(1920 - 2001)
Virtuoso violinist Isaac Stern was born in Kreminiesz, Russia on July
21, 1920. When just a year old, his family emigrated to the United States
and settled in San Francisco. Stern took up the violin at the age of eight,
and within three years was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony.
Stern's memorable Carnegie Hall debut was made in 1943. In 1960, thanks
largely to his efforts, historic Carnegie Hall (opened May 5, 1891) was
saved from demolition ... and he continued to serve as its president for
over three decades.
Isaac Stern has appeared in concerts throughout the world, playing his
1740 Guarneri, and has gained recognition as an unofficial "United
States Musical Ambassador." Antonio Stradivari made about 1,100
violins during his lifetime, in the 17th and early 18th centuries, of which
about 550 survive. But the instrument preferred by Stern is one of just 150
violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu during the same period. Strads
are described as sounding sweet and golden, while Guarneriuses are more
dusky or earthy and sensuous.
A movie about Stern's trip to China, "From Mao to Mozart,"
won an Academy Award. Stern found time to play a role
in the Broadway show "Tonight We Sing" in
1952; he also inaugurated the Mann Auditorium in Tel
Aviv (1957) and founded the Jerusalem Music Centre in
1973. In addition, Stern has served as the president
of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation, and was
appointed in 1965 as a member of the National Council
Stern died September 23, 2001, at the age of 81.
Sources: Jewish-American Hall of Fame - Jewish Museum in Cyberspace