Jacques Israelievitch, 67; served as St. Louis Symphony concertmaster for 10 years

Jacques Israelievitch performs in Toronto in 2013. Photo: Michael Hudson

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Jacques Israelievitch, acclaimed violinist who was internationally admired as a soloist, conductor and teacher, and a former concertmaster of the St.  Louis Symphony Orchestra, died of lung cancer on Sept. 5 in Toronto.  He was 67.

Daniel Koren, online editor of the Canadian Jewish News, reported that, “Israelievitch was a pillar of the international arts community. He had numerous solo engagements to his credit, appeared with many of the world’s major orchestras, and, as a distinguished chamber musician, performed with pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.”

A native of Cannes, France, Mr. Israelievitch was raised in Paris and LeMans.  He made  his French National Radio debut at the age of 11, and graduated from the Paris Conservatory at 16, where he studied under the acclaimed Henryk Szerying, Janos Starker, William Primrose and Josef Gingold

  He started his orchestral career at age 23, as the assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and later was named concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 10 years.  He served as concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 20 years, the longest tenure in the orchestra’s history.

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Among Mr. Israelievitch’s other musical achievements was a duo partnership with pianist Christina Petrowska Quirico.  The duo launched their first CD, “Fancies and Interludes” earlier this year.  They also recorded all 28 Mozart sonatas for violin and piano, a project which Israelievitch completed despite severe pain and growing weakness. The multi-CD set is set to be released in early 2016.

Mr. Israelievitch was diagnosed with lung cancer in February.  In August, he was presented with the Order of Canada in a ceremony in his Toronto home.

Survivors include his wife Gabrielle, and sons David, Michael and Joshua, and two grandchildren.