JAVS Fall 2023

Book Review Review: Have Violin, Will Travel — The Louis Persinger Story by Lanson Wells

After graduating, Persinger served as a concertmaster for orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Opera Orchestra of Brussels, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In 1930, he replaced Leopold Auer as violin professor at the Juilliard School, teaching there until 1966. Some of his most well-known students are Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Isaac Stern, Camilla Wicks, Almita Vamos, and Zvi Zeitlin. Filled with anecdotes drawn from rarely seen interviews, and with more than one hundred and fifty photographs included, Raymond Bruzan’s book is both an enjoyable read and the definitive work on Persinger’s life. Have Violin, Will Travel — The Louis Persinger Story offers its readers a concise writing style, well-researched details, many photos, and an excellent bibliography. The author also includes a detailed genealogy of Persinger’s family, as well as his personal connection to Persinger and the journey he undertook during his research. This 2021 non-fiction work by Raymond Bruzan is a worthy addition to the libraries of violists and string players who are interested in musicology, those who like twentieth century history, and anyone who would enjoy Louis Humphery Persinger’s story of musical success.

Have Violin, Will Travel – The Louis Persinger Story by Raymond Burzan Sangamon Valley Writing Associates ISBN 9780999314661

The musical achievements and life journey of Illinois born violinist Louis Persinger take center stage in Raymond Bruzan’s most recent book Have Violin, Will Travel — The Louis Persinger Story . Combining a biography and a personal memoir, Bruzan’s (author of The Violinist of Rockychester and Cotton, Violins & Shots in the Night ) work follows Louis Humphery Persinger from his birth in Rochester to his violin studies in Europe, through a career as a concertmaster with major European orchestras, and to his decades as a violin teacher at the Julliard school. Humphery Persinger’s early life was filled with travel, living in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado prior to his teenage years. Showing great talent at a young age, a wealthy patron sponsored his education abroad at the Leipzig Conservatory, where his principal teachers were Hans Becker, Carl Beving, and Arthur Nikisch. While in Europe, he also studied with the great violinists Eugène Ysaÿe (William Primrose’s teacher) and Jacques Thibaud.


Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, No. 2, Fall 2023

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