Durand, Auguste Frederic


His real name was Duranowksy. He was born at Warsaw, and eventually became a brilliant executant on the violin. He first studied under his father who was Court musician at Warsaw and was later sent, by a nobleman who became interested in him to Paris, where he was placed under Viotti's instruction. He entered the French army and became an adjutant to one of the generals but was dismissed for some misconduct and then took up the study of the violin. He was first violin at the Brussels Opera and traveled through Italy and Germany until 1814. In that year he settled in Strasburg as a conductor and teacher and lived there till his death. He is said to have more or less influenced Paganini, and, according to Fetis, Paganini declared that many of his most brilliant effects and his style were to a certain degree derived from Durand, whom he heard play in his youth. It is related of him that frequently he was without any violin of his own and that he often played in public upon any instrument he could obtain. Says Grove: "There can be no doubt that Durand's skill was extraordinary and his treatment of the violin full of originality." He composed a few concertos; airs; and pieces for the violin and other music, all of indifferent merit. It is wholly upon his ability as a violin player that his fame rests.