Written by Laurie Niles
Published: November 23, 2015 at 6:15 AM [UTC]
Born in Detroit, Silverstein studied with his father, Bernard Silverstein, a public school music teacher. He later studied with Efrem Zimbalist, William Primrose, Josef Gingold, and Mischa Mischakoff. In 1959 he won a silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition and in 1960 was awarded Naumburg Award.
Silverstein joined the back of the second violin section of the Boston Symphony at age 23, moving up to principal second violinist and eventually concertmaster in 1962, serving in that capacity for 22 years. He became assistant conductor, as well, in 1971.
Silverstein came to Salt Lake City in 1983, where he was Music Director of the Utah Symphony for 15 years.
As a teacher, was a professor of violin at the New England Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute. He also led the faculty at Tanglewood and was a regular faculty artist at the Sarasota Music Festival.
He played on a 1742 Guarneri del Gesù.
Violinist.com member Nat Little described a lesson with Silverstein: "He told me some old stories about Szerying and things he noticed while watching Heifetz from the concertmaster seat of the Boston Symphony. His main observation about Heifetz was that his left hand never stopped moving.... So from that day on I made sure to vibrate every note. If you listen for this in Silverstein's playing, you will not hear a note go without vibrato. He is very aware of this element of making the instrument shimmer."
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What a sound. Joseph Silverstein performs Bach Sonata No. 3, Largo, as an encore after a concert with the Boston Civic Symphony in March 2001:
And in his capacity as concertmaster, this beautiful solo from Swan Lake:
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