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Erick Friedman


Erick Friedman was Heifetz’s first regular pupil, taught free of charge, and the only other violinist with whom Heifetz recorded Bach’s Double Concerto; however, by the 1960s Friedman became conscious of his image as a Heifetz ‘clone’ and made efforts to escape this. The impresario Sol Hurok offered him an exclusive contract in 1965, only to cut him off mysteriously; at the same time he was persuaded to enter the Tchaikovsky Competition by David Oistrakh who, once Friedman was in Moscow, apparently denied all knowledge of him. Friedman believed that his invitation to Moscow, only to be ranked joint-sixth in the competition, was not only retribution for his assertion, when serving on the jury of the 1965 Long-Thibaud Competition, that the Soviet-bloc judges showed favouritism, but also an implied humiliation of ex-Soviet Heifetz. This episode was not, however, entirely without reward: the audience at the winners’ concert made Friedman perform an hour longer than the standard fifteen minutes, until an official instructed them to stop applauding; and Szigeti, who was one of the jurors, made sure Friedman knew he had awarded him top marks at every stage.

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