Obituary: Jose Figueroa
Thursday 12 November 1998
He had a career which spanned some 80 years as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He was a great favourite with the Spanish royal family and frequently played for them at their palace in Madrid.
Figueroa was born in the beautiful mountain town of San Sebastian and began playing the violin when he was seven; at 14 he won a violin competition which enabled him to tour Mexico and Cuba with Henri Ern, then director of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the United States. When Figueroa was 18, he entered the Royal Conservatory in Madrid where he was soon appointed leader of the orchestra and on graduating was awarded the Sarasate Prize for Excellence.
At this time the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris was the Mecca for violinists, especially those from the Latin countries, so Figueroa enrolled as a student of the celebrated Jacques Thibaud, a pupil of both Martin Marsick and Eugene Ysae, thus placing him in a direct line to the founder of the Franco-Belgian school, Giovanni Battista Viotti. Figueroa made such good progress that he became leader of the school's string quartet and on graduating won the Premier Prix with the highest marks ever awarded.
From this time onwards his future was assured and he performed with a number of well-known chamber music groups and toured the world as a soloist under many of the leading international conductors including Pierre Monteux and Charles Munch. He made his solo American debut at the Carnegie Hall in 1934 and later took up residence in the US, where he became concert master of the American Arts Orchestra under Karl Krueger and later the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC under Hans Kindler. He was also leader of the American String Quartet in New York.
He finally settled in Puerto Rico, where he was a soloist with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and also participated in many of the Casals Festivals in that city. He taught for many years at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music where he was recently awarded a doctorate honoris causa.
He died in San Juan, after a series of heart attacks, following a recent fall in which he broke his hip. His open casket was displayed at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, where students and celebrities filed past to pay him homage.
Jose "Pepito" Figueroa, violinist: born San Sebastian, Spain 1905; died San Juan, Puerto Rico 9 November 1998.
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Shia LaBeouf's Nymphomaniac sex scene removed from YouTube
Eminem, Drake and Jay Z among Spotify's most-streamed artists of 2013
Morgan Freeman portrait: The world's most realistic finger painting?
Nymphomaniac trailer shown to children at screening of Disney film Frozen
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert