Russian violinist, and friend of the composer (b. 25 October/6 November 1855 in Kamenets-Podolsk, Ukraine; d. 4 January 1885 in Davos), born Iosif Iosifovich Kotek (Иосиф Иосифович Котек), also known as Eduard Josef Kotek or Joseph Kotek.
Kotek graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1876, where he had studied violin under Jan Hřímalý and music theory/composition under Tchaikovsky. On Nikolay Rubinstein's recommendation he was engaged by Nadezhda von Meck as her resident violinist. In 1877 Tchaikovsky dedicated his Valse-scherzo for violin and orchestra to Kotek, who was also allowed to orchestrate the piece. Kotek also assisted Tchaikovsky with technical advice in his Violin Concerto, which was written while the two men were staying at Nadezhda von Meck's estate at Clarens, Switzerland in 1878.
Tchaikovsky's private correspondence from around this time show that he was infatuated with Kotek, although there is evidence that the violinist may have reciprocated his feelings at first, relations quickly cooled, and deteriorated further due to Kotek's reluctance to perform Tchaikovsky's concerto; this had been rejected by the original dedicatee (Leopold Auer), and had gained a reputation as unplayable.
In 1882 Kotek moved to Berlin to study with Joseph Joachim (1831–1907), where he became a violin teacher at the Hochschule für Musik. However, in 1884 his health deteriorated due to tuberculosis. On hearing of his grave condition, Tchaikovsky travelled to see his old friend at Davos, Switzerland in November 1884. After Kotek's death the composer wrote letters of condolence to his sisters Yevgeniya and Yuliya, and his brother Vyacheslav.
Tchaikovsky's works dedicated to Iosif Kotek:
Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Iosif Kotek:
This page was last updated on 14 February 2013