Arnold Belnick, Violinist


Mr. Arnold Belnick was my viola teacher and mentor from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, and my mentor and friend until his death in 2015. I learned about viola musicianship under the tutelage of Mr. Belnick, but over the years I also gained a friend and mentor. Mr. Belnick was a great violinist but he could effectively teach other instruments, including the viola. I learned alot about music-making on the viola and the bio-physics of viola playing technique from him. Mr. Belnick always insisted on excellence from me but was also nurturing and understanding. Thank you to Arnold's son, David, supporting this website project.

Arnold Belnick was born on September 7, 1922, in New York City

Arnold started his concert career at the age of thirteen by winning a network radio competition which was followed by an appearance with the National Orchestral Association in Carnegie Hall. He debuted in Town Hall two years later.

Subsequently, Mr. Belnick appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic Symphony and the C.B.S. Symphony and was a recording artist for Columbia Records. He gained great critical acclaim, which, at that time, hailed him as a “young Joseph Szigeti.” The years that have followed have borne out that early assessment.

PFC Belnick was a member of the U.S. Army during WW II

For three years during World War II, he played concerts for the armed forces in North Africa and Italy.

During the War and for many decades to follow, Arnold had a deep friendship with actor, Burt Lancaster.

Mr. Belnick relocated to Los Angeles, California, in 1955. He performed as a soloist with many orchestras in southern California.

Arnold performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, televised by KCET for Consortium of Community College television, has been shown frequently on KABC and KCET.

Arnold performed a most unusual concert with a symphony orchestra in Glendale featuring the Beethoven and Sibelius violin Concertos, and the premier performance of a specially commissioned work by Los Angeles composer Jesse Ehrlich, “Tune-up for Violin and Orchestra.”

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Sibelius (rehearsal)

In 1986, Mr. Arnold Belnick collaborated with Maestro Mehli Mehta

Arnold collaborated with his longtime friend, conductor Mehli Mehta, to play the great First Violin Concerto of Shostakovich, not heard in Los Angeles for seventeen years. In the review of Mr. Belnick’s performance of the First Shostakovich Violin Concerto at UCLA’s Royce Hall, Donna Perlmutter of the Los Angles Times wrote:

“He profiled the whole array of moods from abject resignation to biting ire to searing soulfulness and leapt past each technical hazard without a backward glance. Belnick drew from his Stradivarius the most refined sound—a purified tone that could change to slightly gritty for expressive purpose. The audience went beyond its norm. The rafters shook with prolonged thumping, hollering applause.”

In 1989, Arnold Belnick and Albert Dominquez tour in Japan

Mr. Belnick performed with esteemed pianist, Albert Dominquez (RIP), in a series of concerts in Japan, where he also appeared on nationwide television with the premiere Japanese orchestra, the NHK Symphony of Tokyo.

Tokyo Recital

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NHK Symphony Concert
Shostakovich Violin Concerto #1

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In addition to being a concert violinist

Arnold had a long and successful career as a professional studio musician.

Arnold continued his joy for the violin by teaching into his 90’s.

Arnold Belnick died on June 2, 2015.

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