Oistrakh's mother, Isabella Stepanovskaya, was also a musician singing at the state Opera House where she often took her young son to hear the orchestra. At the age of five, young David began studying violin and viola seriously with the local teacher Piotr Stolyarsky, Oistrakh's first and only teacher. Stolyarsky also taught Nathan Milstein, with whom Oistrakh was to share his first concert appearance in 1914, when Milstein graduated from the Conservatoire. Having made his debut in Odessa at the age of 6, Oistrakh entered the Odessa Conservatory in 1923 where he studied until 1926 - here he played the Bach A minor Concerto.
His 1926 graduation concert consisted of Bach's Chaconne, Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata, Rubinstein's Viola Sonata and Prokofiev's D major Concerto. He appeared as soloist in Glazunov's Violin Concerto under the composer's direction in Kiev in 1927 - a concert which gave him an invitation to play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto in Leningrad with the Philharmonic Orchestra under Nikolai Malko the following year. He was one of the 20th century's best violinists. In the same year, Oistrakh decided to move to Moscow where he gave his first recital and met his future wife Tamara Rotareva, a pianist, who he was to marry a year later. In 1931, their only child Igor was born, a son who was to follow in his father's footsteps and would be heard later playing violin with his father in works such as the Bach Double Concerto and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante.
From 1934 onwards he received a position teaching at the Moscow Conservatoire where he was made professor in 1939 where he was among such greats as Yuri Yankelevich and Boris Goldstein. Oistrakh also taught many prodigies such as Gidon Kremer. 1968 saw wide celebrations for the violinist's sixtieth birthday which included a celebratory performance in the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory of the Tchaikovsky concerto, one of his favourite works, under the baton of Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Oistrakh was now seen as a companion to the great violinists of his time such as the Romanian Enescu and the British Menuhin. For around ten years, Oistrakh played the 1702 Conte di Fontana Stradivarius that he traded for the 1715 Ex Marsick Stradivarius in June 1966. Oistrakh suffered a heart attack as early as 1964. He survived and continued to work at a furious pace.
He had already become one of the principal cultural ambassadors for the Soviet Union to the West in live concerts and recordings. After conducting a cycle of Brahms with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, he died of another heart attack in Amsterdam, in 1974. His remains were returned to Moscow where he was interred in Novodevichy Cemetery. The asteroid 42516 Oistrach was named in his (and his son Igor's) honour. Oistrakh found international fame by winning several national and international competitions including the 1935 Soviet Union competition. Oistrakh won second prize at the Wieniawski Competition in Warsaw of the same year, losing to the 16-year-old prodigy Ginette Neveu.
However, in 1937 he captured top prize in the Queen Elisabeth Competition (then known as the Eugene Ysaÿe Competition) in Brussels. During the period he also began a lengthy friendship and partnership with the great Lev Oborin, as well as coming under the influence of Jacques Thibaud. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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