Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ivry Gitlis

Ivry Gitlis is a Russian violinist, composer, actor, writer, and teacher born on August 22, 1922 (Heifetz was 21 years old.) He received his first violin at the age of five and gave his first concert at age ten. After graduating from the Paris Conservatory, he studied with Carl Flesch, Georges Enesco and Jacques Thibaud, among others – almost the same teachers under whom Henryk Szeryng studied a few years before him. After the Second World War, he made his European debut at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1951, he made his debut in Paris – which was later to become his main residence - and has since gone on to give concerts all over the world. His first recording, Alban Berg’s violin concerto, won the Grand Prix du Disque (Grand Record Prize) in France. Subsequent recordings, many of which until their recent re-releases had become sought-after collectors’ items, have included the concertos of Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Bruch, Sibelius, Wieniawski, and Bartok. Gitlis is also a renowned pedagogue giving master classes all over Europe and beyond, regularly spending summers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and in France where he has created memorable festivals. In 2001 he was one of the featured commentators in Bruno Monsaingeon’s film, “The Art of the Violin”. Tony Palmer’s 2004 film on Ivry Gitlis was premiered at the Prague Spring Music Festival where it was lauded by the Oscar-winning director Andrea Anderman as "the best artist's profile I have ever seen". And, most recently, he was honored in 2004 as part of the Festival devoted to great violinists of the 20th century, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Gitlis has lived in Paris since the end of the sixties. His immense impact on the art of violin playing cannot be measured and his unique personality and extraordinary, deeply felt interpretations, many of which can be seen or heard on YouTube are a testament to the great man and artist. The depth of his expressive powers can hardly be exaggerated. You can judge for yourself here and here.  He plays the "Swan Song" Stradivarius of 1737 (the year of Stradivari’s death.)

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