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George Lessner

George Lessner was born on 15 December 1904 in Budapest (Hungary). He studied music in Royal Academy in Budapest under Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly and Ernö von Dohnanyi. In 1926 George Lessner emigrated to the US and settled in Hollywood, where he composed for films and cartoons. In 1940 he moved to New York and continued to write music for films and television series as well as broadway shows. George Lessner was commissioned by the NBC to compose a radio opera in 1940. A symphony was performed a few years later at the Carnegie Hall. George Lessner died on 12 May 1997 in New Rochelle, New York (USA).

 

The "Poem for violin and orchestra" was composed in 1943. It was also arranged for viola and orchestra, and for string quartet. The violin version exists also in a piano reduction. I could not find any information about a premiere performance.

Most of the original manuscripts by George Lessner are archived at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, so is the manuscript of the Poem for violin and orchestra. I personally own an autograph manuscript of the version for violin and piano which was inscribed to Margaret Pardee (1920-2016), a violinist and former Juilliard teacher. The dedication was signed on 10 February 1944.

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