A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Kontski, de

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KONTSKI, DE, a family of virtuosi, of which Charles, the eldest, born at Warsaw in 1815, appeared as a pianist in public at the age of seven, but, like the majority of prodigies, did not fulfil the promises of childhood. He made his first studies in Warsaw and continued them at Paris, where he settled as teacher, and died 1867 [App. p.692 "Aug. 27"].

Antoine, the second, born at Cracow Oct. 27, 1817, a clever pianist, with great delicacy of touch and brilliancy of execution, but a superficial musician, and composer of many 'pièces de salon,' of which the 'Reveil du Lion' (op. 115) is universally known. He has travelled a great deal and is now living in London.

Stanislas, the third brother, born in 1820, pianist and pupil of Antoine, living at Petersburg.

Apollinaire, a violinist, the youngest of the four brothers, was born Oct. 23, 1826, at Warsaw. His first master was his elder brother Charles, himself a clever violinist and pupil of the Warsaw Conservatoire. He showed the same precocity of talent as the restof his family, performing in public concerts at an age of not much over four years. Later on he travelled a great deal, chiefly in Russia, but also in France and Germany, and made a certain sensation by his really exceptional technical proficiency, not unaccompanied by a certain amount of charlatanism. In 1837 he is said (see Mendel) to have attracted the attention of Paganini, then in Paris on his road back from England, and to have formed a friendship with the great virtuoso which resulted in his receiving some lessons[1] from him (an honour which he shared with Sivori) and ultimately becoming heir to his violins and violin compositions. This however requires confirmation. In 1853 he was appointed solo-violinist to the Emperor of Russia, and in 1861 Director of the Warsaw Conservatoire, which post he still retains. He played a solo at one of the Russian concerts given in connection with the Exhibition at Paris in 1878. His compositions (fantasias and the like) are musically unimportant. [App. p.692 "add date of death, June 29, 1879."]
[ P. D. ]

  1. This is corroborated by Hanslick, Aus dem Concert-saal, p. 429.