David Oistrakh

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David Fyodorovich Oistrakh (Russian and Ukrainian: Давид Фёдорович Ойстрах, David Fiodorovič Ojstrakh; September 30 [O.S. September 17] 1908 – October 24, 1974) was a Soviet violin master and virtuoso who made many recordings and was the dedicatee of numerous violin works.

His recordings and performances of Shostakovich's concerti are particularly well known, but he was also a performer of classical concerti. He worked with orchestras in Russia, and also with musicians in Europe and the United States. The violin concerto of Aram Khachaturian is dedicated to him, as are the two violin concerti by Dmitri Shostakovich.


Early years

He was born in the cosmopolitan city of Odessa in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine) into a Jewish family of merchants of the second guild. His father was David Kolker and his mother was Isabella Beyle (née Stepanovsky), who later on married Fishl Oistrakh.[1] At the age of five, young David began studying violin and viola seriously with a local teacher named Pyotr Stolyarsky. He was Oistrakh's first and only teacher. Stolyarsky also taught Nathan Milstein, with whom Oistrakh was to share his first concert appearance in 1914, when Milstein graduated from the Conservatoire. Having made his debut in Odessa at the age of 6, Oistrakh entered the Odessa Conservatory in 1923 where he studied until 1926. In the Conservatory he also studied special harmony with famous composer Mykola Vilinsky. There he played the Bach A minor Concerto. His 1926 graduation concert consisted of Bach's Chaconne, Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata, Rubinstein's Viola Sonata, and Prokofiev's D major Concerto. He appeared as soloist playing the Glazunov Violin Concerto under the composer's direction in Kiev in 1927 - a concert which earned him an invitation to play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in Leningrad with the Philharmonic Orchestra under Nikolai Malko the following year.

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