Zvi Zeitlin

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Zvi Zeitlin (21 February 1922 – 2 May 2012) was a Russian-born American classical violinist and teacher.

Born in Dubroŭna (now in Belarus), the son of a doctor and amateur violinist,[1] Zeitlin won a scholarship at the age of 11 to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, the youngest scholarship student in the institution's history.[2] He subsequently read Judaic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and served in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1946. Following World War II, he returned to Juilliard for additional studies, with such teachers as Sascha Jacobsen, Louis Persinger, and Ivan Galamian.[3]

The composers Gunther Schuller, Paul Ben-Haim and Carlos Surinach composed violin concertos for Zeitlin, who premiered them. He was also a particular champion of the violin concerto of Arnold Schoenberg and recorded this work commercially for Deutsche Grammophon.[1]

Zeitlin taught for 45 years at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music, from 1967 until his death in 2012 He gave his final recital at Eastman just before his 90th birthday.[4] During his time at Eastman, he, pianist Barry Snyder, and cellist Robert Sylvester founded the Eastman Trio, and Zeitlin performed with this trio from 1976 to 1982. He also taught summer courses at the Music Academy of the West in California, starting in 1973.[1][3] From 1962 to 2002, he performed on a rare Cremonese violin by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, the 1734 "Prince Doria", which was initially gifted to him by the Lionel Perera family, before switching to a replica by the contemporary American violinmaker, Gregg T. Alf.

Zeitlin and his wife Marianne Langner Zeitlin were married for 61 years. The couple had 2 children, Hillel and Leora. His widow and children, his sister Anba Kantor, and six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Margalit Fox (2012-05-04). "Zvi Zeitlin, Violinist Who Championed Modernist Composers, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  2. ^ Barry Davis (2011-05-14). "A Ballade for Israel". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2012-05-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Internationally Renowned Violinist Zvi Zeitlin Dies" (Press release). Eastman School of Music. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-18. 
  4. ^ "Eastman School of Music Professor Zvi Zeitlin Performs Final Faculty Recital" (Press release). Eastman School of Music. January 27, 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 

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