One could say Bronislaw Huberman was a Polish violinist, but the child prodigy quickly became a citizen of the world. At the age of eight he moved with his father to Berlin, Germany, to further his music studies. By the the time he was 12, he performed one of Brahms’ works before the composer himself in Vienna, winning his praise. As an adolescent, Hubmerman began touring the world, from the United States to Russia.
Huberman was based in Germany until Adolph Hitler came to power. He refused to play in the country with its increasing anti-Semitism and moved to Vienna where he also taught. The world-famous musician was one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, but has since faded in the public’s memory. To describe his esteemed place in musical history, violinist Ivry Gitlis puts it this way in the film Orchestra of Exiles: “He was like Frank Sinatra of our time, or Rudolph Valentino.”
Orchestra of Exiles premieres Sunday, April 14 at 10 p.m. ET on PBS.