Zubin Mehta (conductor)
"I know his influence on countless young pianists that have
been inspired by him and are enormously rich for having known him.
The rare combination of being an excellent soloist and a superb
chamber musician has made Eugene Istomin stand out
for more than five decades as one of the greatest artists of our
John Browning (pianist)
"I have known Eugene for almost thirty years. Of course, he
is a superb pianist and musician. But Eugene is, along with
his tremendous musical gifts, an extraordinarily generous and thoughtful
friend and colleague. He concerns himself always
with the welfare of others-their needs and problems-and he is always
searching for ways to improve the status of musicians
and the musical world."
Sharon Robinson (cellist)
"I adore your playing because you have the courage to be
honest, and the sense to be simple."
Jaime Laredo (violinist, conductor)
"You have been one of my musical heroes since I first heard
you play at the first Casals Festival in Puerto Rico in 1957.
I still remember Mozart K. 271 and the Eb piano quartet. It is
a privilege and an honor to be a part of this tribute to you, one
of the truly great musicians of our time" -
Robert Merrill (operatic baritone)
"While it would seem natural that it was our involvement with
music that brought us together, it was actually another shared passion
instead, BASEBALL!! If I remember correctly, it was
the year that your beloved Detroit Tigers were headed into the World
Series. Many years have passed since then, all filled
with wonderful memories of music, friendship and baseball combined.
I salute you as one of our Nation's musical treasures, but regret
that I never had the privilege of working with you."
Seymour Lipkin (pianist)
"I remember how much I admired the idealism, high standards
and imagination you had brought to the Kapell competition,
when I had the good fortune to succeed you there. Many other things
remain in my head: the beauty and excitement of your
debut performance of the Brahms B flat with the Philharmonic; some
particularly beautifully sculpted phrases in a performance
of the Brahms G minor Quartet."
(cellist, widow of composer Alberto Ginastera)
"After 57 years of a glorious career, you are surrounded by
the arts, musicians, painters, intellectuals and politicians, all
looking at you with great admiration and brotherly affection."
Gerard Schwarz (conductor)
"The musical experiences are very prominent in my mind,
whether Mozart or Beethoven; but knowing you on a personal
level has meant even more to me. Your wisdom, your brilliance, your
thoughtfulness, and your deep sensitivity have always been
an inspiration to me. It is a rare human being who can possess strong
opinions, high ideals, and yet be such a remarkable
friend to so many. You are a dear friend and a great artist."
Janos Starker (cellist)
"Looking back on the 50 years since I first met you, I see
well spent, rich in content, contributions, and loving friends;
a life worth continuing for the benefit of the world of music, and
those who care what you stand for and who you are."
Helga von Tobel (historian)
"You developed into a highly sensitive, outstanding interpreter,
as a soloist as well as the chamber-music partner of many great
colleagues... For decades, through countless concerts as well
as numerous records and CDs, you have delighted and inspired
a music public on every continent with your outstanding interpretative
art; in master classes you have passed on to
younger generations your ability and knowledge, in order that
that which was first transmitted to you and which you developed
further might bear new fruit in the future."
David Rahm (Chairman, the Manhattan School of Music)
"Your musical and intellectual breadth are a marvel to anyone
who knows you and they are clear very quickly even to the ones such
as Susan and I who have come to be your friends in only
the last few years. But it is your warmth and delight in everyday
living that are the real miracle of Eugene Istomin. I have loved
listening to your performance and your views on musical works, performance
and pedagogy, but have enjoyed as much your excitement at a great
tennis match, or our shared gloom over
a New York Yankees slump."
Daniel J. Boorstin (Librarian of Congress Emeritus)
"We want to express to you our admiration for your contributions
as superb musical performer and committed citizen. Few people
in this or any other generation have so elegantly combined devotion
to music and to community."
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy (United States Senator)
"You have enriched all of our lives with musical greatness
acts of selfless friendship."
Irene, Princess of Greece
"You are such a simple and kind person that one has to kick
oneself to remember what a profound musician you are and
how awe-inspiring your playing is."
Henry Raymont (journalist, Latin American specialist)
"Remarkably, you have never confined your attention to music.
You are a voracious reader with a refined taste for contemporary
literature and art. Wendy and I will never forget the evening you
dazzled our daughter Sarah, a budding writer, with your keen knowledge
of the works of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Paul
Bowles, and your collection of letters and first editions."
Raimund Trenkler (cellist)
"Indeed, for all of us, in your role as the 'Communicator and
Ambassador of music and humanity for people of all generations'
you represent a bridge to Pablo Casals and his message, that
'Art and Humanity are inseparable'. This message is, above
all others, worth passing on to future generations."
Peter Gravina (publicist)
"You generously shared your love and knowledge of music, art
and literature. What other press agent in the world represented
a performer who collected his first Picasso and Giacometti at
the age of 20, who spent afternoons chatting with Toynbee, Malraux
and Beckett, who had access to Queen Elizabeth's
private collection of old master drawings at Buckingham Palace?
Your life as both a great musician and a great human being has been
a wonderful journey. Thank you, dear Eugene, for taking
James Billington (Librarian of Congress)
"He is a modern humanist with a library that includes the elegant
English prose of the late Victorian, the great French and Russian
epic novels, Homer and Plato, Kierkegaard and Freud, Mark Twain
and Erle Stanley Gardner."
Lee S. MacPhail
(retired president, American League; inductee:
Baseball Hall of Fame)
"One of the blessings of my life has been my friendship with
Eugene Istomin. We have a unique relationship. Eugene's
vocation is music and his avocation is baseball, my vocation is
baseball and my avocation is music. Eugene points out there
is a natural bond between them. He expressed it thus: 'What
can the greatest of the performing arts and the king of spectator
sports have in common? Supreme efforts effected in millimeters
in the space of seconds. Both demand fusion of intensity with finesse.
Both are played under the pressure that excellence requires. The
mastery comes from the art of channeling the adrenaline that is
the offspring of Do or Re. That is where they meet. Can you compare
Casals, Rachmaninoff or a Heifetz to
a Ruth, Hubbell or Gehrig? Yes-The explosion of the marvelous action
timed through the gasp and the roar makes baseball to sports what
music is to the arts, The Ultimate!' "
Bianca Van Orden (author) and Bernard M.W. Knox (author)
"We feel honored to be included in the celebration that so
appropriately attends your birthday and recognizes your
greatness both as a musician and as the protector and
enhancer of our rich but perpetually endangered culture."