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Jenő Hubay (Composer, Arranger)

Born: September 15, 1858 - Pest (now: Budapest), Hungary
Died: March 12, 1937 - Vienna, Austria

The celebrated Hungarian violinist, pedagogue, and composer, Jenő Hubay (born: Eugen Huber; when he was 21 years old he chose to adopt a Hungarian style for his name), studied violin first with his father, Karoly Huber (1828-1885) leader and conductor of the orchestra at the National Theatre, and violin professor of the National Conservatorium. Jenő gave his debut public performance playing a concerto at the age of 11. From the autumn of 1873 he condinued his studies in Berlin, with the most distinguished violin teacher of the period, Joseph Joachim. In the spring of 1876 he completed his studies and returned to Hungary. Here became friendly with Franz Liszt, and gave together many performances of the 12th Rhapsody and L.v. Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata.

In May 1878 Jenő Hubay travelled to Paris on F. Liszt's advice, and was soon to be a favourite guest in the musical salons of the city. In the next years he made successful concert tours in France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Hungary. Soon after he arrived in Paris he got to know Henri Vieuxtemps who saw in the young Hungarian the continuation of his own artistry and also taught him for a while. Vieuxtemps suggested Hubay as Professor of Violin at the Brussels Conservatoire, a post which he himself and more recently Wieniawski had held. On February 8, 1882 the Belgian King appointed Hubay to one of Europe's most important musical posts. While in Brussels, he formed a string quartet.

Jenő Hubay spent four and a half years there, returning in the summer of 1886 to Hungary at the request of the Minister of Education to take up the post as head of the violin school in the Budapest Acadamy of Music (succeeding his father). He settled in Budapest, and exchanged his life as a travelling virtuoso for that of composer and leading personality in the musical life of Hungary. From 1919 to 1934 he was the Director of the Budapest Acadamy of Music. Here he created one of the world's leading violin schools. After the turn of the century the first exeptional talents to emerge were Stefi Geyer (Béla Bartók's first love, to whom he dedicated his first violin concerto), Ferenc Vecsey and József Szigeti, to be followed by Emil Telmanyi, Eddy Brown, Jelly d'Aranyi (Joachim's niece who was successful in England and France and who collaborated on Maurice Ravel's Tzigane), Eugene (Jeno) Ormandy (who later turned to conducting), Eugene Lehner, Janos Koncz, Istvan Partos, Erna Rubinstein, Zoltan Szekely, Ede Zathureczky, Andre (Endre) Gertler and Wanda Luzzato, Ilona Feher (who became a celebrated violin teacher herself) and other renowned violinists. In Budapest Hubay formed the celebrated Hubay String Quartet with fellow teacher at the College cellist David Popper. Similarly, a long line of string quartets, such as the Waldbauer-Kerpely, the Hauser-Son, the Lener, the Roth and the Vegh, emerged from Hubay's department. With Popper he also performed chamber music on more than one occasions with Brahms, including the premiere of Johannes Brahms's Piano Trio Op. 101.

Jenő Hubay composed four concertos and a very large number of encore pieces. His concertos have themes from Hungarian Gypsy music, and his "gentle breeze" pieces are composed as if to continue the tradition of the German romantics such as Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann, sharing features with the compositional style of his chamber music partner, the cellist David Popper. His output also contains several operas, for example The Venus of Milo, The Violin-Maker of Cremona, The Mask, Anna Karenina after Leo Tolstoy, and others. The opening of The Venus of Milo is based on whole-tone scales and archaisms that perhaps are meant to suggest the ancient setting. He edited the violin études of Kreutzer (1898), Rode, Mayseder, and Saint Lubin (1910).

In 1898 Jenő Hubay married the Countess Rosa Cebrain. His favourite instrument was a Stradivarius.


Alienor (1885; December 5, 1891)
A cremonai hegedűs (La Luthier de Crémona) (1888; November 19, 1894)
A Falu Rossza (The Village Vagabond) (1893; March 20, 1896)
Moharózsa (Moosröschen) (February 21, 1903)
Lavotta szerelme (1905)
Az álarc (The Mask) (February 26, 1931)
A milói Vénusz (1934)
Anna Karenina (November 10, 1923)
Az önző óriás (1935)

Symphony No. 1 (1885)
Symphony No. 2 (1914-1915)
Symphony No. 3, Vita nuova, for Soli, Chorus & Organ (1921)
Symphony No. 4, Petöfi-Sinfonie, for Soli, Chorus & Orchestra (1925)
Biedermeyer Suite (1913)
4 Violin Concertos
Scènes de la scárda
14 pieces for Violin & Orchestra

Sonate romantique for Violin & Piano

Source: Jenő Hubay Foundation Website; Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2009)

Jenő Hubay: Short Biography | Orchestral Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Hubay Jenő Foundation

Jenő Hubay (Wikipedia)


Peter Clive: Brahms and His World:A Biographical Dictionary. Scarecrow Press. p. xxvii, xxviii,xxix

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