When American violinist Mark O’Connor accused Shinichi Suzuki to have lied about his education, he did not hesitate to calling that ”the biggest fraud in music history”. This exaggeration made the Pizzicato editor suspicious and we did not publish the news. O’Connor said, that Suzuki did not have violin lessons in Germany and was mainly self-taught. We considered that this was not really an important matter, regarding the evident success of Suzuki as a teacher and founder of a method, how arguable this method may be at the end. Now, the Suzuki Association has announced, that O’Connor’s statement was not correct.

In a press release the Association’s management says: « The allegations have no factual base and can only be interpreted as an attempt by Mr. O’Connor to manipulate the media.

Shinichi Suzuki had violin lessons with the prominent German violinist Karl Klingler in Berlin in the 1920’s. Klingler’s daughter, Marianne Klingler, was a strong supporter of Suzuki’s teaching principles and became the first chairperson of the European Suzuki Association. Ms. Klingler confirmed many times that Suzuki had indeed studied with her father. (…)

One can only speculate as to why Mr. O’Connor, who publishes and sells his own approach to violin playing, is so eager to discredit Shinichi Suzuki and why he has chosen to manipulate media at this time. These may be questions for serious journalists to work on further.

In the end, however, it is not what Shinichi Suzuki did or did not do in the 1920s that is of importance. The important issue is the successful use of his teaching principles which have enriched the lives of students and has positively influenced music education worldwide for the past 70 years. »

That said, we close the case.

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