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Krayk, Stefan, 1914-

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1914-

Biographical History

Stefan Krayk (1914-1999) was a Virtuoso violinist, World War II ace fighter pilot, a Polish national tennis champion, winner of an international violin competition, and a professor of music.

Stefan Krayk was born in Warsaw. He started playing the violin at an early age. When his father purchased a Stradivarius he was futher encouraged in his music and went on to study in Germany, England, and France with Jacques Thibaud, Georges Enesco, and Carl Flesch, among others. He went on to win the prestigious Queen Elizabeth of Belgium International competition.

With the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, Stefan flew with the Polish Air Force until they were overwhelmed by the enemy and he could make his escape into Romania. From there he eventually made his way to England where he was able to join the U.S. Army. At the end of the war, he emigrated to the U.S. where he joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as violinist. After a period on the faculty of Oberlin College in Ohio, he came to University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 1950.

Together with faculty and town colleagues, he was one of the founders of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 1953, and served as its concertmaster until 1981. At UCSB, in addition to his teaching, he was a member of the famed Paganini Quarter during their residence. He retired from UCSB in 1977 but continued to teach privately. For two summers, he coached chamber music at the Music Academy of the West. He was regularly to be found on the tennis courts; a brief stint as an actor in local theater productions led to some further work in television. As a teacher, he was mentor to an impressive number of talented string players who have gone on to distinguished professional careers as soloists, orchestra members, and teachers. He died in 1999.

Citation:
University of California Santa Barbara website, viewed June 2, 2011 (Stefan Krayk violinist, World War II ace fighter pilot, Polish national tennis champion, and a professor of music; born in Warsaw; father purchased a Stradivarius; studied in Germany, England and France, with Jacques Thibaud, Georges Enesco, Carl Flesch; won the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium International competition; flew with the Polish Air Force, 1939; escape to Romania; went to England; joined the U.S. Army; emigrated to the U.S.; joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as violinist; faculty at Oberlin College in Ohio; came to UCSB, 1950; one of the founders of the Santa Barbara Symphony, 1953; its concertmaster until 1981; member of the Paganini Quarter during their residence; retired from UCSB in 1977, but continued to teach privately; coached chamber music at the Music Academy of the West; a brief stint as an actor in local theater productions led to some further work in television; died in 1999)

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Stefan Krayk papers

 Collection — Carton: 1
Identifier: MSS 7860
Scope and Contents

Collection contains viola parts and repair equipment, promotional material, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and research in music therapy, manuscript scores, programs, and other materials concerning his time as a music professor and professional violinist, 1934-1997.

Dates: 1934-1997