(b. October 11
– d. April 29
, Gulfport, Florida
, United States
) was a violinist, associate conductor and the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Burgin first performed in public at age 11, as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Society. In 1906 he studied with Joseph Joachim in Berlin, and from 1908 to 1912, he studied with Leopold Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Then he worked in Helsinki, Stockhom and Oslo.
Burgin was appointed concertmaster of the BSO in 1920, when Pierre Monteux
was the orchestra’s conductor. He was appointed assistant conductor in 1927. He conducted the BSO in 308 concerts in the United States
, and was associate conductor for seven world premiers and 25 Boston
Earlier, he had been concertmaster Leningrad Symphony, Helsinki Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic and the Stockholm Concert Society. He played under conductors Max Fiedler, Arthur Nikisch, composer Richard Strauss, and Sibelius. Burgin retired from the BSO following the 1961-62 season.
In 1957, Burgin told TIME Magazine, "I know many virtuosos and I do not envy them. They tell me what it's like to play the same few pieces over and over and know they have to go here and then be there. Not for me. I like the orchestra.
Teaching and Chamber Music Performance
Within a year of coming to Boston, Burgin organized the Burgin String Quartet. He also headed the string department of New England Conservatory
and in 1953 was its orchestra conductor. He taught violin and conducting at New England Conservatory. Starting in 1959, Burgin also taught at Boston University
, where he directed the Boston University Chamber Orchestra and lectured, and at the Berkshire Music Center, where he taught conducting. After moving to Florida following his retirement, Burgin taught at Florida State University
. During this time, he also formed the Florestan Quartet with his wife, violinist Ruth Posselt
, as a member. He retired from Florida State University in the mid-1970s.
Burgin was a chevalier officer of the French Legion of Honor
and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Burgin married Ruth Posselt on July 3
. Their son, Richard W. Burgin, was a founding editor of New York Review of the Arts
. Their daughter, Diana Lewis Burgin
, is an author, Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts
; she had published a narrative poem "Richard Burgin: A Life in Verse" (Slavica Pub, 1989; ISBN 0893571962) describing her father's biography.