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I heard music played last night in Jascha Heifetz’s room

Working at the Colburn School this week, I was asked if I’d like to hear some up-and-coming artists. You best, I said. Then came the bonus: they would play for us in the Jascha Heifetz studio.

When Heifetz died in 1987, his house was sold to the actor, James Woods, who announced his intention of demolishing the studio building created for the great violinist in 1948 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr.

Richard Colburn stepped in and bought the building, dismantling it brick by brick and keeping it in storage for 15 years until the elite school he was creating had space to accommodate it. Restored exactly as Heifetz left it, it serves today as a teaching studio for Robert Lipsett (pictured), who auditioned for Heifetz as a nervous student back in 1974.

I got to hear Bob’s star find, a 17 year-old US-Chinese girl so perfect and poised that I won’t utter her name because she is going to make it to the big time very soon without need of endorsement from this source. She’s playing her first concertos later this season.

I also heard the Calidore Quartet playing two movements of Hindemith before hitting the road with a WW1 programme.

Top-class playing, and to hear it in the private room of the greatest violinist of all is a privilege I won’t forget in a hurry.

 

heifetz studio

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Comments

  1. “I got to hear Bob’s star find, a 17 year-old US-Chinese girl so perfect and poised that I won’t utter her name because she is going to make it to the big time very soon without need of endorsement from this source. She’s playing her first concertos later this season.”

    You must be talking of Youjin Lee. We’ve seen her in student recitals over the last couple of years, and she is wonderful, and a delight to hear perform.

  2. David Boxwell says:

    _Now_ I believe Sean Young!

  3. Sanda Schuldmann says:

    What are the chances for a larger picture of the above. It is small and I cannot quite make out the details! Thank you in advance!

  4. I wonder if it’s Simone Porter…the suspense, my gosh!

  5. I had this privilege when attending an event at the Colburn School a couple of years ago. It was so exciting to sit in the very room where the Rubinstein/Heifetz/Piatagorsky trio rehearsed and recorded (?) and hear a great young talent. Thrilling!

  6. Anyone interested in hearing more about Heifetz might care to read Andre Previn’s ‘No Minor Chords’ which contains a section on the great violinist routinely auctioning off his presents…Suffice to say, had he bought a property in 1987, he wouldn’t have had any qualms in destroying history…

    • Yes I have read that too. Previn’s remark was that Heifetz was rather less godlike when he put his violin down! Heifetz wasn’t the least bit sentimental it would seem. According to what I have read he even cut his own children out of his will. So I don’t think he would’ve bothered about his studio!

  7. I don’t see who else NL can be referring to other than Youjin Lee. But isn’t she South Korean? (slash American).

    • Maybe he does mean Simone Porter. She’ll be playing the Barber concerto with the LA Phil Sept 4 at the Hollywood Bowl.

  8. Yup, I go to Colburn, and Youjin Lee is South Korean, so NL is probably mentioning my friend Simone Porter (who is US-Chinese). They are both fantastic.

  9. To sit in Heifetz’ studio would be a dream-come-true for me too. I enjoy the DVDs of his masterclasses there, and have had the pleasure to meet Adam Han-Gorski, one of JH’s students from the 60′s.

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