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Issay Dobrowen at Gothenburg Symphony 1941-1953

230 performances with the Gothenburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Russian conductor Issay Dobrowen (1891-1953) was born to Jewish parents in Novgorod. His original name was Itschok Zorachovitch Barabeitchik. He left the Soviet Union in 1922 to take Norwegian citizenship in 1928.


Mr Dobrowen was both conductor and a skilful pianist, who at one point played Beethoven’s Appassionata for Lenin.

He started his international conducting career as a guest performer with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and the Leipzig and Dresden orchestras.  He performed regularly as guest with the Gothenburgh Symphony Orchestra from the mid 1930s until he was appointed Principal in 1941.


His specialty was the Russian repertoire, which he always performed with élan.


After a conflict between the Conductor and his orchestra in 1947 (when Mr Dobrowen called an acting concertmaster (leader) an “invalid”), he stayed on as principal conductor  until his death in 1953, though his relationship with the orchestra cooled significantly.  Courtesy Gothenburgh Symphony.

Dobrowen worked with both Nikolai Medtner and Artur Schnabel, among other well known musicians. He was also a close friend of the Russian writer Maxim Gorky, and the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen.


 Piano Concerto in C sharp minor, Op. 20 (1926)  late Romantic work for solo piano and orchestra by Russian-Norwegian composer Issay Dobrowen (1891-1953).

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