The great violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin was born in New York on 22 April 1916, the son of Moshe and Martha Menuhin. He studied under private tutors in America and Europe, and at the age of seven made his debut playing Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto” with the San Francisco Symphony, and at the age of ten he played in Paris, at 11 in New York and at 13 in Berlin. During his long career he was seen on most of the world’s concert stages, playing with the leading orchestras and conductors, and was recognized as one of the great violin virtuosos of the twentieth century. During the Second World War he devoted his time to giving concerts for American and Allied troops, and in 1945 he played at Bergen-Belsen for recently liberated inmates. Menuhin settled in London in 1959 and in 1963 opened the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music at Stoke d’Aberon, Surrey. He made many recordings and served as conductor and soloist for the Menuhin Festival Orchestra, which toured the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and he appeared regularly on British and American television. Throughout his public life he was devoted to humanitarian causes and social justice and was the recipient of many honours from governments and societies. He was knighted in 1965, but did not assume the title until he became a British citizen in 1985. In 1993 he was made a life peer. Sir Yehudi became a member of the Garrick Club in March 1956. He was also a member of the Athenaeum. In addition to essays, among his many publications are “Violin: Six Lessons” (1972), “Violin and Viola” (1976), “The Music of Man” (1979, with Curtis Davis), his autobiography “Unfinished Journey” (1977, with four additional chapters in 1997 as “Unfinished Journey: Twenty Years Later”).
Sir Yehudi died in Berlin on 12 March 1999. (WW, EB)