Isaac Stern

Violin

Schubert Club Performances:

  • April 5, 1943
  • March 17, 1947
  • January 18, 1951
  • March 12, 1983

Isaac Stern

Artist note by Richard Evidon

He was called the “concertmaster of the world”. And in the US, his homeland after his family emigrated from their native Ukraine to San Francisco when he was still an infant, Isaac Stern virtually became the face of classical music itself. Between his Carnegie Hall recital debut aged 22 in January 1943 – just three months before his Schubert Club debut – until his retirement more than half a century later, Stern toured constantly, performing more concerts for more people than any other violinist of his day. And he commissioned, premiered and recorded more new works than any other violinist in history. In the 1960s he was instrumental in saving Carnegie Hall from demolition, and in 1979 he made a ground-breaking trip to China and transformed its Western classical music scene. These and many other highlights in the life of this inspiring musician, teacher and human being can be seen in the splendid hour-long documentary titled Life’s Virtuoso:

Stern toured constantly, performing more concerts for more people than any other violinist of his day. And in films, he was featured both on soundtracks (his violin dubbed the Fiddler on the Roof) and on screen, as in the 1953 movie Tonight We Sing, where Stern himself impersonated the legendary Eugène Ysaÿe (whose Guarneri violin Stern proudly owned and plays here – he also had one of Ysaÿe’s bows):

Here he is again with his longtime keyboard partner Alexander Zakin delighting his lucky Parisian listeners (and us) with Fritz Kreiser’s Schön Rosmarin:

Finally, filmed live by the BBC in 1977, Isaac Stern giving his all in a thrillling, deeply passionate concert performance of the Sibelius Concerto, with André Previn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra:

From the Schubert Club Archive:

Isaac Stern 1943 program cover

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Isaac Stern 1943 promo photo

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Isaac Stern 1951 program cover

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Isaac Stern 1951 concert review, Pioneer Press

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