German violinist Julia Fischer will be releasing a new album, entitled Poeme, on Decca Classics May 3, 2011, and it will be one of the last recordings issued with Yakov Kreizberg and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic. Ms. Fischer has dedicated the album to Kreizberg’s memory:
“In loving memory of Yakov Kreizberg, my closest friend, colleague and supporter for so many years. No words can begin to express how grateful I am and how privileged I feel for having known him. His memory shall live forever in my heart.”
“Music allows us to really find our inner self, to be free to search for those things that we normally don’t have the opportunity or the time to search for. It opens up many, many doors within us. It opens the doors to our soul, to our feelings, to humanity as a whole.” – Yakov Kreizberg
I just learned that the wonderful conductor Yakov Kreizberg, has passed away at his home in Monaco. News reports only say that he’d had a “long illness”, which seems to be code these days for some variety of cancer. He was only 51 years old.
I’m so saddened by this, because he was one of the best conductors that we’ve worked with here at the Oregon Symphony. He was very much a personality of the Old World, patrician and soft spoken, but also very much a mensch, and beloved of most everyone who worked under him. The performances we did of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony and Mahler’s First Symphony will forever be etched in my mind as defining musical experiences.
I had somewhat of a second-hand personal connection with Yakov (as he was known to everyone), several friends of mine went to the Berkshire (now Tanglewood) Music Center with him when he was a conducting fellow, and had told me many funny stories of his time with them there. They came down to visit us when he was conducting in Portland, and there was a wonderful mini-renunion, filled with warmth and reminiscences.
I’m just so terribly sad about the loss of Yakov – he was destined to be one of the greats, and he was struck down in mid-career – 51 is when conductors seem to have reached their stride and a level of maturity that adds depth to their work.