Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz (/ˈhaɪfɪts/; 2 February  [O.S. 20 January] 1901 – 10 December 1987) was a Jewish-American violinist.[1]Many consider him to be the greatest violinist of all time.[2] Born in Vilna (Vilnius), he moved as a teenager to the United States, where his Carnegie Hall debut was rapturously received. He was a virtuoso since childhood—Fritz Kreisler, another leading violinist of the twentieth century, said on hearing Heifetz's debut, "We might as well take our fiddles and break them across our knees."[3]

He had a long and successful performing career; however, after an injury to his right (bowing) arm, he switched his focus to teaching.[4][5][6][7]

Late in life, Heifetz became a dedicated teacher and a champion of socio-political causes. He publicly advocated to establish 911 as an emergency phone number, and crusaded for clean air. He and his students at the University of Southern California protested smog by wearing gas masks, and in 1967 he converted his Renault passenger car into an electric vehicle.[8]

Jascha Heifetz
Heifetz LOC 38890u
c. 1920
Background information
Born2 February 1901
Vilna, Russian Empire (now Lithuania)
Died10 December 1987 (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Early life

Heifetz was born into a Russian-Jewish family in Vilna, Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire.[9] His father, Reuven Heifetz, son of Elie, was a local violin teacher and served as the concertmaster of the Vilnius Theatre Orchestra for one season before the theatre closed down. While Jascha was an infant, his father did a series of tests, observing how his son responded to his fiddling. This convinced him that Jascha had great potential, and before Jascha was two years old, his father bought him a small violin, and taught him bowing and simple fingering.[10]

At five years old, he started lessons with Leopold Auer. He was a child prodigy, making his public debut at seven, in Kovno (now Kaunas, Lithuania) playing the Violin Concerto in E minor by Felix Mendelssohn. In 1910 he entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory to study under Auer.[11]

He played in Germany and Scandinavia, and met Fritz Kreisler for the first time in a Berlin private house, in a "private press matinee on May 20, 1912. The home was that of Arthur Abell, the pre-eminent Berlin music critic for the American magazine, Musical Courier. Among other noted violinists in attendance was Fritz Kreisler. After the 12-year-old Heifetz performed the Mendelssohn violin concerto, Abell reported that Kreisler said to all present, 'We may as well break our fiddles across our knees.'"[12]

Heifetz visited much of Europe while still in his teens. In April 1911, Heifetz performed in an outdoor concert in St. Petersburg before 25,000 spectators; there was such a sensational reaction that police officers needed to protect the young violinist after the concert. In 1914, he performed with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Arthur Nikisch. The conductor was very impressed, saying he had never heard such an excellent violinist.[13]


Jascha Heifetz in 1917
In 1917
External audio
You may hear Jascha Heifetz performing Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 35 with the John Barbirolli conducting the London Philharmonic in 1937 Here

Heifetz and his family left Russia in 1917, traveling by rail to the Russian far east and then by ship to the United States, arriving in San Francisco. On 27 October 1917, Heifetz played for the first time in the United States, at Carnegie Hall in New York, and became an immediate sensation.[14][15] Fellow violinist Mischa Elman in the audience asked "Do you think it's hot in here?", whereupon the pianist Leopold Godowsky, in the next seat, replied, "Not for pianists."[16]

In 1917, Heifetz was elected as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music, by the fraternity's Alpha chapter at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. As he was aged 16 at the time, he was perhaps the youngest person ever elected to membership in the organization. Heifetz remained in the country and became an American citizen in 1925. A possibly apocryphal story circulates that tells of an interaction with one of the Marx brothers: when he told the brother (usually Groucho or Harpo) that he had been earning his living as a musician since the age of seven, he received the reply, "Before that, I suppose, you were just a bum."[17]

In 1954, Heifetz began working with pianist Brooks Smith, who would serve as Heifetz's accompanist for many years until he chose Dr. Ayke Agus as his accompanist.[18] He was also accompanied in concert for more than 20 years by Emmanuel Bay, another immigrant from Russia and a personal friend. Heifetz's musicianship was such that he would demonstrate to his accompanist how he wanted passages to sound on the piano, and would even suggest which fingerings to use.[19]

After the seasons of 1955–56, Heifetz announced that he would sharply curtail his concert activity, saying "I have been playing for a very long time". In 1958, he tripped in his kitchen and fractured his right hip, resulting in hospitalisation at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, and a near fatal staphylococcus infection. He was invited to play Beethoven at the United Nations General Assembly, and entered leaning on a cane. By 1967, Heifetz had considerably curtailed his concert performances.[20]

Technique and timbre

Heifetz was "regarded as the greatest violin virtuoso since Paganini," wrote Lois Timnick of the Los Angeles Times.[21] "He set all standards for 20th-century violin playing...everything about him conspired to create a sense of awe," wrote music critic Harold Schonberg of the New York Times.[22] "The goals he set still remain, and for violinists today it's rather depressing that they may never really be attained again," wrote violinist Itzhak Perlman.[23]

Virgil Thomson, possibly referencing Richard Wagner's reputed taste for silk next to his skin, called Heifetz's style of playing "silk underwear music", a term he did not intend as a compliment. Other critics argue that he infused his playing with feeling and reverence for the composer's intentions. His style of playing was highly influential in defining the way modern violinists approach the instrument. His use of rapid vibrato, emotionally charged portamento, fast tempi, and superb bow control coalesced to create a highly distinctive sound that makes Heifetz's playing instantly recognizable to aficionados. The violinist Itzhak Perlman, who himself is noted for his rich warm tone and expressive use of portamento, describes Heifetz's tone as like "a tornado" because of its emotional intensity. Perlman said that Heifetz preferred to be recorded relatively close to the microphone; as a result, one would perceive a somewhat different tone quality when listening to Heifetz during a concert hall performance.[24]

Heifetz was very particular about his choice of strings. He used a silver wound Tricolore gut G string, plain gut unvarnished D and A strings, and a Goldbrokat steel E string medium including clear Hill-brand rosin sparingly. Heifetz believed that playing on gut strings was important in rendering an individual sound.

Early recordings

Heifetz made his first recordings in Russia during 1910–11, while still a student of Leopold Auer. The existence of these recordings was not widely known until after Heifetz's death, when several sides, including François Schubert's L'Abeille, were reissued on an LP included as a supplement to The Strad magazine.

Shortly after his Carnegie Hall debut on 7 November 1917, Heifetz made his first recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company/RCA Victor where he would remain for most of his career. For several years, in the 1930s, Heifetz recorded primarily for HMV in the UK because RCA Victor cut back on expensive classical recording sessions during the Great Depression; these discs were issued in the US by RCA Victor. Heifetz often enjoyed playing chamber music. Various critics have blamed his limited success in chamber ensembles to the fact that his artistic personality tended to overwhelm his colleagues. Some notable collaborations include his 1941 recordings of piano trios by Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms with cellist Emanuel Feuermann and pianist Arthur Rubinstein as well as a later collaboration with Rubinstein and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, with whom he recorded trios by Maurice Ravel, Tchaikovsky, and Felix Mendelssohn. Both formations were sometimes referred to as the Million Dollar Trio. Heifetz also recorded some string quintets with violinist Israel Baker, violists William Primrose and Virginia Majewski, and Piatigorsky.

He recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto in 1940 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini, and again in stereo in 1955 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch. A live performance of an NBC radio broadcast from 9 April 1944, of Heifetz playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, has also been released.

He performed and recorded Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Violin Concerto at a time when Korngold's scoring of numerous films for Warner Brothers prompted many classical musicians to develop the scarcely warranted opinion that Korngold was not a "serious" composer and to avoid his music in order to avoid being associated with him.

World War II

During the war, Heifetz commissioned a number of pieces, including the Violin Concerto by William Walton. He also arranged a number of pieces, such as Hora Staccato by Grigoraș Dinicu, a Romanian whom Heifetz is rumoured to have called the greatest violinist he had ever heard. Heifetz also played and composed for the piano;[15] he performed mess hall jazz for soldiers at Allied camps across Europe during the Second World War, and under the alias Jim Hoyl he wrote a hit song, "When You Make Love to Me (Don't Make Believe)", which was sung by Bing Crosby.

Decca recordings

Jascha Heifetz - Carnegie Hall 1947 (04) wmplayer 2013-04-16
Jascha Heifetz at the Carnegie Hall in 1947

From 1944 to 1946, largely as a result of the American Federation of Musicians recording ban (which actually began in 1942), Heifetz went to American Decca Records to make recordings because Decca settled with the union in 1943, well before RCA Victor resolved their dispute with the musicians. He recorded primarily short pieces, including his own arrangements of music by George Gershwin and Stephen Foster; these were pieces he often played as encores in his recitals. He was accompanied on the piano by Emanuel Bay or Milton Kaye. Among the more uncommon discs featured one of Decca's most popular artists, Bing Crosby, in the "Lullaby" from Benjamin Godard's opera Jocelyn and Where My Caravan Has Rested (arranged by Heifetz and Crosby) by Hermann Löhr (1871–1943); Decca's studio orchestra was conducted by Victor Young in the 27 July 1946, session. Recorded mostly in small studios, the digitally remastered performances (issued by MCA) have remarkably clear, high fidelity sound. Heifetz soon returned to RCA Victor, where he continued to make recordings until the early 1970s.[25]

Later recordings

Returning to RCA Victor in 1946, Heifetz continued to record extensively for the company, including solo, chamber, and concerto recordings, primarily with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. In 2000, RCA released a double CD compilation entitled Jascha Heifetz – The Supreme which gives a sampling of Heifetz's major recordings, including the 1955 recording of Brahms's Violin Concerto with Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the 1957 recording of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (with the same forces); the 1959 recording of Sibelius's Violin Concerto with Walter Hendl and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the 1961 recording of Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy with Sir Malcolm Sargent and the New Symphony Orchestra of London; the 1963 recording of Glazunov's A minor Concerto with Walter Hendl and the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra (drawn from New York musicians); the 1965 recording of George Gershwin's Three Preludes (transcribed by Heifetz) with pianist Brooks Smith; and the 1970 recording of Bach's unaccompanied Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor.

Third Israel tour

Jascha Heifetz 1 1953
In Beersheba, Israel, 1953

On his third tour to Israel in 1953, Heifetz included in his recitals the Violin Sonata by Richard Strauss. At the time, Strauss and a number of other German intellectuals were considered by many to be Nazis, or at least Nazi sympathizers, and Strauss works were unofficially banned in Israel along with those of Richard Wagner. Despite the fact that the Holocaust had occurred less than ten years earlier and a last-minute plea from the Israeli Minister of Education, the defiant Heifetz argued, "The music is above these factors … I will not change my program. I have the right to decide on my repertoire." Throughout his tour the performance of the Strauss sonata was followed by dead silence.

Heifetz was attacked after his recital in Jerusalem outside his hotel by a young man who struck Heifetz's violin case with a crowbar, prompting Heifetz to use his bow-controlling right hand to protect his priceless violins. As the attacker started to flee, Heifetz alerted his companions, who were armed, "Shoot that man, he tried to kill me." The attacker escaped and was never found. The attack has since been attributed to the Kingdom of Israel terrorist group.[26][27] The incident made headlines in the press and Heifetz defiantly announced that he would not stop playing the Strauss. Threats continued to come, however, and he omitted the Strauss from his next recital without explanation. His last concert was cancelled after his swollen right hand began to hurt. He left Israel and did not return until 1970.

Immigration to the U.S.

The Soviet establishment considered Heifetz and his teacher Leopold Auer as traitors to their home country for emigrating to the US. Meanwhile, musicians who remained, such as David Oistrakh, were seen as patriots. Heifetz greatly criticized the Soviet regime; he condemned the International Tchaikovsky Competition for being biased against Western competitors. During the Carl Flesch Competition in London, Oistrakh tried to persuade Erick Friedman, Heifetz's star student, to enter the Tchaikovsky Competition, of which he was the principal juror. Hearing of this, Heifetz strongly advised against it, warning Friedman, "You will see what will happen there."

Consequently, the competition received international outrage after Friedman, already a seasoned performer and recording artist for RCA, who had performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, among many others, was placed sixth behind players who had yet to establish themselves. Joseph Szigeti later informed Heifetz himself that he had given his student top scores.

Later life

After an only partially successful operation on his right shoulder in 1972, Heifetz ceased giving concerts and making records. Although his prowess as a performer remained intact and he continued to play privately until the end, his bow arm was affected and he could never again hold the bow as high as before.

Koelman & Heifetz 1979
Rudolf Koelman (left) with Heifetz, 1979

Heifetz taught the violin extensively, holding master classes first at UCLA, then at the University of Southern California, where the faculty included renowned cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violist William Primrose. For a few years in the 1980s he also held classes in his private studio at home in Beverly Hills. His teaching studio can be seen today in the main building of the Colburn School and serves as an inspiration to the students there. During his teaching career Heifetz taught, among others, Erick Friedman, Pierre Amoyal, Rudolf Koelman, Endre Granat, Eugene Fodor, Paul Rosenthal, Ilkka Talvi and Ayke Agus. See: List of music students by teacher: G to J#Jascha Heifetz.

During the last ten years of his life, Heifetz visited Hans Benning at Benning Violins for maintenance on his 1740 Guarneri violin.[28]


Heifetz died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on December 10, 1987, at the age of 86 following a fall in his home.[1]


Heifetz owned the 1714 Dolphin Stradivarius, the 1731 "Piel" Stradivarius, the 1736 Carlo Tononi, and the 1742 ex David Guarneri del Gesù, the last of which he preferred and kept until his death. The Dolphin Strad is currently owned by the Nippon Music Foundation. The Heifetz Tononi violin, used at his 1917 Carnegie Hall debut, was left in his will to Sherry Kloss, his Master-Teaching Assistant, with "one of my four good bows". Violinist Kloss wrote Jascha Heifetz Through My Eyes, and is a co-founder of the Jascha Heifetz Society..[29]

The famed Guarneri is now in the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum, as instructed by Heifetz in his will, and may only be taken out and played "on special occasions" by deserving players. The instrument has recently been on loan to San Francisco Symphony's concertmaster Alexander Barantschik, who featured it in 2006 with Andrei Gorbatenko and the San Francisco Academy Orchestra in 2006.[30] In 1989, Heifetz received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Heifetz married silent motion picture actress Florence Vidor (1895–1977), ex-wife of King Vidor, in 1928, and adopted her daughter, Suzanne. The couple had two more children, Josefa (born 1930) and Robert (1932–2001) before divorcing in 1945. In 1947, Heifetz married Frances Spielberger Spiegelberg (1911-2000), with whom he had another son, Joseph (known as Jay). The second marriage ended in divorce in 1962.

Heifetz's son Jay is a professional photographer. He was formerly head of marketing for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl, and the Chief Financial Officer of Paramount Pictures' Worldwide Video Division. He lives and works in Fremantle, Western Australia. Heifetz's daughter, Josefa Heifetz Byrne, is a lexicographer, the author of the Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words.[31]

Heifetz's grandson Danny Heifetz is an accomplished drummer/percussionist. Heifetz's extended family was active in Los Angeles progressive political circles in addition to music and art: they include artist Frances Heifetz-Bloch and her husband Kalman Bloch and daughter Michele Zukovsky—co-principal clarinetists for the Los Angeles Philharmonic—and son Gregory Bloch, violinist for the Italian rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi, It's A Beautiful Day, and member of the Saturday Night Live Band from 1978–80.

Although Heifetz had a "difficult" personality, and has even been described as "misanthropic", he enjoyed the company of selected friends who zealously guarded his privacy, he spoke several languages including flawless English, and was an avid bridge and ping-pong player. His childhood had been difficult; his father was an extremely stern man who, even after Jascha had become the family's sole breadwinner, would still roundly criticise every performance.


Heifetz played a featured role in the movie They Shall Have Music (1939) directed by Archie Mayo and written by John Howard Lawson and Irmgard von Cube. He played himself, stepping in to save a music school for poor children from foreclosure. He later appeared in the 1947 film, Carnegie Hall, performing an abridged version of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, with the orchestra led by Fritz Reiner, and consoling the star of the picture, who had watched his performance. In 1951, he appeared in the film Of Men and Music. In 1962, he appeared in a televised series of his master classes, and, in 1971, Heifetz on Television aired, an hour-long color special that featured the violinist performing a series of short works, the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch, and the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 by J. S. Bach. Heifetz conducted the orchestra, as the surviving video recording documents.

The most recent film featuring Heifetz, Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler, premiered on 16 April 2011 at the Colburn School of Music. It is described as "The only film biography of the world's most renowned violinist, featuring family home movies in Los Angeles and all over the world. The documentary-like film talks about Heifetz's life and accomplishments and gives an inside view of his personal life."[7]

Notable instruments


Jascha Heifetz was a prolific recording artist. All of his recordings have been reissued on compact disc.

External audio
You may hear Jascha Heifetz performing Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major Opus 77 with Serge Koussevitzky conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1939 Here on archive.org
  • J.S. Bach Chaconne DVD
  • Mendelssohn Octet In E Flat Major
  • Mozart Concerto In D Major
  • Mozart Symphonie Concertante In E Flat Major
  • Stravinsky Suite Italienne
  • Toch " Divertimento, Op. 37, No. 2 "
  • Turina " Trio, Op. 35, No. 1 "
  • Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5
  • Bach Concerto In A Minor
  • Bach "Sonata No. 1, Partita No. 2 "
  • Bach " Sonata No. 2, Partita No. 3 "
  • Bach " Sonata, No. 3, Partita No. 1 "
  • Beethoven Concerto In D Major
  • Beethoven " Archduke Trio In B Flat Major, Op. 97, No. 7 "
  • Beethoven " Sonata In A Minor, No. 4"
  • Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata
  • Beethoven " Sonata No. 8, Sonata No. 10 "
  • Beethoven " Trios In G, Op. 9, No. 1"
  • Beethoven " Trio In E Flat Major, Op. 3 "
  • Beethoven Violin Concerto In D
  • Beethoven " Trio In D, Op. 9, No. 2"
  • Beethoven " Piano Trio, Op. 1, No. 1 "
  • Bloch Poème Mystique
  • Bloch Sonata
  • Brahms Concerto For Violin And Cello
  • Brahms Piano Quartet In C Minor
  • Brahms " Quintette In G, Op: 111 "
  • Brahms Trio No. 1 In B-Major
  • Brahms " Concerto In D, Op. 77 "
  • Brahms Violin Concerto
  • Brahms 3 Hungarian Dances
  • Brahms Concerto, Chausson – Poème, Bruch – Scottish Fantasy
  • Bruch Scottish Fantasy
  • Bruch " Concerto In G Minor, Op. 26, No. 1"
  • Bruch Concerto No. 2
  • Bruch Scottish Fantasy
  • Castelnuovo -Tedesco ? Concerto No. 2
  • Chausson Poème Op. 25
  • Dohnányi Serenade In C
  • Dvořák " Piano Trio In F Minor, Op. 65"
  • Dvořák Piano Quintet In A
  • Dvořák Piano Quintet No.2
  • Ferguson Sonata No. 1
  • Françaix String Trio
  • Franck Sonata In A
  • Franck Piano Quintet In F Minor
  • Gershwin Porgy And Bess; Music Of France
  • Glazounov Violin Concerto
  • Glière " Duo For Violin And Cello, Op. 39"
  • Handel Halvorsen Passacaglia For Violin And Cello
  • J.S. Bach Concerto In D Minor
  • Khachaturian " Sonata, Op. 1 "
  • Korngold " Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35"
  • Mendelssohn " Trio In C Minor, No. 2 "
  • Mendelssohn " Trio No. 1 In D Minor, Op. 49 "
  • Mendelssohn Concerto In E Minor
  • Mendelssohn Concerto In E Minor
  • Mendelssohn "String Octet in E flat Major, Op. 20"
  • Mozart Quintet In C Minor
  • Mozart " Divertimento In E Flat Major, K. 563 "
  • Mozart " Concerto In A, No. 5, K. 219 "
  • Mozart " Divertimento In E Flat, Duo In B Flat, No. 2"
  • Mozart "Sonata No. 10, K378, No. 15, K454 "
  • Mozart " Symphonie In E Flat, K. 364"
  • Mozart " Violin Concerto, No. 5, K. 219"
  • Mozart " Quintet In C, K. 515"
  • Paganini 3 Caprices
  • Prokofieff "Concerto In G Minor, No. 2 "
  • Respighi Sonata In D Minor
  • Rózsa Concerto
  • Saint-Saëns " Sonata In D, No. 1 "
  • Schubert Fantaisie
  • Schubert " Trio No. 1, In B, Op. 49 "
  • Schubert Quintet In C Major
  • Sibelius Violin Concerto
  • Spohr Double String Quartet
  • Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto In D, Op. 35
  • Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Sinding – Suite
  • Tschaikowsky Violin Concerto
  • Tschaikowsky Sérénade Mélancolique
  • Vivaldi Concerto For Violin And Cello In B Flat;
  • Walton Concerto For Violin
  • Arensky Trio In D Minor
  • Bach Concerto In E Major
  • Beethoven " Sonata In C Minor, No. 7 "
  • Beethoven " Romances, No. 1 and 2 "
  • Beethoven " Trios In C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 "
  • Beethoven " Spring Sonata In F, Op. 24, No. 5 "
  • Beethoven " Piano Trio In E Flat, Op. 70, No. 2 "
  • Brahms Concerto In A Minor
  • Bruch Concerto In G Minor
  • Castelnuovo-Tedesco " The Lark, Fauré – Sonata, Op. 13"
  • Grieg Sonata In G
  • Haydn Divertimento, Rózsa – Tema Con Variazioni
  • Lalo " Symphonie Espagnole, Op. 21 "
  • Martin Duo For Violin And Cello
  • Schubert Sonatina in G minor
  • Schubert " Trio In B Flat, No. 2 "
  • Strauss Sonata In E Flat
  • Tchaikovsky " Trio In A Minor, Op. 50 "
  • Beethoven " Sonata No. 3, Sonata No. 6 "
  • Bach Three Sinfonia;
  • Bach Concerto For Two Violins
  • Beethoven Sonata No.7
  • Beethoven Sonata Nos. 1 &2
  • Benjamin Romantic Fantasy
  • Benjamin Romantic Fantasy
  • Boccherini Sonata In D
  • Brahms Sextet In G Major
  • Bruch Scottish Fantasy
  • Chausson Concerto For Violin
  • Conus Concerto In E Minor
  • Debussy " Sonata In G Minor, No. 3 "
  • Dvořák " Piano Trio, Dumky "
  • Grieg " Sonata No.3, Brahms – Sonata No.1
  • Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Rameau, J.S.Bach, Padilla, Sarasate"
  • Handel Halvorsen – Passacaglia
  • Handel Sonata In E Major
  • Mozart " Sonata In C, No. 8, K. 296 "
  • Mozart " Concerto In D, No. 1, K. 218"
  • Prokofieff Concerto In G Minor
  • Ravel Trio In A Minor
  • Ravel Tzigane
  • Saint-Saëns " Sonata In D Minor, Op. 75, No.1 "
  • Schubert Sonata In G Minor
  • Spohr Concerto No. 8
  • Strauss Sonata In E Flat
  • Toch Vivace molto
  • Vieuxtemps " Concerto In A Minor, Op. 37, No. 5 "
  • Vitali Chaconne
  • Wieniawski Concerto No. 2

See also


  1. ^ a b "Jascha Heifetz Is Dead at 86. A Virtuoso Since Childhood". The New York Times. 12 December 1987. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  2. ^ https://www.gramophone.co.uk/musicians/artist/jascha-heifetz-59214
  3. ^ Nikolaus de Palezieux, Jascha Heifetz – The Supreme (2000 RCA Victor compilation)
  4. ^ Kennedy, Michael and Joyce Bourne. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford University Press, 2004. p. 331.
  5. ^ "The Best Violinists", time.com, 2 February 1962.
  6. ^ Wallechinsky, David and Amy Wallace. The New Book of Lists. Canongate, 2005. p. 94.
  7. ^ a b Rosen, Peter. "God's Fiddler". Peter Rosen Productions. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  8. ^ http://jaschaheifetz.com
  9. ^ The record confirming his birth on 20 January 1901 (full archival citation – LVIA/728/4/77) is held at the Lithuanian State Historical Archives (LVIA). A copy of the record is held on microfilm by the family history archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City (No 2205068, image number – 795). The record states the family was registered in Polotsk.
  10. ^ Kahn, Roger (31 October 1969), "Fiddler on the Shelf", Life, vol. 67 no. 18, pp. 59–67, retrieved 19 March 2013
  11. ^ Auer 1923, p. 157
  12. ^ "Biography". jaschaheifetz.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  13. ^ Nikolaus de Palezieux, Jascha Heifetz – The Supreme (2000 RCA Victor compilation)
  14. ^ Kahn (1969), p.66
  15. ^ a b Agus, Ayke (2001). Heifetz As I Knew Him. Amadeus Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-57467-062-2.
  16. ^ MCA Classics liner notes, 1988
  17. ^ Axelrod, Herbert; Axelrod, Todd (1990). Heifetz. pp. 145, 420, 700. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  18. ^ Heifetz As I Knew Him, by Dr. Ayke Agus
  19. ^ "Obituary: Brooks Smith", International Piano Quarterly (2000), vols 4-5, p. 8
  20. ^ Kahn (1969), p.68
  21. ^ Lois Timnick (12 December 1987). "Jascha Heifetz, 86, Hailed as Greatest Violinist, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  22. ^ Harold Schonberg (28 December 1987). "Critic's Notebook; Repertory of Legends Immortalizes Jascha Heifetz". New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  23. ^ Itzhak Perlman (19 April 2001). "The Fiddler King". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  24. ^ The Art of Violin (c) 2000 Ideale Audience / IMG Artists / LA Sept-Arte
  25. ^ Jascha Heifetz: The Decca Masters digitally remastered by MCA Classics in 1988, RCA Victor liner notes
  26. ^ Pedahzur, Ami, and Arie Perliger (2009). Jewish Terrorism in Israel. Columbia University Press. p. 176.
  27. ^ Sprinzak, Ehud (1999). Brother Against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination. Simon & Schuster. p. 68.
  28. ^ "Carving Their Own Niche : Studio City Music handcrafts and repairs violins, violas and cellos--an age-old art that is enjoying a renaissance". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ "San Francisco Academy Orchestra Pressroom" (Press release). The San Francisco Academy Orchestra. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
  31. ^ Heifetz, Josefa (1974). Mrs. Byrne's dictionary of unusual, obscure, and preposterous words. Secaucus, NJ: University Books. ISBN 978-0-8216-0203-4.


  • Auer, Leopold, 1923, My Long Life in Music, Stokes, New York

External links

Ayke Agus

Ayke Agus (born 1949) is an Indonesian classical Violinist and Pianist, known primarily through her longtime collaboration with the violinist Jascha Heifetz. She is one of the rare classical music performers who has performed as a soloist accompanied by an orchestra as a Multi-instrumentalist.

Carmen Fantasie (Waxman)

Carmen Fantasie is a virtuoso showpiece for violin and orchestra. The piece is part of Franz Waxman's score to the 1946 movie Humoresque for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. The music, based on various themes from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and unrelated (although somewhat similar in structure) to the similarly titled work Carmen Fantasy by Pablo de Sarasate, was initially meant to be played by Jascha Heifetz. However, he was replaced by a young Isaac Stern for the film's recording of the score. Stern's hands can be seen in the close-up shots from the movie.

After seeing the film, Heifetz asked Waxman to expand the work because he wanted to play it on the radio program, The Bell Telephone Hour, where it premiered on 9 September 1946. The work has been played since by many virtuoso violinists in concerts. It has also been adapted for a variety of orchestral/chamber arrangements, such as a versions for trumpet and orchestra, for violin and piano, as well as for viola and piano/orchestra.

Claire Hodgkins

Claire Hodgkins (1929– 2011) was a notable American violin virtuoso, student of Jascha Heifetz and founder of Jascha Heifetz society.

Community Arts Music Association

Community Arts Music Association (CAMA) of Santa Barbara is the oldest arts organization in Santa Barbara, California, United States.

CAMA began in the fall of 1919 when a group of community-minded Santa Barbarans came together in the years following World War I to create the Civic Music Committee. Their goal was to present musical performances, beginning with the new Los Angeles Philharmonic, founded by philanthropist William Andrews Clark, Jr. that same year. The group's work was taken over by the Community Arts Association's Music Branch in 1926, which in time evolved into today's Community Arts Music Association.

Since the 1920s, CAMA has presented such artists as Pablo Casals, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifetz, Igor Stravinsky, Artur Schnabel, Isaac Stern and Marian Anderson, with yearly performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since the 1950s, the orchestra series has expanded and now includes concerts by a variety of orchestras, from the New York Philharmonic to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Danny Heifetz

Danny Heifetz (born 1964 in New York City) is an American drummer. He teaches and plays the drums in Sydney, Australia. He is primarily a drummer and percussionist, but also plays trumpet, as well as the guitar, bass and piano. He is the grandson of the late violinist Jascha Heifetz.

David Nadien

David Nadien (March 12, 1926 – May 28, 2014) was an American violinist and violin teacher . He was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic from 1966 to 1970. His playing style has been compared to that of Jascha Heifetz.

Dolphin Stradivarius

The Dolphin; Delfino Stradivarius of 1714 is an antique violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. This violin was once owned and played by the virtuoso Jascha Heifetz (1901–1987). The owner in the late 19th century, George Hart, who was an instrument dealer in London, named the violin Dolphin as its striking appearance and colouring of its back reminded him of a dolphin.

Provenance1862: purchased by Mr. C. G. Meier for FRF6,500 (GB£260)

1868: purchased by George Hart for GB£200.

unk: purchased by Louis D'Egville

unk: re-purchased by George Hart.

1875: purchased by John Adam for GB£625.

unk: at the dispersal of the Adams collection, the violin became the property of David Laurie.

1882: purchased by Mr. Richard Bennett for GB£1,100.

1951: acquired by Jascha Heifetz.

21st century: Japanese violinist Akiko SuwanaiThe Dolphin is currently owned by the Nippon Music Foundation on loan to violinist Akiko Suwanai.


The Guarneri (often referred to in the Latinized form Guarnerius) is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families. Some of the world's most famous violinists, such as Niccolò Paganini, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin have preferred Guarneris to Stradivaris. The average Stradivari is stronger in the 200 Hz and 250 Hz bands and above 1.6 kHz. Guarneri violins are also known by the extension of Giuseppe Guarneri's name, Del Gesù. Del Gesùs are on average stronger from 315 Hz up to 1.25 kHz. These differences are perceived as a more brilliant sound and stronger fundamentals of the lowest notes of the Stradivari, versus a darker sound in the del Gesùs.

Andrea Guarneri (c. 1626 - 7 December 1698) was an apprentice in the workshop of Nicolo Amati from 1641 to 1646 and returned to make violins for Amati from 1650 to 1654. His early instruments are generally based on the "Grand Amati" pattern but struggled to achieve the sophistication of Amati's own instruments. Andrea Guarneri produced some fine violas, one of which was played by William Primrose.Two of Andrea's sons continued the father's traditions:

Pietro Giovanni Guarneri (Pietro da Mantova) (18 February 1655 - 26 March 1720), worked in his father's workshop from around 1670 until his marriage in 1677. He was established in Mantua by 1683, where he worked both as a musician and a violin maker. His instruments are generally finer than his father's, but are rare owing to his double profession. Joseph Szigeti played one of his instruments.

Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri (filius Andreae) (25 November 1666 - 1739 or 1740), Andrea's younger son, joined his father's business in Cremona, inheriting it in 1698. He is reckoned among the great violin makers, although he struggled to compete with Stradivari, a pervasive presence throughout his career. From around 1715 he was assisted by his sons, and probably Carlo Bergonzi.Giuseppe Giovanni Battista was father to two further instrument makers:

Pietro Guarneri (Pietro da Venezia) (14 April 1695 - 7 April 1762), finding life in Casa Guarneri in some way uncongenial, left Cremona for good in 1718, eventually settling in Venice. Here he blended the Cremonese techniques of his father with Venetian, perhaps working with Domenico Montagnana and Carlo Annibale Tononi. His first original labels from Venice date from 1730. His instruments are rare and as highly prized as those of his father and uncle. One of his cellos was played by Beatrice Harrison.

Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri (del Gesù) (21 August 1698 - 17 October 1744), has been called the greatest violinmaker of all time. Giuseppe is known as del Gesù ("of Jesus") because his labels always incorporated the characters I.H.S. (iota-eta-sigma, a Greek acronym known as the Christogram). His instruments deviated significantly from family tradition, becoming uniquely his own style, and are considered second in quality only to those of Stradivari and argued by some to be superior. The famed violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini’s favorite instrument Il Cannone Guarnerius was a Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1743. The Lord Wilton Guarneri del Gesù violin made in 1742 was owned by Yehudi Menuhin. His last work is believed to be Ole Bull, a Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1744.Other Twentieth-century 'del Gesù' players include Arthur Grumiaux, Jascha Heifetz, Leonid Kogan, Kyung Wha Chung, Michael Rabin, Joseph Silverstein, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Charles Fleischman, Robert McDuffie, Itzhak Perlman, Midori Goto, Rachel Barton Pine, Henryk Szeryng, Sarah Chang, Leila Josefowicz and the late Eugene Fodor.

The Guarneri family's history is partially uncertain. Anthony J. Guarnieri writes, "Giuseppe del Gesù and Peter of Venice may have been cousins rather than brothers, and Peter of Venice may have been the son of Peter of Mantua."

"Signor Giovanni de Piccolellis, in 1885, searched the archives at the church, San Donato, in Cremona for information on the Guarneri family. His findings, published 1886, in the manuscript entitled "LIUTAI ANTICHI e MODERNI", and now available online in PDF format on Google Books clearly shows that Joseph Guarneri 'del Gesu' was the son of Gian Battista Guarneri: who was in fact the younger brother of Andrea Guarneri."

Hora staccato

Hora staccato (1906) is a virtuoso violin showpiece by Grigoraș Dinicu. It is a short, fast work in a Romanian hora style, and has become a favorite encore of violinists, especially in the 1932 arrangement by Jascha Heifetz. The piece requires an exceptional command of both upbow and downbow staccato. The character of the piece also demands the notes be articulated in a crisp and clear manner so that the vibrancy of music comes out.

Dinicu wrote it for his graduation in 1906 from the Bucharest Conservatory, and performed it at the ceremony. Subsequently it has been arranged for other combinations of instruments, notably trumpet and piano.

James Strauss (flautist)

James Strauss (b. November 29, 1974 Recife, Pernambuco) is a Brazilian flautist and musicologist. He is an internationally known performer whose virtuosity has drawn comparisons to Lang Lang and Jascha Heifetz.

Jascha Heifetz Competition

International Jascha Heifetz Competition – a competition for violinists of all nationalities in Lithuania. First International Jascha Heifetz Competition for Violinists was held in 2001, commemorating 100th birth anniversary of the violinist. The competition was organised by Lithuanian Cultural Foundation together with Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Currently the competition is organised by Public Institution Natų knygynas together with Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Main supporters of the competition: Lithuanian Council for Culture and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The competition takes place every four years. The next competition will be held on 13–19 February 2017 in Vilnius. The prize fund of the competition is – 20 000 €. The participants that pass the preliminary round are evaluated by the international jury. The chairman of the jury in 2017 is Gidon Kremer.

Joseph Press

Josef Isaakovitch Press (Russian: Иосиф Исаакович Пресс; 1880 or 1881 in Vilnius – October 4, 1924 in Rochester, New York) was a Russian cellist, alumni of Petrograd Conservatory. He performed in the concerts of the Society for Jewish Folk Music which also featured violinists Jascha Heifetz and Efrem Zimbalist the bass Feodor Chaliapin. In 1921, he emigrated to America with his brother, Michael Press. He died of pneumonia.

List of violinist/composers

This is a list of Wikipedia articles on notable violinist/composers. This is a person prominent as both a violinist and a composer. For example: Jean Sibelius is not considered a violinist/composer, despite the fact that he played the violin, and neither is Jascha Heifetz, even though he wrote several cadenzas and transcribed showpieces.

Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius, Lithuania, is a state-supported conservatory that trains students in music, theatre, and multimedia arts.

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (3 April 1895 – 16 March 1968) was an Italian composer, pianist and writer. He was known as one of the foremost guitar composers in the twentieth century with almost one hundred compositions for that instrument. In 1939 he immigrated to the United States and became a film composer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for some 200 Hollywood movies for the next fifteen years. He also wrote concertos for Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky.

Robert Lipsett

Robert Crawford Lipsett Jr. (born October 23, 1947) is a violin teacher in Los Angeles, California. He holds the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair at the Colburn School of Performing Arts. He also serves on the faculty at the Aspen School of Music, the Colburn Conservatory and the Colburn Academy. He has given master classes at major schools around the world.

Lipsett was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a younger brother named Stephen James Lipsett, a successful real estate investor/broker living on Lake Granbury, Texas. As a child, he moved with his family to Dallas, Texas, where he began violin study with Zelman Brounoff and Ruth Lasley. The family subsequently lived in Saint Louis, Missouri, where Lipsett's violin instructor was Melvin Ritter. He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and later studied with Ivan Galamian at The Juilliard School and with Endre Granat. He also earned a B.A. in Music from California State University, Northridge.Lipsett's students have consistently won important competitions including the Julius Stulberg Awards, the Yehudi Menuhin and Irving M. Klein International Violin Competitions, and several have received highest honors from the National Association for the Advancement of the Arts, and been recognized as Presidential Scholars. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Teachers Award from the White House Commission for Presidential Scholars. He is also a freelance commercial musician in motion pictures, television and the recording industry.

Sony Masterworks

Sony Music Masterworks (better known as Sony Masterworks) is a record label, the result of a restructuring of Sony Music's classical music division. Before the acquisition of Bertelsmann's shares in the former Sony BMG, the label was known as Sony BMG Masterworks.

Its formation marked the merger of the Sony Classical and BMG Classics (including RCA Red Seal) product lines. Gilbert Hetherwick was the president of the label from January 2005 through November 2006, displacing Peter Gelb who was the head of Sony Classical before the merger. Hetherwick claimed (as of 2005) the label may reissue between one hundred and two hundred historical recordings per year. Hetherwick left in November 2006, to be replaced by Alex Miller, a former BMG Employee.

The label owns rights to famous recordings dating from the 20th century and late 19th century, by artists such as Enrico Caruso, Arturo Toscanini, Mario Lanza, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Eugene Ormandy and Van Cliburn as well as from more recent performers such as Yo-Yo Ma, and Joshua Bell. It is also responsible for Sony BMG's immense archives of film scores (including Star Wars, The Phantom of the Opera, Memoirs of a Geisha and many other films). It also maintains the archive of theater soundtracks, via its Masterworks Broadway imprint. It also issues jazz recordings through its Okeh Records imprint. Sony Masterworks also handles the Portrait Records and Flying Buddha Records imprints.

The merged label's name echoes the moniker used by Sony Classical's predecessor, Columbia Masterworks (later CBS Masterworks). The label's name was changed after CBS sold its records division to Sony in the late 1980s. Sony Masterworks has several imprints, used primarily for newer recorded material for its imprints itself and compilations and reissues for its imprints in conjunction with Legacy Recordings.

They Shall Have Music

They Shall Have Music is a 1939 musical film directed by Archie Mayo and starring famed violinist Jascha Heifetz (as himself), Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds, and Gene Reynolds. The screenplay concerns a young runaway finds his purpose in life after hearing Heifetz play, and the kindly master of a music school in financial difficulty takes him in.

Violin Concerto (Walton)

The Violin Concerto of William Walton was written in 1938–39 and dedicated to Jascha Heifetz, who performed it at its premiere on 7 December 1939 in Cleveland. Walton later re-orchestrated the concerto in 1943.

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