Distinguished violinist to offer instruction and lecture to students

A distinguished concertmaster violinist who has performed in France, Israel, Russia and Carnegie Hall will be sharing his musical knowledge and life experience with university musicians today.

Emanuel Borok will teach a master class in which five students, four violinists and one violist will play, and Borok will assess their work and offer instruction.

In this case, the violinists picked to perform were the most prepared for this particular class, said Curt Thompson, violin professor. Thompson said it’s basically like having a lesson taught in front of an audience and anyone may attend.

A concertmaster is the first chair violinist who historically was the person who led the orchestra, Thompson said. As orchestras became bigger and more complex, conductors became necessary. Now, a concertmaster is like the conductor’s right arm and is in charge of things like choreographing the bowing of the string players, he said.

Thompson said he has been working to bring Borok to the university for years. He spoke to Borok following a recent solo performance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and mentioned the idea soon after.

“We keep a wish list for visiting artists, and I’ve had Mr. Borok’s name on it for a couple of years, although I’ve wanted to have him here much longer,” Thompson said. “I really wanted our kids to get a chance to play for him and get to meet him.”

Borok was born and trained in the former Soviet Union, Thompson said. He received his early musical training at the Darzinya Music School in Riga, Latvia, and the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow, one of Russia’s most prominent schools.

“He’s had a tremendous career, great experience,” Thompson said. “He’s a product of the Russian school of violin playing…that’s another reason I wanted him to come.”

Thompson said Soviet musicians, just like Soviet athletes, were something the former state used to display to show how powerful it was. Borok was directly involved in the Russian school during those Soviet years.

“It’s an honor for us to have him here,” Thompson said. “I’m anxious for him to get to know our students just as much as I’m anxious for our students to get to know him.”


Emanuel Borok Violin Master Class

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: PepsiCo Recital Hall