Oistrakh, David (Fyodorovich), great Russian violinist, outstanding pedagogue, and esteemed conductor; b. Odessa, Sept. 30, 1908; d. Amsterdam, Oct. 24, 1974.
He studied violin as a child with Stoliarsky in Odessa, making his debut there at the age of 6, and then continued his studies with Stoliarsky at the Odessa Conservatory (1923-26); then appeared as soloist in Glazunov's Violin Concerto under the composer's direction in Kiev in 1927. In 1928 he went to Moscow and in 1934 he was appointed to the faculty of the Conservatory His name attracted universal attention in 1937 when he won first prize at the Ysaÿe Competition in Brussels, in which 68 violinists from 21 countries took part. This launched a career of great renown as a violin virtuoso. He played in Paris and London in 1953 with extraordinary success; made his first American appearances in 1955, as soloist with major American orchestras and in recitals, winning enthusiastic acclaim; also made appearances as a conductor from 1962. He died while on a visit to Amsterdam as a guest conductor with the Concertgebouw Orchestra Oistrakh's playing was marked, apart from a phenomenal technique, by stylistic fidelity to works by different composers of different historical periods. Soviet composers profited by his advice as to technical problems of violin playing; he collaborated with Prokofiev in making an arrangement for violin and piano of his Flute Sonata. A whole generation of Soviet violinists numbered among his pupils, first and foremost his son Igor (Davidovich) Oistrakh (b. Odessa, April 27, 1931), who has had a spectacular career in his own right; he won first prize at the International Festival of Democratic Youth in Budapest (1949) and the Wieniawski Competition in Poznan (1952); some critics regarded him as equal to his father in virtuosity; from 1958 he taught at the Moscow Conservatory.
V. Bronin, D. O. (Moscow, 1954); I. Yampolsky, D. O. (Moscow, 1964); D. Naberin, D. UND IGOR O. (Berlin, 1968); V. Josefowitsch, D. O. (Stuttgart, 1977); Y. Soroker, D. O. (Jerusalem, 1982).
Source: "David Fyodorovich Oistrakh." BAKER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF MUSICIANS®, Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001. Reprinted by permission of The Gale Group.
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