Petersburg and taught at the conservatoire there from 1868 to 1917, taking over the position after the death of Cesare Pugni. During that time he was also lead violinist of the orchestra of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres - Peterhof, and the Hermitage Theatre, and especially the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre (until 1886), and the Mariinsky Theatre (until 1917). While playing in the orchestra of the Imperial Theatres Auer performed nearly all of violin solos in the ballets of Marius Petipa, created for the Imperial Ballet, as well as all for the Imperial Italian Opera. In 1918 he moved to the United States of America, eventually teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Auer is remembered as one of the most important violin pedagogues and as one of the most sought-after teachers for gifted pupils.
He taught many violinists who later became famous, including Efrem Zimbalist, Nathan Milstein, Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, and Benno Rabinof. A number of composers dedicated pieces to Auer, although he initially refused to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, despite being the dedicatee, because he regarded the work as unplayable. He did play the work later in his career, however, with alterations in certain passages. Performances of the Tchaikovsky concerto by his students (with the exception of Nathan Milstein's) were also based on Auer's edition. Auer wrote a small number of works for his instrument, including the Rhapsodie hongroise for violin and piano. He also wrote a number of cadenzas for other composers' violin concertos including those by Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Brahms (see Violin Concerto (Beethoven) and Violin Concerto (Brahms)).
He also wrote two books: Violin Playing as I Teach It (1920), and My Long Life in Music (1923). Auer died in Loschwitz, a suburb of Dresden, Germany and was interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. The jazz vibraphonist, Vera Auer, is a niece of Leopold. Actor Mischa Auer (born Mischa Ounskowsky) was his grandson. The composer György Ligeti was his great-nephew. Read more on Last.fm.
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