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The time the great violinist Jascha Heifetz tested 14-year-old Itzhak Perlman’s skills


Itzhak Perlman reminisces about his first encounter as a teenager with the world-famous violinist Jascha Heifetz. Perlman was a violin student at Juilliard and Heifetz visited to hear the 14-year-old play. After performing Symphonie Espagnole by Lalo, Perlman and his teacher Ivan Galamian thought Heifetz had heard enough. Instead, Heifetz asked Perlman to play scales for him — one of the most rudimentary exercises in training to be a musician.

“Heifetz was a great stickler for scales and exercises. He felt that scales were an indicator of what kind of solid base you had when you are playing,” says Perlman. This excerpt from Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler also shows Heifetz leading a master class with scales and arpeggios.


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