A Tribute to Isidor Saslav (1938-2013)
Isidor Saslav Strings Scholarship Benefit Concert, March 31, 2012
[ed. This bio was written by Isidor Saslav on the occasion of a recital he gave in March 2012. It was sent to us by his daugher, Lea Saslav. We did some editing at the request of his son, David. We essentially changed the present perfect tense to the past tense to reflect the passing of Dr. Saslav. The text remains as it was written. The original text can be provided upon request.]
(Swans - February 11, 2013) After studies with master teachers Mischa Mischakoff, Josef Gingold, and Ivan Galamian and after receiving the Bachelor of Music from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1961 and the Master of Music and Doctor of Music from the School of Music (now the Jacobs School) of Indiana University 1961-69, Dr. Isidor Saslav became the concertmaster of and soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Minnesota, Baltimore and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras and the orchestra of the Round Top Festival in Texas, which he helped to found with conductor Leon Fleisher in 1975. Dr. Saslav also served as concertmaster of the Indiana University, Dallas, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, and Baltimore Opera Orchestras and was a member of the Detroit Symphony, the Chautauqua Symphony and the Orchestra of the Festival Casals (Puerto Rico).
Dr. Saslav served as concertmaster under the batons of Pablo Casals, Aaron Copland, Sir Neville Marriner, Leon Fleisher, Eugene Ormandy, and Arthur Fiedler, and in collaboration with Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, and Arthur Rubinstein, and as joint soloist with Henryk Szeryng, to name but a few of his collaborations with the great musicians of his time.
As a scholar, Saslav served for 20 years as co-editor for the Joseph Haydn Institute in Cologne and for the Henle Edition in Munich, Germany (Haydn String Quartets Opp. 64, 71, and 74) and was a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music.
He also taught at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, the Eastman School of Music and the State University of New York at Buffalo.
In addition to his musicological research, Dr. Saslav maintained an extensive literary collection centered around the great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. Dr. Saslav was a founding member of the International Shaw Society and lectured widely on Shaw in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
In addition to serving as a co-editor for the Henle Editions of the Haydn String Quartets, Dr. Saslav created a modern performance edition of Mozart's 6th Concerto with Lukas Foss; as soloist gave the Minnesota Orchestra premiere of Wieniawski's F# Minor Concerto; with pianist Ann Saslav commissioned and gave the world premiere performance of Elie Siegmeister's "An Entertainment in Four Movements for Violin, Piano and Orchestra" with Sergiu Comissiona conducting. He was also among the few violinists in the world to have performed as soloist (with the Baltimore Symphony) of all three of Bruch's concertos for violin and orchestra; and performed as soloist in Dallas of the original 1844 manuscript version of the Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 in E Minor Op. 64, one of the few violinists in the world to have performed this version.
Dr. Saslav gave lecture-demonstration performances of his talk "The Latest Discoveries in the String Quartets of Joseph Haydn" at more than 50 music schools, conservatories, universities, and conventions including Yale University and the Eastman School of Music, 1976-1991, based on his 20 years as co-editor at the Joseph Haydn Institute in Cologne, and gave a lecture-demonstration "Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven: Cross Influences in the String Quartets" in collaboration with the New Zealand String Quartet at the International Mozart Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1991.
The Chautauqua Institution in Western New York also played a special role in his career: student of Mischa Mischakoff, Chautauqua School of Music, 1953-55; concertmaster Chautauqua Student Symphony, Edward Murphy, conductor 1953-55; won Chautauqua Award to perform as soloist in Mendelssohn Concerto No. 2 with Chautauqua Symphony, 1955, Walter Hendl conductor; violinist Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, 1957; soloist with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra with pianist Ann Heiligman Saslav, in Mendelssohn Concerto in D Minor for Violin, Piano, and Strings, Eduardo Mata, Conductor, 1977; and was a member of the violin faculty, Chautauqua School of Music, 2006.
Dr. Saslav became an "honorary Texan" when he married concert pianist Ann Heiligman of Overton in 1962, and the Saslavs' tours as concert duo took place in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Together, they performed classical music in schools throughout the country for over 2 million students through their non-profit organization, Adventures With the Arts. In 1993, Dr. Saslav was appointed visiting professor of violin, viola and chamber music and later director of string studies at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. At SFA, Dr. Saslav co-founded the Sylvan Chamber Ensemble and established the String Quartet of the Pines. At SFA, Dr. Saslav served as head of the string department, strings co-ordinator of the annual summer Chamber Music of the Pines Festival, the concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Pines, the SFA Chamber Orchestra, director of the annual SFA Strings Camp, and the East Texas Institute for Strings until his retirement in 2003. Since 1999 Dr. Saslav was the concertmaster of the Longview Symphony under Tonu Kalam and formerly of Opera East Texas (Longview Opera).
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