Preeminent Russian musician and teacher Jascha Heifetz (1901-1986) was born in Lithuania and considered one of the greatest violinist of all time.
"There is no top," he once said. "There are always further heights to reach."
Taught to play by his father at age 5, Heifetz made his first public appearance a year later. "You know," Heifetz said, "child prodigism - if I may coin a word - is a disease which is generally fatal. I was among the few to have the good fortune to survive."
And how he survived!
The Maestro made his sensational American debut at Carnegie Hall in 1917. "Extraordinary virtuosity," praised critic Samuel Chotzinoff.
Heifetz played every note with heart and conviction. His passionate style, the unequalled tonal quality and vibrancy, started a revolution-- "maybe even more than the Beatles," observed his student and internationally respected violinist Claire Hodgkins.
After performing with pianist Arthur Rubinstein and cellist Gregory Piatigorsky, Heifetz said, "If the Almighty himself played the violin, the credits would still read 'Rubinstein, God, and Piatigorsky,' in that order."
A perfectionist, Heifetz practiced hard and lived hard, experiencing life to the fullest and teaching others of music's passion. Nature inspired his music and he traveled often to feed his muse.
When angry, count 10; when very angry, 100.