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THE SCOOP | Death of Jacques Israelievitch Sparks Condolences from Across the World

By Michael Vincent on September 10, 2015

Photo: NAC
Flags fly at half-staff at National Arts Centre in honour of violinist Jacques Israelievitch. Photo via TSO Facebook page

The passing of Jacques Israelievitch – the former concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), on Saturday at age 67 – has prompted a significant response from the classical music community. Exemplifying to how many people Israelievitch touched during his lifetime, the statements of condolences have come from far and wide:

Toronto Symphony Orchestra:

“With deep sadness we mourn the passing of our dear friend and former long-time Concertmaster Jacques Israelievitch. Tributes are coming soon as he made immeasurable contributions to the orchestra during his tenure. Our deepest condolences to his family from all of us at the TSO.”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra:

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra notes with sorrow the passing of violinist Jacques Israelievitch, who served the Orchestra as assistant concertmaster from 1972 until 1978. He died on September 5, 2015, at the age of 67.”

National Arts Centre:

“Jacques Israelievitch performed many times with the TSO at the National Arts Centre, especially after our orchestras began to perform annually in each other’s concert halls starting in 2004 as part of our special relationship,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “Our sympathies go out to his family and all his colleagues in the music community.”

Conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin:

“Rest in Peace, Cher Jacques. I will always treasure some unforgettable moments of music making together.”

Pianist Christina Quilico:

“Deeply missed. Your music will live forever.”

Countertenor Daniel Taylor:

“Beautiful man, beautiful artist.”

Violinist Lisa Scott:

“He was hands down the greatest and most dedicated teacher I’ve ever known. My professional career is all owed to him.”

Conductor Nurhan Arman (Sinfonia Toronto):

“Very sad news. He was a fine musician. Some years back he played Mozart D Major concerto with me. It was elegant, sensitive and imaginative playing. Rest in peace Jacques Israelievitch.”

Pianist Rebecca Penneys:

“It was my great joy and honor to spend 16 summers at Chautauqua with Jacques. He was the violinist of my trio, the New Arts Trio. We also studied at IU together, and we began our association in chamber music class. Jacques was a terrific player, teacher and mentor and we have lost a great treasure. He was a real Mensch. The TRIO recorded 2 cd’s with Jacques and his playing on them is superb. We miss you, Jacques!”

Pianist Benjamin Smith:

“For the past three years I’ve had the great pleasure and privilege to play chamber music with the esteemed Jacques Israelievitch. In that short time, we managed to cover quite a bit of the piano trio repertoire, as well as many violin/viola sonatas — sometimes in marathon form. Our last concert was in May, but I visited him early last week, and at this point would like to take care of a promise to him then to post something of our playing on YouTube, as per his wishes. I debated going with some wacky French music in 5/8 (Francaix Piano Trio), which Jacques would totally appreciate… But more appropriately, perhaps, here is the 11th variation of the Tchaikovsky trio second movement, from our concert last October, which I think better highlights Jacques’s unique sound. Jacques, it’s been an honour. Rest in peace, my friend.”

To honourJacques Israelievitch, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa is flying flags at half-staff.

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent has worked as a senior editor for La Scena Musicale and web editor for Norman Lebrecht. On January 21, 2014, he went to lunch and left as the publisher of Musical Toronto. Later that year he found himself as a freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star, the former employer of his favourite author Ernest Hemingway. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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