a Few Words
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a Few Words

The Gift of Polymathy: A Violinist’s Life Lesson

“Genius is an overused word. The world has known only about a half dozen geniuses. I got only fairly near.” — Fritz Kreisler

Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash

Friedrich-Max “Fritz” Kreisler (February 2, 1875 — January 29, 1962) was an Austrian-born American violinist and composer. One of the most noted violin masters of his day, and regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing.

Fritz Kreisler was one of the greatest in history. Although the minimum age to enter the Vienna Conservatory of Music was fourteen, Fritz became the youngest student when he was accepted as a student at the age of seven.

At ten years old, he had already graduated.

On November 10, 1888, when he was just thirteen years old, he made his debut in the United States giving a concert at Steinway Hall in New York City.

In his time, it was even said that there was “no more perfect sound in the world than Fritz Kreisler’s violin.”

An interesting anecdote about Fritz Kreisler

Fritz Kreisler (1875–1962), Austria-born American violinist and composer — (Public Domain)

The following anecdote was told by Jose Ilic Toro in “Memoirs of a Rural Doctor” and makes evident the place of Fritz in the history of music.

<In a cafe they meet together Jascha Heifetz (was a Russian-American violinist. Born in Vilna.) and Mischa Elman (was a Russian-born Jewish-American violinist.) Both contemporaries of Fritz but younger than him.

They meet in a restaurant and the waiter brings a letter that says on the envelope: “For the greatest violinist in the world.” Mischa Elman receives it and passes it to Jascha Heifetz. Jascha — the youngest of the two — modestly returns it saying: “No. You are the greatest violinist in the world.”

And in this they are for a while attributing to each other the supreme mastery of the violin, until they decide to open the envelope, which brings a letter whose heading says: “Dear Fritz”>

Fritz Kreisler’s Gift of Polymathy

Fritz not only became a great violinist, he also stood out as a pianist and composer, painter and doctor. How do you hone all your talents? Well, I only had one way. Using them.

Undeniably Fritz had the gift of polymathy.

What is polymathy?

Definition of polymath: a person of encyclopedic learning. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary | Since 1828)

Takeaway Insight

You also have some exceptional ability, and if you use it properly you will become an expert in different disciplines. You just have to put into practice the talent that God has given you.

It does not matter what it is, nor that you feel it is small; don’t forget that we all have different gifts. The secret of multiplying the talent you already have is that you use it in your own growth, as well as for the benefit of those around you.

Practice, work and perfect it. If you are good with one, you can be sure that you will be good with two, three…

I hope this story serves as an inspiration for your life.



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Jesús Salazar

Jesús Salazar

Late night writer🌙 Internet enthusiast 💻 Active reader 📖 Researcher 🔎 Bibliophile 📚 “Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun” —Albert Einstein 💡