Elie Spivak

Spivak, Elie. Violinist, b Uman, Ukraine, 2 Feb 1902, d Toronto, 23 Jul 1960. He studied at the Paris Cons 1910-15 with Henri Berthelier and at the Royal College of Manchester 1916 with Adolf Brodsky.

Spivak, Elie

Spivak, Elie. Violinist, b Uman, Ukraine, 2 Feb 1902, d Toronto, 23 Jul 1960. He studied at the Paris Cons 1910-15 with Henri Berthelier and at the Royal College of Manchester 1916 with Adolf Brodsky. He founded (in Manchester, 1923) the Elie Spivak String Quartet, the first ensemble to give chamber music concerts over the new BBC network. After a year (1925) in New York he moved to Toronto, where he taught and played. He was first violin 1929-42 of the Conservatory String Quartet and concertmaster 1931-48 of the TSO. In 1945 he gave the North American premiere of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He was the first Canadian musician invited to Israel, touring the country for five months in 1950 as guest of the Jerusalem String Quartet. He led the Spivak String Quartet 1951-6 and with this group, with orchestra, and as soloist was heard frequently over CBC radio. He examined for the RCMT and adjudicated for Kiwanis Festivals and the CNE. He taught violin at the RCMT from 1922 until his death. He also taught in the University Settlement Music School. Many of his pupils - including Doreen Hall, Julian Kolkowski, John Montague, Pearl Palmason, Walter Prystawski, Steven Staryk, and David Zafer - have occupied important teaching and playing posts across Canada and in the USA. His playing was known for warmth of tone and depth of feeling. Colleagues recall his sensitivity and gentleness as an artist and as a man.


Further Reading

  • Sumberg, Harold. 'Elie Spivak 1902-1960,' CMJ, vol 5, Autumn 1960