One of the great virtuoso violinist
s of the twentieth century, with a warm, sweet tone
. He was born in Vilna
in 1901, then in Russia (now in Lithuania
). He first performed in public at the age of five, then studied under Leopold Auer
at the St Petersburg Conservatoire
. After the Russian Revolution
he went to America, and became a citizen there in 1924. He died in 1987.
His first recording was in 1911, and his last was his farewell recital in Los Angeles in 1972. He commissioned William Walton's violin concerto, and also pieces from Erich Korngold and Miklos Rozsa.
Heifetz refused to cooperate with biographers. One, Tim Page, said there were not many events in his life but violin performance. "Friendships were uncommon and circumscribed, brought to an end, more often than not, by petty quarrels; there were two marriages, followed by two fairly nasty divorces."