Elkan Alexander Kosman (1872-1950) in 1906.

  • Profession: Violinist.
  • Residences: Netherlands.
  • Relation to Mahler: Since 1901 he has been in the United States for a short while, where he played in Philadelphia. He was the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra of Fritz Scheel in the 1901/1902 season. The same position at the New York Philharmonic led by Gustav Mahler was cancelled.
  • Correspondence with Mahler: Yes.
    • 00-00-0000, Year 
  • Born: 12-02-1872 Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Died: 09-02-1956 Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Buried: 00-00-0000

Dutch violinist. Trained in Paris, he worked as concert master of several leading orchestras in France, Schotland, America (Philadelphia, 1903) and Germany. He did not join the New York Philharmonic. Mahler wrote him al letter (postmarks 06-01-1909 New York and 27-01-1909 Essen, Germany).

Elkan Kosman was a Dutch violinist born in Rotterdam in about 1871, where, like his Principal viola colleague Jan Koert he studied violin.  In the 1890s in England, Elkan Kosman built a career as a violin soloist.  Kosman also toured in France, Belgium and the Netherlands prior to coming to the U.S. in 1901.  

In March, 1894, Elkan Kosman received warm reviews in Manchester, England as a violin soloist with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Charles Hallé: “…M. Elkan Kosman, the frequency of whose appearances in London has hitherto not been in proportion to his merit, was heard to signal advantage in Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, which he played with the utmost refinement and dexterity. Later on in the afternoon he gave an excellent rendering of Saint-Saens’s charming Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso…”

Kosman continued to play provincial concerts in the UK in 1894 through 1899, in lesser venues, but does not seem to have reached the first level of concert bookings during this period.  At this time, Kosman seems to have lived in Lanarkshire, Scotland.  Elkan Kosman was Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra in the second season, 1901-1902. He also organized the Kosman String Quartet: Elkan Kosman first, Edwin Brill second, Howard Rattay viola, and Rudolph Hennig cello.  Elkan Kosman played a 1773 Guadagnini violin.  

Elkan Kosman was one of five Concertmasters which Fritz Scheel went through prior to hiring the great Thaddeus Rich.  Kosman was not rehired in 1902, and after leaving the Philadelphia Orchestra, he had a solo career for a time in New York.  He also played in chamber music groups.  

In the next decade, Kosman accompanied singers and performed in salon groups in New York City. His reviews in New York as a soloist were mixed 62, and he did not succeed in breaking into the highly competitive areana as successful solo virtuoso. Elkan Kosman seems to have returned to Europe before World War 1.

He ended his carreer there due to age, but his money was taken away by Nazi-Germany. In 1938 he came back to Amsterdam and took a seat in the Concertgebouworchestra. Not because he was very good apparently but Louis Zimmermann as well as Ferdinand Helman were ill. In the war he had to sell his violin and never played again. He had the opinion that every violin after his Guadignini was less. He died in Amsterdam.

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