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Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz

Overview
Jascha Heifetz (ˈhaɪfɪts, – December 10, 1987) was a violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist, born in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, then Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, now Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time.



Heifetz was born into a Jewish family in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, then part of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.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.
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Quotations

I occasionally play works by contemporary composers and for two reasons. First to discourage the composer from writing any more and secondly to remind myself how much I appreciate Beethoven.

If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.

There is no top. There are always further heights to reach.

I have discovered three things which know no geographical borders - classical music, American jazz, and applause as the sign of the public's favor.

Can you appreciate music without playing it? Yes, you can. You can appreciate baseball without playing it. Many people attend a football game merely for the crowd, the excitement, the color.

Criticism does not disturb me, for I am my own severest critic. Always in my playing I strive to surpass myself, and it is this constant struggle that makes music fascinating to me.

No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.

Born in Russia, first lessons at three, debut in Russia at seven, debut in America in 1917. That's all there is to say, really.

On his life story
Encyclopedia
Jascha Heifetz (ˈhaɪfɪts, – December 10, 1987) was a violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist, born in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, then Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, now Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time.


Early life


Heifetz was born into a Jewish family in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, then part of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.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. Jascha took up the violin when he was three years old and his father was his first teacher. At five he started lessons with Ilya D. Malkin, a former pupil of Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, teacher, conductor and composer.-Early life and career:...

. He was a child prodigy, making his public debut at seven, in Kovno (now Kaunas
Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

, Lithuania) playing the Violin Concerto in E minor
Violin Concerto (Mendelssohn)
Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos of all time...

 by Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

. In 1910 he entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.-History:...

 to study under Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, teacher, conductor and composer.-Early life and career:...

 himself.

He played in Germany and Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, and met Fritz Kreisler
Fritz Kreisler
Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other day, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. Like many great violinists of his generation, he produced a characteristic sound which was immediately...

 for the first time in a Berlin private house together with other noted violinists in attendance. Kreisler, after accompanying the 12-year-old Heifetz at the piano in a performance of the Mendelssohn concerto, said to all present, "We may as well break our fiddles across our knees." 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, Heifetz performed with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Arthur Nikisch
Arthur Nikisch
Arthur Nikisch ; 12 October 185523 January 1922) was a Hungarian conductor who performed internationally, holding posts in Boston, London and - most importantly - Berlin. He was considered an outstanding interpreter of the music of Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Liszt...

. The conductor was very impressed, saying he had never heard such an excellent violinist.

Career


Heifetz and his family left Russia in 1917, traveling by rail to the Russian far east and thence by ship to the United States, arriving in San Francisco.

On October 27, 1917, Heifetz played for the first time in the United States, at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and became an immediate
sensation.
Fellow violinist Mischa Elman in the audience asked "Do you think it's hot in here?", whereupon Leopold Godowsky
Leopold Godowsky
Leopold Godowsky was a famed Polish American pianist, composer, and teacher. One of the most highly regarded performers of his time, he became known for his theories concerning the application of relaxed weight and economy of motion in piano playing, principles later propagated by Godowsky's...

, in the next seat, imperturbably replied, "Not for pianists." The reviews by the New York critics were rapturous.

In 1917, Heifetz was elected as an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia is an American collegiate social fraternity for men with a special interest in music...

, 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. When he told admirer Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

 he had been earning his living as a musician since the age of seven, Groucho answered, "And I suppose before that you were just a bum."

Technique and timbre


Heifetz is considered to be one of the finest violinists of all time. Heifetz's technical command of his instrument -- his physical ability to play the violin with stunning precision -- is regarded by many critics as unequaled. That physical control enabled Heifetz to produce a distinctive tone quality, intense and shimmering, that came to be regarded as his trademark. Yet, from time to time his near-perfect technique and conservative stage demeanor caused some critics to accuse him of being overly mechanical, even cold. Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson was an American composer and critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music...

 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 composers' intentions. His style of playing was highly influential in defining the way modern violinists approach the instrument. His use of rapid vibrato
Vibrato
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

, emotionally charged portamento
Portamento
Portamento is a musical term originated from the Italian expression "portamento della voce" , denoting from the beginning of the 17th century a vocal slide between two pitches and its emulation by members of the violin family and certain wind instruments, and is sometimes used...

, fast tempos, and superb bow control coalesced to create a highly distinctive sound that make Heifetz's playing instantly recognizable to aficionados. The violinist Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-born violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is regarded as one of the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th and early-21st centuries.-Early life:...

, 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 also 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 as opposed to a recording.

In creating his sound, Heifetz was very particular about his choice of strings. He used a silver wound Tricolore gut
Catgut
Catgut is a type of cord that is prepared from the natural fibre found in the walls of animal intestines. Usually sheep or goat intestines are used, but it is occasionally made from the intestines of cattle, hogs, horses, mules, or donkeys.-Etymology:...

 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
Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, teacher, conductor and composer.-Early life and career:...

. The existence of these recordings was not widely known until after Heifetz's death, when several sides (most notably Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

's L'Abeille) were reissued on an LP
LP album
The LP, or long-playing microgroove record, is a format for phonograph records, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry...

 included as a supplement to The Strad magazine.

Shortly after his Carnegie Hall debut on November 7, 1917, Heifetz made his first recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company
Victor Talking Machine Company
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey....

; he would remain with Victor and its successor, RCA Victor, for most of his career. For several years, in the 1930s, Heifetz recorded primarily for HMV
HMV
His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

 in the UK because RCA cut back on classical recordings during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

; these discs were issued in the US by RCA Victor. Heifetz often enjoyed playing chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

. 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 trio
Piano trio
A piano trio is a group of piano and two other instruments, usually a violin and a cello, or a piece of music written for such a group. It is one of the most common forms found in classical chamber music...

s by Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

, Schubert, and Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 with cellist Emanuel Feuermann
Emanuel Feuermann
Emanuel Feuermann was an internationally celebrated cellist in the first half of the 20th century.-Biography:...

 and pianist Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein KBE was a Polish-American pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music of a variety of composers...

 as well as a later collaboration with Rubinstein and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky
Gregor Piatigorsky
Gregor Piatigorsky was a Russian-born American cellist.-Early life:...

, with whom he recorded trios by Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

, Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

, and Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

. Both formations were sometimes referred to as the Million Dollar Trio.

He recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, was written in 1806.The work was premiered on 23 December 1806 in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on...

 in 1940 with the NBC Symphony Orchestra
NBC Symphony Orchestra
The NBC Symphony Orchestra was a radio orchestra established by David Sarnoff of the National Broadcasting Company especially for conductor Arturo Toscanini...

 conducted by Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

, and again in stereo in 1955 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

 conducted by Charles Munch. A live performance from April 9, 1944, of Heifetz playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Mendelssohn)
Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos of all time...

, again with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, has also been released.

He performed and recorded Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Austro-Hungarian film and romantic music composer. While his compositional style was considered well out of vogue at the time he died, his music has more recently undergone a reevaluation and a gradual reawakening of interest...

's Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Korngold)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold composed his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, in 1945.-Instrumentation:Working in the lush, lyrical idiom reminiscent of fin de siècle Vienna, Korngold scored the concerto for elaborate instrumental forces...

, at a time when many classical musicians avoided Korngold's music because they did not consider him a "serious" composer after he wrote many film scores for Warner Brothers.

Wartime


Heifetz commissioned a number of pieces, perhaps most notably the Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Walton)
The Violin Concerto of William Walton was written in 1938–39 and reorchestrated in 1943. It has three movements:#Andante tranquillo#Presto capriccioso alla napolitana#VivaceThe concerto was written for Jascha Heifetz, who commissioned it in 1936...

 by William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

. He also arranged a number of pieces, such as Hora Staccato
Hora staccato
Hora staccato is a virtuoso violin showpiece by Grigoraş 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...

by Grigoraş Dinicu
Grigoras Dinicu
Grigoraş Ionică Dinicu was a Romanian composer and violinist or violin virtuoso. He is most famous for his often-played virtuoso violin showpiece "Hora staccato" and for making popular the tune Ciocârlia, composed by his grandfather Angheluș Dinicu for "nai"...

, a Romanian whom Heifetz is rumoured to have called the greatest violinist he had ever heard. Heifetz also played and composed for the
piano; 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


From 1944 to 1946, largely a result of the American Federation of Musicians
American Federation of Musicians
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada is a labor union of professional musicians in the United States and Canada...

 recording ban (which actually began in 1942), Heifetz went to American Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 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
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

 and Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster
Stephen Collins Foster , known as the "father of American music", was the pre-eminent songwriter in the United States of the 19th century...

; 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
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

, in the "Lullaby" from Benjamin Godard
Benjamin Godard
Benjamin Louis Paul Godard was a French violinist and Romantic composer.-Biography:Born in Paris, Godard was a student of Henri Vieuxtemps. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1863 where he studied under Vieuxtemps and Napoléon Henri Reber and accompanied Vieuxtemps twice to Germany...

's opera Jocelyn
Jocelyn (opera)
Jocelyn is a four-act opera by Benjamin Godard, set to a French libretto by Paul Armand Silvestre and the famous tenor Victor Capoul. Taken from the poem by Alphonse de Lamartine, the action takes place in Grenoble and the surrounding mountains during Corpus Christi at the close of the 18th century...

and Where My Caravan Has Rested (arranged by Heifetz and Crosby) by Hermann Lohr (1872–1943); Decca's studio orchestra was conducted by Victor Young
Victor Young
Victor Young was an American composer, arranger, violinist and conductor. He was born in Chicago.-Biography:...

 in the July 27, 1946, session. Recorded mostly in small studios, the digitally remastered performances (issued by MCA
MCA Records
MCA Records was an American-based record company owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group , of which MCA Records was still part. MCA Records was absorbed by Geffen Records in 2003...

) have remarkably clear, high fidelity
High fidelity
High fidelity—or hi-fi—reproduction is a term used by home stereo listeners and home audio enthusiasts to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound or images, to distinguish it from the poorer quality sound produced by inexpensive audio equipment...

 sound. However, Heifetz soon returned to RCA Victor, where he continued to make recordings until the early 1970s.

Later recordings


Returning to RCA in 1946, Heifetz continued to make a number of 78-rpm discs for the company, including solo, chamber, and orchestral recordings.

RCA began releasing long-playing recordings in 1950, including concertos taken from 78-rpm masters. The company began to make new high fidelity recordings with Heifetz, primarily with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

 under Charles Munch and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1891, the Symphony makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival...

 under Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century.-Biography:...

. Beginning in early 1954, most of RCA's classical sessions were also taped on triple track stereophonic tape recorders. These were eventually issued in the "Living Stereo" series, which began in 1958. RCA later reissued the recordings on a series of CDs. While many earlier Heifetz recordings used close miking, which led to a dry sound, the post 1954 RCA concerto recordings have somewhat more distant and effective miking, creating a more effective concert ambience that shows Heifetz's tone to excellent advantage.

A 2000 two-CD RCA compilation titled Jascha Heifetz – The Supreme gives a sampling of Heifetz's major recordings, including the 1955 recording of Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

's Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Brahms)
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 is a violin concerto in three movements composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim...

 with Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the 1957 recording of Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky)
The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1878, is one of the best known of all violin concertos. It is also considered to be among the most technically difficult works for violin.-Instrumentation:...

 (with the same forces); the 1959 recording of Sibelius
Jean Sibelius
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the later Romantic period whose music played an important role in the formation of the Finnish national identity. His mastery of the orchestra has been described as "prodigious."...

's Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Sibelius)
The Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, was written by Jean Sibelius in 1904.-History:Sibelius originally dedicated the concerto to the noted violinist Willy Burmester, who promised to play the concerto in Berlin...

 with Walter Hendl
Walter Hendl
Walter Hendl was an American conductor, composer and pianist.-Biography:Hendl was born in West New York, New Jersey, and later went on to study with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. From 1939 to 1941 he taught at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City...

 and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the 1961 recording of Max Bruch
Max Bruch
Max Christian Friedrich Bruch , also known as Max Karl August Bruch, was a German Romantic composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including three violin concertos, the first of which has become a staple of the violin repertoire.-Life:Bruch was born in Cologne, Rhine Province, where he...

's Scottish Fantasy
Scottish Fantasy
The Scottish Fantasy in E-flat major, Op. 46, is a composition for violin and orchestra by Max Bruch. Completed in 1880, it was dedicated to the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate.It is a four movement fantasy on Scottish folk melodies...

with Sir Malcolm Sargent
Malcolm Sargent
Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent was an English conductor, organist and composer widely regarded as Britain's leading conductor of choral works...

 and the New Symphony Orchestra
New Symphony Orchestra
-History:The New Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1991 in Sofia, Bulgaria by the music critic Julia Hristova as an alternative to the existing Bulgarian musical institutions...

 of London; the 1963 recording of Glazunov
Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov was a Russian composer of the late Russian Romantic period, music teacher and conductor...

's A minor Concerto
Violin Concerto (Glazunov)
The Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82, by Alexander Glazunov is one of his most popular compositions. Written in 1904, the concerto was dedicated to violinist Leopold Auer, who gave the first performance at a Russian Musical Society concert in St. Petersburg on February 15, 1905...

 with Walter Hendl and the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra (drawn from New York musicians); the 1965 recording of George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

's Three Preludes
Three Preludes
Three Preludes are short piano pieces by George Gershwin and were first performed by the composer at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1926. Each prelude is a well known example of early 20th century American classical music, as influenced by jazz....

(transcribed by Heifetz) with pianist Brooks Smith; and the 1970 recording of Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

's unaccompanied Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor.

Third Israel tour


On his third tour to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in 1953, Heifetz included in his recitals the Violin Sonata by Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

. At the time, Strauss was considered by many to be a Nazi composer, and his works were unofficially banned in Israel along with those of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

. 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, Heifetz resorting to using his right hand to protect his priceless violins from the crowbar. 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
Kingdom of Israel (group)
The Kingdom of Israel , or Tzrifin Underground, was a violent political group active in Israel in the 1950s."Kingdom of Israel," was the name used by the group's members but it was better known to the Israeli public as the "Tzrifin Underground", after the Tzrifin military base, where its members...

 terrorist group. 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.

Russian defector


Soviet musicians considered Heifetz and his teacher Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, teacher, conductor and composer.-Early life and career:...

 as traitors to their home country for emigrating to the US, and Heifetz especially because of his very young age. Meanwhile, musicians who remained, such as David Oistrakh
David Oistrakh
David Fyodorovich Oistrakh , , David Fiodorović Ojstrakh, ; – October 24, 1974, was a Soviet violinist....

, were seen as patriots. Heifetz greatly criticized the Soviet regime; he condemned the International Tchaikovsky Competition
International Tchaikovsky Competition
The International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition held every four years in Moscow, Russia for pianists, violinists, and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age...

 for being biased against Western competitors. During the Carl Flesch Competition in London, Oistrakh tried to persuade Erick Friedman
Erick Friedman
Erick Friedman is considered by many as one of the greatest American born violinists of the past century. Erick Friedman's illustrious career took him to many of the great concert stages of the world appearing as guest soloist with most of the great orchestras throughout the United States and...

, 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
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1891, the Symphony makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival...

, London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

, among many others, placed sixth behind players who had yet to establish their potent careers. Joseph Szigeti
Joseph Szigeti
Joseph Szigeti was a Hungarian violinist.Born into a musical family, he spent his early childhood in a small town in Transylvania. He quickly proved himself to be a child prodigy on the violin, and moved to Budapest with his father to study with the renowned pedagogue Jenő Hubay...

 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.

Heifetz taught the violin extensively, holding masterclasses first at UCLA, then at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

, where the faculty included renowned cellist Gregor Piatigorsky
Gregor Piatigorsky
Gregor Piatigorsky was a Russian-born American cellist.-Early life:...

 and violist William Primrose
William Primrose
William Primrose CBE was a Scottish violist and teacher.-Biography:Primrose was born in Glasgow and studied violin initially. In 1919 he moved to study at the then Guildhall School of Music in London. On the urging of the accompanist Ivor Newton, Primrose moved to Belgium to study under Eugène...

. 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
Colburn School
The Colburn School is a music, dance, and drama school located in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art and across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall...

, where it is now used for masterclasses and serves as an inspiration to the students there. During his teaching career Heifetz taught, among others, Erick Friedman
Erick Friedman
Erick Friedman is considered by many as one of the greatest American born violinists of the past century. Erick Friedman's illustrious career took him to many of the great concert stages of the world appearing as guest soloist with most of the great orchestras throughout the United States and...

, Pierre Amoyal
Pierre Amoyal
Pierre Amoyal , is a French violinist. He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, graduating at age 12 with a First Prize . He then won the Ginette Neveu Prize in 1963, and the Paganini Prize in 1964. At age 17, he traveled to Los Angeles for five years of study with Jascha Heifetz, which...

, Rudolf Koelman
Rudolf Koelman
Rudolf Koelman is a Dutch violinist born in Amsterdam in 1959 and is currently a professor at the "Zürcher Hochschule der Künste" in Switzerland.-Biography:...

, Endre Granat, Eugene Fodor
Eugene Fodor
Eugene Nicholas Fodor, Jr. was the first American violinist to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.Fodor was born in Denver, Colorado. His first ten years of study were with Harold Wippler...

, Paul Rosenthal
Paul Rosenthal
Paul Rosenthal is an American virtuoso violinist.Rosenthal has played the violin since the age of three, going on to attend the Juilliard School in New York City and the University of Southern California under acclaimed master Jascha Heifetz. Paul Rosenthal also is skilled at both the trumpet and...

, and Ayke Agus
Ayke Agus
Ayke Agus is a classical Violinist and Pianist, known primarily through her longtime collaboration with the violinist Jascha Heifetz...

.

It was rumored that Heifetz was such a strict discipline observer that the main gate of his Beverly Hills home was closed sharp at the appointment time of his classes to shut out students who arrived late. Heifetz died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Originally established as Kaspare Cohn Hospital in 1902, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is a non-profit, tertiary 958-bed hospital and multi-specialty academic health science centre located in Los Angeles, California, US. Part of the Cedars-Sinai Health System, the hospital employs a staff of over...

 in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 in December 1987.
Heifetz owned the 1714 Dolphin
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...

 Stradivarius
Stradivarius
The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...

, the 1731 "Piel" Stradivarius, the 1736 Carlo Tononi, and the 1742 ex David Guarneri del Gesù
Guarneri
The Guarneri 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...

, 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, Master-Teaching Assistant to Heifetz, with "one of my four good bows" (Violinist/author Kloss wrote "Jascha Heifetz Through My Eyes" and is a co-founder of the Jascha Heifetz Society). 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
Concertmaster
The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

 Alexander Barantschik
Alexander Barantschik
Alexander Barantschik is a violinist who has been principal violin of several orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony.After training at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, he performed with various Soviet orchestras, including the St Petersburg Philharmonic, before emigrating in 1979 to...

, who featured it in concertos with Andrei Gorbatenko and the San Francisco Academy Orchestra in 2006.
In 1989, Heifetz received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

.

Family life


Heifetz was married in 1928 to the silent motion picture actress Florence Vidor
Florence Vidor
Florence Vidor was an American actress.Born Florence Arto, her father, J. P. Arto, was an important executive and she started working in silent movies thanks to her husband, film director King Vidor. She signed her first contract with Vitagraph Studios in 1916...

, ex-wife of King Vidor
King Vidor
King Wallis Vidor was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter whose career spanned nearly seven decades...

, whose seven year old daughter, Suzanne, Heifetz adopted. The couple had two more children, Josefa (born 1930) and Robert (1932–2001) before divorcing in 1945. In 1947, Heifetz took a sabbatical during which he married Frances Spiegelberg, with whom he had another son, Joseph. 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
Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an American orchestra based in Los Angeles, California, United States. It has a regular season of concerts from October through June at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a summer season at the Hollywood Bowl from July through September...

 and Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances...

, and the Chief Financial Officer of Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

' Worldwide Video Division. He lives and works in Fremantle
Fremantle, Western Australia
Fremantle is a city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829...

, Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

. Heifetz's daughter, Josefa Heifetz Byrne, is a lexicographer, the author of the Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words.

Heifetz's grandson Danny Heifetz
Danny Heifetz
Danny Heifetz is an American musician of Jewish descent usually living in Sydney, Australia. He is primarily a drummer and percussionist, but also plays trumpet...

 is an accomplished drummer/percussionist and has played with Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle
Mr. Bungle was an experimental band from Northern California. The band was formed in 1985 while the members were still in high school and was named after a children's educational film. Mr. Bungle released four demo tapes in the mid to late 1980s before being signed to Warner Bros. Records and...

, Dieselhed
Dieselhed
Dieselhed was a San Francisco-based band, originally from Arcata, California.-Early career:Dieselhed formed in 1989 in the San Francisco Bay Area playing a blend of country, punk, and pseudo-classic rock. Drummer Heifetz spread his time between Dieselhed and the genre-bending experimentalists Mr....

, Secret Chiefs 3
Secret Chiefs 3
Secret Chiefs 3 is an instrumental rock group led by guitarist/composer Trey Spruance . Their studio recordings and tours have featured different line-ups, as the group performs a wide range of musical styles including surf rock, Persian, Arab, Indian, death metal, film music, electronic music,...

 and Link Wray
Link Wray
Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr was an American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter and occasional singer....

.

His extended family was active in Los Angeles progressive political circles in addition to music. His niece Frances Heifetz was an artist who married Kalman Bloch
Kalman Bloch
Kalman Bloch was principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than 40 years.He studied with Simeon Bellison, a notable clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic...

, the first chair clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is an American orchestra based in Los Angeles, California, United States. It has a regular season of concerts from October through June at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a summer season at the Hollywood Bowl from July through September...

 for over 40 years. Their daughter Michele Zukovsky
Michele Zukovsky
Michele Zukovsky is an American clarinetist.Zukovsky is the principal clarinetist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has performed with the Boston Pops, the St. Petersburg String Quartet, the Lincoln Center Chamber Players, and at the Mostly Mozart Festival. She has taught at the California...

 is the current co-principal clarinetist for the L.A. Philharmonic. Their son Gregory Bloch (d.1987) was a noted violinist and member of the Italian rock group Premiata Forneria Marconi
Premiata Forneria Marconi
Premiata Forneria Marconi is an Italian progressive rock band. They were the first Italian group to have success abroad, entering both the British and American charts. Between 1973 and 1977 they released five albums with English lyrics...

 (PFM) as well as the American progressive rock groups It's a Beautiful Day
It's a Beautiful Day
It's a Beautiful Day is a band formed in San Francisco, California in 1967, the brainchild of violinist David LaFlamme.LaFlamme, a former soloist with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, had previously been in the band Orkustra, and unusually, played a five-string violin...

 and String Cheese.

Jascha Heifetz's great nephew and grandson of clarinetist Kalman Bloch
Kalman Bloch
Kalman Bloch was principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than 40 years.He studied with Simeon Bellison, a notable clarinetist for the New York Philharmonic...

, Stefano Bloch, is an urban music geographer with UCLA and the University of Minnesota and lives in Los Angeles.

Heifetz had a difficult personality, and has even been described as "misanthropic". He tended to drive away the very people who could have been his most trusted allies. His own 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.

Notable Instruments

  • Dolphin 1714 Stradivarius
    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...

  • Heifetz-Piel 1731 Stradivarius
    Stradivarius
    The name Stradivarius is associated with violins built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or reproduce, though this belief is controversial...

  • Antonio Stradivari 1734
    Antonio Stradivari
    Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

  • Carlo Tononi 1736
    Carlo Annibale Tononi
    Carlo Annibale Tononi was a luthier who trained and worked with his father in the Tononi family workshop in Bologna Italy until his father, Johannes Tononi, died in 1713....

  • ex-David 1742 Guarneri
    Giuseppe Guarneri
    Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He rivals Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line...


Filmography



Heifetz played a featured role in the movie They Shall Have Music
They Shall Have Music
They Shall Have Music is a 1939 musical film starring famed violinist Jascha Heifetz , Joel McCrea, Andrea Leeds, and Gene Reynolds...

(1939) directed by Archie Mayo
Archie Mayo
Archie Mayo was a movie director and stage actor who moved to Hollywood in 1915 and began working as a director in 1917....

 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
Fritz Reiner
Frederick Martin “Fritz” Reiner was a prominent conductor of opera and symphonic music in the twentieth century.-Biography:...

, and consoling the star of the picture, who had watched his performance. Heifetz later recorded the complete Tchaikovsky concerto with Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1891, the Symphony makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival...

 as one of RCA Victor's "Living Stereo" discs. 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
Max Bruch
Max Christian Friedrich Bruch , also known as Max Karl August Bruch, was a German Romantic composer and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including three violin concertos, the first of which has become a staple of the violin repertoire.-Life:Bruch was born in Cologne, Rhine Province, where he...

, and the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 by Bach
Bạch
Bạch is a Vietnamese surname. The name is transliterated as Bai in Chinese and Baek, in Korean.Bach is the anglicized variation of the surname Bạch.-Notable people with the surname Bạch:* Bạch Liêu...

. Heifetz even conducted the orchestra, as the surviving video recording documents.

The most recent film featuring Heifetz, Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler, premiered on April 16th, 2011 at the Colburn School of Music
Colburn School
The Colburn School is a music, dance, and drama school located in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art and across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall...

. It is "The only film biography of the world's most renowned violinist, featuring family home movies in Los Angeles and all over the world."

In popular culture

  • Heifetz was often mentioned by Jack Benny
    Jack Benny
    Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

     in his long-running radio program. Benny often cited his violin playing as being on par with Heifetz.
  • Heifetz is referenced in The Muppet Show
    The Muppet Show
    The Muppet Show is a British television programme produced by American puppeteer Jim Henson and featuring Muppets. After two pilot episodes were produced in 1974 and 1975, the show premiered on 5 September 1976 and five series were produced until 15 March 1981, lasting 120 episodes...

    (1977) where Rowlf the Dog
    Rowlf the Dog
    Rowlf the Dog is a Muppet character, a scruffy brown dog of indeterminate breed with a rounded black nose and long floppy ears. He was created by Jim Henson....

     opposite George Burns
    George Burns
    George Burns , born Nathan Birnbaum, was an American comedian, actor, and writer.He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, television and movies, with and without his wife, Gracie Allen. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became...

     mentions "Oh listen, I can play any key. I'm another Jascha Heifetz", to which George replies, "Jascha Heifetz played the violin." Rowlf then replies, "Nobody will know the difference, George".
  • Heifetz is later mentioned in The Muppet Movie
    The Muppet Movie
    The Muppet Movie is the first of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Released in 1979, the film was produced by Henson Associates, Children's Television Workshop and ITC Entertainment....

    (1979) when Rowlf the Dog
    Rowlf the Dog
    Rowlf the Dog is a Muppet character, a scruffy brown dog of indeterminate breed with a rounded black nose and long floppy ears. He was created by Jim Henson....

    , after being praised by Kermit the Frog
    Kermit the Frog
    Kermit the Frog is puppeteer Jim Henson's most famous Muppet creation, first introduced in 1955. He is the protagonist of many Muppet projects, most notably as the host of The Muppet Show, and has appeared in various sketches on Sesame Street, in commercials and in public service announcements over...

     for playing an impressive piece of music on the piano, shrugged modestly and replied, "I'm no Heifetz, but I get by."
  • Heifetz is mentioned by Woody Allen
    Woody Allen
    Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

     in Broadway Danny Rose
    Broadway Danny Rose
    Broadway Danny Rose is a 1984 American black-and-white comedy film written, directed by and starring Woody Allen. It was screened out of competition at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.- Plot :...

    (1984). As one of Danny Rose's clients plays a glass harmonica
    Glass harmonica
    The glass harmonica, also known as the glass armonica, bowl organ, hydrocrystalophone, or simply the armonica , is a type of musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction The glass harmonica, also known as the glass...

     Danny remarks "She's the Jascha Heifetz of her instrument!"
  • In Season 3, Episode 5 of The Golden Girls
    The Golden Girls
    The Golden Girls is an American sitcom created by Susan Harris, which originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992. Starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, the show centers on four older women sharing a home in Miami, Florida...

    , "Nothing Left To Fear But Fear Itself" (1987), Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty
    Estelle Getty
    Estelle Scher-Gettleman , better known by her stage name Estelle Getty, was an American actress, who appeared in film, television, and theatre...

    ) makes reference to Jascha Heifetz in sarcastic retort, when her daughter Dorothy (Bea Arthur) asks an obvious question: "Ma, are you going to tell a story?" Sophia: "Please! Does Heifetz rosin a bow?"
  • He was mentioned by the character, Data
    Data (Star Trek)
    Lieutenant Commander Data is a character in the fictional Star Trek universe portrayed by actor Brent Spiner. He appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek...

    , on the Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production...

    episode "The Ensigns of Command
    The Ensigns of Command (TNG episode)
    -Plot:The Enterprise crew receives an automated message from the enigmatic Sheliak: Remove the humans on Tau Cygni V in four days. However, this is not a simple warning or directive. The Sheliak are a non-humanoid species with little regard for human life and would exterminate any humans found in...

    " (1989) as one of the violinists he studied prior to his concert in Ten-Forward aboard the USS Enterprise
    USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
    The USS Enterprise is a 24th century starship in the Star Trek fictional universe and the principal setting of the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series...

    .
  • From Woody Allen
    Woody Allen
    Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

    's Hollywood Ending
    Hollywood Ending
    Hollywood Ending is a 2002 American film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also plays the principal character. It tells the story of a once-famous film director who suffers hysterical blindness due to the intense pressure of directing.-Plot:...

    (2002): "If there's a brownout, Heifetz will still be on key, but your guitarist won't be."
  • The character of Yasha the violinist in Marc Blitzstein
    Marc Blitzstein
    Marcus Samuel Blitzstein, better known as Marc Blitzstein , was an American composer. He won national attention in 1937 when his pro-union musical The Cradle Will Rock, directed by Orson Welles, was shut down by the Works Progress Administration...

    's The Cradle Will Rock
    The Cradle Will Rock
    The Cradle Will Rock is a 1937 musical by Marc Blitzstein. Originally a part of the Federal Theatre Project, it was directed by Orson Welles, and produced by John Houseman. The show was recorded and released on seven 78-rpm discs in 1938, making it the first cast album recording.The musical is a...

    is a reference to Jascha Heifetz.

See also

  • Lithuanian Jews
    Lithuanian Jews
    Lithuanian Jews or Litvaks are Jews with roots in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania:...

  • Strauss and the Nazis

External links