Yehudi Menuhin

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Menuhin, Yehudi

Menuhin, Yehudi (yəho͞oˈdē mĕnˈyo͞oĭn), 1916–99, British violinist and conductor, b. New York City. Menuhin, an extraordinary prodigy, began playing the violin at four. He made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at seven, then studied in Europe with Adolf Busch and Georges Enesco. After a world tour (1934–35) of unprecedented success, he retired to study for two years. During World War II he performed hundreds of concerts for Allied troops and relief efforts. He was the founder of Switzerland's Gstaad Festival (1957). Menuhin introduced little-known works and promoted Eastern music in lectures and performances, such as his collaboration with Ravi Shankar, East Meets West. Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin was written for Menuhin. He became a British subject and was knighted (1985); in 1993 he was created Baron Menuhin of Stoke D'Abernon.


See his Theme and Variations (1972) and Unfinished Journey (1977); biographies by R. Magidoff (1955) and N. Wymer (1961).

His sister, the pianist Hepzibah Menuhin, 1920–81, b. San Francisco, also a prodigy, often appeared in recital with him. Yaltah Menuhin, 1921–2001, b. San Francisco, their sister and the youngest of the three, was also a classical pianist.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Menuhin, Yehudi


Born Apr. 22, 1916, in New York. American violinist.

Menuhin was a student of L. Persinger, A. Busch, and G. Enesco. He made his first public appearance at the age of seven. One of the greatest violinists of our times, he has toured many countries. His first concert tour in the USSR was in 1945. Menuhin, who is also a conductor, has lived in London since 1963. Drawing upon the experience of teaching musically gifted children in the USSR, he founded a special music school in 1964 in the city of Stoke d’Abernon in England. Menuhin is the president of the International Music Council of UNESCO. He sometimes performs with his sister, Hephzibah (born May 20, 1920, in San Francisco), who is a pianist.


Gavoty, B. Yehudi Menuhin et Georges Enesco. Geneva-Monaco, 1955. Spingel, H. O. Y. Menuhin. Berlin, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Menuhin, Yehudi

(1916–  ) violinist; born in New York City. He grew up in San Francisco, where he began violin study at age three and made his public debut at age seven. Within a few years he had been acclaimed as a prodigy, finding resounding successes in Europe (where he studied with Georges Enesco) and playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in New York in 1927. The next year, at age 12, he performed concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach in one concert of the Berlin Philharmonic. In the early 1930s a world tour took him to 73 cities in 13 countries. During World War II he concertized tirelessly for Allied troops. Largely based in Switzerland and England after the war, he conducted as often as he played, becoming a fixture of music festivals and, from 1969, director of England's Windsor Festival. In the 1960s he helped popularize Indian music in the West. Besides playing the standard repertoire, he commissioned and played important works from composers including Bartók and Walton.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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