Menuhin, Yehudi (yəhōˈdē mĕnˈyōĭn) [key], 1916–99, British violinist and conductor, b. New York City. Menuhin, an extraordinary prodigy, began playing the violin at four. He made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at seven, then studied in Europe with Adolf Busch and Georges Enesco. After a world tour (1934–35) of unprecedented success, he retired to study for two years. During World War II he performed hundreds of concerts for Allied troops and relief efforts. He was the founder of Switzerland's Gstaad Festival (1957). Menuhin introduced little-known works and promoted Eastern music in lectures and performances, such as his collaboration with Ravi Shankar, East Meets West. Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin was written for Menuhin. He became a British subject and was knighted (1985); in 1993 he was created Baron Menuhin of Stoke D'Abernon.
See his Theme and Variations (1972) and Unfinished Journey (1977); biographies by R. Magidoff (1955) and N. Wymer (1961).
His sister, the pianist Hepzibah Menuhin, 1920–81, b. San Francisco, also a prodigy, often appeared in recital with him. Yaltah Menuhin, 1921–2001, b. San Francisco, their sister and the youngest of the three, was also a classical pianist.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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