Kolisch, Rudolf (1896–1978) By Bangert, Daniel
Rudolf Kolisch was an Austrian-born violinist, teacher, and conductor. As leader of the Kolisch Quartet he premiered many important chamber works by the Second Viennese School and other modernist composers of the first half of the twentieth century. He later became leader of the Pro Arte Quartet and taught at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Kolisch was born in Klamm am Semmering, Austria on 20 July 1896. His father Rudolf was a doctor and his mother Henriette a pianist. Soon after starting violin lessons, an injury to his left hand led him to hold the violin in his right hand and bow left-handed. He attended the Vienna Music Academy and the University of Vienna, but his postgraduate studies were interrupted by three years of service in the Austrian army during World War I. His teachers included the Czech violinist Otakar Ševčík, the composer Franz Schrecker, and the musicologist Guido Adler.