Heifetz, Jascha

Heifetz, Jascha

(yä`shə hī`fĭts), 1901–87, Russian-American violinist, b. Vilna. He studied first with his father and in 1910 became a pupil of Leopold Auer at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, giving his first public concert the next year. After great success as a child prodigy in Europe, he immigrated to the United States in 1917. Heifetz became an even greater artist in his mature years, combining brilliantly reasoned, tranquil interpretation with unsurpassed virtuoso technique. He arranged a number of works for the violin and commissioned several concertos from contemporary composers.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heifetz, Jascha

 

(Iosif Robertovich Kheifets). Born Jan. 20 (Feb. 2), 1901, in Vil’na (Vilnius). American violinist.

Heifetz studied the violin with E. Ia. Malkin in Vilnius from 1905 to 1909. At the age of six, he gave a public performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in Kaunas. In 1910 he began studying with L. S. Auer in St. Petersburg, where he gave a concert in 1911; in 1912 he performed as a child prodigy in Berlin. Heifetz emigrated to the USA in 1917. He has toured extensively; in 1934 he toured in the USSR.

Heifetz’s playing combines a full, richly colored tone and a consummate virtuoso technique with a scrupulously conceived and balanced musical interpretation. Heifetz became a professor at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles in 1959. He has transcribed many works for the violin.

REFERENCES

Iampol’skii, I. “la. Kheifets.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1934, no. 6.
Raaben, L. Zhizn’ zamechatel’nykh skripachei. [Moscow-Leningrad, 1967.]
Hartnack, J. W. Grosse Geiger unserer Zeit. Gütersloh [1968].
Axelrod, H. Heifetz. New York, 1976.

I. M. IAMPOL’SKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Heifetz, Jascha

(1901–87) violinist; born in Vilna, Lithuania. Son of a violinist, he began playing at age three, entered music school the next year, and made his first public appearance at age five. After completing his studies and establishing his reputation in Europe and Russia, he made a triumphant American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1917. Remaining in the country, he became a U.S. citizen in 1925 and bought houses in Connecticut and California. For the rest of his long career the almost supernatural perfection of his playing made him generally considered the greatest violinist of his time as well as one of the most popular. In the 1950s he gradually reduced his public appearances but continued to play and record into the 1970s, meanwhile teaching at the University of Southern California.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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