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Igor Oistrakh (Violin, Conductor)

Born: April 27, 1931 - Odessa, Ukraine

The Ukrainian violinist (and conductor), Igor (Davidovich) Oistrakh (Russian: Игорь Ойстрах), is the son of the great violinist David Oistrakh. As a small boy he was taught to play violin, but his studies were interrupted and resumed only in 1943 under the guidance of Professor Pyotr Stolyarsky, an outstanding Soviet teacher. Later Igor finished as a brilliant pupil the Central Music School where his teacher was V. Merenbaum, and made his concert debut in 1948. His father David exercised the decisive influence on the development of the young artist's personality: it was under his guidance that Igor continued his studies at the Moscow Conservatory from 1949 to 1955 and took a post-graduate course. In 1949, at 18, Igor won the first prize at the International Violinists' Competition of the Youth and Student Festival in Budapest. The International Wieniawski Competition in Poznań brought him in 1952 a similar award.

Igor Oistrakh appears with unfailing success in the Soviet Union and abroad, inspiring enthusiastic press notices. His western debut took place at the Royal Albert Hall, London, and was followed by concert tours through the USA, Europe (Austria, Denmark, France, Britain, the GDR, Czechoslovakia), the USSR, Canada, South America, Japan and Australia. He has performed with the world's greatest orchestras under renowned conductors as Otto Klemperer, Fritz Reiner, Herbert von Karajan, Eugene Ormandy, Carlo Maria Giulini, Georg Solti, Lorin Maazell, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and others, and his father, David Oistrakh. For 27 years, he played in a unique duo with his father, making several recordings together. Three times Igor was a participant of the festivals founded by Pablo Casals, who enjoyed their joint performances and highly apprlciated Soviet musician's skill. Igor has also given concerts with Yehudi Menuhin. The critics admire warm expressiveness of his violin, precision of his phrasing, his stern style, nobleness and virtuoso technique. Some critics even regard him as equal to his father in virtusity. He is noted for his lean, modernist interpretations. He has recorded for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, RCA, Collins, Melodiya, and Art and Electronics.

Following his father's death in 1974, Igor Oistrakh continued the family tradition with his son Valery, also a prize winning concert violinist. Igor's wife, Natalia Zertsalova, is his duo pianist and together they have been awarded Honorary Membership in the Beethoven Society in Bonn for their recording of the complete L.v. Beethoven Sonatas. They were also awarded the "Weiner Flotenuhr" by the Vienna Mozart Academy for their recording of the complete W.A. Mozart Violin Sonatas.

Since 1968 Igor Oistrakh has also conducted chamber and symphony orchestras as well as performing as a viola player. He is known as a conductor directing Soloists Ensemble of the Moscow Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Together they recorded Arcangelo Corelli's Concerti grossi, J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (BWV 1046-1051), W.A. Mozart's Sinfonla Concertante in E flat major for Violin and Viola and Serenade No.13 in G major for strings (Eine kleine Nachtmusik).

In 1958, Igor Oistrakh joined the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory in 1958, becoming a lecturer in 1965. Since 1996 he has held the post of Professor of the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. He was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR in February 1968, and became an Honorary Member of the Wieniawski Society in Poznan. Other awards and appointments include Fellow of the Royal College of Music, London, Presidency of the Russian section of the European String Teachers Association, honorary member of the Beethoven Society in Bonn, Honorary member of the Jascha Heifetz Society and the Ysaye Foundation, Belgium, Honorary President of the Cesar Franck Foundation in Belgium and member of the jury of the most prestigious violin competitions such as Tchaikovski, Queen Elisabeth, Wieniawski and Carl Flesch. The asteroid 42516 Oistrach was named in his (and his father's) honour.

Igor with his father David Oistrakh

Source: Wikipedia Website, Jascha Heifetz Society Website, Valery Oistrakh Website; Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Liner notes to the 2-CD album "J.S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos" conducted by I. Oistrakh (Melodiya)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2009); Matthias Hansen (Photo 05 - January 2010)

Igor Oistrakh: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Igor Oistrakh (Wikipedia)
Igor Oistrakh - Russian Violinist (Britannica)
Jascha Heifetz Society: Igor Oistrakh
Igor Oistrakh (Valery Oistrakh) [German/English]

Bill Newman talks to Igor Oistrakh as the 50th anniversary of the violinist's UK début approaches (Music & Vision) [2003]
Igor Oistrackh (Odessit)

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