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Igor Oistrakh: violin genius gene

Igor Oistrakh was born in Odessa on April 27, 1931. “Violin gene” he inherited from his father – the great violinist David Oistrakh, whose music accompanied Igor’s life from the first days.

Interest in music and violin, musical education and education were mostly instilled by the father. David Oistrakh taught his son the violin at the Central School of Music, which Igor graduated in 1949. Thanks to Father Igor, I was lucky to meet personally the great composers Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Of course, the unique game of David Oistrakh reinforced the inspiration of the young musician. According to the memoirs of Igor himself, the father “snapped the violin from the very morning, on the way to the bathroom, and from the dream played the most puzzling passages absolutely flawlessly”.

It was in a duet with David Oistrakh that the first serious performance of a young talented violinist took place. In 1947, Igor Oistrakh, accompanied by an orchestra on the stage of the House of Scientists, performed the Double Concerto by I.S. Baha. The public immediately warmly accepted the debutant.

From 1949 to 1955, Igor Oistrakh studied at the Moscow Conservatory on the violin class, where his teacher was still David Oistrakh. In 1958, under his leadership, Igor graduated from graduate school, after which he was accepted into the staff of the Moscow Conservatory and became a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Society.

The young violinist played a lot in a duet with his father, as well as with the orchestra under his direction. The duo of Igor and David Oystrains gave concerts, touring around the world. Their joint creative activity continued until the death of David Oistrakh in 1974.

Igor Oistrakh won the first victory at an international competition while still a student – in 1949 in Budapest. And in 1952, he received the first prize at the Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poznan. After this success, he made his debut in London, Paris, Leipzig and Vienna, and soon Igor Oistrakh became a world-famous artist.

The violinist himself recalls how, once after a concert in Paris, the French critic Clarendon published an article entitled “Igor is no longer the son of David Oistrakh.” Igor certainly absorbed his mastery from his father, but later managed to determine his individual creative style and conquer the world public. The characteristic features of his performance are an intellectual, prudent approach and realistic interpretations.

Another very important duet in the life of Igor Oistrakh was formed in 1960, when he married Natalia Zercalova. For more than half a century, they have performed together. This family duet is an honorary member of the Beethoven Society. In addition to Beethoven’s music, among their unique recordings are sonatas I.S. Bach for violin and harpsichord.

Igor Oistrakh was lucky to be the only Soviet violinist who performed with Beethoven’s great interpreter – conductor Otto Klemperer. After receiving the recordings of the sonatas of the duo Igor Oistrakh and Natalia Zertsalova, Klemperer wrote in a letter to Igor:

“I know you want ‘criticism’ – but it’s not. Your interpretation is beautiful and very authentic and completely convincing to me. I congratulate you and no less your wife, whom I find an absolutely equal partner. ”
Since 1968, Igor has been expanding his creative activity even more: he begins to perform as a conductor.

In 1989, Igor Oistrakh received the title of People’s Artist of the USSR.

He is also known as a teacher. From 1996 to 2010 he taught at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels.

The Violin Gene is uniquely transmitted in the third generation: Igor’s son and David’s grandson, Valery Oistrakh, is also a talented violin artist and teacher at the Brussels Conservatory.

Igor Oistrakh is a constant “violinist” in all spheres of life: as a son, husband and father, as an artist, conductor and teacher. Violin solo his whole life. Despite the fact that now Igor Oistrakh has moved away from concert and teaching activities, he admits that “the brain continues to play the violin”.

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