Jascha Heifetz

(1901–1987)

Jascha Heifetz

Anecdote 1...

Shortly after his appointment as professor of music at the University of California, Los Angeles, Heifetz was asked what had prompted this change of direction in his career. “Violin-playing is a perishable art,” said Heifetz solemnly. “It must be passed on as a personal skill; otherwise it is lost.” Then, with a smile, he continued: “I remember my old violin professor in Russia. He said that someday I would be good enough to teach.”

Quote-worthy...

If I dont practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.

~Jascha Heifetz

Anecdote 2...

Jascha Heifetz in 1920At a recording session when he was 70 years old, Heifetz was about to play J.S. Bach’s unaccompanied “Chaccone in D Minor.” Someone off camera softly mumbled something about sounding a tuning A 440. Heifetz merely smiled, shook his head slowly as in “No, thanks,” and said quietly, “I remember.” Heifetz’s pitch memory and recognition were unwaveringly accurate.

Biographical Note: 

Jascha Heifetz was a World-famous, Russian-born violinist and composer who obtained U.S. citizenship in 1925. The child prodigy matured into an artist whose vituosity combined reasoned interpretation and technical mastery. He was often described as the finest violinist of his time, having achieved a unique level of classical and romantic perfection. Heifetz also commissioned major works for the violin, thus introducing many works of emerging composers to America’s concert halls.