Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Yehudi Menuhin

Dr. Bob Prescribes Yehudi Menuhin

Monday’s Music History Monday post marked the birth – on April 22, 1916 – of the distinguished American-British violinist, conductor, and teacher Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999).  During the course of that post, I wrote that Menuhin: “was a man of unwavering moral integrity and courage: a soft-spoken, kind, gentle, and elegant man, a role model for everyone who knew him.” In support of that statement, I would offer up two of the many examples of his integrity and courage.  But first, an anecdote that sets the stage for those examples. Menuhin was born in New York City to a family of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants.  His given name – “Yehudi” – literally means “Jew” in Hebrew.  In an interview published in the British magazine New Internationalist, Menuhin described how he got his name: “Obliged to find an apartment [in New York City], my parents searched the neighborhood and chose one. Showing them out after they had viewed it, the landlady said: ‘And you’ll be glad to know I don’t take Jews.’ Her mistake made clear to her, the antisemitic landlady was renounced, and another apartment found. But her blunder left its mark. Back on the street my mother made a vow. Her unborn […]

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Music History Monday: One of the Really Good Guys

We mark the birth on April 22, 1916 – 108 years ago today – of one of the really good guys of twentieth century music: the American-British violinist, conductor, and teacher Yehudi Menuhin. A reminder: because of my trip to Vienna, I am still – for this week – posting abbreviated Music History Monday and Dr. Bob Prescribes posts.  I can assure you that this hurts me more than it does you; not presently having the time and wherewithal to expand (as is my chronic wont) on Maestro Menuhin is causing me no small bit of spiritual and emotional damage. I will cope, but poorly. Yehudi Mnuchin was born into a family of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants in New York City on April 22, 1916. In 1918, the family moved to San Francisco and in the following year, 1919, the Mnuchins became American citizens and changed their name to Menuhin. It was in San Francisco (and here in Oakland, where at the age of seven he made his professional debut at the Oakland Auditorium, on February 29, 1924) that Menuhin grew up as a spectacular child prodigy violinist.  He made his New York debut at the age of nine on March 17, 1926, and his first solo recordings in […]

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