The Legacy of Leopold Auer: His Connection, Adoption and Creation.

Table of Contents


Leopold Auer (1845-1930) was a Hungarian-American violinist and teacher. He instructed numerous eminent violinists, including Mischa Elman, Efrem Zimbalist, Nathan Milstein, and Jascha Heifetz. Serving as a violin professor at St. Petersburg Conservatory for almost half a century (1868-1917), Auer rightfully founded The Russian Violin School alongside colleagues Henri Vieuxtemps and Henryk Wieniawski.

As a student of Joseph Joachim, Auer’s methodology is not a rigid set of rules but rather flexible, allowing for individual creativity. Observing Henryk Wieniawski, Pablo de Sarasate, and Henri Vieuxtemps, Auer adopted different traditions and techniques from other virtuoso violinists.

Auer’s flexible approach integrates elements of both the German School and the Franco-Belgian School, stimulating the birth of the Russian School. While an influential figure and violin teacher, relatively little research has thoroughly examined Auer’s pedagogical activities, leading to misunderstandings of his teaching methodology. There is a need to rediscover Auer’s teaching approaches.

To encourage connections between different educational and cultural collective activities, this lecture will commence with a brief discussion and questionnaire for conference participants to self-examine the methodologies they were taught. Questions will cover bow-hold posture and opinions on tone production. Participants will be encouraged to bring their bows or use pencils to demonstrate their bow-hold postures.

By closely examining two primary treatises, “Violin Playing as I Teach It” (1921) by Leopold Auer and “The Art of Violin Playing” (1923) by Carl Flesch, along with other secondary resources, I aim to address subjects including tone production, bow hold (Franco-Belgian, Old Russian Bow Hold, Auer’s Bow Hold, Galamian Bow Hold), bowing techniques (such as Staccato Volant, Spiccato Sautille, and Ricochet-Saltato), and interpretation. I will then analyze the early stages of the development of the Russian Violin School and study the transformation and maturity of The Russian Violin School in America.

This lecture will showcase the influence of international interaction and demonstrate the importance of cooperative relationships in string teaching and performance. Diverse cultures can interact, stimulating new artistic approaches and activities.

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About the speaker

Heng-Ching Fang, Viola

Heng-Ching holds a PhD in Music (2009) from the University of Leeds (Clive Brown), a Master of Music from the Guildhall School of Music (David Takeno & Jack Glickman), and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Rivka Golani). During her doctoral candidature, she received two awards: The British Federation of Women Graduates Scholarship (BFWG) and a Music and Letters award (Oxford Journals).

Her book, “The Twentieth-Century Revolution in String Playing: A Practice-Based Study,” was published in 2009. Her translation book, “Classical and Romantic Performing Practices 1750-1900,” by Clive Brown, was published in 2012.

She presented lectures at the ESTA International Conferences (2020, 2021, and 2022), the International Viola Congress in Poland (2019), and in Australia (2008). Other conference papers were published at the Performing Romantic Music: Theory and Practice Conference at Durham University (2008); M.I.D.A.S workshop, Royal College of Music (2007); MARS Study Day, University of Leeds (2007); Royal Musical Association Research Student’s Conference (RMA), University of Bristol (2007); Progress Conference, University of Manchester (2006) in the U.K.

In addition, she taught viola at the University Malaysia Sabah (2016), giving master classes and instructing chamber music and string orchestra in Sabah since 2015. She is the prize winner of the Leeds Chamber Orchestra Soloist Competition, a finalist in the Ludlow Philharmonic Prize Concerto Competition, the first prize in the Taipei West District Viola Competition, and the third-prize winner of the National Viola Competition. As a chamber music player, she perform

ed with the LUCHIP String Quartet from 2005 to 2008. She and organist Daniel Gordon recorded “Treeness,” dedicated by composer Nigel Morgan and commissioned by A-R Editions Inc. in 2008.

Currently, Heng-Ching is the director of Selly Oak Music School and is active as a committee member of the Birmingham Music Festival. She also collaborates with other violin teachers and teaches at Scherzo Violin Workshop (Forcada Studio). She enjoys organizing and performing in various charity concerts for local organizations.