Born: Apr 22, 1916 in New York, NY.
Died: Mar 12, 1999.
Styles: World Fusion, Classical. Instruments Violin
The legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin was the eldest child of Russian-born Hebrew scholars who met in Palestine, emigrated to New York City, and moved to San Francisco soon after their son's birth. After just three years of violin study, Yehudi made a legendary debut at age seven with the local symphony. His Carnegie Hall debut three years later, in the Beethoven Violin Concerto, garnered praise that likened him to Mozart as a prodigy, whereupon the family (which now included sisters Hephzibah and Yaltah) lived gypsy-like in hotels wherever Yehudi was engaged at enormous fees. But the child's talent was instinctive. As Fritz Kreisler was to remark later on, "Because the young Menuhin had anticipated so early and so much of what nature had given him, I foresaw that he would have great difficulties." And he did.
When an eminent elder colleague requested a scale after the boy had played Lalo's Symphonie espagnole flawlessly, Menuhin wrote in his autobiography, Unfinished Journey, "I groped all over the fingerboard like a blind mouse.... I played the violin without being prepared for violin playing." He began recording early on (playing among other works Elgar's Violin Concerto at 16, with the composer conducting) and continued to concertize, making a world tour of 73 cities during his 19th year. At the end, however, he felt "tired, indifferent, and sad," and in 1936 began an 18-month sabbatical. Menuhin resumed playing in 1938, but never after with the sublime confidence of his preadolescent years.
During World War II he gave more than 500 concerts for Allied and American troops, but stirred a hornet's nest of controversy as the first major Jewish artist to perform in postwar Germany. Likewise, after the Six Day War in the Middle East, he was vilified for performing charity concerts in Arab countries. Increasingly he devoted himself to the training of young artists, both near London (which became his home in 1952) and at Gstaad, Switzerland. Also in 1952 he went to India, became a disciple of yoga, and a colleague of sitarist Ravi Shankar. He recorded with Shankar, as he did subsequently with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. In the middle 1950s Menuhin took up conducting, but was no better schooled than he had been as a child violinist - and he was conspicuously less successful despite having made a steady stream of recordings begninning in 1958. At age 82 he was guest conducting the Warsaw Symphony on tour when he suffered a fatal heart attack in Berlin.
Menuhin was named Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur in 1948, to the British knighthood in 1965, and to a Lordship in 1993. For his work on behalf of peace worldwide, he was named ambassador of goodwill to UNESCO in 1992. His dedication to the "minds and hearts" of young musicians well may be remembered after his pre-adult celebrity has faded to black. Menuhin married twice, fathered four children, and played frequent recitals with sisters Hephzibah (1920-1981), starting in 1930, and years later with Yaltah (1922-2001), notably at the Bath Festival he founded and directed in the 1960s.
- Roger Dettmer (All Music Guide)
Lord Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin has achieved world fame as a violinist, conductor, teacher, and humanitarian. On May 8, 1997 he returned to Santa Barbara where he received the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.
Menuhin's career has spanned eight decades. He made his concert debut at the age of seven with the San Francisco Symphony. This launched an extraordinary musical career that has taken him throughout the world to play with leading symphony orchestras.
Menuhin is currently President and Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, Emeritus Conductor of the English String Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Warsaw Sinfonia, and President and Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Hungarica. Each year he conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in a special series of concerts.
In addition to being a great musician, Menuhin has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts, exemplified by his work for international understanding and peace. He has addressed the Knesset in Israel regarding the Palestinian peace process, written extensively on world peace and international cooperation, and played numerous benefit concerts promoting peace beginning in World War II.
On his first visit to India in 1952, at the invitation of Prime Minister Nehru with whom he formed a lasting friendship, he met Ravi Shankar. Menuhin developed a deep admiration for Shankar and the music of India and subsequently made several recordings with him, the proceeds of which went entirely to charity in that country. In 1960 he was awarded the Nehru Peace Prize for International Understanding. Some thirty years later, in 1992, he was honored with the title of Ambassador of Goodwill to UNESCO.
In 1963 he achieved one of his greatest ambitions, that of founding the Yehudi Menuhin School for promising young musicians based on the Central School of Moscow, where students receive both their scholarly and musical education together. In 1977 he founded the International Music Academy for young Graduate String Players in Gstaad, Switzerland, the site of the annual Menuhin Music Festival.
For his work, he has received awards from many European nations, including the Legion d'Honneur from France, the Order of Merit from Germany, the Ordre Leopold from Belgium, the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Merito Civil from Spain, and was made Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell'Ordine in Italy. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed a knighthood on him and gave him the Order of Merit and a Life Peerage in Her Majesty's Government. Menuhin has Honorary Doctorates from 27 universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrew's and the Sorbonne. He was also the first Westerner to be made an Honorary Professor of the Beijing Conservatoire in recognition of his concerts in China and of his endeavors in helping many young Chinese violinists to continue their studies in the West.
Американский скрипач. Родился 22 апреля 1916 в Нью-Йорке. Как подающий надежды скрипач-вундеркинд занимался с З.Анкером и Л.Персинджером; позже, в Европе его учителями были А.Буш и Дж.Энеску. В период 1926-1936 частые гастроли Менухина по разным странам неизменно проходили с большим успехом. В 1938, после двухлетнего перерыва, который он использовал для совершенствования мастерства, Менухин вернулся в концертную деятельность уже как зрелый артист. Во время войны выступал с концертами в войсках. В 1974, в знак высокой оценки вклада Менухина в музыкальное искусство, он был избран почетным председателем музыкального факультета Калифорнийского университета (в Лос-Анджелесе). Менухин - учредитель нескольких музыкальных фестивалей и школы для одаренных детей в Англии. В течение ряда лет он был председателем Международного музыкального совета при ЮНЕСКО. Был возведен в рыцарское достоинство (1965), но титул получил только в 1985, став британским гражданином. Умер Менухин в Лондоне 12 марта 1999.