SIR YEHUDI MENUHIN Biography - Musicians


Biography » musicians » sir yehudi menuhin


Name: Yehudi Menuhin                                                                     
Born: 22 April 1916 New York City, New York, U.S.                                         
Died: 12 March 1999 Berlin, Germany                                                       
Genre: Classical                                                                         
Occupation(s): Conductor, pedagogue, violinist, writer                                   
Instrument: Violin                                                                       
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, OM, KBE (April 22, 1916 - March 12, 1999) was an           
American-born violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in         
the United Kingdom. Though born in New York City, New York, he later became a             
citizen of Switzerland in 1970, and in 1985, of the United Kingdom.                       
Born to Russian Jewish parents, his sisters were concert pianist and human               
rights worker Hephzibah Menuhin and the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah                 
Menuhin. Through his father Moshe Menuhin, a former rabbinical student and anti-Zionist   
writer, Menuhin was descended from a distinguished rabbinical dynasty. Menuhin           
began violin instruction at age three under violinist Sigmund Anker. He                   
displayed extraordinary talents at an early age. His first solo violin                   
performance was at the age of seven with the San Francisco Symphony in 1923.             
Menuhin later studied under the Romanian composer and violinist George Enescu,           
after which he made several recordings with his sister Hephzibah. He was also a           
student of Louis Persinger and Adolf Busch.                                               
Yehudi Menuhin performed for allied soldiers during World War II, and went with           
the composer Benjamin Britten to perform for inmates of Bergen-Belsen                     
concentration camp, after its liberation in April 1945. He returned to Germany           
in 1947 to perform under the baton of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler as an act of         
reconciliation, becoming the first Jewish musician to do so following the                 
Holocaust. After building early success on richly romantic and tonally opulent           
performances, he experienced considerable physical and artistic difficulties             
caused by overwork during World War II as well as unfocused and unstructured             
early training. Careful practice and study combined with meditation and yoga (the         
latter he mostly learned from B.K.S. Iyengar) helped him overcome many of these           
problems. His profound and considered musical interpretations are nearly                 
universally acclaimed. When he finally started recording, he was known for               
practicing by deconstructing music phrases one note at a time.                           
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.