This article is about the American violinist. For the accountant to Oskar Schindler, see
Isaac Stern ( Ukrainian: Ісаак Стерн, Russian: Исаа́к Штерн; 21 July 1920 – 22 September 2001) was a Soviet-born violinist and conductor. He was renowned for his recordings and for discovering new musical talent. [1 ] Biography [edit ]
Isaac Stern was born into a
Volhynian- Jewish family in Kremenets (Krzemieniec), then in the Soviet Ukraine (the year after his birth it again became part of Poland). He was fourteen months old when his family moved to San Francisco. He received his first music lessons from his mother. In 1928, he enrolled at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied until 1931 before going on to study privately with Louis Persinger. He returned to the San Francisco Conservatory to study for five years with [2 ] Naoum Blinder, to whom he said he owed the most. At his public début on 18 February 1936, aged 15, he played [3 ] Saint-Saëns' Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor with the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Pierre Monteux. Reflecting on his background, Stern once memorably quipped that cultural exchanges between the US and Soviet Russia were simple affairs: "They send us their Jews from Odessa, and we send them our Jews from Odessa." [4 ]
Stern's November 1948 marriage to ballerina
Nora Kaye ended in divorce in 1949. On 17 August 1951, he married Vera Lindenblit. They had three children together. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1994 after 43 years. On 23 January 1997, Stern married his third wife, Linda Reynolds, who survived him.
Stern died in New York City on 22 September 2001, of
congestive heart failure, age 81. Music career [edit ]
In 1940, Stern began performing with Russian-born pianist
Alexander Zakin, collaborating until 1977. Within musical circles, Stern became renowned both for his recordings and for championing certain younger players. Among his discoveries were cellists [5 ] Yo-Yo Ma and Jian Wang, and violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman. In the 1960s, he also played a major role in saving New York City's Carnegie Hall from demolition, which later named its main auditorium in his honor. [6 ]
Among Stern's many recordings are concertos by
Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi and modern works by Barber, Bartók, Stravinsky, Bernstein, Rochberg, and Dutilleux. The Dutilleux concerto, entitled L'arbre des songes ["The Tree of Dreams"] was a 1985 commission by Stern himself. He also dubbed actors' violin-playing in several films, such as . Fiddler on the Roof
Stern served as musical advisor for the 1946 film,
, about a rising violin star and his patron, played respectively by Humoresque John Garfield and Joan Crawford. In 1999, he appeared in the film , along with Music of the Heart Itzhak Perlman and several other famed violinists, with a youth orchestra led by Meryl Streep; the film was based on the true story of a gifted violin teacher in Harlem who eventually took her musicians to play a concert in Carnegie Hall.
In his autobiography written with
Chaim Potok, My First 79 Years, he cites Nathan Milstein and Arthur Grumiaux as major influences on his style of playing.
He won Grammys for his work with
Eugene Istomin and Leonard Rose in their famous chamber music trio in the 1960s and '70s, while also continuing his duo work with Alexander Zakin during this time. Stern recorded a series of piano quartets in the 1980s and 1990s with Emanuel Ax, Jaime Laredo and Yo-Yo Ma, including those of Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Fauré, winning another Grammy in 1992 for the Brahms quartets Opp. 25 and 26.
In 1979, seven years after
Richard Nixon made the first official visit by a US President to the country, the People's Republic of China offered Stern and pianist David Golub an unprecedented invitation to tour the country. While there, he collaborated with the China Central Symphony Society (now China National Symphony) under the direction of conductor Li Delun. Their visit was filmed and resulted in the Oscar-winning documentary, . From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China Ties to Israel [edit ]
Stern maintained close ties with
Israel. Stern began performing in the country in 1949. In 1973, he performed for wounded Israeli soldiers during the [1 ] Yom Kippur War. During the 1991 Gulf War and Iraq's Scud missile attacks on Israel, he played in the Jerusalem Theater. During his performance, an air raid siren sounded, causing the audience to panic. Stern then stepped onto the stage and began playing a movement of Bach. The audience then calmed down, donned gas masks, and sat throughout the rest of his performance. Stern was a supporter of several educational projects in Israel, among them the America-Israel Foundation and the [7 ] Jerusalem Music Center. [1 ] Instruments [edit ]
Stern's favorite instrument was the Ysaÿe Guarnerius, one of the violins produced by the
Cremonese luthier Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. It had previously been played by the violin virtuoso and composer [8 ] Eugène Ysaÿe.
Among other instruments, Stern played the "Kruse-Vormbaum"
Stradivarius (1728), the "ex-Stern" Bergonzi (1733), the "Stern-Alard" Guarneri del Gesù (1737), a Michele Angelo Bergonzi (1739–1757), the "Arma Senkrah" Guadagnini (1750), a Giovanni Guadagnini (1754), a J. B. Vuillaume copy of the "Panette" Guarneri del Gesu of 1737 (c.1850), and the "ex-Nicolas I" J.B. Vuillaume (1840). He also owned two contemporary instruments by Samuel Zygmuntowicz.
In 2001, Stern's collection of instruments, bows and musical ephemera was sold through
Tarisio Auctions. The May 2003 auction set a number of world records and was at the time the second highest grossing violin auction of all time, with total sales of over $3.3M. [9 ] Awards and commemoration [edit ]
Isaac Stern with the Edison in 1971
In 2012, a street in
Tel Aviv was named for Stern. [1 ] Discography [edit ]
Isaac Stern playing with one hand in 1979
Bezalel Schatz painting a portrait of Isaac Stern
This list of songs or music-related items is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 (with Alexander Schneider, Milton Katims, Milton Thomas, Pablo Casals and Madeleine Foley) Brahms: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello No. 1 in B Major, op. 8 (with Myra Hess and Pablo Casals) Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major op. 35 (with Philadelphia Orchestra; conductor: Eugene Ormandy) Bach, Vivaldi: Concertos for 2 Violins Isaac Stern: 60th Anniversary Celebration Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto; Beethoven: Romances in G & F Major Haydn: London Trios An Isaac Stern Vivaldi Gala Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos Dutilleux: L'Arbre des Songes (Concerto pour Violin et Orchestre) & Maxwell Davies: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra Celebration Bach: Double Concerto; Violin Concertos Nos.1 & 2 Beethoven: Violin Concerto Mozart: The Flute Quartets Bach: Concertos for Violin, BWV 1041–43 & 1060 Shostakovich: Piano Trio No.2; Cello Sonata Brahms: Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor, Op. 102 & Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 60 Prokofiev: Violin Concertos No. 1 & 2 Brahms: Violin Concerto The Japanese Album Music, My Love Prokofiev: Concertos No. 1 & 2 for Violin and Orchestra Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos.4 & 5 Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert: Trios Brahms: The Piano Quartets Rameau: Pieces de clavecin en concerts Lalo, Bruch, Wenianski, others: Violin Concertos Bach, Mozart, Brahms, others: Violin Concertos Mozart, Telemann, J.C. Bach, Reicha: Trios, Quartets Schubert: Violin Sonatas Humoresque: Favorite Violin Encores Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 "Emperor"; Triple Concerto Beethoven: Complete Trios Concert of the Century: Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of Carnegie Hall Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Violin Concerto Webern: Complete Works, Op. 1 – Op. 31 Brahms: Sextets; more Tchaikovsky: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra & Serenade for Strings Fauré: Piano Quartets Greatest Hits: Violin The House of Magical Sounds Greatest Hits: Schubert Greatest Hits: Brahms Beethoven, Schumann: Piano Quartets Mozart: Sonatas for Violin and Piano, K. 454, 296 & 526 Beethoven: Piano Trios "Ghost" & "Archduke" Bach: Violin Concerto, BWV 1041; Piano Concerto, BWV 1056; Brandenburg Concerto No.5; more Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante; Violin Concerto No.5 Brahms: Sextet in B-flat major, Op. 18 & Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 Schubert: Quintet in C major, D956 & Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, D485 Isaac Stern Presents Encores with Orchestra Telemann, Bach Family: Trio Sonatas Mendelssohn: Piano Trios 1 & 2 Brahms: Piano Trios, Piano Quartets A Life in Music, Vol.3: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, more Beethoven: Piano Trios "Ghost" & "Archduke"; Variations Schubert, Haydn: Piano Trios; Mozart: Piano Quartet Bartók: Violin Concertos Bernstein/Dutilleux: Violin Concertos Berg: Violin Concerto; Kammerkonzert Prokofiev/Bartók: Violin Concertos; Rhapsody No.1 Stravinsky/Rochberg: Violin Concertos Barber/Maxwell Davies: Violin Concertos Hindemith/Penderecki: Violin Concertos Berg: Piano Sonata; Krenek: Piano Sonata No.3; Webern: Piano Variations; Debussy, Ravel: works A Life in Music, Vol.1: Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, more Mozart: Haffner Serenade Mozart: Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Vol. II Beethoven, Brahms: Violin Concertos Tchaikovsky/Sibelius: Violin Concertos Bach: Violin Concertos; Double Concerto; more Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Concertos Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos.1–5; Sinfonia concertante; more Wieniawski/Bruch/Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos Mendelssohn/Dvorák: Violin Concertos More Mozart's Greatest Hits Mozart: Violin Sonatas, Vol. III Schubert and Boccherini String Quintets A Life in Music, Vol.4: Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Copland, Schubert, more Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas Bartók: Violin Sonatas; Webern: Four Pieces for Violin and Piano Beethoven: Violin Sonatas J.S. & C.P.E. Bach, Handel, Tartini: Violin Sonatas Hindemith/Bloch/Copland: Violin Sonatas Schubert: Sonatinas Nos.1–3; Rondeau Brillant; Grand Duo Sonata Franck/Debussy/Enesco: Violin Sonatas Brahms: Violin Sonatas No. 1-3 Isaac Stern Presents Encores with Violin & Piano Barber: Adagio for Strings / Schuman – In Praise of Shahn etc. Bartók Sonatas for Violin and Piano Mozart: The Piano Quartets Isaac Stern Plays Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Bernstein: The Age of Anxiety; Foss: Serenade Bach, Vivaldi: Concertos Caprice Viennois: Music of Kreisler My First 79 Years Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos Dvorák: Piano Quartet No.2, Sonatina in G, Romantic Pieces Vivaldi: The Four Seasons; Concertos for Two Violins References [edit ] ^ a b c d Noam Ben Zeev (1 November 2012), "New Tel Aviv street to honor Isaac Stern." Daily. Retrieved 6 June 2013. Haaretz ^ K Robert Schwarz (24 September 2001). "Isaac Stern". The Guardian (London) . Retrieved 10 October 2006. ^ "Isaac Stern 1920–2001". The Musical Times. ^ New York Times ^ "Alexander Zakin, 87, A Piano Accompanist". The New York Times. 16 October 2011 . Retrieved 18 December 2011. ^ "Violinist Isaac Stern dies". BBC News. 23 September 2001 . Retrieved 21 July 2007. ^ Woo, Elaine (23 September 2001). "Isaac Stern, Violinist and Musical Envoy, Dies". Los Angeles Times. ^ Jeff Bradley (5 December 1999). "Stern, Shostakovich, Gedda stories on shelves". The Denver Post . Retrieved 21 July 2007. ^ Keough, James. "Stern's Stars." Strings. August/September 2003, No. 112. ^ Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts ^ George Bush Presidential Library & Museum Further reading [edit ] Stern, Isaac; Chaim Potok (1999). My First 79 Years. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-679-45130-7. External links [edit ]