A New Video of Aaron Rosand

February 10, 2007 at 12:22 AM · Maestro Rosand is believe it or not pushing 80. Here is a new video of him entitled Violins and Cigars on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-XfLK_Gvkw

Replies (100)

February 10, 2007 at 12:36 PM · Thanks for the link. This double-cd of him is also great: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000001K46/qid=1137882534/sr=1-7/ref=sr_1_7/102-5913956-2074519?s=classical&v=glance&n=5174

February 10, 2007 at 04:12 PM · It worries me when Mr. Rosand smokes cigars while playing the violin. Doesn't cigar ash get on the violin?

February 10, 2007 at 04:57 PM · doesn't the cigar smoke get into his lungs?:)

February 10, 2007 at 05:07 PM · Great link, Nate. I grew up listening to his Sarasate....great violinist...Piatagorsky smoked cigarettes while he taught and so did Mr. Brodsky, much against the director's of the schools will... :)

February 10, 2007 at 08:41 PM · Does anyone have information about the violin he is playing in that video?

February 10, 2007 at 08:54 PM · The violin he is playing is the "Havana" Stradvarius.

:) Sandy

February 10, 2007 at 09:42 PM · The man can play "rings" around the violin. He sounds great. He is almost eighty. Let him have his cigars!

February 10, 2007 at 09:45 PM · Julie C.,

Rosand used to smoke very long cigars, perhaps now he switched to a different brand.

But he would smoke them in lessons while playing his "Kochansky" Del Gesu. I don't think he was ever worried about the ashes.

The man still sounds great.

February 10, 2007 at 10:39 PM · Aaron Rosand is a fabulous violinist who I believe never had the type of career he should have. I'm sorry to say I never heard him in person, but I have several of his recordings and love them dearly.


February 11, 2007 at 12:16 AM ·

February 11, 2007 at 01:30 AM · ...........

February 11, 2007 at 01:28 AM · actually now that Isaac Stern is no longer with us, we can openly say that he blocked many big talents including Aaron R.

Rosand told me the story. It is fascinating, and true.

February 11, 2007 at 01:57 AM · Yes, Mr. Rosand certainly isn't the only one.

February 11, 2007 at 02:12 AM · so Pieter,

who did you end up studying with this year and where?

February 11, 2007 at 04:54 AM ·

February 11, 2007 at 05:57 AM · that's the one.......

February 11, 2007 at 12:24 PM · i think it will be fair to to say that it is human nature to pick and choose, help or block. i dare to say while gennady is still alive that he must have blocked many violins and bows considered to be good or even great by others:)

it would be refreshing to mouth off at stern while he was alive, to give the man a fair

chance to rebut. or is it like mafia where there is no room for give and take:)?

February 11, 2007 at 01:37 PM · Hi,

Al, it was the latter.


February 11, 2007 at 06:36 PM · Al Ku,

I resent your remark which is really out of place. First of all, I am probably younger than you.

Secondly, many people do know how Isaac commanded the world of classical music (kinda like Tony Soprano).

It is ironic how all of a sudden few years after his death, there is an influx of wonderful European artists?!

Some of us who studied with Rosand know the story of how Stern blocked Aaron's career. From the younger generation, Julian Rachlin also suffered the same experience while Stern was alive. It was Lorin Maazel who despite Stern's influence, would bring Rachlin to the US.

Thirdly, I am not in the position of power as Mr. Stern was.

I always admired Isaac Stern, and my statement is based on fact not fiction or personal biases.

Your statement is malicious, mean spirited and utter nonsence.

I suggest you refrain from such posts.

February 11, 2007 at 07:40 PM · I have heard (second hand, but a close second hand) that Stern also worked against Elmar Oliveira.


February 11, 2007 at 07:12 PM · nevermind....

February 11, 2007 at 07:42 PM · KG,

That is very true, and also Erik Friedmann.

February 11, 2007 at 08:00 PM · Gennady:

Very interesting. Thanks for the insight. I have wondered about Eugene Fodor as well...though I have nothing really to base this on.


February 11, 2007 at 08:19 PM · I don't think there was anything there with Stern (as far as I know).

February 11, 2007 at 08:51 PM · I think you all forget how many young talents Isaac Stern DID aid. For example, Itzhak Perlman. When Perlman was young, managers were refusing to publicize him because of his being "lame" due to his polio. Isaac saw past that and because of his great influence arranged a manager for Perlman. (in spite the manager's will)

February 11, 2007 at 09:15 PM · Alex, no one forgets that.

He has done a great deal for classical music, and for those he endorsed and also saving Carnegie Hall.

But he did stop a great many talented players. That is the truth.

He also helped launch the career of Shlomo Mintz, and then ended it as well after hearing about an interview Shlomo did in Europe (where he was asked who was his favorite violinist and who he looked up to when growing up). Shlomo did not include Isaac in his reply but named Heifetz, Kriesler and a few others.

Thus was the end of Shlomos career in the USA. By the same person who launched it.

BTW, I am sure your teacher Dylana J. can tell you a few stories about Isaac Stern.

February 11, 2007 at 09:03 PM · There are people, both well-known and not so well-known, who can be described as "larger than life." Very often they have enormous strengths and achievements, and just as enormous weaknesses and shortcomings. With such people it is often hard to remain neutral and objective; we either love them or hate them.

I can list probably a dozen people (both famous and not-so-famous) whom I would describe as "larger than life" and at the same time as having "feet of clay." As I grow older, I tend to feel more appreciative of their strengths and more forgiving (or at least understanding) of their weaknesses. Maybe it's not the ideal attitude to have, but it is mine, and it does bring a certain peace of mind.

I, too, as an ordinary music lover, have heard the contrary stories about Mr. Stern over the years. Because we acknowledge the facts (as Gennady says) of the negatives does not mean we ignore the positives, or vice-versa. When another decade has passed and the distance of time has allowed some of the dust to settle, it will be interesting to see what history starts to conclude about Isaac Stern.


February 11, 2007 at 09:34 PM · Sandy, I know exactly what you mean in your second paragraph. With me it just mustn't be in self interest. If so, they get their tires slashed. And personally I wouldn't call retaliation for not being mentioned in the interview self interest. That was a huge faux pas. On the other hand, I don't know many people who'd hand out the death sentence for it. But some.

February 11, 2007 at 09:31 PM ·

February 11, 2007 at 09:52 PM · Jim, yeah, it's hard to forgive someone who crosses a certain ethical line.


February 11, 2007 at 10:45 PM · gennady, my point is validated by your reaction to my post, which is, if i want to express my opinion, i will say it in your living face, so that i will witness your action and bear the consequence of my action.

i reiterate that it is poor form for someone of your intelligence, achievement and statue to state that it is ok to talk about the negatives of someone because he is dead.

btw, if you think i am defending stern, you totally missed the point.

February 11, 2007 at 11:47 PM · Al Ku,

The point again is, that Your statement was malicious, mean spirited and utter nonsence:

"i dare to say while gennady is still alive that he must have blocked many violins and bows considered to be good or even great by others:)"

You missed the point which was made regarding Rosand and that he should have had a bigger career.

For those of us who have studied with Rosand, we know the story all too well.

And most here grew up on Stern's recordings and I personally admire and value what he has done for classical music.

By now, you have seen other posts by other members who have brought up other stories.

If you were a professional in the business, you might have encountered someone with similar stories. But being that you are a fan and all, just appreciate some inside info.

Again, I suggest you refrain from such malicious & mean spirited posts.

That is my point to your living face.....

February 11, 2007 at 11:51 PM · i did not miss the point that i was making. you have chosen to ignore it after i pointed it out the second time.

i have ignored your point on purpose because i think to talk about others behind their backs, actually, standing 6 feet above, is cheap and low.

anyway, this is a thread about rosand the great player, not rosand the stern's victim, so have the last say, but please be positive and exercise some common sense:)

February 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM · The point again is, that Your statement was malicious, mean spirited and utter nonsence:

"i dare to say while gennady is still alive that he must have blocked many violins and bows considered to be good or even great by others:)"

as well as cheap and very low.

Everyone likes to discuss a great career of the famous or even infamous.

There is something intriguing in that so many have stories about the man.

The big point was made regarding the great Aaron Rosand and how he should have had a bigger career.

If you are too obtuse to understand the reason for the discussion, then just move on to discussing the life of Anna Nicole Smith.

If you are truly a fan, then stop insulting those who offer you good advice from time to time.

February 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM · it is amusing you can consider that line demeaning when i had every intention to compliment. allow me,

you seem to have very good knowledge about violins and bows and have very discriminating taste. your power, for the lack of a better term to mind, is to tell a good violin of your liking apart from another not to your liking. therefore, anytime you make a call, one violin or bow stands out at the expense of some others. therefore, those not chosen were "blocked" by you.

same with stern...at certain time of his life, he was bigger than life,,,he was beyond classical music. when he picked up the phone, he could make things happen. his power, then, was supporting or not players to his liking.

to me, that is a parallel. if you insist that i was mean to you, accept my apology on that.

but, the point remains...:)

February 12, 2007 at 12:12 AM · your analogy is almost as good as this one:

"Passing out condoms in high school is like passing out cookbooks at a fat farm."........which has to be one of the worst analogies ever made.

February 12, 2007 at 12:44 AM ·

February 12, 2007 at 12:49 AM · nate, i understand that. and i really do not see much point talking about it, especially under the condition, hey, the guy is dead, come out, it is safe to bash.

we are grown men and women here. a little integrity goes a long way.

besides, there are always 2 sides to a coin, but there is only one steak house. cheers!

February 12, 2007 at 01:08 AM · Are there books on political battles in the world of violinists?

February 12, 2007 at 01:41 AM · Well, it is in the music.

My first ever ever CD of classical music, bought at Kmart when I was like 6 or 7 was a crappy ass CD but with SOME awesome music - Lalo S.E. played by Rosand was particularly stunning. Needless to say, I was greatly influenced by it. And I love the violin playing of the greats that Stern "blocked".

Yet, I've never loved Stern's playing... Actually, he is one of the few that I totally dislike music wise -- I think the music speaks for itself.

I kind of knew about Stern's influence, but didn't know that is why Shlomo and all these other great artists were in hiding. I'd pick Shlomo over Stern any day, and I'm glad he left us before Chang, Hanh and all those others came along. Who knows what other crazy stuff he would have done!?

Just because you are famous and influential doesn't mean you can pull a "Karagan/Bobeck" and get away with it, even if you're deceased.


February 12, 2007 at 02:14 AM · Nate:

I had wondered about Francescatti...during the 50s, he was Columbia's #1 violinist (and quite justly so, in my opinion). But during the 60s, as Stern became the most powerful instrumentalist in music, that position went to Stern. It has always seemed more than coincidental to me. I do know that certain recordings of Francescatti were never released and others never made. For example, Francescatti played the Stravinksi Concerto rather frequenlty (and very well from what other have told me) yet he never recorded it. Stern did.

I hadn't considered Ricci, but this makes sense. Like Rosand, he was relegated to second tier record companies while Stern's protegees gobbled up the major recording contracts.


February 12, 2007 at 02:38 AM · Nate,

it's not worth explaining something to someone who does not want to see the point made here.

We are not belittling Stern's musicianship but discussing his political influence and behind the scene's manipulation to have prevented some very huge artists from sharing their artistry.

I also don't appreciate when people belittle Heifetz over his playing etc. but here is a person who actually did a great deal to help the classical music industry and at the same time hurt some very great players.

You can't say that about Milstein, Heifetz, Fransescatti, Ricci nor Menuhin, all of whom could play rings around Isaac.

February 12, 2007 at 02:28 AM · more like....it's not worth explaining something to someone who does not and does not have to appreciate the condescending attitude from someone with an alpha dog complex:)

the point about stern's alleged unfair business and political practices has already been made. but hey, add more stories or speculations to feed the inquiring minds..they need to know what may or may not have happened according to the advocates of the alledged victims on v.com, via second hand info.

get real and grow up.

February 12, 2007 at 03:00 AM · spoken like a true fan heh?..........who has no idea what goes on in the real world of music.

Just cut the crap Al.

Like any other workplace, music is a business.

And as always, absolute power corrupts absolutely!

The fact remains, that people like myself and others have first hand info from artists such as Rosand, Oliveira, Friedmann and more recently Rachlin and others that Stern had indeed do such things. They are not allegations, but fact. Rosand, Oliveira, Friedmann & Rachlin told me this themselves.

If you care not to believe, again, go enjoy reading about the life of Anna Nicole Smith who everybody is talking about. The famous /infamous stripper who married an octogenarian and became a celebrity.

February 12, 2007 at 03:04 AM ·

Yes you're right Al, there's only one Peter Luger :)

February 12, 2007 at 03:02 AM · Aaron told me many years ago that his recordings are "live," meaning that mistakes, if any, are pretty much left in so what you hear on your recording is as close to a live performance as possible. He also said that a violinist he was familiar with spliced many takes of a recording to get a complete recording without mistakes.

If that's a Strad, what happened to his beautiful Guarneri?

February 12, 2007 at 02:59 AM · There is a difference between trashing the memory of someone who's no longer able to defend themselves, and stating a simple fact that used to be kept hushed up.

If for no other reason, historical influences (such as Stern's) need to be acknowledged (although not used to sling mud). How easy is it, if people do not know the 'whole story' of these 'behind-the-scenes' maneuvers, for people to seriously misunderstand the state of classical music in the US during the time he was doing this.

What I mean is, some might say, "America didn't produce any great violinists during such-and-such decades. Just look...how few Americans were great violinists were stars and recording artists at that time. Only Isaac Stern!"

A simple, "Well, it wasn't acknowledged during his lifetime but it's known that Mr. Stern..." as a rebuttal is certainly a reasonable thing to do. Without being malicious or hateful, of course.

No sense getting the idea that historical figures weren't humans with faults...better to remember them as real people.

February 12, 2007 at 03:09 AM · Ray, sadly I think practically everyone does that with recording nowadays. Recording classical music is almost turning into plastic surgery anymore. There was this violinist once that recorded the Bruch Scottish Fantasy with 1200 edits for a major label.

February 12, 2007 at 03:47 AM · gennady, please, you mentioned anna nicole smith tonight 2 time already. please let go. really not my type:) if you attack with big booby tactic again, i will surrender and concur with you for the whole year:)

nate, you do notice that so far i have not made a single stand on the merit/weakness issue on stern, right? i simply disagree with the way this stern discussion was started.

but gennady said something correctly, in the wrong context unfortunately, that is: MUSIC IS BUSINESS.

idealism is not business. fair play is not business. business is about back stabbing so that i get ahead of you, under the pretense that i am building a better tomorrow. business is about investors making puppets out of people to meet the bottom line. music business is about using music.

name one person that power and influence have rendered him into a mr nice guy? hard to find, isn't it?

isn't it to be expected that business will be conducted the same way tomorrow as today and yesterday? isn't it true that laws can only legislate so little human nature?

lets say nate becomes a big deal soon, big enough so that nate can influence peter luger to open up a branch in stamford, ct. why and how or is it right? well, because he can. but, someone in new jersey may cry foul!

February 12, 2007 at 04:25 AM · Just give it up Al.

How many people have put it into perspective for you?!

I respectfully suggest you are either severly myopic or obstinately obtuse.

I have put it into context for you correctly in the most cohesive context, that is: Like any other workplace, Music is a Business.

And as always, absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Is that crystal enough ?

You are speculating on issues you have very little knowledge of.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) you are on the outside of the music business. You are a Fan.

A very interesting discussion about the omnipotence of Isaac Stern insued, and all you could do is attack my integrity with a malicious & mean spirited post.

And now you want to justify your post?

You obviously have no idea as to how things are and were in the music business. Not all great artists were in the position of power as Isaac Stern was. Having saved Carnegie Hall, opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him, which he used to his advantage. That is reality.

BTW Music Business is about marketing/selling artists and their music to the public.

Normally, managements pick the top artists who attract an audience. Isaac Stern, manipulated that equation a bit, since he became the President of Carnegie Hall and adviser to the powerful ICM Artists management agency.

Stern's own biographer stated:

"Mr. Stern was neither a child prodigy nor a flashy virtuoso, but he built his reputation in the mid-1940's with a rich tone and emotional interpretive style."

His biographer goes on to say:

"In his capacity not only as the president of Carnegie Hall, but also as an adviser to the powerful ICM Artists management agency, the chairman of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and chairman and music adviser of the Jerusalem Music Center, he was able to encourage and open doors for young musicians he considered exceptionally talented. Mr. Ma, Mr. Ax, the violinists Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz, Sergiu Luca, Joseph Swenson and Cho-Liang Lin and the pianist Yefim Bronfman were all given a crucial push by Mr. Stern early in their careers.

Inevitably, that ability to create opportunities caused bitterness among musicians who were unable to join his circle. But Mr. Stern took their criticism in stride.

"I didn't make power, I was granted power, as any person who is successful in public life is granted it," he told The New York Times Magazine in 1979. "What I am, I think, more than anything else, is a willing and capable catalyst."

Just go watch Sopranos or something.

February 12, 2007 at 04:34 AM · I don't think anyone other than Elman in his prime could make a violin sing like Stern did. His recordings bring me great joy, especially his recordings of encores.

Interestingly, the effects of resentment are the same whether based on fact or fiction, and no one is immune from that. I'm delighted to be reminded so by hearing how virtuosi have paraded theirs in front of their students like a Grammy.

February 12, 2007 at 04:35 AM · gennady, i am impressed with your confabulation. good luck.

February 12, 2007 at 04:39 AM · I've learned that when it is clear that no concensus will be reached, it's best to just not continue the discussion.

Nate - I added you on AOL.

February 12, 2007 at 04:54 AM · I like Rosand's attitude--that was cool.

February 12, 2007 at 05:48 AM · Al,

Your use of the word is neither correct nor is it humorous.

Perhaps your sence of humor suffers from anorectal disorder and could use a Hemorrhoidectomy?

Alan Wittert,

I also love the recordings of young Stern. But the reality is, now that he is gone, other than Perlman and Zukerman, the young great talents that are becoming the stars of today & tomorrow are not the ones that were pushed by Stern. I doubt very much they would get the same exposure, if Mr. Stern was still alive and in command/power.

It is a long list of them including:

Repin, Vengerov, Kavakos, S. Jackiw, Hahn, Ehnes, J.Fischer, Rachlin, J. Jansen and that's just to name a few.

February 12, 2007 at 05:58 AM · I think Gennady said it was ok to say this now not because the man is dead, but because he no longer has power over people who could get hurt if he was alive. In other words, were we to talk about this while he was in power we could further hurt players like Rosand.

Hey what happened to the video of him playing on utube. I just checked on it and it was pulled.

Rosand was one of my favorite players, still is. I really do think he should go down as one of the best to ever play, but I wonder how many see it that way.

I was not aware that he was now playing with a strad, I have always thought of his sound as a del Gesu type of sound. Are we sure he is playing a Strad?

And what happened to the video!!!!!!!?

February 12, 2007 at 07:10 AM · This discussion has been fascinating for me, as I am also a "fan" not an "insider" in music.

I think this is one where "fans" who have no information, like me, just read and take in the opportunity that v.com gives to learn a little bit more about why things happened a certain way.

I have come in at the point where Al says no one in business does anything but back stab. Here is where I can speak from personal knowledge: the same as for music, there are all sorts of people and ways of doing business. And I know many many who have the power, and turn it to good use rather than bad.

So I think the fact that I.Stern used his power in that way was entirely his own choice, and the fact that he is dead does not make it better.

Or we could say history was only full of good people doing good deeds for the best, you know seeing as they are all dead...

February 12, 2007 at 08:44 AM · and as Sander M. said:

"When another decade has passed and the distance of time has allowed some of the dust to settle, it will be interesting to see what history starts to conclude about Isaac Stern."

February 12, 2007 at 12:22 PM · Hi,

Mr. Rosand is of course a terrific violinist. That cannot be argued. His technical accomplishments are beyond doubt - listen to the recordings of the Ernst, Joachim, Hubay concertos for example.

Al, with all due respect, it is true that Mr. Stern, though he accomplished much for music in America and was a accomplished artist, also did a lot to control who and who did not have careers. I think that is a fact. Musicians for a long time kept quite out of fear. I don't think that people are trying to speak ill of the dead, but point out that this major component of Mr. Stern's life seems to have been just as present as his philantropic endeavours. It is sad, but unfortunately there.


February 12, 2007 at 12:39 PM · I saw Rosand live in Singapore with the SSO about 20 years ago. He played the Tchaikovsky on the Kochanski del Gesu - which had a magnificent G string tone. I also like his Biddulph CD of Baroque violin sonatas, which included the Vitali-Charlier Chaconne.

February 12, 2007 at 01:27 PM · Gennady

If you can share now that my curiosity is getting the best of me, I was wondering what Stern had against Rosand? Was it jealousy?

February 12, 2007 at 01:48 PM · Is the hybrid CHarlier/Auer the one that people currently play the most?


February 12, 2007 at 02:13 PM · parmeeta, may be you misunderstood what i said in reference to stern's alleged treatment of some others.

there are 2 levels. look at it in terms of the relationship between 2 competitors, say, McD and a weaker competitor that sells burgers across from McD.

we know the estate of McD founder, Mrs Kroc, has put up hundreds of Mil for art programs, for humanity and good, something that is probably similar to what you are referring to,,,that is one level. but it is conceivable that the owner of the weaker store care less about the charity because he is worried about his own survival and angry at McD's campaign to drive him out of biz,,,the other level.

the business model for McD is to grow at the expense of the weaker store. show me one successful biz, one that has shareholders to answer to, that does not function this way. MBAs learn about marketing and finance not ethical treatment of competitors. may be they should,,,in a different school.

to increase market share, McD will try to draw people away from its competitors and people at the weaker store may share similar feelings with some classical musicians, that they have been left out, or singled out to be left out.

i speculate (since i have neither first, second, or even third hand info) that may be stern saw some others not as deciples or people who would fall in line, but as competitors or not his kind, therefore, human nature took over from there. to him, may be salvaging the c hall and crushing people he does not care for is on the same plate.

surprising? not to me. that is why on this thread i never argued against that. want to talk about it more? well, it will be nice if the victims can speak out for themselves not just to make the story more believable.

a bigger concern is not the authenticity of the stories told, because either way, the common take-home thesis is that the classical music business world is not as beautiful as the music itself and participants beware.

February 12, 2007 at 03:23 PM · First of all, for me it’s very good news that Mr. Rosand is fine and still doing strong. I always liked his playing very much and even think that it probably has improved in the last 10-20 years, as in the IMO very good recording of the Beethoven/Brahms concerti.

As my modest contribution to the Stern “discussion” I would like to say that since we’re posting in violinist.com (and not in pseudophilosopher.com) the “alleged” facts are more or less public domain and should rather be known. I, for my part, am much more interested in second-hand reports from inside the music business as in weird, incorrect and a little childish McD (can I call them “cheesy”…?) analogies.

February 12, 2007 at 04:13 PM · "I, for my part, am much more interested in second-hand reports ...."

good for you and nice to know.

February 12, 2007 at 05:15 PM · Al Ku,

now you have more people telling you your analogy

is so bad it's not even an analogy..............

February 12, 2007 at 05:27 PM · I too don't see the correlation between the classical music business and selling big macs. I have to really disagree with you Al, when you suggested that everyone at the top of a field or a business had to have stabbed someone's back along the way to get to where he/she is. To disprove that statement, take Jascha Heifetz for example. He did not get to where he was based on anything else but his merit, whereas with lesser talented folks (who had comparable recording contracts and places named after them) - a person like this had to be able to know how to sell a product that wasn't arguably as good with just as much success. Yes one thing good about Stern :) was saving Carnegie Hall, but let me add, it was not he who paid for the hall's survival, it was the generous donors and philanthropists who made it possible.

February 12, 2007 at 06:43 PM · Nate,

well said, but (to his defense) if it wasn't for Stern's sheer determination to get them to donate, it would not have happenned.

Even politicians told him that it was impossible to do anything when a building is doomed for destruction.

He actually did the impossible and proved all of the doubting T's that it was.

There is an excellent biography My First 79 Years, by Isaac Stern, written with Chaim Potok (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), ISBN 0-679-45130-7

and a DVD biography which talks more details about the subject: Isaac Stern: Life's Virtuoso a k a American Masters Collection

Michael B,

I am not sure Aaron would approve. I should consult with him before I or anyone should write the whole story on the internet.

But yes it had to do with the Barber concerto which Rosand prepared with Barber and a "request" by Isaac Stern.....who left no grudge unSterned.

February 12, 2007 at 06:41 PM · OK, since I'm by no means a music industry insider...

A couple of posts have hinted that what those who were apparently blocked by Stern have in common is that they were/are Americans? Is that right? And those he helped, weren't? (???)

So he wanted to be the greatest living American violinist and arranged it so that this was how it appeared?

If not can we please clear this up for the slower members of the forum? ;o)

This, I think, is the crux of the argument that would explain that it was not just "sour grapes on the part of those he chose not to help" but, in fact, apparently a conscious effort on his part to see to it that his star shone brighter than others who were equally worthy.

That's an important distinction.



not an insider but insatiably nosey all the same

February 12, 2007 at 06:59 PM · Hi,

Gennady and Nate, your points are excellent. However, I think that the difference is that we know the business of the world of classical music and violinists because we live in it day in and out as a profession. Therefore, I am very afraid that what is said to people who are not in our situation will not be able to understand what you are saying.


February 12, 2007 at 07:12 PM · nate, you may need to look at stern not as an individual but as an institution, someone with tremendous political clout. in that regard, heifeitz is not a good comparison.

stern's self interests, for better or worse, have dictated his course of action. some here claim to be musical insiders, well, we are all ears. i have yet to read one post where there is a thorough and clear anecdote, from the beginning to the end. is it because the tellers are bashful still even though stern is long gone and why? is it because not all facts are known?

i appreciate your disagreement because conversing with you is like a conversation. i do not believe this forum is meant for people to wear the insider hats and act like bullies.

i have speculated stern's motives in terms of human nature/business practice and provided a wonderfully cheesy analogy. he acted like a bully because he could. you apparently had much closer contact with one source and i wonder if you feel comfortable sharing in public not just what he did but why.

February 12, 2007 at 07:09 PM · Gennady,

I read My First 79 Years twice. It doesn't mention Stern's malicious hijacking of other, more talented people's careers. He does mention finding Pinchas Zukerman, Perlman, and I believe Schlomo Mintz. He even mentions the Leavantritt competition, but doesn't mention how he tried to derail Kyung Wha Chung.

February 12, 2007 at 07:57 PM · Pieter,

The derailment of Chung was told to me by my chamber music coach Lillian Fuchs who was one of the judges at that competition.

Nevertheless, Stern was right, in that Zuckerman is an extraordinary talent/musician, and his lasting career since then speaks for itself. He (Pinky) is still one of my favorite violinists.

As far as Stern & "My First 79 Years, by Isaac Stern", written WITH Chaim Potok (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), it was written with Isaac's words and point of view , there are other biographies/essays which mention:

"Stern's protégés benefited not only from his advice, but also from his influence in the music world, which could open many doors for them. Complaints that other deserving musicians then found those doors closed made this a sensitive subject and he was quick to anticipate and deflect imagined criticism: "I only listen and try to guide; I do not push or sponsor or create careers. I have no magic wand." Isaac Stern: A Reminiscence

By Edith Eisler (an essay)


The thing is, yes he did discover great talent in Perlman, Zuckerman, Mintz, Shaham, Yo Yo Ma, E. Ax, Yefim Bronfman.

He also started the careers of Cho Liang Lin & Joseph Swensen.

The point is, as he became President of Carnegie Hall, and advisor to ICM, he "called the shots" of who to promote (or not to).

Thus was the demise of Zino Francescatti (superb French violinist who made a huge success in 1939 USA tour) , Erik Friedmann (an American Violinist), Aaron Rosand (American Violinist), Ruggiero Ricci (American Violinist), who were more or less of his generation and then later Oliveira (first American Gold Medal winner at Tchaikovsky competition), Julian Rachlin to name just a very few since he had other vested interest in the people he was promoting/pushing.

February 12, 2007 at 07:51 PM · Gennady, the same thing could be said of Kyung Wha Chung. She too, had an amazing career and was probably the first of a long line of successful Asian violinists.

February 12, 2007 at 08:04 PM · I'd say she had her day as an excellent violinist 20 years ago.

I have heard her recitals since 1988, and I have played with her soloing......she is not the same violinist as she used to be and nowhere near the same league as Pinky.

February 12, 2007 at 08:13 PM · ...it seems that Stern had an emule...comments of Perlman concerning Szeryng in the "Art of Violin":they are very mean..."Who Is playing on the radio??? it sounds perfect...could not tell...must be Szeryng!!!...he sounds like anybody!!!

February 12, 2007 at 08:08 PM · Yeah, she won Leventritt... tied with Pinky.

But yeah, I heard someone tried to influence Galamian to tell her to not enter the competition, but she did against her teacher's advice.

But you gotta remember, she was a hottie when she was younger -- hehe, I think the idea of a hot chick playing some nasty ass violin was not a sightly thing for a lot of people.


February 12, 2007 at 08:18 PM · Marc,

I agree. Szeryng has been one of my favorite violinists as well.

I was also surprised to hear Perlman saying that. I have always found Szeryng's sound as distinctive and individual as that of Stern, Heifetz, Menuhin, Oistrakh & Milstein.

February 12, 2007 at 08:33 PM · Szeryng ,in the concert hall with the Leduc Guarneri performing Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tschaïkovsky: I heard that truly great distinctive sound during the 70's...Szering is not my favorite violinist, but for sure, he was a great one!He once told me that the most gifted violinist heard in his youth was a fellow student named Arthur Leblanc, the "Acadian" poet of the violin as a critic hailed in the New-York Times in 1940 after a recital of Le Blanc in Carnegie Hall...At the time, LeBlanc was playing on the Kochanski del Gesù that belongs now to Rosand...


February 12, 2007 at 09:42 PM · Arnold Steinhardt in his book "Violin Dreams" makes Szerying sound like a nut case. (As opposed to a frog case.)

February 12, 2007 at 09:56 PM · well the man did have a passion for "the Bottle" and for women.

He also spoke 11 languages fluently, including Russian, French, Spanish & Italian.

February 12, 2007 at 10:03 PM · I also have heard rumors of stern interfering with the career of rosand olivira and friedmann

February 12, 2007 at 10:40 PM · as a student, I took a few lessons with Friedmann.

He was a wonderful teacher and person. He was also quite the artist, he had fantastic sketches of Heifetz, Oistrakh and others (hanging in his studio) which he drew in his spare time. It's too bad he never featured them anywhere.

He had also invited me and my buddy Sang Kim to play at the launching of KULTUR videos which published all of the now famous videos of Oistrakh, Kogan, and others.

He told me that had he not gone to Heifetz, and had stayed with Galamian and gone to Stern for "advice", perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Strangely enough, he chose to go to Heifetz when he had already embarked on a major solo career. Because he still wanted to learn more about fiddle playing, and why not learn from the greatest violinist (Jasha Heifetz), as he said.


Happy Birthday Maestro Rosand!

Wishing you the very best.

February 12, 2007 at 10:46 PM · Greetings,

it`s interesitng that someoen raised the issue of Stern sort of bringing Perlman over and so on. I think it is in `Teaching Genuis` there is a very strongly worded statement from the Perlman`s to the effetc that this wa s not so and that they spend a lot of energy refuting that particular claim.

As far as Mr RosaNds recordings are cocnerne di think it is a real tragedy he had ot make may of them with second rate orchestras. His disc of the Joachim , Ernst and a few others is, in muy opinion, one of the greatest discs of violin musaic extant.



February 12, 2007 at 10:51 PM · Vince,

Yes, most players perform the Vitali-Charlier-Auer edition of the Chaconne. Heifetz, Rosand, Sarah Chang, Bin Huang and I play it. Accardo recorded another version - maybe the David? (It is on a Stradivarius film soundtrack on Phlips) Regards - Lee

February 13, 2007 at 05:42 AM · BTW Marc,

Szeryng's Beethoven was really the tops.

The only one who has a similar effect on me with that piece is Pinky. I've played it with Pinky soloing on that piece several times, and the last time he came a few months ago to Seattle, it was really magnificent.

February 13, 2007 at 07:26 AM · Gennady,

Szeryng-Klemperer Beethoven VC on Testament or is it his version on Philips that you are referring to?

Regards - Lee

February 13, 2007 at 07:48 AM · Gennady - or it is the video of the Beethoven on VAI? Regards - Lee

February 13, 2007 at 08:27 AM · I heard him playing it live many times (and we worked on it in his masterclass).

February 13, 2007 at 03:22 PM · Actually Al,

I was not referring to the Big Business supporting Arts at all!!

You stated that all business is about back-stabbing and people who have power will inevitably misuse it. I was talking of people I know personally who may be classified being big business owners (I don't know about McD) but huge concerns anyway, who use that power to good purpose in their lives and other peoples (not the type that advertise it in large letters as in your analogy). I also know others who don't.

The point I was making that you always have a choice, it is not something thrust upon you.

And people trying to control music careers of others, even at petty levels is something totally reprehensible.

February 13, 2007 at 04:25 PM · ...about Stern and Vladimir Horowitz...It is really amusing to read the passage in Horowitz biography when Stern is trying to seduce the "pope" of pianists to play in a trio in Carnegie Hall ...Horowitz did not like the idea at all ( complaining about Stern being lazy and calling him "Mister Carnegie Hall"...)Horowitz simply ignored the man avoiding any serious conversations with Stern...but finally, Stern won...Maybe because of the influence of Wanda Toscanini...

February 13, 2007 at 06:01 PM · <

chance to rebut. or is it like mafia where there is no room for give and take:)? >>

Actually Al that is exactly what the music business is like. Talent is really the least important commodity in the business.

The comment that the agent says to Beyonce in Dreamgirls is absolutely true. Take a generic voice, or fiddle or piano--it matters not--and make sure that the package--physical package--is sufficiently attractive and you can invent a career. What do you think Vanessa Mae is? I would mention some others but you wouldn't believe me anyway. The business has always been dirty--don't act so surprised.

Gennady is simply acknowleding what's true--it may not be nice but it is true!

February 13, 2007 at 06:05 PM · Actually Mr Fodor deep-sixed his own career without help!

February 13, 2007 at 06:06 PM ·

February 13, 2007 at 07:03 PM · parmeeta, oh please do not take what i said that figuratively, in terms of everyone holding a knife and stabbing each other's back, lol. 2 examples of capitalism are microsoft and standard oil. check out what happened to the competition. music businesses are not that different. with stern, either you were with him or not. surprising? not to me. he promoted some and demoted some...surprising? not to me. you do not need to be a music insider to appreciate this kindergarten level logic and rhetoric. it is the musical insiders who want to make a simple concept complicated, by saying something and not saying something, to make themselves look more important.

i do not know enough, from your writing, what your business friends do for a living, nor do i know their relationship with their competitors. but it sounds like a great arrangement where competitors help each other to succeed. did i type that? remember this, human nature is not easily observed when it is show time.

jay, when i was joking with the mafia concept, it was in reference to what a powerful figure can do if he chooses to be reckless, not necessarily about the entire music industry (since i am not an insider, ouch). as you have alluded to, musicians are commodities to music execs who have to meet bottom line and answer to investors. because of that, unfortunately, ANYTHING GOES. with stern, read the above or any other post by me on this thread. check to see if i have been consistent. was i neutral to start and speculative to end? did i find the discussion distasteful because i think the industry or stern is pure as snow, or is it something else?

did i do the trendy thing: throwing stones at stern first and then trying to make nice by eulogizing him?

violin playing is tough, but being a man is tougher, even when stern is dead.

February 13, 2007 at 08:58 PM · Can we really blame Isaac Stern for being so talented, and loved by the public that he blocked other artists?

I mean, if Aaron Rosand and all these others you talk about couldn't work over Stern's shine then maybe they just weren't good enough or didn't have that ferimone that attracted the public their way. But we have to remember that just because you aren't famous doesn't mean you didn't do something good for the world of music in general. Itzahk Perlman worked over Isaac Stern's shine, I guess that means Itzahk Perlman just was good enough. The public accepted him because there is more to being technically proficient that captures the audience. You have to have that performance quality that everyone likes to see.

February 13, 2007 at 10:02 PM ·

February 13, 2007 at 10:49 PM · nate, i really appreciate your defense of mr rosand, as a friend, as someone you respect, as someone that justice has not served right. you probably know much more in details but find it not appropriate for public consumption in this domain, which, i understand and respect.

stern was essentially controlling the classical music industry. he obviously did not set out to please all the people all the time.

as far as i am concerned, being 80 and being able to play a mean violin and smoke cigar at the same is a winner. an indian philoshopher used to say for the first half of one's life, there should be no hesitation and the second half, no regret. cheers.

February 13, 2007 at 11:17 PM · Jasmine,

Forgive me, but that might be the stupidest thing I've heard this week. There was absolutely nothing about their musical abilities that kept them from becomming as widely recognized as Stern. In fact, pretty much everyone on that list was a far better violinist, and some of them, equally gifted as muscians.

February 13, 2007 at 11:42 PM · Oh god are you kidding me? Have you listened or compared Stern's recordings to those he's "blocked"?

Mao to Mozart meant something... he was a music industry Mao. RIP Stern, but please don't pretend that this didn't happen under the guise of "be a man" and "he played so well".


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