostal that they met cellist Martin Lovett, and in 1947 they formed the Brainin Quartet, which was renamed as the Amadeus Quartet in 1948.

The Amadeus was one of the most celebrated quartets of the 20th Century, and its members were awarded numerous honours, including:

The quartet disbanded in 1987 upon the death of Schidlof, who was regarded as irreplaceable by the surviving members. Norbert Brainin continued to perform as a soloist, often performing with pianists Günter Ludwig and Maureen Jones. In 1992, Brainin performed a benefit concert in Washington, D.C. for then-jailed presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.[3]

His instruments included the "Rode" Guarnerius del Gesu of 1734, the "Chaconne" Stradivarius of 1725 and the "Gibson" Stradivarius of 1713.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Obituary: Norbert Brainin, The Guardian 11 April 2005
  2. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 398. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. ^ Murphy, Caryle, "Fund-Raiser for LaRouche Draws Complaints at GU", Washington Post, 12/07/1988