Stars in short pants (4): Shlomo Mintz, 14

Stars in short pants (4): Shlomo Mintz, 14


norman lebrecht

September 07, 2020

Jumping in for Perlman with the IPO:



  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    His standing in for Perlman with IPO was famously Paganini 1st Cto, for this Dvorak is not that occasion

  • sam says:

    I mean, is that normal, to have a 6 year old kid crying after each lesson?

    Lang Lang used to run straight into the wall, head on, to rebel against his father. Imagine the kind of complete artist he would he today if he had a teacher who was not some sadist?

    • Bruce says:

      Lang Lang was rebelling against his father as I recall, not his teacher; but having a teacher as an ally, explaining why this world of beauty and wonder that music opens for us is worth the struggle, might have helped. He clearly has an extraordinary talent, but I’ve noticed that those who go into music because they love music tend to have more career satisfaction (and be more satisfying to listen to) than those who go into music because they found something that brings them applause and approval.

  • Robert Battey says:

    Such a brilliant, preternaturally-gifted violinist, with a rich sound that absolutely filled a hall. What the hell happened to him?

    • Paganono says:

      Yeah, where is he? New York hasn’t seen him for years now…

    • Bruce says:

      I have heard rumors that Isaac Stern put the kibosh on his career as a result of some disagreement between them.

      No idea if it’s true, but from what I’ve read about Stern’s character I find it believable.

      • David K. Nelson says:

        I heard the same rumor but I wonder just when this happened because Mintz made all those fine recordings, mostly for DG but also for other labels, many of them recorded after Stern’s death, and certainly well past when Mintz was a prodigy. Not much of a kibosh if there was a kibosh, I’d say.

        I do know that he commenced a career as a conductor and that has caused more than one fine violinist to seem to fade away a bit (for example, Joseph Swenson). Certainly he spent a considerable amount of time playing/conducting all that Vivaldi, just about all the violin concertos and maybe indeed all of them. Teaching.

        And it is also true that there was a time when the compact disc was new and Mintz happened on the scene at just about the perfect time, when the record business had a reason, or excuse, to re-record the standard repertoire. So to some extent it might look like he is trading off past glories when that is just the reality of the record business these days. Fewer labels, fewer recordings, and a new generation to discover. Since his own “older” recordings still sound just fine, no pressing need to re-record him in anything, and maybe that adds to the impression.

        And he was such an amazing discovery, such a fair haired boy wonder at the time he first came on the scene; recent pictures not surprisingly show a rather jowly fellow with thinning hair as he nears in his mid-60s. It may seem superficial but Jan Kubelík’s popularity started to fade the more his hairline receded.

        And it is not given to all violinists to retain their energy level and full set of skills into middle and upper middle age – they cannot all do what Milstein managed, what Rosand managed, and what Fuchs managed, and that is, to defy time. Perhaps more accurately, it is given to very few violinists to be able to do that. Compare Elman’s acoustic recordings with his electrical Tchaikovsky Concerto circa 1929 – the fires have cooled, and he was still comparatively young. When he was new on the scene and fresh from the Tchaikovsky Competition win, Viktor Tretyakov was positively incendiary. Those fires cooled, too, and not because he was old. Even Kogan in his last recordings.

        I’d happily listen to Mintz again if a tour came my way. Maybe he has not been on the scene but it is not like I have heard him play poorly – I just have not heard him at all.

  • Freddynyc says:

    But what has happened to his playing in recent years…..?!

  • Gustavo says:

    Myung Whun Chung?

  • Ralph Bateman says:

    Mintz used to play a lot with both Barenboim and Abbado. He was the golden boy. What happened ?

  • violin accordion says:

    A contemporary star in actual “short pants” is yo kitamura, cellist. On YouTube