Conductor Henri Temianka, founder of the California Chamber Symphony Orchestra and originator of the innovative concert series “Let’s Talk Music,” has died. He was 85.
Temianka, who was also an accomplished violinist, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home, said his son, Dan. He had been ill for several months.
Born in Scotland to Jewish-Polish parents, Temianka studied at the national conservatories of Berlin and Paris and at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
He gained international recognition in 1935 by winning the first International Wieniawski Violin Competition in Warsaw. Following the competition , he appeared with assorted top orchestras in Europe and the Soviet Union, finally making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1945.
The following year Temianka created the Paganini Quartet, whose first recordings for RCA Victor, Beethoven’s “Rasumofsky” Quartets, won a Grammy in 1947.
After moving to Los Angeles in the late 1940s, Temianka started the California Chamber Symphony Orchestra and began the “Let’s Talk Music” series in which he discussed the orchestra’s performance with the audience.
Throughout his career, Temianka put on free concerts for children in schools and juvenile prisons. He also produced educational films and contributed to various magazines.
Temianka is survived by his wife, Emmy, and two sons, Dan of Palos Verdes Estates and David of Los Angeles.