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Virtuoso violinist and teacher; first violinist of the Buxbaum Quartet.

Career Summary

Pollak studied in Vienna (Johann Ritter) and Leipzig (Hans Sitt), then taught at the Geneva Conservatory (1905–14), a masterclass in Lausanne (1912), and at the Moscow Conservatory (1918–19), before returning to Vienna to teach the masterclass at the Neues Wiener Konservatorium (1919–26). At that time, he was the first violinst of the Buxbaum Quartet. Thereafter he taught in San Francisco (1926–30), in Tokyo (1930–36), and in Los Angeles from 1937 onward, becoming an American citizen in 1943. Among his pupils were Isaac Stern and Bronislaw Gimpel.

Schenker and Pollak

Schenker spoke once, in 1924 (DLA 69.930/13), of a Rudolf Pollak who fits the above description, recommending August Halm to send his A-major String Quartet to Pollak, in the hope of its being played through by the Buxbaum Quartet. He remarks that he and Pollak "maintain good relations." Pollak is mentioned in Schenker's diaries many times between 1922 and 1924, when he was in Vienna, referred to always just as "Pollak" or "Prof. Pollak." Schenker himself played with Pollak and Buxbaum at a private charity concert (Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven trios) on December 23, 1923, attended in part by Furtwängler.

There was certainly correspondence between Robert Pollak and Schenker, but none is known to survive.

Other Pollaks

  1. In Schenker's diary for December 25, 1906, there is reference to a Theobald Pollak and a Felix Pollak.
  2. In 1921–23, mention is made of a "Court Counsellor (Hofrat) Pollak" who is a friend of Robert Brünauer and acquaintance of Viktor Hammer.
  3. There is also mention of an "Engineer V. Pollak" around 1920


  • oeML
  • Federhofer, Hellmut, Heinrich Schenker nach Tagebüchern und Briefen … (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1985), pp. 185–86 and elsewhere.


  • Ian Bent and Marko Deisinger

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