The music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919 - 1996) is among some of the 20th century's greatest hidden treasures. Born in Poland, Weinberg emigrated to Russia in perilous circumstances, where he was to live out the rest of his days half-way between deserved fame and unjustified neglect. Often seen in the shadow of his close friend Dimitry Shostakovich, by whom he was regarded as one of the most outstanding composers of the day, Weinberg is slowly being rediscovered as a 20th century genius, a figure of immense significance in the landscape of post-modern classical music.

Weinberg's musical idiom stylistically mixes traditional and contemporary forms, combining a freely tonal, individual language inspired by Shostakovich with ethnic (Jewish, Polish, Moldovian) influences and a unique sense of form, harmony and colour. His prolific output includes no less than 17 string quartets, over 20 large-scale symphonies, numerous sonatas for solo stringed instruments and piano as well as operas and film-scores. With the constant stream of recordings, score publications and concerts over the last decade, many of these gems have been unearthed to finally receive the critical praise and attention they deserve.

This site aims to provide a unique resource in the service of further promoting Weinberg's music to a wider audience, with information about the composer's life and works, as well as a collection of links to complementary internet sites. It is hoped that the site can foster a deeper appreciation of Weinberg's music, with all its power, originality and beauty, and allow listeners and musicians alike to partake in the rediscovery of one of the great classical masters of the modern era.

Main contents:

"[Moishei] Vainberg, aka Mieczyslaw Weinberg, 1919-96, has suffered for far too long from being considered (where he is considered at all) as being a Shostakovich epigone. But Shostakovich was not of that opinion: His professional and personal respect for Vainberg ran very deep, and practical; [...] The superficial similarities of style fall away once you get to know Weinberg's [Vainberg's] music, and a fully formed, wholly individual composer emerges, one of the most compelling voices of the 20th century."
From Fanfare USA, Recording reviews, Martin Anderson
(   [Online 7/4/2004])
"[...] Weinberg is the third great Soviet composer, along with Prokofiev and Shostakovich."
From Reviews, "Mieczyslaw Weinberg", Steve Schwartz
(   [Online 10/4/2004])

News and recent/upcoming concerts (highlights):

Concert Yulia Chaplina, Igor Yuzefovich and Yuri Kalnits will be performing several works by Weinberg (Sonata for two violins, Op. 69; a selection of piano pieces from the Children's Notebook Op. 16; and the Sonatina for violin and piano, Op. 46) alongside works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Shchedrin and Khachaturian, at the Pushkin House in London, 3rd December 2019. More information and tickets are available from the Pushkin House site.

Concert The Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York will be hosting two concerts which include chamber works by Weinberg. The first concert (“Music from Exile”) will be on November 12th 2019, with the Daedalus Quartet and Renana Gutman performing Weinberg's Piano Quintet Op. 18 alongside works from Ullman and Bolaños. The second concert (“Fate and Genius”) will be on March 17th 2020, with the Clarion Quartet performing Weinberg's String Quartet No. 2 alongside Shostakovich's 7th and Beethoven's 16th string quartets. Further information and tickets are available here (first concert) and here (second concert). (Thanks to Caleb Jaster and Erica Murase-Fernandez for providing the details about these upcoming concerts).

CD cover A new recording on the German label Solo Musica has recently being released of Weinberg's four Viola Solo Sonatas (Opp. 107, 123, 135, 136), performed by Viacheslav Dinerchtein. These are highly sophisticated, intellectually challenging and deeply spiritual works, and they are outstandingly interpreted by V. Dinerchtein, with much emotion and devotedness.

Concert There is an article in the German Gewandhaus Orchestra magazine, available on Issuu, about the life and music of Weinberg. The article is related to a series of upcoming concerts in Leipzig, Germany, which are the Gewandhaus Orchestra's tribute to Weinberg's birth-date centenary (b. 1919 – 2019). The concerts themselves will be spread throughout 2019 and 2020, beginning with several concerts that include Weinberg's chamber music (the first of these on 16th October 2019) and ending in a concert that includes Weinberg's film music (on 15th February 2020). Some of the musicians who will perform include Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Sol Gabetta, the members of Quatuor Danel, and others – among, of course, members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. Tickets are available here. There is also an interview with Sol Gabetta, including contributions from Linus Roth and Gidon Kremer, on the German KlickKlack program (also viewable on YouTube). (Many thanks to Maria Elena Aguirre for providing the details about the magazine article, KlickKlack interview, and concerts).

Concert Raphael Wallfisch will be performing Weinberg’s Cello Concertino Op. 42 in two UK premiere concerts (alongside works by Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Holst): at the Stoller Hall, Manchester, on Friday 8th of November 2019, and at Macclesfield Heritage Centre on Saturday 9th of November 2019. See here for more information and to book tickets. (Thanks to Siobhan Parker for providing the details about this performance).

Concert Sol Gabetta will be performing Weinberg’s Cello Concerto Op. 43 at the BBC Proms, on 6th August 2019. For more information and tickets, visit the BBC Proms site. See also the announcement on Polish Radio. (Thanks to Maria Elena Aguirre for providing the details about this performance, just in time!).

CD cover DG has recently released a recording of Weinberg's Symphony No. 2 Op. 30 for strings and Symphony No. 21 Op. 152 – the last of Weinberg's fully completed and orchestrated symphonies – with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Kremerata Baltica (together with Gidon Kremer), conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. The recording has already garnered very positive reviews.

Concert Josef Fiegleson, who has previously recorded all of Weinberg's works for solo cello to much acclaim, will be performing Weinberg's Solo Cello Preludes Op. 100 at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City, on 19th of May, 2019 – see Improvis Productions for more information. Tickets are available via EventBrite. (Thanks to Art Feldman for providing the details about this performance).

Concert Quatuor Danel will be performing Weinberg's complete string quartets over a series of five concerts in Washington DC, US, with the first concert held on April 28th, 2019 (String quartets Nos. 1 – 3), then on May 5th, 2019 (Nos. 4 – 6 at the 1pm concert, and Nos. 7 – 10 at the 4pm concert) and finally on May 12th, 2019 (Nos. 11 – 13 at the 1pm concert, and Nos. 14 – 17 at the 4pm concert). (Thanks to Alan P. Vollmann for providing the details about this performance).

Concert Mark Glanville (bass-baritone) and Marc Verter (piano) will be performing a Weinberg song programme, “Citizen of Nowhere - Weinberg, A Sung Life” in the Purcell Room, Southbank Center, London, UK on the 3rd of February, 2019 (see here for more information and tickets). The full progamme will be recorded in March for commercial release. The two musicians are aiming to perform the programme more widely, so it is worth keeping an eye on future concerts/recitals (most likely in the UK in the first instance). A song from a previous recital at Manchester University in November 2018 can be heard here on YouTube.

Concert The cellist Sol Gabetta will be performing Weinberg's Cello Concerto Op. 43 (among works by Dukas, Strauss and Ravel) during December 2018, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Mikko Franck, in Cologne (13th December), Dusseldorf (14th December), Hamburg (15th December), Vienna (16th December), Munich (19th December), Hannover (20th December) and Paris (21st December). For more information and ticket bookings, see Sol Gabetta's site or visit the site of Radio France's Maison de la Radio (includes information on the Vienna and Paris concerts). Update: A live recording of the Paris concert is available on YouTube, courtesy of France Musique and Arte France. (Thanks to Maria Elena Aguirre for providing the details about this performance and the YouTube link).

CD cover The most recent release in Naxos' ongoing series of Weinberg's symphonies features the poignant Symphony No. 13 together with the lighter Serenade Op. 47,4, conducted by Vladimir Lande. Both are world premiere recordings.

Concert On Saturday 31st March, 7.30pm, there will be a concert at the IMS Prussia Cove/Marazion Community Centre, Marazion, Cornwall, UK, where Gidon Kremer will perform his own violin solo arrangement of 12 of Weinberg's 24 Preludes for Solo Cello Op. 100. Details and booking information can be accessed at the International Musicians Seminar site. (Thanks to Rosie Yeatman for providing the details about this performance).

Concert Weinberg's opera “The Passenger” Op. 97 will be performed in Aarhus, Denmark, at the Jyske Opera during August 2018, by the Chorus of the Danish National Opera, soloists and Aarhus Symfoniorkester under Christopher Lichtenstein. (Thanks to Lene Juul Langballe for providing the details about this performance).

CD cover The Silesian Quartet has recently embarked on recording the complete cycle of Weinberg string quartets. This is a significant undertaking which the Poland-based ensemble is aiming to complete by the end of 2019.

CD cover CPO has released a 2 CD companion to their earlier, 2009 volume of Weinberg's Violin Sonatas 4 and 5. The new recording, like its predecessor, is performed by the Kirpal brothers Stefan and Andreas with exceptional sensitivity, understanding, nuance and depth, and includes the remaining four Violin Sonatas from the complete cycle of six: Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6, as well as a world premiere recording of Weinberg's Sonata for Two Violins Op. 69.

Concert Weinberg's Violin Concerto from 1959 was performed by Gidon Kremer and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Juanjo Mena, on January 19-21 & 24, 2017, to much acclaim. The concert also included symphonic works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. (Thanks to Neal Carey for providing the details about this performance).

CD cover The most recent volume in Naxos' ongoing series of Weinberg's symphonies has been released, featuring Symphony No. 17, which is the first in Weinberg's “war trilogy” from the 1980s. The following two symphonies of the trilogy (namely, Nos. 18 and 19) are also available on Naxos and also conducted by Vladimir Lande on earlier releases. Besides the large-scale, 45-minute Symphony 17, the new recording includes a world premiere of the Suite for Orchestra from 1950.

Concert There is an upcoming concert on Thursday, 3rd of November 2016 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Arizona, where the Warsaw Philharmonic under Jacek Kaspszyk will be performing Weinberg's Polish Melodies No. 2, Op. 47. This concert is part of a USA tour by the Warsaw Philharmonic. (Thanks to Katrina Becker for providing the details about this performance).

CD cover A recently released recording by the Philadelphia-based Dolce Suono Ensemble (Mimi Stillman - flute, and Charles Abramovic - piano) includes Weinberg's Five Pieces for Flute and Piano from 1947. Dolce Suono Ensemble gave the first premiere of this work in the USA and this recording represents its world premiere on CD. Mimi Stillman has also written an article in the Flutist Quarterly on Weinberg's Five Pieces, available online.

Concert The Avalon String Quartet will be performing Weinberg's Quartet No. 6 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Other programs including Weinberg's Quartet No. 7, as well as the Piano Quintet, are planned for early 2016 in several venues in Chicago, USA – see here for details. (Thanks to Lee Walter for providing the details about this performance).

CD cover A recording of Weinberg's Piano Quintet and two String Quartets (Nos. 10 and 13) has been released on Praga, with the Zemlinksy Quartet and Nikita Mndoyants (piano).

Concert The American Artaria String Quartet will perform Weinberg's Quartet No. 4 (Op. 20) along with Shostakovich's Quaret No. 3 (Op. 73) on November 15th, 2015, at Sundin Music Hall, 3pm, in Saint Paul, MN; and again on November 29th, 2015, at the Wayzata Community Church, 3pm, in Wayzata, MN – as part of their program “Politically Incorrect”. (Thanks to Nancy Oliveros for providing the details about these performances).

Concert The Molinari Quartet, based in Montréal, Canada, will perform Weinberg's String Quartet No. 14 in several concerts during March 2015, including at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal on March 28, 2015, and at the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society on March 14, 2015. (Thanks to Olga Ranzenhofer for providing the details about these upcoming performances).

Photo, an online magazine promoting Polish culture abroad, has published an article Unknown Facts From Mieczysław Wajnberg’s Biography that reveals some interesting biographical information discovered by Polish musicologist Prof. Danuta Gwizdalanka. It appears that Weinberg's surname will remain a subject of controversy for a while (as it has been), but the newly discovered date of birth is likely to be less disputable. (Thanks to Magdalena Dropek for providing the information).

Concert It appears that interest in Weinberg's operas is increasing! From “Andrea Schwalbach has now created a new production for the Oldenburg State Theatre [Oldenburgisches Staatstheater] that will be given its premiere on 24 January 2015 in the Great House of the Theatre. Vito Cristofaro will serve as music director.”

Concert The Lyric Opera of Chicago will present David Pountney's production of Weinberg's opera "The Passenger" Op.97 (1967-68) between the 24th of February and 15th of March, 2015. "The Passenger", based on a libretto by Alexander Medvedev, received its world premiere in Bergenz, Austria in 2010 to great acclaim, and its North American premiere recently at the Houston Grand Opera. The upcoming staging by the Lyric Opera of Chicago under Sir Andrew Davis confirms the increasing appreciation of a work that Weinberg thought was his greatest – indeed, a work that thematically underlies so much of his music dealing with the human suffering endured during WWII. (Many thanks to Thomas Holliday for providing the details about this performance).

CD cover A recording of Weinberg's Violin concerto and Symphony No. 4 has been released on Warner Classics, with Jacek Kaspszyk conducting the Warsaw Philharmonic. Ilyia Gringolts is the soloist in the violin concerto.

Concert Frédéric Albou and Michelle Assay recently gave a premiere of some of Weinberg's settings of Shakespeare's Sonnets in an “all-Shakespeare” programme. More information about the event can be found on the University of Manchester events page.

CD cover A recent recording from Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica on ECM of some of Weinberg's chamber music, together with Symphony No. 10, has won a Gramophone Magazine's Editor's Choice award. And it is well deserved! The disc includes some world premiere recordings, such as Weinberg's 3rd violin solo sonata, a late work of profound depth and emotion.

CD cover Murray McLachlan's seminal recordings of Weinberg's Piano Sonatas 1–6 have been re-released on the Divine Art label (as Vol. 9 and Vol. 10 of an ongoing series dedicated to Russian piano music) and are now widely available. Recorded approximately 20 years ago, McLachlan's deep insight, sense of balance and modest dedication continue to make these interpretations of the piano sonatas indispensable.

Concert Weinberg's last operatic masterpiece "The Idiot" Op.144 (1985), after Dostoyevsky's novel of the same name, was given its world premiere at the National-theatre Mannheim, Germany, on the 9th of May 2013, conducted by Thomas Sanderling. This is one more successful Weinberg premiere by Thomas Sanderling in what may turn out to be a whole series, the previous highlight being the Requiem Op. 96 (performed in Liverpool, UK, in 2009). (Many thanks to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Stolzenberg for providing the initial details about this premiere).

CD cover A recording of Weinberg's Symphony No. 8 "Polish Flowers" has been released on Naxos (Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Antoni Wit). It is one of Weinberg's three choral symphonies exploring war-related themes. Texts are by the Polish poet Julian Tuwim, but translations do not appear to be included.
CD cover Weinberg's Piano Quintet and String Quartet No. 8 have been re-released on Melodya (Borodin Quartet, with the composer himself at the piano). If there is anything resembling a definitive interpretation of the Quintet, this would have to be it.
CD cover A recording of Weinberg's complete sonatas for violin and piano (Nos. 1–6) has been released on Challenge Records (Linus Roth and José Gallardo). See also the YouTube video for this release, containing excerpts and an interview with the performers. Remarks in the video by violinist Linus Roth about the use of contrast in Weinberg's music have strong resonance with the Music section of this site (which was written some time earlier and is thus clearly spreading a positive influence!). Both performers are truly dedicated to Weinberg's music, and this release is one to look out for.

Per Skans on Mieczyslaw Weinberg's (Moishei Vainberg's) name:

"Why Weinberg?

 Why not Vainberg?
 Why not Wainberg?
 Or Vajnberg?
 Or Wajnberg?

The reason is very simple: Weinberg is correct, all other spellings are wrong! Weinberg grew up and spent his first twenty years in Poland, where the Latin alphabet is used, and he and his family spelt the name exactly this way. Its origin is German/Yiddish. Any other spelling in the Latin alphabet must thus be avoided!

I confess having a certain guilt myself, since I once accepted - without checking them - certain rumours that Weinberg himself preferred the spelling "Vainberg". I discovered my error after I had written the texts for half a dozen CDs in the large series of Olympia in London, and I wanted to change the spelling, but they refused. In fact I understand this, because it would have confused their customers if they had changed it in the middle of a series. Nevertheless the CDs have unfortunately contributed to the present Babylonic situation.

The variety of (wrong) spellings is due to the circumstance that various people believed that the original spelling of the name was the one of the Russian alphabet. They then transliterated the name into the Latin alphabet, according to various rules (an ironical detail being that Soviet scores -- of all! -- used the correct spelling Weinberg!). But now Weinberg is becoming increasingly accepted. The New Groves, the famous dictionary, used the English transliteration "Vaynberg" some years ago, but in the Internet edition they have now corrected this into Weinberg.

I am at present writing a biography in English which is scheduled to appear in 2005 at Toccata Press in London; there I of course am using the correct spelling Weinberg!

Per Skans Uppsala, Sweden" (from personal correspondence with Per Skans)

Book: "Mieczyslaw Weinberg: In Search of Freedom"

Sadly, Per Skans passed away in 2007, before being able to complete the book mentioned above. Nevertheless, the book project was not abandoned, and was handed over to David Fanning from the University of Manchester, UK, who is currently taking it to its full realization. An interim book reflecting the ongoing work is already published in English and German translation:

David Fanning's Weinberg biography (English) David Fanning's Weinberg biography (German)
Fanning, David,
Mieczyslaw Weinberg: In Search of Freedom (in English).
Wolke Verlagsges. Mbh., 2010, ISBN-13: 978-3936000917.
Fanning, David, Jens Hagestedt (Tr.),
Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Auf der Suche nach Freiheit (in German).
Wolke Verlagsges. Mbh, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-3936000900

It is available from the UK and Germany (e.g. Amazon UK/de, etc.), but not from it seems. David Fanning is a strong Weinberg exponent, and while perhaps not all opinions expressed there are shared universally, the book is a worthwhile read for any admirer (current and even potential!) of Weinberg's music.

Questions and feedback:

If you have any questions, or would like to share your opinions and impressions of Weinberg's music, or just give some feedback on this site, please write to

Score excerpt from Weinberg's first cello solo sonata

Excerpt from Weinberg's Cello Solo Sonata No. 1, © Peermusic (Germany) GmbH

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