Simon Pullman

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Simon Pullman (15 February 1890, Warsaw – August 1942, Treblinka) was a violinist, conductor, music teacher and founder and Director of the Pullman Ensemble and Orchestra, and a seminal figure in the evolution of chamber music performance.

Born in Warsaw, he was a nephew of the famous Yiddish actress Esther Rachel Kaminska and cousin of Ida Kaminska and Josef Kaminsky. He studied with Leopold von Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1905-1909) where he received his diploma. 1913 he continued his studies with Martin Pierre Marsick at the Conservatoire de Paris. Back in Warsaw, he founded and led a chamber orchestra specialised on music of the Vienna Classic (1915 to 1920). In the 1920’s and 30’s he taught violin, viola, and chamber music at the New Vienna Conservatory (Neues Wiener Konservatorium), where he coached several groups including the Galimir String Quartet (led by Felix Galimir). In 1930 he founded the Pullman Ensemble, consisting of 17 string players (4 string quartets with a double-bass), of which the specialty was their performance of Beethoven’s Große Fuge Op. 133 and String Quartet in C# minor Op. 131. Later, 10 windplayers were added to form the Pullman Orchestra, which performed regularly in Vienna and throughout Europe until 1938, when Pullman was able to escape to Paris.

According to his students and colleagues, Pullman was a visionary musician; his desire for a kind of...
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