Eugene Fodor, the first American violinist to win the Tchaikovsky Competition, has died aged 60. Such was the shock among Soviet stooges at his 1974 vistory that he was not declared the winner. Instead, an announcement went out that he had won ‘top prize’, a trophy shared with the local candidates Ruben Agranyan and Rusudan Gvasaliya.
Fodor, daunted by overnight fame, succumbed to substance abuse. In 1989, he was arrested for possession in Martha’s Vineyard and concert halls slammed their doors in his face. His website
lists no new engagements for the past ten years. He died in Fairfax, Virginia, on Saturday, according to a statement by his sister to violinist.com
, confirmed by his wiki entry.
Fodor liked to describe himself as a Heifetz pupil, though exactly how much he studied with the reclusive master is uncertain. His main teachers were Ivan Galamian and Josef Gingold.
This personal reminiscence has just come in from Margaret Yakimoff DeAngelis:
On February 10, 1979, just before he turned 29, Eugene Fodor played the Sibelius with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. I was a 32-year-old member of the first violin section, where I shared fourth stand with my father.
My mother, second chair second violins, was completely enchanted by Fodor. So was I — he was young, hip, brought the sensibility to the fairly stodgy HSO that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hoped James Franco would bring to the Oscars.
Fodor’s efforts were more successful, I think, than Franco’s, at least for that one night