Joachim’s chamber music empire in 1907

In the final year of the Joachim Quartet’s concerts, they were as popular as ever. However, they had plenty of local competition, mostly from members of their own Quartet. These were the new Klingler Quartet, the Halir Quartet, which had been playing since 1893, the relatively new Schumann-Halir-Dechert Trio, and the Barth-Wirth-Hausmann Trio, which had been around almost thirty years. Each of these ensembles had their own subscription series, as did the Dessau Quartet, the Wietrowetz Quartet, and the Waldemar Meyer Quartet.

Products of the Berlin Hochschule: Karl Klingler, Arthur Williams, Fridolin Klingler, Joseph Rywkind

As an indication of Joachim’s influence on the Berlin chamber music scene, it is comprehensive: all of these local quartets were led by former Joachim students, and almost all of their members had attended the Berlin Hochschule. Another former student, Nora Clench, brought her Quartet for a concert in Berlin in 1907. 

The violin faculty at the Hochschule in 1907 was an all-Joachim team of Klingler, Halir, Wietrowetz, Markees, and Andreas Moser (Joachim’s collaborator on his biography and violin method). While at the Hochschule, Joachim students tended disproportionately to win a Mendelssohn stipend, which was 1500 Marks for the main prizes in composition and performance.1“The annual competition for the Mendelssohn violin prize of 1500 marks took place last week at the Hochschule. The successful candidate was Alfred Wittenberg, a pupil of Joachim. The competition is supposed to be an open one, but by some strange chance the prize always goes to a Joachim pupil. The fact that the venerable violinist chooses the jury and serves as one of its members is a mere detail, hardly worth the mention.” The Musical Courier xliii no. 18 (1901):34. Although the Mendelssohn Stipendium competition was open to students from any music school in Germany, the vast majority of winners came from the Berlin Hochschule. Joachim was in charge and chose the other members of the selection committee (which were mostly from the Berlin Hochschule) every year.

Joachim with the millionaire bankers, amateur string players, and brothers Ernst and Robert von Mendelssohn, who endowed the Mendelssohn Prize 

All the Wietrowetz Quartet members (Gabriele W., Martha Drews, Erna Schulz, and Eugenie Stoltz) were Mendelssohn Prize winners. This was also the case for the Halir Quartet’s second violinist, Carl Markees, and the Klingler Quartet’s second violinist Joseph Rywkind. Additional Joachim pupils who had received Mendelssohn stipends–Alfred Wittenberg, Amelie Birnbaum, Pálma von Pászthory, and Melanie Michaelis–performed as soloists in 1907.

Other Mendelssohn Prize winners from the Hochschule on concert programs in 1907:

Elsie Hall (piano),
Frieda Hodapp-Kwast (as Frida Hodapp, piano),
Hedwig Kirsch (piano),
Otto Klemperer (piano)
Nellie Smith (piano),
Bernhard Stavenhagen (piano),
Emerich Stefaniai (piano),
Eduard Behm (composition),
Heinrich van Eyken (composition),
Paul Juon (composition),
Richard Rössler (composition),
Leo Schrattenholz (composition),
Wladyslaw Waghalter (composition),
Eugenie Stoltz (cello),
Sara Gurowitsch (cello).

Finally, of other violinists giving concerts in 1907, Willy Burmester,  Margarete Rawak, Theodore Spiering, and Ossip Schnirlin had also been students of Joachim.

It’s not hard to come to the conclusion that if a violinist wanted to have a career in Berlin, especially in chamber music, it would be imperative to study at the Hochschule with Joachim or one of his former students.

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