Igor Oistrakh, Soviet-Era Violinist (and a Son of One), Dies at 90

Igor Oistrakh, a famous violinist who was half of a violin-playing household that included his father, David, one of the 20th century’s most interesting exponents of the instrument, died on Aug. 14 in Moscow. He was 90.

His son, the violinist Valery Oistrakh, stated the causes have been pneumonia and coronary heart issues.

Though a lot of his profession coincided with the Cold War, Mr. Oistrakh was well-known in New York and elsewhere within the West, for the reason that Soviet Union despatched its finest musicians on tour. He made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall in February 1962 performing with Symphony of the Air beneath Alfred Wallenstein. Harold C. Schonberg, reviewing the live performance in The New York Times, famous that few may measure as much as David Oistrakh and pronounced Igor “a good violinist, though far from a great one.”

But by December 1963, Mr. Oistrakh had carried out a number of extra instances in New York and had established himself as an admirable musician impartial of his father.

“Little can be said about the 32-year-old Soviet musician’s superb artistry that has not already been said again and again,” Howard Klein wrote in The Times in a evaluation of a Carnegie Hall recital that month. “His beautiful, silky tone, his effortless execution in devilish passages, his restrained yet powerful emotional thrust, were in evidence and were as stunningly projected as ever.”

Father and son continuously performed collectively. When David Oistrakh made his American debut as a conductor, main the Moscow Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in 1965, Igor was the soloist for the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

“David Oistrakh conducted like a proud father,” Theodore Strongin wrote in The Times, “giving his son all the leeway in the world and pacing the last movement up into a mad virtuoso fling. The sold-out audience loved it.”

After his father’s loss of life in 1974, Igor Oistrakh typically carried out along with his son. He was usually accompanied in performances by his spouse, the pianist Natalia Zertsalova, and critics usually remarked on their like-mindedness.

“One can sense them weighing every phrase,” James Allen wrote in The Scotsman, reviewing a 1999 efficiency at the Music Hall in Aberdeen, Scotland, “making minute adjustments, effortlessly setting up contrasts of tone and texture.”

The Oistrakhs, father and son, within the United Kingdom in 1966. David Oistrakh died in 1974.Credit…Evening Standard/Hulton Archive, by way of Getty Images

Igor Davidovich Oistrakh was born to David and Tamara Ivanovna Oistrakh on April 27, 1931, in Odessa, Ukraine. He was finding out violin by the age of 6. The family was, of course, immersed in music, and younger Igor witnessed bits of historical past, together with the time the composer Aram Khachaturian dropped by in 1940 to unveil the violin concerto he had written for David Oistrakh.

“He came to play it on our piano,” Igor Oistrakh instructed The Times in 2001. “He did not take his overcoat off. He did not even sit at the piano. He just played, very vigorously. He was so loud that my great-great-grandmother, my father’s grandmother, was scared awake from her nap.”

Mr. Oistrakh studied at the Central Music School after which at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1949 he gained prime prize at a global youth violin competitors in Budapest, and in 1952 he gained the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poland.

He made his Western debut at Royal Albert Hall in London in 1953 and continued to carry out everywhere in the world within the Cold War period. International tensions sometimes intruded on his concert events, as they did in 1971 when, The Times wrote, a efficiency at Philharmonic Hall in Manhattan “was interrupted after the first piece by an unscheduled intermission during which security forces searched the hall for harassment devices that might have been planted by the groups that have been protesting the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union.”

Mr. Oistrakh made many recordings and was a conductor and instructor, taking a put up at the Moscow Conservatory in 1958. After the autumn of the Soviet Union in 1991, he grew to become a professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels for a time. At his loss of life, he lived in Moscow.

His spouse died in 2017. In addition to his son, he’s survived by a grandson.

Mr. Oistrakh’s bodily resemblance to his father was putting, a lot in order that Tamara Bernstein, reviewing a 1992 efficiency with the Toronto Philharmonic for The Globe and Mail of Canada, started by saying, “It is unnerving, to say the least, to see a late lamented violinist stride on stage to wild applause.”

In 1998 The Miami Herald requested him a query he should have confronted continuously: Did he really feel overshadowed by his father?

“I think I’ve had a wonderful career of my own, playing with the best orchestras and conductors in the world,” he answered diplomatically, “and that I was lucky to have had such a great and wonderful father.”