Nathan Milstein


Born: December 31, 1904; Odessa, Russia   Died: December 21, 1992; London, England  
Although Nathan Milstein hailed from Odessa, the cradle of Russian violin playing, his personal style was more classical and intellectual in approach than many of his colleagues. By the middle of the twentieth century he had become one of the most renowned violinists in the world, and he did as much as anyone else to imbue Bach's solo violin partitas and sonatas with the rather mystical aura they have presently. Milstein began to study violin at Read more the age of seven. His first teacher was Pyotr Stolyarsky, who remained with him through 1914. Milstein's last recital as a Stolyarsky pupil included another promising student, the five-year-old David Oistrakh. Milstein then went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study with Leopold Auer.

Milstein began his concert career at age ten in Odessa, and soon after he played Glazunov's concerto with the composer conducting. He continued to tour the Soviet Union for the next five years. During this time, Milstein made numerous joint appearances with Vladimir Horowitz, and Horowitz's sister Regina also joined them as Milstein's accompanist. In 1925, Milstein and Horowitz were encouraged by government officials to make a concert trip outside of Russia; Milstein would never return. Milstein recalled in his memoirs that the dramatic "grand manner" of Horowitz immediately made the pianist a star, while Milstein, a much more reserved person, did not have such immediate success. In 1926, he went to Brussels to consult with and discuss matters of interpretation with the great violinist and teacher Ysaÿe.

He made his American debut with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1929, and made his New York debut in 1930. He soon established his base there, eventually becoming a United States citizen in 1942. He may not have become a concert-hall idol like Horowitz, but he had a strong musical reputation and was always in demand. When Arturo Toscanini ended his tenure as music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1936, he asked for Milstein as soloist in his final concert. After World War II Milstein made his home primarily in London, teaching master classes around the world. He was widely regarded as a sympathetic and approachable teacher.

He also established a major recording career and remains best known for his landmark recordings of the complete solo works of J.S. Bach, becoming a pioneer of the Bach solo violin literature at a time when few players programmed these pieces, and he eschewed more superficial works that were a primary part of the violin soloist's repertory. His 1950s recording of the Bach solo partitas and sonatas on the American Capitol Records label are exemplary traversals of that great cycle and are still counted as classics of recording art. Milstein maintained a remarkably long career, keeping the muscular strength and fluid joint motion he needed until his retirement at the age of 83, acquiesced to only after he broke his arm in a fall. Read less
Browse 1-12 of 12 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    First Loves
    Label: Visionintoart   Catalog: 6 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Fritz Kreisler,  Jules Massenet,  Franz Waxman,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Koenig,  Tim Fain
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  • 2.
    Salvatore Accardo
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 715 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini,  Nathan Milstein,  Josef Suk,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Laura Manzini,  Margaret Batjer,  Toby Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Mario Di Bonaventura
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hopkins Center Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Solo - Ning Feng
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 31210 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nathan Milstein,  Francisco Tarrega,  Luciano Berio,  Niccolň Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Ning Feng,  Ning Feng
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  • 4.
    Paganiniana - Violin Recital / Nathan Milstein
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 423887 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francesco Geminiani,  Zoltán Kodály,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Georges Pludermacher,  Nathan Milstein
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  • 5.
    A Paganini - Virtuoso Music For Violin / Kremer
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415484 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst,  Nathan Milstein,  George Rochberg,  Alfred Schnittke
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer
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  • 6.
    The Many Musics Of Gidon Kremer
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000838902 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Yuri Bashmet,  Martha Argerich,  Mischa Maisky  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gidon Kremer,  Heinrich Schiff,  Christoph von Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Kremerata Baltica,  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 7.
    Paganini, Et Al: Music For Violin And Piano / Hossen
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 109 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Ludmil Petkov,  Mario Hossen
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  • 8.
    Paganini's Dreams / Ruggiero Ricci, Brooks Smith
    Label: John Marks Records   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nathan Milstein,  Franz Lehár,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Brooks Smith,  Ruggiero Ricci
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 9.
    Nathan Milstein - Italian Sonatas - Tartini, Vivaldi, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66873 Release Date: 07/14/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nathan Milstein,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Tommaso Antonio Vitali,  Francesco Geminiani  ... 
    Performer:  Carlo Bussotti,  Nathan Milstein,  Artur Balsam,  Leon Pommers
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  • 10.
    Paganini's Violin / Salvatore Accardo, Laura Manzini
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 175 Release Date: 09/17/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Tartini,  Nathan Milstein,  Josef Suk,  Pablo de Sarasate  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Laura Manzini
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  • 11.
    Nathan Milstein - The 1946 Library Of Congress Recital
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9064 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Wieniawski,  Frédéric Chopin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Nathan Milstein  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Josef Blatt
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  • 12.
    Paganini's Violin / Salvatore Accardo, Laura Manzini
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 137 Release Date: 11/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nathan Milstein,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Josef Suk,  Moritz Moszkowski  ... 
    Performer:  Laura Manzini,  Salvatore Accardo
    CD: $27.49
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