Louis Kaufman



Competition Winner

Born: May 10, 1905 (Portland, OR)

Died: February 9, 1994 (Los Angeles, CA)

Louis Kaufman was an American violinist who played on the soundtrack of more than 500 movies and made more than 100 musical recordings. He is also credited for reviving the music of Antonio Vivaldi with his 1947 recording of The Four Seasons, which won the Grand Prix du Disque i 1950.

Kaufman was born in Portland, OR. With the recommendation of Maud Powell and Efrem Zimbalist, at age 13, he went to New York to study with Franz Kneisel at the Institute of Musical Art. He received degrees in 1923 and 1925 culminating in a Diploma in the Artists' Violin Course with highest honors in 1927.

He was a winner of the Naumburg Competition in 1928 and made his NY debut in Town Hall that same year under the auspices of the Naumburg Foundation. From 1926-1933 he was violist with the Musical Art Quartet.

It was when he played a 15-minute radio recital for the soundtrack of Ernst Lubitsch's movie The Merry Widow that opened a career in performing movie soundtracks often working with the composer Max Steiner. He played on soundtracks for films: Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, The Diary of Anne Frank, Wuthering Heights, The Grapes of Wrath, and many more. He acted as concertmaster for several hundred.

He also premiered numerous pieces of notable 20th-century composers: Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud and Bohuslav Martinu and recorded the Samuel Barber Violin Concerto.

His wife, the pianist Annette Kaufman, published his memoir A Fiddler's Tale -- How Hollywood and Vivaldi Discovered Me with the University of Wisconsin Press.

Kaufman was elected to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2003, was selected for the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.


1928 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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