A virtuoso celebration of Partnership with Israel

Gluzman recital, May 2010

Vadim Gluzman

By Masada Siegel, Special To The Dayton Jewish Observer
May 2010

Vadim Gluzman says he became a musician partly out of jealousy.

“My father plays clarinet and is a conductor and my mom is a musicologist,” he says. “My parents were always teaching others and I wanted them to pay attention to me.”

The violinist, a regular soloist with the London Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and Israel Philharmonic, will present a recital in Dayton on May 16 in connection with the Jewish Federation’s Partnership With Israel program.

His accompanist for the program is his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe.

Gluzman was born in Riga, Latvia, raised in Ukraine and immigrated to Israel as a teenager.

“These days, I live mostly on the Boeing 747,” he says during a phone interview from Chicago.

He plays a Stradivarius on extended loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

“I come from a musical family, so it’s not my fault,” he jokes. “From day one, and even before, I was surrounded by music.”

His parents weren’t thrilled with his decision to pursue music, knowing the lifestyle challenges it presents. But they were supportive of his dreams and he traveled worldwide to pursue them.

“The moment I asked for music lessons, they sent me to music school in Latvia,” he says. “Back in the former Soviet Union, music school was for the dedicated, even for 6-year-olds. The musical education was first rate. We even had to go through exams to get in and there were seven students in first grade and then only six students made it to the second grade. It was a professional school. There was no kidding around from the start.
“I even went to Siberia on my own accord, because I wanted to study with a famous teacher, Zackler Bron.”

Music not only fulfilled Gluzman’s professional dreams, but also his personal ones.

“I met my wife, Angela Yoffe, when I was about 5 years old,” he says. “We went to the same school and both families left for Israel at the same time. We played our last concert leaving Riga together and we played together in Israel at our first concert. Our parents are friends; her family is the same as mine — a musical family.”

He continued his studies in Tel Aviv, Dallas and New York.

One of the most powerful experiences for Gluzman was in 1990; as a teenager, he participated in a master class at Keshet Eilon Music Center. Located in the Western Galilee near the Lebanese border, Gluzman describes it as, “The most beautiful place on earth, with the best sky.”

The Western Galilee is the Federation’s designated Partnership With Israel region for people-to-people, cultural, medical, and business exchanges.

“The incredible atmosphere is unparallel to anywhere else simply because there is no competition. I remember this with my own experience as a student — the environment of a kibbutz, who knows, maybe the heat takes away the pressure of being the best. Instead it turns into: how do we work together and become better.”

These days, he serves as a faculty member at Keshet Eilon, as well as with the Chicago College of the Performing Arts and the Mozarteum Salzburg.

Gluzman says music can be appreciated the same way as art. “Our visual sense is similar to hearing. You can’t just look at the painting, you have to take it in.”

So how does Gluzman hear the sounds of the world?

“Any noise I hear translates into the name of a note,” he says.

Gluzman knocks on a desk. “That was an F Sharp.”

He explains how a composer he worked with, Sofia Gubaidulina, believes there must be three components for a successful concert: a talented composer, talented performers and talented audiences. “There is an unseen untouched energy that flows between all three.”

And if you have ever heard Gluzman play, either live (he was a soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic last season) or on CD, there is an energy that flows from the Stradivarius his fingertips caress. Music is more than a profession, it is a passion.

“If I didn’t play, I would suffocate, because I love what I do,” he says. “We know what happens to people when they don’t do what they love.”

Violinist Vadim Gluzman accompanied by Angela Yoffe, Sunday, May 16, 3:30 p.m. at the Engineers Club, 110 E. Monument Ave. $18 general, $10 students, $150 patrons (includes two tickets and a reception with the artists). Call 610-1555 ext. 129 or go to www.jewishdayton.org.

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