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Isaac Stern (1920 - 2001)

Isaac Stern was born to a Jewish family in the Ukraine, but was taken to San Francisco when he was a year old and his education took place exclusively in the USA. He had some violin lessons with Louis Persinger (who was by then prominent largely because of his pupil Menuhin) and later with Naoum Blinder, whom he credited with bringing him to musical and technical self-reliance. Blinder’s Russian heritage was influential in America, where the Russian school had been the predominant fashion since the 1920s (partly through the influence of Leopold Auer). Even after making highly successful debut appearances in San Francisco and New York, Stern put himself through two more years of serious study before he was satisfied that he had attained sufficient artistic maturity to be independent.

From 1948 onwards Stern performed regularly around the world (although he refused ever to play in Germany, as a protest against the Nazi regime). He cultivated an excellent relationship with the state of Israel, where he worked hard to raise the profile and standards of music making, establishing the Mishkenot Cultural Centre and Jerusalem Music Centre, as well as supporting the America–Israel Cultural Foundation, which helps young Israeli artists financially in their studies. Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Miriam Fried, Shlomo Mintz and Gil Shaham are amongst those to have benefited.




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