This month’s Wood-Link of the month is a departure from the norm in that it focuses on a violinist who was perhaps the greatest instrumentalist of the 20th century—Jascha Heifetz. The name Heifetz is understood in musical circles to represent the gold standard for a performer—perfection, integrity, total commitment to the composer’s wishes, and genius. During his 65-year public career, Heifetz performed on every continent and to a greater audience than any classical instrumentalist in history. He also emphasized chamber music as part of the complete musician’s life, recording extensively with other legends including Piatigorsky, Rubinstein, and Feuermann, thereby helping to promote this repertoire. A wonderful pianist, ping pong/tennis player, cook, teacher, and social activist (he and his students at USC protested smog by wearing gas masks; he converted his Renault passenger car into an electric vehicle; he led efforts to establish 911 as an emergency number, etc.). Heifetz even dabbled in composing pop tunes of the day under the name Jim Hoyl. Any musician should be aware of the magnificence that Heifetz brought to his performances and recordings. This website offers every opportunity for the student of music to learn about this legend through all of the currently available recordings, DVD’s, sheet music editions by Heifetz, and books devoted to his life. In Heifetz’ words: “You must preserve your enthusiasm for playing. Loss of that enthusiasm is deadly to musicianship.”
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