Camilla Wicks

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Camilla Wicks
25806 Camilla Wicks.jpg
Camilla Wicks in 1949
Background information
Birth name Camilla Dolores Wicks
Born (1928-08-09) August 9, 1928 (age 88)
Origin Long Beach, California
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Violinist
Instruments Violin
Years active 1942–2005
Labels Capitol, Music & Arts, Biddulph and Simax

Camilla Wicks (born August 9, 1928) is an American violinist and one of the first female violinists to establish a major international career. Her performing career included solo appearances with leading European and American symphony orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[1]

Child Prodigy[edit]

Camilla Dolores Wicks was born in Long Beach, California. Her Norwegian born father, Ingwald Wicks (Ingvald Kristian Eriksen Varhaugvik), was a distinguished violinist and teacher. Her pianist mother studied with composer, Xavier Scharwenka. Wicks made her name as a child prodigy, making her solo debut at age 7 with Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. At 8, she performed Bruch's First Concerto and a year later Paganini's First Concerto. She went to study with Louis Persinger at the Juilliard School in New York City. In 1942, Persinger accompanied Wicks when she made her solo debut at age 13 with the New York Philharmonic.[2]

Career[edit]

In the next decade, she performed regularly with many of the world's finest conductors (Walter, Reiner, Stokowski, Rodzinski, Ehrling) and orchestras. She went on extensive European tours and was a quite popular in Scandinavia. Finnish composer Jean Sibelius greatly admired her interpretation of his concerto, of which she made a recording in 1952 for the Capitol label. She also made a number of recordings for HMV, Mercury and Philips.[3]

Camilla Wicks explored a wide range of repertoire and promoted many lesser-known works, in particular by Scandinavian composers, who in turn wrote many works for her. Norwegian composer and violinist, Bjarne Brustad dedicated a number of solo violin works to her. Wicks was an advocate of contemporary Scandinavian composers: she performed concertos by Fartein Valen and Hilding Rosenberg, and gave the world premiere of those by Harald Saeverud and Klaus Egge. She also enjoyed a close collaboration with Ernest Bloch[4]

Later years[edit]

Wicks married in 1951 and, at the height of her career, she retired for a few years in order to devote herself to her five children. Wicks later resumed her performing career intermittently and became a much sought-after teacher. She taught in a number of American faculties including Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, and Rice University.[5]

She was invited to head the String Department at the Oslo Royal Academy in the early 1970s and was awarded a lifetime Professorship there. Many of the violinists of the leading Norwegian orchestras, including Henning Kraggerud, were among her former students. In 1999, she was made a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for her contribution to music in that country. Wicks held the Isaac Stern Chair at the San Francisco Conservatory before retiring in 2005. Studio and concert recordings have been reissued on the Music & Arts, Biddulph and Simax labels.[5][6]

Selected recordings[edit]

  • The Art of Camilla Wicks (Music & Arts CD 1160)
  • Camilla Wicks Concertos by Sibelius, Valen and short pieces (Biddulph CD 80218)
  • Camilla Wicks plays Concertos by Walton and Brustad (Simax CD PSC 1185)
  • Camilla Wicks: Great Norwegian Performers 1945-2000 Vol. III (Simax CD PSC 1832)

References[edit]

Other sources[edit]

  • The Strad magazine: November 2004 and August 1988