Mironovich Milstein was born on the 31st of December 1903 in Odessa
as son of the merchant Miron Milstein. Out of his two sisters
and four brothers, Milstein mentioned his sister Sara, who played
He got his first musical impressions through his mother Marija,
who took Nathan to a concert of Jascha Heifetz, in 1911 already
a famous violinist and "Wunderkind".
Important events and quotes
organized violin lessons for me in order to prevent me from thrashing
the children of our neighbors"
first lessions with a student, Milstein was accepted to the classes
of Pyotr Stoljarsky at the age of 7 years. Later Milstein remembered,
that he did not like playing the violin, although during these years
great masters such as Jan Kubelik or Eugene Ysaye gave regular concerts
The year 1915 markes a change: He became much interested in playing
the violin and on the invitation of Stoljarsky Milstein played the
Concert of Alexander Glazunov on the occasion of the 50th birthday
of the composer. A. Glazunov himself directed the orchestra.
playing did not interest him much, he stated, although he must
have had remarkable skills considering that he was selected to
play the concerto of Glazunov in public.
Stoljarsky presented Milstein to Leopold Auer, the most famous teacher
and pedagogue of his time. Milstein played the partita in d minor;
Milstein was accepted and his mother moved with him to St. Petersburg.
At the beginning of the lessons with L. Auer, Milstein played the
concert in F sharp major by H.W. Ernst, a very difficult concert.
(Comment by Auer to his class: "How do you like the technique
from the black sea?"). The masterclasses of Auer with colleagues
like Heifetz, Elman and Poljakin were fundamental impressions to
Nathan especially with regard to the musicality ("Elaborate
the music by using your brain, not with your fingers", said
Auer repeatedly.) .
From this period of time stems the interest of Milstein in Bach's
soloworks for unaccompanied violin. These works had found only little
attention during these years.
(Joseph Joachim was the father of the rediscovery of these works.)
Milstein started to give concerts in the area of Odessa.
classes with Leopold Auer together with Heifetz and Poljakin
Milstein meets Vladimir ("Volodja") Horowitz, they became
friends and started to give concerts throughout the Ukraine and
Russia. Highlights from this time were their concerts in St Petersburg
1923 and in Moscow.
concerts in Russia and Ukraine
25th, 1925: Milstein travels to Berlin; his first concerts as
a soloist and with Horowitz were not as successful as expected.
However, neither of both should return to Russia again. From Berlin
Milstein and Horowitz moved to Paris, where an intense schedule
of concerts brought first successes. Milstein extended his career
from Paris to South-America,
to the Western world, first Berlin:
concerts with Horowitz, then Paris,
travels to Belgium in order to have lessions from Eugene Ysaye.
Ysaye asked, unwillingly to listen to the young man, what he was
prepared to play. Milstein proposed any of the Paganini Capriccios
or any out if the Bach solo works (!). After Milstein had played
Bach and Paganini, Ysaye noted, that the young virtuoso didn't need
any further tuition. Nevertheless the stay of Milstein lasted several
weeks, and Milstein noted in his biography, that on one hand he
did not learn much from Ysaye, but between the lines one can note
that he had considerable benefit from this period of time with Ysaye.
of the international career
by Eugene Ysaye
the years 1925 and 1929 Milstein built-up his career in many countries,
the most important event being his debut in America.
He arrived in America in October 1929.
At that time, America was dominated by Jascha Heifetz and Fritz
Kreisler, nevertheless, Nathan Milstein succeeded to enter the world-elite
Milstein became American citizen in 1943.
The America-Debut took place on the 29th. of November 1929 in Philadelphia.
Milstein played the Concerto by Glazunov, a work, which should accompany
him further on during his long lasting career
His worldwide success was recognized especially during the years
after the second World-War.
became American citizen
concert activities took Milstein, who lived in London after World-War
two, to Vienna and Salzburg. His concerts with a pure
Bach program or his recitals were a fixed event at the annual Vienna
Festival as well as at the Salzburg Festival during the
years 1955 to 1985.
concerts and recitals in Vienna and Salzburg
concert career of Nathan Milstein came to an end, when he broke
his arm after falling down in the year 1989. He worked further on
several arrangements for violin.
Nathan Milstein died on the 21st of. December 1992 in London at
the age of 89.
died in 1992