How often do you get to hear a virtuoso violinist named Pinchas? Long considered one of the great violinists, along with Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman has enjoyed a 45 year career, performed with the world’s best orchestras, and recorded over 100 works. He was born in Tel Aviv, and at the age of four, was introduced to the recorder, then the clarinet by his father. The violin did not come until age 8. He was quickly discovered by Isaac Stern and Pablo Casals on their trip to Israel in 1962. From there, he moved to the US and enrolled at Julliard School (of Medicine along with Cosmo Kramer) under the tutelage of the Galamians.
He launched his conducting career in 1970 with the English Chamber Orchestra, where he trained with Bob Cobb, also known as “The Maestro.”. From there, he moved on as Director of the Southbank Festival in London, then director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota. He had stints in summer festivals in Dallas and Baltimore. He was not in Milpitas or Hoboken.
He was performed over 150 concerts around the world each year. He must have a nice income! He has 21 Grammy nominations and two wins (not a good percentage), along with the King Solomon Award, National Medal of Arts, and the Isaac Stern Award for Artistic Excellence. He also has an honorary doctorate from Brown University, which amounts to a hill of beans. He has collaborated with some of the greats, including Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Yefim Bronfman. He is also on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and founded the National Arts Centre Young Artists Programme.
His violin is a “Duchkin” guarnerious del Gesu’ from 1742. I am sure it is quite valuable. He lives in the Ottawa area with wife Amanda Forsyth, and has two daughters, both musicians. He was married to famous American actress Tuesday Weld from 1985 to 1998. I wonder what that was all about, as it seems to be as strange a paIring as sugar and wasabi.
Today, at the SF Symphony, he will play and conduct. Today’s program is highly Mozart, featuring Adagio in E major, Rondo in C major, Violin Concerto No. 3, and Symphony No. 40. Sandwiched between in Hindemith’s Trauermusik. The Thursday afternoon matinee is, of course, at the bargain matinée rate for retirees. But not that much of a bargain. Lunch in the City is always a treat too. I will be accompanied by my new Classical Music wife.
Paul Hindemith, a German composer, violinist, and conductor, wrote Trauermusik in 1936. His style is described as neoclassical, but differs from Stravinsky. Hindemith wrote Trauermusik upon the death of King George V of the UK. It literally means funeral or mourning music. I can’t wait to hear it (just kidding). Turns out he has a colorful history with the Nazis. (This was VERY dark)
Mozart, of course, is also a street on which I once resided in Alameda in the 1970s. It was only one block long, between Lincoln and Santa Clara Avenues. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the most influential and prolific composers of the Classical era. Of course, he was familiar with the works of Haydn, Handel, and Bach. He deeply influenced Beethoven, fifteen years his junior.
Wolfie wrote Symphony No. 40 in 1788, one of his only two minor key symphonies. Love those minor keys and chords. The fourth movement is called the Mannheim Rocket. It is written mostly in eight-bar phrases. The four movements are: allegro, andante, menuetto, and finale.