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230 years since the birth of Polish composer, violinist Karol Lipinski

230 years since the birth of Polish composer, violinist

Karol Lipinski

Great Polish Composers Series - Karol Jozef Lipinski

Violinist, composer and conductor;

born 30 October 1790 in Radzyn (Podlasie region);

died 16 December 1861 in Urlov near Lviv. 

Karol Jozef Lipinski was a polish composer and violin virtuoso of the highest quality Possible. His only rival was the Italian composer- violinist Niccolo Paganini ( 1782-1840) , considered by many the greatest violinist , who ever lived.

In an interview Paganini was questioned: ' who in your opinion is the no. One violinist? ' Paganini' s answer was: ' I don't know by name the No. One , but Karol Lipinski is definitely No . Two violinist in my opinion.


Lipinski was born in Radzyn Podlaski . After elementary education he became mostly his own teacher. In 1810 at the age of 20 he became he first violin and two years later the conductor of the opera orchestra In  Lviv.

In 1817 he went to Italy with the hope of hearing Niccolo Paganini . They met in Milan and met daily to play. And even performed in two concerts together on Aptil 18' which added immensely to Lipinski's reputation.

Paganini dedicated his Burlesque Variations on " La Carnaval de Venice " , op.10 for unaccompanied violin to Lipinski . Later , in1827 , Lipinski returned the honor by dedicating his " Three Capprices for violin to Paganini.

However a rivalry developed between Lipinski and Paganini which destroyed their friendship.

Lipinski composed at least four Violin Concertos and a great number of works for solo violin , duets , trios, and other violin works.

During a subsequent artistic tour which lasted for a few years, he gave concerts in Lviv, Kiev, Krzemieniec, Kamieniec Podolski, Vilno, Cracow, Wroclaw, Poznan, Leipzig, Berlin, Moscow and St Petersburg, earning huge acclaim wherever he performed.

Following his concerts in Warsaw in late 1827-8, he was appointed first violinist of the Court of the Polish Kingdom and, in 1831, of the Tsar's Court. He concertised in Warsaw again during the coronation ceremony of Nicholas I in May 1829, once more playing with Paganini.

In 1830 he suspended his concert activities for three years, devoting himself to honing his playing skills. After that he resumed his European artistic tours, performing in Leipzig, Frankurt on the Mein, Paris (Frederic Chopin helped him to organise a concert there), London, Manchester and Wroclaw.

In recognition of his masterful playing he was made an honorary citizen of the city of Vienna after performing there.

In 1839 Lipiński settled permanently in Dresden. For the following twenty years he would be the concertmaster of the King of Saxony, Frederick-August, as well as taking part in a number of symphony and chamber concerts, playing also with Franz Liszt.


He would travel to Lviv, Kiev and Warsaw, and work as a teacher, taking care of the fourteen-year-old Jozsef Joachim in 1845 and of the thirteen-year-old Henryk Wieniawski in 1848. His rheumatic fever made him reduce his concert activities from 1846. 

Upon his retirement in 1861, he moved to his estate in Urlov near Lviv and founded a music school for talented peasant children there.

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