Samuel Thaviu A Life of Music. A Tribute in Words and Pictures

Samuel Thaviu 1909-2000 A Life of Music A Tribute in Words and Pictures Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel was born in 1909 in Chicago to parents...
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Samuel Thaviu 1909-2000 A Life of Music A Tribute in Words and Pictures

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel was born in 1909 in Chicago to parents who were both musicians. His father’s famous Thaviu Concert Band performed all over the country. Samuel’s father made sure that his wife and children traveled with him, so that the family could always be together.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In the days before radio entertainment became a sensation, The Thaviu Band would journey by train to state fairs, zoos, parks, and places like Atlantic City. They would perform music, opera and even ballet for large, enthusiastic audiences.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

Thaviu and his Band were among the performers on the legendary “Chautauqua Circuit” of the early 1900s. The panoramic photo above was taken on October 19, 1915 during their return engagement at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

Promotional materials for The Thaviu Band, circa 1916.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

Thaviu and His Band -- San Francisco, California, 1915

Since young Samuel grew up surrounded by music, professional performers and an incredible array of artistic talent…

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music It was no surprise that Samuel himself would be inspired to become a professional musician. Samuel, shown here in his early teens, started playing the violin at age seven.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music It turned out that Samuel had some talent of his own – and people began to take notice. Press clippings, 1925

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

Samuel started performing on a regular basis.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In 1931, he was the “National Artist Winner” in a major competition in San Francisco. It was a great honor for a 21year-old musician.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel truly enjoyed collaborating with his teachers and fellow artists. Samuel Thaviu (right), is shown here in the 1920s with Ruth Haroldson, and Jaques Gordon, a concertmaster and teacher.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music After studying with the thenconcertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mischa Mischakoff (shown at left), Samuel joined the CSO’s first violin section from 1934 to 1937.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

L to R: Samuel Thaviu, Milton Preves, Harry Mazur (Date Unknown)

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel soon became a concertmaster himself. His first position was in Kansas City, Missouri, under Carl Krueger at the Kansas City Philharmonic.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

In the early 1940s, Samuel moved on to the Baltimore Symphony (as concertmaster under Reginald Stewart), then to the Pittsburgh Symphony (as concertmaster with Fritz Reiner and later to William Steinberg), and to the Cleveland Orchestra (as concertmaster under George Szell).

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In 1944, Samuel married Elly Rosenblatt, a young woman from Baltimore. They first met at a dinner party at the Rosenblatt home, a gathering to which Samuel had been invited by Elly’s mother. Samuel and his wife Elly, with Mischa Mischakoff. (Date Unknown.)

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In the mid-1940s, Samuel and Elly lived in California for two years, and Samuel was concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl. (He also played the violin for several movie scores.)

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

In the late 1940s, Samuel went to the Pittsburgh Symphony, and was concertmaster under Fritz Reiner and William Steinberg, a position he held for 22 years. During this time, he worked with the world’s greatest conductors and soloists. He called this period the “Golden Age of Music.”

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music

During his tenure in Pittsburgh, Samuel performed at the Syria Mosque (shown above). Built in 1915, the Mosque was the home of the Masonic Order of the Shriners before becoming a beloved venue for live music.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In the 1950s, Samuel bought a 1789 Guadagnini violin. It was his pride and joy, and he played it the rest of his life. Guadagnini is considered one of the finest craftsmen of string instruments in history. His work is divided into four main periods corresponding to and named after Piacenza, Milan, Parma and Turin, the four cities in Italy where he lived and worked.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel met some very interesting people during his years in Pittsburgh. Onstage for a charity performance with Jack Benny, late 1950s

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Samuel also enjoyed his own family. He and his wife Elly had a son, Tommy, in 1955 and a daughter, Lisa, in 1956.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music In 1966, Samuel became a full professor of violin and chairman of the Strings Department at Northwestern University’s School of Music. He held this position until 1978.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music After Samuel’s retirement from Northwestern University in the late 1970s, he was given several Fulbright grants to work in South America.

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music After his so-called “retirement,” Samuel continued to play regular recitals at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, at the Chicago Cultural Center, and with various ensembles in the community. Samuel Thaviu, Ravinia rehearsal, 1980s

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music Just two months before his death in 2000, at the age of 90, Samuel Thaviu performed a beautiful, full violin recital in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center. Samuel and Elly, with the 1789 Guadagnini violin, at his 90th birthday party. (They were married for 57 years.)

Samuel Thaviu: A Life of Music A special thanks to the Thaviu Family for sharing Sam’s rich, inspirational life with us – and for each spring, bringing us the music he loved.