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Soviet Violin Virtuoso Julian Sitkovetsky Died On This Day in 1958

The father of violinist and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky, he was a former prize winner at the Queen Elisabeth and Wieniawski International Violin Competitions.

Sitkovetsky, born in Kiev, commenced violin lessons at the age of 4 under the guidance of his father, followed by instruction from David Bertie at the Central School in Kiev. He showcased his talent to Jacques Thibaud at the age of 8, identifying him as a child prodigy. By the age of 9, he performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Kiev Symphony.

In 1939, he became a student at the Moscow Central Music School, studying under Abram Yampolsky, whose notable pupils included Leonid Kogan, Igor Besrodny, and Rotislav Dubinsky.

Sitkovetsky won the All Soviet Union Young Performers Competition in 1945, where he competed in piano, cello, and violin categories (notably, Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich were winners in the piano and cello divisions) and two years later, he shared the First Prize at the Prague Festival alongside Leonid Kogan and Igor Besrodny.

In 1952, Sitkovetsky was awarded Second Prize in the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, sharing the honor with Wanda Wilkomirska, while Igor Oistrakh claimed the first prize. Subsequently, in 1955, he was awarded Second Prize at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition. Yehudi Menuhin, a jury member, felt he deserved the First Prize.

Despite his talent, Sitkovetsky limited his touring due to his diagnosis of lung cancer in 1956. He passed away in Moscow in 1958, at the age of 32.

"Had he lived longer, he would not have had any rivals." - Jan Weber

Luminary David Oistrakh famously quoted: "… He had broad, firm, focused tone in all registers, flawless intonation, a rapid even trill, a swift, perfectly controlled staccato, strong, immaculate harmonics, and even, clear sautillé …. had he lived, he would have eclipsed myself and Kogan".

 

JULIAN SITKOVETSKY & NAHUM WALTER | WIENIAWSKI | POLONAISE NO. 1 | 1954

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