Fyodor Cherniavsky, Conductor & Producer
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Cherniavsky Trio

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'The Cherniavsky Trio' a book by Felix Cherniavsky, chronicles the professional and personal lives of this pioneer classical piano trio that toured five continents in the early twentieth century. Above is a postcard of these three talented brothers made in Minsk in 1904. On the left, at the piano is Jan and standing on the right is violinist Leo. At the center with his cello is Mischel Cherniavsky.

An illustrated article by Tully Potter on the Cherniavsky Trio was featured in the December, 2003 issue of 'The Strad' magazine.

'The Strad' website

The following book review appeared in the June, 2004 issue of 'The Strad' magazine. The reviewer was Margaret Campbell, author of 'The Great Violinists' and 'The Great Cellists.'

The Cherniavsky Trio was one of the most celebrated ensembles of the early 20th century. This book about the three bothers - violinist Leo, pianist Jan and cellist Mischel - is written by Mischel's son with style and is well designed.

The boys were born in Russia and gave their first performance in Odessa in 1901, when the youngest was just ten years old. Their first concert outside Russia was in Berlin three years later, where it received mixed reviews. Later that year, under the sponsorship of the Rothchild and Sassoon families, the trio made its British debut at the Aeolian Hall in London, where their reviews were more encouraging - one declared that 'Papa Haydn would have been pleased with these boys.' Throughout the book there are many interesting and sometimes amusing details about their performances, and there is no attempt to gloss over bad notices.

The trio went on to travel the world and, as the young men outgrew their prodigy image, they gained experience and developed into a first-class ensemble. Many of their encounters with famous musical personalities of the time - including Elman, Ysa˙e, Popper, Joachim and Szigeti - are recorded in the book and form a very welcome addition. By the end of the First World War the trio was touring only sporadically, its popularity in decline, and within ten years the Cherniavskys had all married and settled in different countries: Leo in South Africa; Jan in Canada; and Mischel in France.

The book's treatment of the period is excellent, particularly in the choice of photographs. There are evocative details about the poverty-stricken conditions for Jewish musicians in Russia in the 19th and early-20th centuries, and how difficult it was to go 'beyond the Pale.' Altogether it is a graphic account of how a zealous and demanding father achieved his ambition that his sons should become musicians and the resulting birth of the trio. It is also meticulous in providing birth and death dates whenever possible.

All the group's recordings are listed, along with some recollections of each member by people who knew them. The book lacks an index, however, which is unfortunate. Apart from this omission, it is a charming and accurate account of the Cherniavsky Trio and offers a nostalgic glimpse of a bygone age of music making.

For further information about the Cherniavsky Trio, you can visit their web page

the cherniavsky trio