Werner Lywen

violin virtuoso and concertmaster

Werner Lywen (June 2, 1909 - October 15, 2002), born in Berlin, Germany, was a well-known Concertmaster and Soloist of great orchestras in America such as the New York City Symphony with Leonard Bernstein and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. where he played for 5 different inaugurations of U.S. Presidents. During his lifetime as an artist, he enjoyed both personal and professional relationships with all the great conductors, composers and musicians of his time such as Antal Dorati, Bruno Walter, Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Rostropovitch, etc. Werner Lywen was also for many years Professor of Music at the Catholic University and the American Univertsity in Washington D.C., where he founded "The Lywen String Quartet". In later years he was also full Professor at the California State University.


New York city symphony 1947 program

New York City Symphony 1947 fall programAn original copy was found of the 1947 3rd season fall program announcment of Leonard Bernstein's New York City Symphony presenting Werner Lywen as soloist:
"WERNER LYWEN - Musicianship of the Highest Order - made New York recital debut in Town Hall in 1939 - concertmaster under Leonard Bernstein since the latter became musical director of The New York City Symphony - frequently heard with this orchestra in concerto performances - critics mention his decided sense of style and extraordinary virtuosity."
{ View PDF version of the program }

Recordings available online

A CD with multiple recordings with Werner Lywen playing compositions of Mary Howe is available from stores such as ArkivMusic and Amazon.
{ The recording of the quartet playing the Mary Howe composition "Three Pieces after Emily Dickinson" can be heard on youtube }

The 1943 studio recording of "The Merry Widow" (originally released by Decca) with Werner Lywen playing the solo in the Overture is available online from many stores including CDconnection, Amazon and Target.