Pizzicato: Ahead of SISIVC: Remembering Isaac Stern…

Remy Franck

A few days before leaving for Shanghai to attend the final of the Isaac Stern Violin Competition, impossible for me to not remember the only and highly memorable concert with Isaac Stern in Luxembourg. It took place in the early Seventies at the Grand Theatre with Music Director Louis de Froment conducting the RTL Symphony Orchestra and Isaac Stern playing the Brahms Violin Concerto. I remember an extraordinary spontaneous and dynamic performance with great textures from the solo violin and all the meaning and intensity the music deserved. Stern’s playing not only showed a great depth of understanding of the composer but also a stunning ability to translate the composer’s most personal meaning to the audience.

In 2018, with the second edition of the The Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition (SISIVC) one of Stern’s most important abilities – besides his musicality – is continued: the support of young musicians.

It is widely known that he helped Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Shlomo Mintz at the beginning of their career. As Peter Pastreich said in a tribute to Stern: « There were many other young music students who arrived in New York without friends or money who came to study with DeLay. Isaac found friends of his they could live with, sent them to his dentist at his expense, got them instruments and bows, and most important, listened to them play. Dorothy once said to me, ‘People know that when there’s any really talented kid, Isaac will want to know. He’ll always find time to listen. I love Isaac.' »

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