The great violinist and teacher Zvi Zeitlin has died in hospital at Rochester, NY. He was 90 years old and gave his farewell recital in February. Here he is playing Mozart, just two years ago:
I first heard him on a recording of the Schoenberg concerto, conducted by Rafael Kubelik, still a cornerstone of the work’s interpretation.
Below is his bio from Eastman School at the University of Rochester, where he taught for 45 years:
Born in Dubrovna, Belarus, Zvi Zeitlin was raised and educated in Israel, where he attended the Hebrew University in Judaic Studies (1940-43). At age 11, he became the youngest scholarship student in the history of the Juilliard School. Receiving a diploma and postgraduate diploma from Juilliard, Zeitlin studied with Sascha Jacobsen, Louis Persinger, and Ivan Galamian. He served in the British RAF (1943-46) and concertized for British, American, and Soviet troops throughout the Middle East and Greece.
He has made solo appearances with the New York, Los Angeles, and Israel philharmonic orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Vienna symphonies; La Scala, Concertgebouw, BBC, and New Philharmonia of London orchestras; Orchestre National de France and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Zeitlin has made frequent tours of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Central and South America.
He premiered the Schoenberg Violin Concerto in Buenos Aires (1964); it was recorded with Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian State Orchestra for DGG in 1971. It was reissued recently as “20th Century Classics” and is now a collector’s item. Gunther Schuller’s Concerto was commissioned by the Eastman School of Music as part of Zeitlin’s appointment as Kilbourn Professor in 1976. Zeitlin premiered it at the 1976 Lucerne Festival with the composer conducting. He then performed it in the U.S, Europe, and Australia with the Utah Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Halle Orchestra in England, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra in Germany, and in Sydney, Australia. Zeitlin edited and published a newly discovered concerto by Pietro Nardini for G. Schirmer. He also has recorded for Vox, CRI, Gasparo, Pantheon, and Musical Heritage.
This is Zvi at work in a Mendelssohn concerto masterclass: