Violinist Camilla Wicks has died at age 92, and violinists around the world are remembering her artistry as well as her soloist career, which reached its peak in the decade following World War II and stood out as an early example of a female violinist reaching international status.
Born in Long Beach, Calif. to a Norwegian father and American mother, Wicks started playing the violin at age 3, first taking lessons from her father, who was a violinist and teacher. She made her orchestral debut at age 7 in Long Beach, playing Mozart's Concerto No. 4.
When she was 10 she started studying with Juilliard's Louis Persinger and later with Henri Temianka. She made her recital debut in New York at age 13, and a year later performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1946 at age 17, playing the Sibelius concerto. She would go on to record that concerto six years later, a recording that brought her broad recognition but would be one of her very few commercial recordings. BELOW: Camilla Wicks performs the Sibelius Violin Concerto in 1952 with the Symphony Orchestra Of Radio Stockholm, Sixten Ehrling conducting.
A number of Wicks' recorded live performances can be found in the six-disc, 2015 compilation, Camilla Wicks: Five Decades of Treasured Performances (affiliate link).
Wicks was married in 1951, and while she continued to perform for some time, she retired in her early 30s to care for her five children. "My attitude was that there's a time for everything in life: I had enjoyed this fulfilling period of concertizing and now the time had come to devote myself to my family." She sold her 1725 "Duke of Cambridge" Stradivari violin and went about raising her family in Texas.
She later moved to Washington state, where she taught at Wenatchee Valley College. After that, she took a position at San Francisco Conservatory, where she held the Isaac Stern Distinguished Chair until her retirement in 2005.
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