Isaac Stern

September 25, 2001

ISAAC STERN was the most influential violinist of our time. His range was breathtaking, his enthusiasm infectious.

Mr. Stern, who died at age 81 over the weekend, was a man of strong convictions. He passionately fought to save Carnegie Hall. He ardently supported Israel. And his adamant boycott of Germany, because of the Holocaust, ended only two years ago when he finally agreed to go there for a nine-day teaching seminar.

Despite his hectic concert schedules, Mr. Stern had a burning desire to teach. He mentored many of today's stars, including Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Yo-Yo Ma.

In 1979, he ventured to China on a concert tour and tutoring mission documented in the Oscar-winning film From Mao to Mozart. Despite dazzling technical skills, many of his Chinese pupils played without conviction or feeling. That saddened Mr. Stern, who himself expressed himself effusively.

Mr. Stern's virtuosity will live on in his countless recordings. But his presence will be missed.

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