Jascha Heifetz

Conversation with Laurence Lesser (January, 2001)

Interview by Tim Janof Laurence Lesser, president emeritus of the New England Conservatory (NEC) has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a concert artist, teacher and arts administrator. He served as president of NEC for 13 years, from 1983 to 1996. He was a top prizewinner in the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and a participant in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings. He has been soloist with many orchestras including the Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, and the New Japan Philharmonic. He has performed under the batons of Ozawa, Rostropovich, and Tilson Thomas, among others. He was the first to record the Schoenberg Cello Concerto, and in 1966 was the first to perform it with orchestra since its 1938 introduction by Emanuel Feuermann. As a chamber musician Laurence Lesser has [...]

Exiles in Paradise: on the “Hollywood Renaissance” and Finding New Repertoire for the Cello: Part 1

This article is the first installment in a two-part series As cellists, we tend to think of much of the repertoire that we play as European cultural traditions that we have assimilated. We generally associate American musical tradition with Copland, Ives, Gershwin and perhaps a few brief years in the life of Antonin Dvorak. Many musicians are unaware, however, that in the first half of the 20th century, an influx of European refugees, fleeing war and persecution, rapidly formed, within a few square miles near Hollywood, one of the most talented and prolific communities in music history. As they attempted to rebuild their lives in this exotic paradise, they indelibly altered the course of American culture.   Performers living in Los Angeles during this era included Jascha Heifetz, William Primrose, [...]

What Makes a Baroque Cellist — by Guy Fishman

I was once accused of playing like a baroque cellist. It was most certainly an accusation, and I don’t know what the coach was hoping to achieve by framing her opinion of my playing in such terms. Suffice it to say I was insulted, and the funny thing is, I don’t even know why. Okay, I was playing Brahms’s F major sonata, on a cello that had an endpin and two steel strings (the other two were wound gut). My partner was playing a Steinway M. Furthermore, and perhaps most revealing, is the fact that by the time I was being coached on this piece, during my second year of doctoral studies at New England Conservatory, I had already won a position with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, the nation’s [...]

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