Video: Menuhin plays Bach’s Chaconne from Partita for Violin No. 2, 1972
Yehudi Menuhin was an American violinist and conductor of Russian-Jewish descent. He was born to parents Moshe and Martha Menuhin on April 22, 1916 in New York City. Yehudi Menuhin had two younger sisters, Hephzibah and Yaltah.
Menuhin was a child prodigy; his first interests in music shone through when he was only two, when he accompanied his parents to a San Francisco Symphony Orchestra concert and sat through the entire performance without making a sound. Menuhin began his violin lessons at the age of five and gave a solo performance with the orchestra only 3 years later.
As a youth, Menuhin toured Europe in order to pursue his musical career. His talents were quickly recognized all throughout the continent. After a 1929 concert in Berlin, Albert Einstein went backstage, kissed the 13-year-old prodigy and said, “Today, Yehudi, you have once again proved to me that there is a God in heaven”.
Since then, Menuhin has made many significant recordings in the classical violin repertoire. Among his greatest feats include his commissioning and performance of Béla Bartok’s Sonata for Solo Violin. Menuhin also opened the Yehudi Menuhin School in 1963, a school for the exceptionally musically gifted. During the same year, he also began his career as a conductor, which he would continue to pursue until his death. As a performer, conductor, teacher, spokesperson, Yehudi Menuhin passed away on March 12, 1999 as one of the most legendary and aspiring musicians of the 20th century.