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Lidia Kmitowa

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Lidia Kmitowa, b. in 1888 in Moscow, d. in 1967 in Warsaw, violinist of Russian origins. She studied in Berlin under Ysaÿe, Joachim, and Barmos. Beginning in 1911 she appeared Germany and then Russia, finally settling in Poland in 1921. For many years she was connected with the Polish Radio Orchestra organized by Fitelberg, gave concerts as soloist and chamber musician, lead the Polish Radio Quartet, and taught at the Conservatory.

The young Witold, who was fascinated by the violin, took lessons for six years with Kmitowa. He reveals: "Thanks to her I possess the ability to use phrasing and interpretation in the classic sense of the word. At this time I was able to bring under my command a rather serious repertoire, which included the solo sonatas of Bach and concertos of Mozart".

As a superb violinist, Kmitowa performed two of his first chamber compositions - the Sonatas for violin and piano (1927 and 1928) - with him at the keyboard. Years later, the composer referred to them as "terribly naïve" pieces in the style of Grieg and early Debussy.

Not least of Lidia Kmitowa's contributions is the fact that it was she, who having observed the compositional interests of her student, referred him to Witold Maliszewski.

kt / trans. mk