Jascha Heifetz

Jascha Heifetz

Early Years in Russia
Kopytova, Galina
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/13/2013
Format: Hardback 77 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01076-6
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Winner, Best Historical Recorded Sound Research in Classical Music, 2015 ARSC Awards for Excellence

Notoriously reticent about his early years, violinist Jascha Heifetz famously reduced the story of his childhood to "Born in Russia. First lessons at 3. Debut in Russia at 7. Debut in Carnegie Hall at 17. That's all there is to say." Tracing his little-known upbringing, Jascha Heifetz: Early Years in Russia uncovers the events and experiences that shaped one of the modern era's most unique talents and enigmatic personalities. Using previously unstudied archival materials and interviews with family and friends, this biography explores Heifetz's meteoric rise in the Russian music world—from his first violin lessons with his father, to his studies at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with the well-known pedagogue Leopold Auer, to his tours throughout Russia and Europe. Spotlighting Auer’s close-knit circle of musicians, Galina Kopytova underscores the lives of artists in Russia’s "Silver Age"—an explosion of artistic activity amid the rapid social and political changes of the early 20th century.

Author Bio

Galina Kopytova is a scholar and archivist specializing in the history of Russian musical culture. She heads the Office of Manuscripts of the Russian Institute for the History of the Arts in Saint Petersburg and is author of The Society for Jewish Folk Music in St. Petersburg-Petrograd (in Russian) and coauthor of From the History of Jewish Music in Russia (in Russian).

Translator Alexandra Sarlo has studied and conducted research in Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Translator Dario Sarlo worked as a researcher on the documentary Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler by Peter Rosen Productions. He is a musicologist, violinist, and writer for The Strad.


One of my lifetime heroes, Jascha Heifetz was a performer of unique perfection and beauty. This biography will be a happy discovery for the professional, the music lover, and students everywhere.As a young student of the violin, my hero was Jascha Heifetz. His tone quality, virtuosity, technical perfection, and his unmatched energy were enormously inspiring. I own numerous books, biographies, and articles on the life and times of Jascha Heifetz, but none focus in depth on his fascinating early years in Russia to the extent that this book does. I am so pleased to add this to my collection.

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Table of Contents

Author’s Preface
Editors’ Introduction
Foreign Words List
List of Abbreviations
1. Early Roots of the Heifetz Family
2. 1901-1906: Vilnius
3. 1906-1909: Music School
4. 1910: St. Petersburg Conservatory and Nalbandian
5. First Performances in St. Petersburg
6. Summer 1911: Concerts in Pavlovsk and Odessa
7. Fall 1911: In the Class of Professor Auer
8. The Beginning of 1912
9. 1912: First Trip to Germany
10. 1912: A German Tour
11. The Beginning of 1913
12. Summer-Fall 1913: Loschwitz
13. Winter 1913-1914: Bar Mitzvah
14. Spring 1914
15. Summer-Fall 1914: War
16. January-September 1915
17. The End of 1915
18. The First Half of 1916
19. The Second Half of 1916: Norway and Denmark
20. The First Half of 1917: February Revolution
21. Summer 1917: Departure for America
Appendix 1: Reviews of Jascha Heifetz’s Debut at Carnegie Hall, October 27, 1917
Appendix 2: Jascha Heifetz’s Repertoire in Russia
Selected Bibliography

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