David Oistrakh

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Oistrakh, David Fedorovich


Born Sept. 17 (30), 1908, in Odessa; died Oct. 24, 1974, in Amsterdam; buried in Moscow. Soviet violinist. People’s Artist of the USSR (1953). Member of the CPSU from 1942.

The son of an office worker, Oistrakh graduated in 1926 from the Odessa Music and Drama Institute, where he studied under P. S. Stoliarskii. In 1934 he began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory, becoming a professor in 1939 and chairman of the violin subdepartment in 1950. He won first prize at the All-Union Competition of Performing Musicians in Leningrad in 1935 and at the Ysaye International Competition in Brussels in 1937. At the Wieniawski International Competition in Warsaw in 1935, he won second prize.

Oistrakh was one of the greatest violinists of modern times. His repertoire included all of the most important works of classical and Soviet violin music. The qualities of his artistic individuality—clarity of intent, exceptional expressiveness of style, total mastery of the instrument—were all revealed in equal measure whether he was interpreting large-scale works, lyrical pieces, or virtuoso violin music. Oistrakh was the first to perform violin concertos and sonatas dedicated to him by D. D. Shostakovich and S. S. Prokofiev, as well as concertos written for him by A. I. Khachaturian, N. Ia. Miaskovskii, and other composers. He performed in an ensemble with L. N. Oborin and S. N. Knu-shevitskii, and he published editions of a number of violin works. His students included V. A. Klimov, O. V. Krysa, I. D. Oistrakh, V. A. Pikaizen, O. M. Parkhomenko, R. Iu. Fain, and G. M. Kremer.

Oistrakh also appeared as a conductor and performed abroad. He was a corresponding member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin (German Democratic Republic, 1961), an honorary doctor of music at Cambridge University (1969), and an honorary member of the Italian National Academy of Saint Cecilia (1961) and other foreign academies of music, as well as music societies.

Oistrakh was awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1943), the Lenin Prize (1960), two Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and a number of medals. He is the author of articles, including “My Way,” which was published in the magazine Sovetskaia muzyka (Soviet Music; 1958, no. 9).


Iampol’skii, I. David Oistrakh. Moscow, 1964.
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He had launched Renata Tebaldi on his return to La Scala in 1946, and he very much admired David Oistrakh and Kathleen Ferrier ("that divine voice"), while in 1951 he had this to say: "I find this Callas woman very good, a beautiful voice and an interesting artist, but her diction is unintelligible.
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Answer: David Oistrakh (the late Soviet classical violinist).
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