°1925 - †1958
Julian Sitkovetsky was born in Kiev to a musical family. He started violin lessons at the age of four, first with his father and later with Professor David Bertie at the Central Music School in Kiev. At the age of eight he was chosen to play for Jacques Thibaud, who came to tour the Soviet Union. The following year he performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and, in April 1938 - when the School celebrated its 25th anniversary - he was chosen to play the Tchaikovsky Concerto in Moscow.
Later that year he was enrolled at the Central Music School in Moscow in a class of Professor Abram Yampolsky, whose students included such violinists as Leonid Kogan, lgor Besrodny and Rostislav Dubinsky. During World War II the School was evacuated to the town of Penza where, in 1943, Sitkovetsky graduated to the Moscow State Conservatory-in-exile. At the end of the War, in 1945, he moved back to Moscow together with the entire Conservatory.
In December 1945 the Soviet Union Young Performers Competition took place in Moscow, which marked the beginning of Julian Sitkovetsky's, Mstislav Rostropovich's & Sviatoslav Richter's concert careers in the Soviet Union - all three were the winners in their categories of the Competition. Two years later Sitkovetsky shared the First Prize with Leonid Kogan and Igor Besrodny at the Prague Festival of Communist Democratic Countries' Young Musicians. In 1950 he married Bella Davidovich, the pianist and winner of the 1949 Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Four years later their only son, Dmitry, was born.
Between 1951 and 1955 Julian Sitkovetsky concertized in Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Bucharest, Sofia, etc., as well as in all the 16 Soviet republics. He also founded the Tchaikovsky String Quartet - together with Anton Sharoev (second violin), Rudolf Barshai (viola) and Yakov Slobodkin (cello). He appeared in numerous recitals with Bella Davidovich, and premiered a number of important works by Soviet composers, such as Rakov, Leman and Milman.
In 1952 Julian Sitkovetsky became laureate (11th prize) of the Wieniawski Competition in Poznan, Poland; and in 1955 he received the 2nd prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Subsequently, he made his debut in Amsterdam, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and Eduard van Beinum. Among other conductors he collaborated with are Kurt Sanderling, Kirill Kondrashin, Nathan Rachlinof and Nikolai Anosov.
Before Western audiences were given the opportunity to hear Julian Sitkovetsky's playing, he was taken ill with lung cancer in 1956. His performance of the newly written Shostakovich First Violin Concerto
in that same year turned out to be his last concert in Moscow. Despite the many efforts of friends and colleagues - such as Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, David Oistrach, Mistislav Rostropovich, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium - to help with medical assistance, Julian Sitkovetsky died in Moscow in 1958. He left behind a considerable number of recordings all made between 1948 and 1956. Among the most important ones are the concerti of Sibelius, Paganini No. 2, Glasunov and Tchaikovsky (live from the last round of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1955).