A violinist and pedagogue, born 30 August 1887 in Odessa, died 12 January 1934 in New York.
Having started to learn violin with his father, Paweł Kochański continued his education under Emil Młynarski at the school of the Odessa Imperial Music Society from 1894. He moved to Warsaw in 1898 and had his first public performance there, received enthusiastically both by the audience and the critics. From 1901 to 1903 he was the concertmaster in the newly established Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and 1903 saw him complement his education under Cesar Thomson at Brussels Conservatory with top honours. Subsequently he embarked upon a concertizing trip to Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Austria and England. Upon his return to Warsaw in 1907 he was appointed professor of violin at the Conservatory. 1910 marked his debut as a conductor - for the three summer months he led the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in Majorenhoff near Riga. He also took three concertizing trips to Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and St Petersburg.
After World War I broke out, Kochański left for Russia in the winter of 1914. From 1914 to 1915 he stayed at the manor of Józef Jaroszyński (who gave him a Stradivarius violin), in Tymoszowka, the Szymanowski family property, and in Kiev, where he gave concerts. In 1916-18 he lived in St Petersburg, succeeding Leopold Auer in conducting the Conservatory's violin class. He was made professor in 1917. At that time he befriended Sergei Prokofiev; who followed his advice and suggestions when writing his Violin concerto no. 1. In the autumn of 1918 he moved to Kiev and, in a few months, gave almost ninety concerts. He returned to Poland in 1919 to play in concerts in Warsaw, Krakow and Lvov, but left in May 1920. After a short sojourn in Paris, London and Brussels, he embarked on his first trip to the United States in January 1921. His debut in New York's Carnegie Hall on 14th February 1921 was a huge success and sparked off a series of concerts in the United States and South America. He settled permanently in New York in 1924 and took over the violin class at the Juilliard Graduate School. In 1927 he was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order, followed by the Chevalier ribbon of France's Legion of Honour in 1933.
Kochański's repertoire spanned a wide range of violin compositions, from the earliest to the latest. He played concerts with orchestras, solo works, as well as chamber music, performing with Harry Neuhaus, Artur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Jacques Thibaud. A number of works were dedicated to him or composed for him, notably Arnold Bax's Sonata for violin and piano no. 1, Alexander Glazunov's Mazur-oberek in D major for violin and orchestra, Sergei Prokofiev's 5 Melodies op. 35 bis, Igor Stravinsky's Prélude et Ronde des Princesses for violin and piano, Berceuse for violin and piano, Italian Suite for violin and piano and Gavott con 2 variazioni for violin and piano, Karol Szymanowski's Mity / Myths op. 30 for violin and piano and 1. Koncert skrzypcowy / Violin concerto no. 1 op. 35.
Kochański was the author of violin transcriptions of Szymanowski's works such as Pieśń kurpiowska / The Kurpie Song, The Dance from ‘Harnasie' , Pieśń Roksany / Roksana's song from the opera Król Roger / King Roger), as well as of many other compositions by Georges Bizet, Manuel de Falla, Maurice Ravel, Frederick Chopin, Franz Schubert, Alexander Skryabin. He also wrote cadenzas for Karol Szymanowski's two violin concertos, op. 35 and 61.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Center, October 2006.