Tag Archives: Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin, conductor


By the late 1960s the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin was conducting regularly, and by the 1980s he had led most of the world’s great orchestras and had recorded with many of them. In the early 1990s he retired from playing the violin in public and concentrated on conducting.

While Menuhin mostly focused on standard repertory, he could surprise listeners with his adventurousness. For example, as part of his 80th-birthday celebration at the 1996 Lincoln Center Festival he conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a program of 14 new works composed in his honor. The composers were a strikingly diverse group that included Lukas Foss, Karel Husa, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Somei Satoh, David Del Tredici, Giya Kancheli, and John Tavener.

This according to “Sir Yehudi Menuhin, violinist, conductor, and supporter of charities, is dead at 82” by Allan Kozinn (The New York times CXLVIII/51,460 [13 March 1999] pp. A:1, 12).

Today would have been Menuhin’s 100th birthday! Below, conducting part of Elgar’s cello concerto.

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Auction catalogues

Auction catalogues are sources for iconography and history; for example, Christie’s has mounted over 200 auctions of rock and pop memorabilia, issuing catalogues that illuminate the stories of performers and groups as well as events like the Woodstock festival. Other catalogues offer biographical details; a 2003 catalogue from Sotheby’s documents Elton John’s changing taste, while others, like the 1999 catalogue page reproduced above, represent the posthumous dispersal of personal effects—in this case, Yehudi Menuhin’s collection of instruments and bows.

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Filed under Instruments, Popular music, Publication types