Jascha Heifetz - The Violinist

Jascha Heifetz, widely regarded as one of the greatest performing artists of all time, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, which was then occupied by Russia, on February 2, 1901. He began playing the violin at the age of two. He took his first lessons from his father Ruvin, and entered the local music school in Vilna at the age of five where he studied with Ilya Malkin. He made his first public appearance in a student recital there in December 1906, and made his formal public debut at the age of eight in the nearby city of Kaunas (then known as Kovno, Lithuania). With only brief sabbaticals, he performed in public for the next 65 years, establishing an unparalleled standard to which violinists around the world still aspire.

Jascha could have been a second or third cousin of Samuel Heifetz. According to Steve Heifetz in February 2009:

" I've been told Jascha is a 3rd or 4th cousin to my grandfather Harry Heifetz. They were both born and died in the same year. Jascha was from Vilna and Harry was from Shirvent - a "suburb" of Vilna.

"Jascha Heifetz was the USC chair of music in the 1970's. When I was in college at UCLA, I would occasionally get his mail when someone sent a letter to the wrong school. I did forward him his mail with a note about my family, but he never responded."

And, further from Steve in May 2016:

"The story I was told was Jascha and my grandfather Harry Heifetz were 3rd cousins. No way to prove that tho. Jascha was a professor of music at USC and I went to UCLA. Occasionally mail for Jascha came to me at UCLAISM. I put his mail in a large envelope with a note from me about our connection. He never answered those letters. There is a documentary about Jascha called God's Fiddler. I don't think Jascha talked much or was all that friendly."

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Page created in September 2016