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Guide to the Jascha Heifetz Collection ARS.0046
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Collection Details
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  • Arrangement note
  • Sponsor
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Separated Materials note

  • Title: Jascha Heifetz Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: ARS.0046
    Repository: Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries
    Stanford, California 94305-3076
    Physical Description: 27 boxes (17.8 linear ft.): 22 boxes of 10" and 12" sound discs (12.4 linear ft.); 5 boxes of 12" open reel tapes (5.4 linear ft.)
    Date (inclusive): 1911-1972
    Abstract: The collection contains primarily sound recordings of performances of Jascha Heifetz, but it also includes recordings of other artists, some of whom were collaborators with Heifetz, as well as one recording of his teacher, Leopold Auer. There are 920 10" and 12" sound discs, including test pressings, instantaneous discs and commercially released records. Most of the discs are 78 rpm recordings, but there are also a few 33 1/3 rpm discs. In addition to audio discs, the collection contains 1/4" magnetic tape recordings on 88 open reels. 61 of the tapes, made between December 14, 1954 and November 21, 1972, include date information on the boxes. 27 of the tapes are in boxes which are undated; however, recording dates for most of those tapes have been provided in the donor's inventory, which is also included in the collection.
    Language of Materials note: English, French, German, Spanish, Hungarian, Arabic, Italian, Japanese
    Creator: Pfeiffer, John, 1920-

    Arrangement note

    The recordings are arranged in three series: Series 1: 10" Discs; Series 2: 12" Discs; Series 3: Open Reel Tapes. Series 1 and 2 are each divided into three sub-series: (1) Instantaneous Discs; (2) Test Pressings, (3) Commercially Released Recordings. Within each sub-series the discs are arranged by manufacturer name and matrix number. The tapes are arranged chronologically by recording date with the undated recordings following the dated recordings. The undated recordings had been arranged by the donor in the order of identifying numbers on the tapes. Although it has been possible to provide dates for these undated recordings, and the date information is included with each individual tape listing in this finding aid, the original order of the tapes has been maintained.


    This collection has been processed under the auspices of the Council on Library and Information Resources with generous financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Jascha Heifetz, legendary American violinist, was born in Vilnius on February 2, 1901. His first teacher was his own father, but he also studied with Elias Malkin before being accepted into the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1910. He studied first with Leopold Auer's assistant, Nalbandyan, and then with Auer himself. Heifetz had impressed audiences from the age of six when he performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. At the age of ten he performed in St. Petersburg, and his highly successful Berlin debut took place on May 23, 1912. Later that same year he performed with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Arthur Nikisch. In 1917 Heifetz was offered the opportunity to perform a concert tour of the United States, and on October 27 that year he made his Carnegie Hall debut. In 1925 Heifetz became an American citizen.
    During the early 1920s Heifetz performed in England, Australia and East Asia, and later in the decade he performed in Palestine. In 1934 he made a return concert visit to Russia. After the Second World War Heifetz reduced the number of his concert appearances although he made notable appearances with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1967 and at Carnegie Hall, where he performed collaboratively three times in 1964 with several artists, including Piatigorsky. Other musicians with whom Heifetz collaborated in chamber concerts were Emanuel Feuermann, William Primrose and Artur Rubinstein. Beginning in 1962, Heifetz taught at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and was the first faculty member to hold the Heifetz Chair in Music which was established in 1975.
    Throughout his life Heifetz made numerous recordings on major labels such as Columbia, Decca and Gramophone, but the largest number of recordings he made were for the Victor/RCA Victor label. He composed music himself and also wrote numerous transcriptions for the violin. Under the alias Jim Hoyle, he wrote the hit song "When You Make Love to Me (Don't Make Believe)" which was sung by Bing Crosby. Heifetz also commissioned and performed several new concertos, of which probably the most well-known is the Violin Concerto by William Walton. Other concertos commissioned by Heifetz include those by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Louis Gruenberg and Arnold Schoenberg (which Heifetz never played).
    The supreme artistry of Jascha Heifetz is undisputed, and his name has become synonymous with absolute perfection in violin playing. During his lifetime he owned more than one Stradivarius violin, and although his last public performance took place in 1972, he continued to play up to the end of his life. Heifetz died on December 10, 1987 in Los Angeles.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

    Preferred Citation note

    Jascha Heifetz Collection, ARS.0046. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, CA.

    Scope and Contents note

    The Jascha Heifetz Collection was assembled and donated by the long-time friend and record producer of Mr. Heifetz, John (Jack) Pfeiffer, in January and July 1990. The collection consists of 920 sound discs, which include 10" and 12" instantaneous discs, test pressings and commercially released discs, housed in 21 boxes, and there are also 88 10" open reel tapes, which are housed in 5 boxes. The recordings were made between 1911 and 1972, and most of them contain performances by Heifetz, but many of the discs came from Heifetz's personal collection and contain performances by other artists. The collection also includes the donor's printed inventory which is kept in a file separate from the rest of the collection.

    Separated Materials note

    Several discs in the collection were received broken or cracked. Those discs have been removed from the sequence and placed in Box 1. Box 1 is stored at the Archive of Recorded Sound.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Heifetz, Jascha, 1901-1987
    Violinists--United States
    Violin music
    Violin and piano music
    Violin with orchestra
    Piano trios
    Sonatas (Violin and piano)
    Concertos (Violin)
    Test pressings (Sound recordings)
    Orchestral music