Zvi Zeitlin

✡ Zvi Zeitlin

Distinguished Professor of Violin


When the violinist Zvi Zeitlin died in May 2012 at the age of 90, he was one of Eastman’s legendary and most-awarded professors, and a real star of the string world. On Sunday, October 13, 2013, Eastman presented a memorial tribute to Zvi Zeitlin with guest speakers including Dean Jamal Rossi, (DMA ’87), and members of the Zeitlin family, performances by Eastman faculty members Charles Castleman and Mikhail Kopelman, and a video showing Zeitlin’s teaching skills in a master class.

Zvi Zeitlin Celebration Concert

Born in Dubrovna, Belarus, Zvi Zeitlin was raised and educated in Israel, where he attended the Hebrew University in Judaic Studies (1940-43). At age 11, he became the youngest scholarship student in the history of the Juilliard School. Receiving a diploma and postgraduate diploma from Juilliard, Zeitlin studied with Sascha Jacobsen, Louis Persinger, and Ivan Galamian. He served in the British RAF (1943-46) and concertized for British, American, and Soviet troops throughout the Middle East and Greece.

He made solo appearances with the New York, Los Angeles, and Israel philharmonic orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Vienna symphonies; La Scala, Concertgebouw, BBC, and New Philharmonia of London orchestras; Orchestre National de France and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Zeitlin  made frequent tours of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Central and South America.

He premiered the Schoenberg Violin Concerto in Buenos Aires (1964); it was recorded with Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian State Orchestra for DGG in 1971. It was reissued recently as “20th Century Classics” and is now a collector’s item. Gunther Schuller’s Concerto was commissioned by the Eastman School of Music as part of Zeitlin’s appointment as Kilbourn Professor in 1976. Zeitlin premiered it at the 1976 Lucerne Festival with the composer conducting. He then performed it in the United States, Europe, and Australia with the Utah Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Halle Orchestra in England, the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra in Germany, and in Sydney, Australia. Zeitlin edited and published a newly discovered concerto by Pietro Nardini for G. Schirmer. He also recorded for Vox, CRI, Gasparo, Pantheon, and Musical Heritage. Articles by Zeitlin were published in Strings in 1990 and 1995.

Zeitlin taught master classes at most major schools in the United States and Canada, as well as in Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Korea, and China, and most recently in Copenhagen and Prague (2002). He held annual master classes at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Yehudi Menuhin School. He was a faculty member at the Music Academy of the West since 1973, and a visiting professor at Chetham’s School of Music and Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England since 1992. He judged such violin competitions as Montreal, Indianapolis, John D. Rockefeller, and the Concert Artists Guild.

Zeitlin joined the Eastman faculty in 1967, and was named its first Kilbourn Professor in 1976 and Distinguished Professor in 1998. He was a founding member of the Eastman Trio (1976-1982). In 2004, Zvi Zeitlin was the recipient of the University of Rochester’s Edward Curtiss Peck Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduates.

Mr. Zeitlin’s students occupy concertmasterships and other leading positions in many major orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world; hold important positions in universities and music schools worldwide; and are major prizewinners in international and regional competitions.



Zvi Zeitlin Celebration Concert