In this excerpt from Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler, Ayke Agus, Heifetz’ student, accompanist and companion, describes his daily ritual of raising the U.S. flag and what he considered one of his greatest performances — a concert for a single soldier during World War II. Pianist Seymour Lipkin, who accompanied Heifetz on U.S. base tours, describes how seriously Heifetz these performances as we see photos of Heifetz playing for U.S. troops.
In 1941 the Jascha Heifetz, a naturalized citizen of the U.S. since 1925, began using his talent to contribute to the Allied World War II efforts. The famous violinist gave benefit concerts for British War Relief and Russian War Relief, and participated in a radio broadcast sponsored by the U.S. Treasury to support the sale of Defense Bonds. In 1942 he gave USO concerts at military camps throughout the United States and from 1943 through 1945, toured military bases for the USO in Central and South America and Europe. On Victory Day in Europe, May 8, 1945, he gave a concert in Beckum, Germany.
The one-hour documentary American Masters — Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler premieres nationwide Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
Major market premieres include Thursday, April 16 at 8 pm on WTTW11 in Chicago and WHYY-TV in Philadelphia and 10:30 pm on THIRTEEN in New York, and Friday, April 17 at 8 pm on KERA in Dallas, 8:30 pm on WETA TV 26 in Washington, D.C., and 9 pm on PBS SoCal in Los Angeles, on KQED in San Francisco, on WGBH 2 in Boston and on Houston Public Media.