I'm Sarah Long.
And I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program, PEOPLEIN AMERICA. Today we tell about one of the world's greatestmusicians, violinist Isaac Stern.
((VIOLIN INSTEAD OF THEME))
Isaac Stern was more than a great violin player. He was one ofthe most honored musicians in the world. He was an internationalcultural ambassador. He was a major supporter of the arts in Americaand in other countries. He was a teacher and activist.
For more than sixty years, MisterStern performed excellent music. He performed in concerts around theworld and on recordings. He played with major orchestras and insmall groups. Here he plays Sergey (ser-GAY) Prokofiev's ViolinConcerto (Opus Nineteen) with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
((CUT ONE: VIOLIN CONCERTO))
Isaac Stern was born in Nineteen-Twenty in what is now Ukraine.His parents moved to San Francisco, California, the following year.His mother began teaching Isaac the piano when he was six years old.He began taking violin lessons after hearing a friend play theinstrument.
Later, he began studying music at the San Francisco Conservatory.He progressed quickly. When he was sixteen, he played with the SanFrancisco Symphony Orchestra. The next year, he performed in NewYork City and was praised by music critics.
During World War Two, Mister Stern played for thousands ofAmerican soldiers. It was the first time many of them had heardclassical music. After the war, he was the first American violinistto perform in concert in the Soviet Union. Later, he declared thathe would not perform there again until artists had more freedom toleave the country.
Mister Stern had a strong connection to Israel. He supportedyoung musicians and cultural organizations there. He performed inIsrael many times, including during the Persian Gulf War inNineteen-Ninety-One.
Isaac Stern became one of the busiest musicians of his day. Heplayed more than one-hundred concerts a year. He also became one ofthe most recorded musicians in history. This recording is Ludwig vanBeethoven's Romance in F-Major (Opus Fifty.) Mister Stern performswith the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.
((CUT 2: ROMANCE IN F-MAJOR [OPUS FIFTY]))
Carnegie Hall in New York City is one of the most famous placesfor the performance of classical music. All of the world's bestmusicians have played there. In Nineteen-Sixty, there were plans totear down Carnegie Hall and build a tall office building in itsplace.
Mister Stern organized a committee of citizens, politicians andartists to oppose the plan. He successfully led the effort to saveCarnegie Hall. Then he became president of the newly establishedCarnegie Hall Corporation. He held that office for forty years. Inrecent years, he gave a series of classes for young musicians atCarnegie Hall.
Isaac Stern also supported artistic development and freedom. Hewas an advisor when the National Endowment for the Arts wasestablished. This is the government agency that supports the arts inAmerica.
In Nineteen-Seventy-Nine, Isaac Stern visited China. He met withChinese musicians and students. He taught them about classicalWestern music. His visit was made into a film. It is called "FromMao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China." It won an Academy Award forbest documentary film.
Mister Stern loved to play music by many different composers. Hefound the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to be among the mostdifficult. Here he plays Mozart's Adagio for Violin and Orchestrawith the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.
((CUT THREE: ADAGIO FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA))
In Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Isaac Stern received the Kennedy CenterHonors Award for his gifts to American culture through music. Heexpressed his thoughts about the part that music plays in life. Hesaid he believed that music makes life better for every one,especially children. He said music is an important part of acivilized life. He said people need music as much as they needbread.
Mister Stern supported and guided younger classical musicians.They include violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, cellistYo-Yo Ma, and pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Isaac Stern died in Two-Thousand-One at the age of eighty-one. Hewas a major influence on music in the Twentieth Century. He leavesthe world richer with his many recordings. This one is "Humoresque"by Antonin Dvorak (DVOR-zhak) performed with the Columbia SymphonyOrchestra.
((CUT FOUR: HUMORESQUE))
This Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. Itwas produced by Caty Weaver. Our studio engineer was Max Carroll.I'm Steve Ember.
And I'm Sarah Long. Join us again next week for another PEOPLE INAMERICA program on the Voice of America.