Yehudi Menuhin
Overview
 
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, KBE (April 22, 1916March 12, 1999) was a Russian Jewish American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist and conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 who spent most of his performing career in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. He was born to Russian Jewish parents in the United States, but became a citizen of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 in 1970, and of the United Kingdom in 1985. He is often considered to be one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.
Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, to Bielorussian Jewish parents from what is now Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

.
Encyclopedia
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, KBE (April 22, 1916March 12, 1999) was a Russian Jewish American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist and conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

 who spent most of his performing career in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. He was born to Russian Jewish parents in the United States, but became a citizen of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 in 1970, and of the United Kingdom in 1985. He is often considered to be one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.

Early life and career

Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, to Bielorussian Jewish parents from what is now Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

. His sisters were the concert pianist and human rights worker Hephzibah Menuhin
Hephzibah Menuhin
Hephzibah Menuhin was an American-Australian pianist and human rights campaigner. She was sister to the violinist Lord Menuhin and to the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin...

 and the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin
Yaltah Menuhin
Yaltah Menuhin was an American-born British pianist, artist and poet.-Early life:Yaltah was born of Russian Jewish parents in San Francisco, the youngest of three extraordinarily musical children. Her siblings were Yehudi Menuhin and Hephzibah Menuhin...

. Through his father Moshe Menuhin
Moshe Menuhin
Moshe Menuhin was born in Gomel to a distinguished, religious Jewish family. He was the great great grandson of Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hassidism...

, a former rabbinical student and anti-Zionist writer, Menuhin was descended from a distinguished rabbinical dynasty.

Menuhin began violin instruction at age four under violinist Sigmund Anker; his parents had wanted Louis Persinger
Louis Persinger
Louis Persinger was an American violinist and pianist.Louis Persinger trained at the Leipzig Conservatory, before finishing with Eugène Ysaÿe in Brussels. He became leader of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra and the Royal Opera Orchestra in Brussels. In 1915 he was appointed leader and assistant...

 to be his teacher, but Persinger refused. He displayed extraordinary talents at an early age. His first solo violin performance was at the age of seven with the San Francisco Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is an orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra has performed at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus are part of the organization...

 in 1923. Persinger then agreed to take Menuhin as a student. When the Menuhins went to Paris, Persinger suggested Yehudi go to his own teacher, Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian violinist, composer and conductor born in Liège. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tzar"...

. He did have one lesson with Ysaÿe, but did not like his method or the fact that he was very old. Instead, he went to the Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and violinist George Enescu
George Enescu
George Enescu was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher.-Biography:Enescu was born in the village of Liveni , Dorohoi County at the time, today Botoşani County. He showed musical talent from early in his childhood. A child prodigy, Enescu created his first musical...

, after which he made several recordings with his sister Hephzibah. He was also a student of Adolf Busch
Adolf Busch
Adolf Georg Wilhelm Busch was a German-born violinist and composer.Busch was born in Siegen in Westphalia. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory with Willy Hess and Bram Eldering...

. In 1929 he played in Berlin, under Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

's baton, three concerti by Bach, Brahms and Beethoven. In 1932, he recorded Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

's Violin Concerto in B minor
Violin Concerto (Elgar)
Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61, is one of his longest orchestral compositions, and the last of his works to gain immediate popular success....

 for HMV in London, with the composer himself conducting, and between 1934 and 1936 he made the first integral recording of Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.

World War II musician

Yehudi Menuhin performed for allied soldiers during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and went with the composer Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

 to perform for inmates of Bergen-Belsen
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

 concentration camp, after its liberation in April 1945. He returned to Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1947 to perform with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler was a German conductor and composer. He is widely considered to have been one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century. By the 1930s he had built a reputation as one of the leading conductors in Europe, and he was the leading conductor who remained...

 as an act of reconciliation, becoming the first Jewish musician to do so following the Holocaust. He said to critics within the Jewish community that he wanted to rehabilitate Germany's music and spirit. After building early success on richly romantic and tonally opulent performances, he experienced considerable physical and artistic difficulties caused by overwork during the war as well as unfocused and unstructured early training (reportedly he said "I watched myself on film and realized that for 30 years I'd been holding the bow wrong"). Careful practice and study combined with meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 and yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

 helped him overcome many of these problems. His profound and considered musical interpretations are nearly universally acclaimed. When he finally resumed recording, he was known for practicing by deconstructing music phrases one note at a time.

He and Louis Kentner
Louis Kentner
Louis Kentner was a Hungarian, later British, pianist who excelled in the works of Chopin and Liszt, as well as the Hungarian repertoire....

 (his second wife Diana
Diana Gould (dancer)
Diana Gould, later Diana Menuhin, Baroness Menuhin was a British ballerina and occasional actress and singer, who is best remembered as the second wife of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin...

's brother-in-law) gave the first performance of William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

's Violin Sonata, at Zürich on 30 September 1949.

Menuhin continued to perform to an advanced age, becoming known for profound interpretations of an austere quality, as well as for his explorations of music outside the classical realm.

World interactions

Menuhin credited the German-Jewish philosopher Constantin Brunner
Constantin Brunner
Constantin Brunner was the pen-name of the German Jewish philosopher Arjeh Yehuda Wertheimer . He was born in Altona . He came from a prominent Jewish family that had lived in the vicinity of Hamburg for generations; his grandfather, Akiba Wertheimer, was chief Rabbi of Altona and Schleswig-Holstein...

 with providing him with "a theoretical framework within which I could fit the events and experiences of life" (Conversations with Menuhin: 32–34).

In 1952, Menuhin met and befriended the influential yogi
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

 B. K. S. Iyengar before he had come to prominence outside India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Menuhin arranged for Iyengar to teach abroad in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and elsewhere. This was the first time that many Westerners had been exposed to yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

.

Following his role as a member of the awards jury at the 1955 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition
Queen Elisabeth Music Competition
The Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, a founding member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions has been, since its foundation, considered the world over to be one of the most prestigious and most difficult. It is devoted to violin , piano , to composition and to singing...

, Menuhin secured a Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a prominent philanthropic organization and private foundation based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by John D. Rockefeller , along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr...

 grant for the financially-strapped Grand Prize winner at the event, Argentine violinist Alberto Lysy
Alberto Lysy
Alberto Lysy was a prestigious Argentine violinist and conductor.-Life and work:Alberto Lysy was born in Buenos Aires to Ukrainian immigrants in 1935. At age five, his father introduced him to the violin. Lysy left school at age 13 to devote more time to the instrument, and was subsequently...

. Menuhin made Lysy his first and only personal student, and the two toured extensively throughout the concert halls of Europe. The young protégé later established the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad
Gstaad
Gstaad is a village in the German-speaking section of the Canton of Berne in southwestern Switzerland. Part of the municipality of Saanen, Gstaad is known as one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world....

, in his honor.

Menuhin made several recordings with the German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler was a German conductor and composer. He is widely considered to have been one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century. By the 1930s he had built a reputation as one of the leading conductors in Europe, and he was the leading conductor who remained...

, who had been criticized for conducting in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 during the Nazi era. Menuhin defended Furtwängler, noting that the conductor had helped a number of Jewish musicians to flee Nazi Germany.

In 1962, he established the Yehudi Menuhin School
Yehudi Menuhin School
The Yehudi Menuhin School is a specialist music school in Surrey, England. It was founded in 1963 by the violinist Yehudi Menuhin.The School also gives pupils the best musical education any specialist schools can with a number of internationally main teachers, Simon Fischer , Natalya Boyarskaya ,...

 in Stoke d'Abernon
Stoke d'Abernon
Stoke d'Abernon is a small village situated between Cobham and Leatherhead in the county of Surrey. The census area Oxshott and Stoke d'Abernon has a population of 6,100.-History:...

, Surrey
Surrey
Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

. He also established the music program at the Nueva School
The Nueva School
The Nueva School is a Pre-K through 8th grade private school in Hillsborough, CA for children. Nueva was founded in 1967 by Karen Stone McCown....

 in Hillsborough, California
Hillsborough, California
Hillsborough is an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hillsborough is one of the wealthiest communities in America and has the highest income of places in the United States with populations of at least 10,000...

 sometime around then. In 1965, he received an honorary knighthood. In the same year, Australian composer Malcolm Williamson
Malcolm Williamson
Malcolm Benjamin Graham Christopher Williamson AO , CBE was an Australian composer. He was the Master of the Queen's Music from 1975 until his death.-Biography:...

 wrote a violin concerto for Menuhin. He performed the concerto many times and recorded it at its premiere at the Bath Festival
Bath International Music Festival
The Bath International Music Festival, also known as the Bath Music Fest, is held each summer in Bath, South West England. Inaugurated in 1948, the festival includes many genres such as orchestral, contemporary jazz, folk and electronica...

 in 1965.

Menuhin also had a long association with Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar , often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument sitar. He has been described as the best known contemporary Indian musician by Hans Neuhoff in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent...

, which began with their 1966 album West Meets East. During this time, he commissioned the composer Alan Hovhaness
Alan Hovhaness
Alan Hovhaness was an Armenian-American composer.His music is accessible to the lay listener and often evokes a mood of mystery or contemplation...

 to write a concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

 for violin, sitar, and orchestra to be performed by himself and Shankar. The resulting work entitled Shambala (c.1970), with a fully composed violin part and space for improvisation from the sitarist, is the earliest known work for sitar with western symphony orchestra, predating Shankar’s own sitar concertos; unfortunately, Menuhin and Shankar never recorded it. Menuhin also worked with famous jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

 in the 1970s on Jalousie, an album of pop music of the 1930s arranged in chamber style.

In 1977, at the Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh Festival
The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals that take place in Edinburgh, Scotland each summer, mostly in August...

, he premiered Priaulx Rainier
Priaulx Rainier
Ivy Priaulx Rainier was a South African-British composer. Although she lived most of her life in England and died in France, her compositional style was strongly influenced by the African music remembered from her childhood. She never adopted 12-tone or serial techniques, but her music shows a...

's violin concerto Due Canti e Finale, a work he had commissioned from her. He also commissioned her last work, Wildlife Celebration, which he performed in aid of Gerald Durrell
Gerald Durrell
Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell, OBE was a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter...

's Wildlife Conservation Trust
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is a conservation organisation with a mission to save species from extinction.Gerald Durrell founded the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust as a charitable institution in 1963 with the Dodo as its symbol...

.

In 1983, he and Robert Masters founded the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists
Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists
The Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists, mostly referred to only as the Menuhin Competition, is an international violin competition for young players under the age of 22, founded by Yehudi Menuhin...

. Now one of the world's leading competition for young violinists, many of its prize winners have gone on to become some of today’s most exciting violinists. Among them are Tasmin Little
Tasmin Little
Tasmin Little is an English violinist.She studied under Pauline Scott at the Yehudi Menuhin School and later at the Guildhall School of Music, coming to prominence as a string section finalist in the 1982 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition...

, Nikolaj Znaider
Nikolaj Znaider
Nikolaj Znaider is a Danish classical violinist and conductor.-Career:Born in Denmark to Polish-Israeli parents, Znaider studied with the eminent Russian pedagogue Boris Kushnir and drawing on this eclectic background his playing has been heralded in the Strad Magazine as "extraordinarily...

, Ilya Gringolts, Julia Fischer
Julia Fischer
Julia Fischer is a German classical violinist and pianist.-Biography:Julia Fischer, born in Munich, Germany, is of German-Slovakian parentage. Her mother, Viera Fischer , came from the German minority in Slovakia and immigrated from Košice, Slovakia to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1972...

, Daishin Kashimoto and Lara St. John
Lara St. John
Lara St. John is a Canadian violinist known for her performances as soloist with orchestra and in recital.-Childhood:Lara St. John spent her early childhood in the City of London, Ontario...

.

In 1991, he was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize by the Israeli Government. In the Israeli Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 he gave an acceptance speech in which he criticised Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank with these words,

"This wasteful governing by fear, by contempt for the basic dignities of life, this steady asphyxiation of a dependent people, should be the very last means to be adopted by those who themselves know too well the awful significance, the unforgettable suffering of such an existence. It is unworthy of my great people, the Jews, who have striven to abide by a code of moral rectitude for some 5,000 years, who can create and achieve a society for themselves such as we see around us but can yet deny the sharing of its great qualities and benefits to those dwelling amongst them."

In 1997, Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker founded the charity Live Music Now, the largest outreach music project in the UK. Live Music Now pays and trains professional musicians to work in the community, bringing joy and comfort to those who rarely get an opportunity to hear or see live music performance.

Menuhin's pupils included Nigel Kennedy
Nigel Kennedy
Nigel Kennedy is a British born violinist and violist. He made his early career in the classical field, and he has performed and recorded most of the major violin concerti...

, Nicola Benedetti
Nicola Benedetti
- Early life and the Yehudi Menuhin School :Benedetti was born in West Kilbride, North Ayrshire to an Italian father and a Scottish mother. She started to learn the violin at the age of four...

, and the violists Paul Coletti
Paul Coletti
Paul Coletti is a prominent viola soloist and chamber musician. He has performed throughout the world, making solo appearances at the Sydney Opera House, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Teatro Colón . He has performed Béla Bartók´s Viola Concerto with Yehudi Menuhin conducting...

 and Csaba Erdélyi. Arguably the most famous of Menuhin's violins is the Lord Wilton Guarneri del Gesù, made in 1742.

In the 1980s, Menuhin wrote and oversaw the creation of a "Music Guides" series of books; each covered musical instruments, with one on the human voice. Menuhin wrote some, while others were edited by different authors.

Later career

Menuhin regularly returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, sometimes performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. One of the more memorable later performances was of Elgar
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

's Violin Concerto, which Menuhin had recorded with the composer in 1932.

On 22 April 1978, along with Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

, Yehudi played Pick Yourself Up, taken from the Menuhin & Grappelli Play Berlin, Kern, Porter and Rodgers & Hart album as the interval act at the 23rd Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest 1978
The Eurovision Song Contest 1978 was the 23rd of its kind, and was held on 22 April 1978 in Paris. With Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone as the presenters - the first time more than one presenter hosted the contest - the contest was won by Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta who represented Israel, with their...

 for TF1
TF1
TF1 is a national French TV channel, controlled by TF1 Group, whose major share-holder is Bouygues. TF1's average market share of 24% makes it the most popular domestic network...

. The performance came direct from the studios of TF1
TF1
TF1 is a national French TV channel, controlled by TF1 Group, whose major share-holder is Bouygues. TF1's average market share of 24% makes it the most popular domestic network...

 and not that of the venue (Palais des Congrès
Palais des congrès de Paris
The Palais des congrès de Paris is a concert venue and convention centre in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, France. The venue was built by French architect Guillaume Gillet, and was inaugurated in 1974. Nearby the venue are Bois de Boulogne and the affluent neighbourhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine...

) from where the contest was held.

He also hosted the PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 telecast of the gala opening concert of the San Francisco Symphony from Davies Symphony Hall
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, the concert hall component of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, was built in 1980 at a cost of US$28 million to give the San Francisco Symphony a permanent home. The hall has a seating capacity of 2743 persons...

 in September 1980.

During the 1970s, '80s and '90s, he made jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 recordings with Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli
Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands....

, classical recordings with L. Subramaniam
L. Subramaniam
Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam is an acclaimed Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music, and renowned for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion.-Early years:Subramaniam was born to V...

 and albums of Eastern music with the great sitar
Sitar
The 'Tablaman' is a plucked stringed instrument predominantly used in Hindustani classical music, where it has been ubiquitous since the Middle Ages...

ist Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar , often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument sitar. He has been described as the best known contemporary Indian musician by Hans Neuhoff in Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart.Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent...

. In 1983 he founded the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists
Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists
The Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists, mostly referred to only as the Menuhin Competition, is an international violin competition for young players under the age of 22, founded by Yehudi Menuhin...

 in Folkestone
Folkestone
Folkestone is the principal town in the Shepway District of Kent, England. Its original site was in a valley in the sea cliffs and it developed through fishing and its closeness to the Continent as a landing place and trading port. The coming of the railways, the building of a ferry port, and its...

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

.

His recording contract with EMI lasted almost 70 years and is the longest in the history of the music industry. He made his first recording at age 13 in November 1929, and his last in 1999 at age 82. In total he recorded over 300 works for EMI, both as a violinist and as a conductor. In 2009 EMI released a 51-CD retrospective of Menuhin's recording career, titled Yehudi Menuhin: The Great EMI Recordings.

In 1990, he was the first conductor for the Asian Youth Orchestra
Asian Youth Orchestra
The Asian Youth Orchestra was founded by Yehudi Menuhin & Richard Pontzious. Their inaugural concerts were conducted in August 1990 by Yehudi Menuhin. Sergiu Comissiona is their conductor laureate and Richard Pontzious, artistic director and conductor...

 which toured around Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, including Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 with Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist who has been described as the "doyen of British cellists".-Early life:Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone . He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber...

 and a group of young talented musicians from all over Asia.

Personal life

Yehudi Menuhin was married twice. He first married Nola Nicholas, daughter of an Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n industrialist, and sister of Hephzibah Menuhin
Hephzibah Menuhin
Hephzibah Menuhin was an American-Australian pianist and human rights campaigner. She was sister to the violinist Lord Menuhin and to the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin...

's first husband Lindsay Nicholas. They had two children, Krov and Zamira (the ex-wife of pianist Fou Ts'ong
Fou Ts'ong
Fou Ts'ong is a Chinese pianist.Born in Shanghai to a family of intellectuals , Fou first studied piano with Mario Paci, the Italian founder of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra...

). Following their divorce in 1947, he married the British ballerina and actress Diana Gould
Diana Gould (dancer)
Diana Gould, later Diana Menuhin, Baroness Menuhin was a British ballerina and occasional actress and singer, who is best remembered as the second wife of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin...

, whose mother was the pianist Evelyn Suart
Evelyn Suart
Evelyn Suart, Lady Harcourt was a notable English pianist.She was born in 1881 in Sindapore, India, the daughter of Brigadier-General W. H. Suart, and she spent some of her early childhood there. She also lived for periods in Gibraltar and England. Her piano studies were with Storck in...

 (who had played with artists such as Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe
Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian violinist, composer and conductor born in Liège. He was regarded as "The King of the Violin", or, as Nathan Milstein put it, the "tzar"...

 and Karel Halíř
Karel Halír
Karel Halíř was a Czech violinist who lived mainly in Germany...

), and whose stepfather was Admiral Sir Cecil Harcourt. Menuhin and Gould had two sons, Gerard and Jeremy, a pianist. Another child died shortly after birth.

The name Yehudi means 'Jew' in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. In an interview published in October 2004, he recounted to New Internationalist
New Internationalist
New Internationalist is a magazine from New Internationalist Publications, a co-operative-run publisher based in Oxford, England. It has editorial and sales offices in Toronto, Canada; Adelaide, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand; and New York, USA....

 magazine the story of his name:

Obliged to find an apartment of their own, my parents searched the neighbourhood and chose one within walking distance of the park. Showing them out after they had viewed it, the landlady said: "And you'll be glad to know I don't take Jews." Her mistake made clear to her, the antisemitic landlady was renounced, and another apartment found. But her blunder left its mark. Back on the street my mother made a vow. Her unborn baby would have a label proclaiming his race to the world. He would be called "The Jew."


A picture of Menuhin as a child is sometimes used as part of a Thematic Apperception Test
Thematic Apperception Test
The Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT, is a projective psychological test. Historically, it has been among the most widely researched, taught, and used of such tests...

.

Lord Menuhin died in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 following a brief illness, from complications of bronchitis
Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

.

Soon after his death, the Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music
The Royal Academy of Music in London, England, is a conservatoire, Britain's oldest degree-granting music school and a constituent college of the University of London since 1999. The Academy was founded by Lord Burghersh in 1822 with the help and ideas of the French harpist and composer Nicolas...

 acquired the Yehudi Menuhin Archive, one of the most comprehensive collections ever assembled by an individual musician.

Violins

Menuhin used a number of famous violins including the Giovanni Bussetto 1680, the Giovanni Grancino 1695
Giovanni Grancino
Giovanni Grancino , son of Andrea Grancino, was one of the early Milanese luthiers, and may have worked with his brother, Francesco.Grancino's workshops were all located on Contrada Larga, now Via Larga in Milan...

, the Guarneri filius Andrea 1703
Guarneri
The Guarneri is the family name of a group of distinguished luthiers from Cremona in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, whose standing is considered comparable to those of the Amati and Stradivari families...

, the Soil Stradivarius
Soil Stradivarius
The Soil Stradivarius of 1714 is an antique violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona . A product of Stradivari’s golden period, it is considered one of his finest....

, the Prince Khevenhüller 1733 Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari
Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and a crafter of string instruments such as violins, cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. Stradivari is generally considered the most significant artisan in this field. The Latinized form of his surname, Stradivarius, as well as the colloquial, "Strad", is...

, the Guarneri del Gesù 1739
Giuseppe Guarneri
Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He rivals Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line...

, and the Lord Wilton 1742 Guarneri del Gesù
Giuseppe Guarneri
Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, del Gesù was an Italian luthier from the Guarneri house of Cremona. He rivals Antonio Stradivari with regard to the respect and reverence accorded his instruments, and he has been called the finest violin maker of the Amati line...

.

Awards and honours

  • In 1965, Menuhin was awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • In 1965, while he was still an American citizen, he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
    Order of the British Empire
    The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

    . This entitled him to use the postnominal letters KBE, but not to style himself Sir Yehudi. After Menuhin gained British citizenship in 1985, his knighthood was upgraded to a substantive one, and he became Sir Yehudi Menuhin KBE.
  • In 1968, he received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
  • In 1972, he was awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize
    Léonie Sonning Music Prize
    The Léonie Sonning Music Prize, or Sonning Award, which is recognized as Denmark's highest musical honor, is given annually to an international composer or musician. It was first awarded in 1959 to composer Igor Stravinsky...

     (Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    ).
  • In 1983, he was nominated as president of the Elgar Society.
  • In 1984, he received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
    Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
    The international Ernst von Siemens Music Prize is an annual music prize given by the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung , established in 1972. The foundation was established by Ernst von Siemens...

    .
  • In 1986, he received Kennedy Center Honors
    Kennedy Center Honors
    The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

    .
  • In 1987, he was appointed a member of the Order of Merit
    Order of Merit
    The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

    .
  • In 1987, his recording of Edward Elgar
    Edward Elgar
    Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

    's Cello Concerto in E minor
    Cello Concerto (Elgar)
    Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, his last notable work, is a cornerstone of the solo cello repertoire. Elgar composed it in the aftermath of the First World War, by which time his music had gone out of fashion with the concert-going public...

     with Julian Lloyd Webber
    Julian Lloyd Webber
    Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist who has been described as the "doyen of British cellists".-Early life:Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone . He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber...

     won the BRIT Award
    Brit Awards
    The Brit Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards. The name was originally a shortened form of "British", "Britain" or "Britannia", but subsequently became a backronym for British Record Industry Trust...

     for Best British Classical Recording. The recording was also chosen by BBC Music Magazine as the finest version ever recorded.
  • In 1990, he was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize
    Glenn Gould Prize
    The Glenn Gould Prize is an international award bestowed by the Glenn Gould Foundation in memory of noted Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. It is awarded every third year to a living individual in recognition of his/her contributions to music and communication....

     in recognition of his lifetime of contributions.
  • In 1992, he was announced as an Ambassador of Goodwill by UNESCO
    UNESCO
    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

    .
  • In 1993, he was made a life peer, as Baron Menuhin of Stoke d'Abernon
    Stoke d'Abernon
    Stoke d'Abernon is a small village situated between Cobham and Leatherhead in the county of Surrey. The census area Oxshott and Stoke d'Abernon has a population of 6,100.-History:...

     in the County of Surrey
    Surrey
    Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire. The historic county town is Guildford. Surrey County Council sits at Kingston upon Thames, although this has been part of...

    .
  • In 1994, he received the Konex Decoration, given by the Konex Foundation
    Konex Foundation
    Konex Foundation is an Argentine cultural non-profit organization created in 1980 to promote, stimulate, help, and participate in any form of cultural, educational, intellectual, artistic, social, philanthropic, scientific or sports initiative, work, and enterprise, in their most relevant aspects,...

     from Argentina.
  • He was awarded honorary doctorates by 20 universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish university located in Brussels, Belgium. It has two campuses referred to as Etterbeek and Jette.The university's name is sometimes abbreviated by "VUB" or translated to "Free University of Brussels"...

    .
  • In the European Parliament
    European Parliament
    The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

     in Brussels
    Brussels
    Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

    , the room in which concerts and performances are held is called the "Yehudi Menuhin Space".
  • He was a Freeman of the cities of Edinburgh, Bath, Reims and Warsaw.
  • He held the Gold Medals of the cities of Paris, New York and Jerusalem.

Cultural references

The catchphrase "Who's Yehoodi?
Who's Yehoodi?
The catchphrase "Who's Yehoodi?" originated when violinist Yehudi Menuhin was a guest on the popular radio program of Bob Hope, where sidekick Jerry Colonna, apparently finding the name itself humorous, repeatedly asked "Who's Yehudi?" Colonna continued the gag on later shows even though Menuhin...

" popular in the 1930s and 1940s was inspired by Menuhin's guest appearance on a radio show, where Jerry Colonna turned "Yehoodi" into a widely recognized slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 term for a mysteriously absent person. It eventually lost all of its original connection with Menuhin.

Yehudi Menuhin was also 'meant' to appear on The Morecambe and Wise Show but could not do so as he was 'opening at the Argyl Theatre, Birkenhead in Old King Cole. He was instead replaced by Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
John Eric Bartholomew OBE , known by his stage name Eric Morecambe, was an English comedian who together with Ernie Wise formed the award-winning double act Morecambe and Wise. The partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death of a heart attack in 1984...

 in a famous sketch featuring the conductor André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...

.

Yehudi Menuhin was referenced in an episode of the US television series Sports Night. The episode, "Celebrities", featured an after hours game of Celebrities among the Sports Night staff. Dan Rydell, one of the fictional show’s co-anchors, gave clues to his teammates in a game of Celebrities, trying to get them to guess the name Yehudi Menuhin. He had shown his co-anchor, Casey McCall, a secret hand gesture that would clue him in to say “Yehudi Menuhin”, but during the game, Casey forgot the secret signal, and could not recall Menuhin's name.

Menuhin was also mentioned a number of times in Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy , is a New York Times bestselling author who has written several acclaimed novels and memoirs. Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films.-Early life:...

's novel The Prince of Tides
The Prince of Tides (novel)
The Prince of Tides is a novel by Pat Conroy, first published in 1986. It revolves around traumatic events that affected former football player Tom Wingo's relationship with his immediate family...

.

The song "Amateur Hour" by Sparks
Sparks (band)
Sparks is an American rock and pop band formed in Los Angeles in 1968 by brothers Ron and Russell Mael , initially under the name Halfnelson...

 refers to Menuhin.

Films

  • 1943 – Menuhin was a featured performer in the 1943 film, Stage Door Canteen. Introduced only as "Mr. Menuhin," he performed two violin solos, "Ave Maria" and "Flight of the Bumble Bee" for an audience of service men, volunteer hostesses and celebrities from stage and screen.
  • 1979 – The Music of Man (television series)
  • The Mind of Music

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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