“I had the privilege to make music with some of the greatest conductors of the older generation. I consider that the Toscaninis, the Bruno Walters, the George Szells, etc, were much greater than the present day conductors, even if, of course, there are good conductors today.

For a mutual understanding, a conductor and a soloist do not need words. Either we agree on the music, or, in a very professional manner, since there is a concert to give, we compromise to be able to play together. Usually a conductor has to bow, as a soloist has reflexes, he is trained to play in a certain way, it is difficult for him to change. A conductor is not a prisoner of his muscles, he simply makes signs to the orchestra, so he can be much more flexible. The soloist should have the final say. After an awkward experience, a conductor can, of course, decide he will no more make music with this soloist, but the concert requires an agreement and the conductor has to compromise the most.

Numerous conductors were very important in my career and in my life. First of all, Eugene Ormandy, with whom I recorded most of my concerto repertoire. The Philadelphia Orchestra was the best orchestra in the world in the 1950s and the 1960s, and Ormandy was a tremendous accompanist. George Szell had a difficult personality but he was a giant. We quarreled, very often, but I keep a deep affection for him, even a love. He was a very great artist and I cherish the memories of our collaborations. Fritz Reiner was wonderful, he was supposed to be difficult, but he was very nice to me, and with young musicians. Munch was a good friend, I gave many concerts with him in Boston, he could achieve extraordinary things. I also admired Paul Paray very much, a generous person, who invited me for the first time in France. Bruno Walter, of course, who honored me by recording one of the three piano concertos he ever recorded. I would have to name also many others: Leopold Stokowski, Dimitri Mitropoulos, William Steinberg who I regard as on quite the same level as Szell and Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, with whom I finally did not give so many concerts but for whom I have the highest esteem. Of course, there is also Casals, who is the person with whom I had the greatest satisfaction to make music, in any form. »

“I never forget that I owe my career to all these great conductors, who trusted me, who acknowledged me as one of theirs (as belonging to their family), who reengaged me even when the critics destroyed me. They relied on me, they were pleased to conduct me, this only mattered. Among them, Artur Rodzinski was my first supporter, and the most committed. Not only he engaged me several times with the New York Philharmonic, but he took the initiative to write to his colleagues if the big American orchestras for recommending them to invite me! »

(Interviews with Bernard Meillat, 1987)

Leonard Bernstein, Adolf Busch, Pablo Casals, Sergiu Comissiona, Antal Dorati, Sixten Ehrling, Leon Fleisher Enrique Jorda, Milton Katims, Paul Kletzki, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelik, Erich Leinsdorf, Seymour Lipkin, Peter Maag, Zubin Mehta, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, Eugene Ormandy, Paul Paray, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Fritz Reiner, Hugo Rignold, Artur Rodzinski, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Alexander Schneider, Gerard Schwarz, Jerzy Semkow, Leopold Stokowski, Stanislas Skrowaczewski, William Steinberg, George Szell, Arturo Toscanini, Klaus Tennstedt, Werner Torkanowsky, Bruno Walter, Pinchas Zukerman.

Other conductors under whom Eugene Istomin performed : Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Gerd Albrecht, Takashi Asahina, Franco Autori, Alan Balter, Arturo Basile, Rudolf Baumgartner, Léon Barzin, Peter Bay, Philippe Bender, Roberto Benzi, Mario Bernardi, Gary Bertini, Theodore Bloomsfield, Victoria Bond, Anshel Brusilow, Emerson Buckley, Richard Buckley, Semyon Bychkov, Paul Capolongo, Miltiades Caridis, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Juan Jose Castro, Saul Caston, Aldo Ceccato, Maxime Chostakovitch, André Cluytens, James Conlon, Josif Conta, Désiré Defauw, Paul Lustig Dunkel, Robert Emile, Peter Eros, Vladimir Fedosseiev, Victor Feldbrill, Lukas Foss, Lawrence Foster, Paul Freeman, Massimo Freccia, William Fred Scott, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Piero Gamba, John Gosling, Morton Gould, Philipp Greenberg, Manos Hadjidakis, Bruce Hangen, Walter Hendl, Bernard Heinze, Luis Herrera de la Fuente, Alexander Hillsberg, Irwin Hoffman, Yun-Taik Hong, Isaiah Jackson, Arvid Jansons, Donald Johanos, Samuel Jones, Arpad Joo, Paul Katz, Brad Keimach, Hans Kindler, Leon Kirchner, Bernhard Klee, André Kostelanetz, Karl Kritz, Emmanuel Krivine, Efrem Kurtz, Siegfried Landau, Louis Lane,, Daniel Lewis, Jesus Lopez Cobos, Lorin Maazel, Charles Mackerras, Ernest MacMillan, Nikolaï Malko, Igor Markevitch, Neville Marriner, Eduardo Mata, Howard Mitchell Claude Monteux, Sheldon Morgenstern, Hans Münch, Gunter Neuhold, James Paul, Seiji Ozawa, Maurice Peress, André Previn, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Karl Anton Rickenbacher, Janos Rolla, Antoni Ros-Marba, Hans Rosbaud, Joseph Rosenstock, Julius Rudel, Max Rudolf, Kenneth Schermerhorn, George Schick, Gunther Schuller, Jeremy Schulman, George Sebastian, Uri Segal, Klauspeter Seibel, Edgar Seipenbusch, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Alexander Smallens, Georg Solti, Henry Sopkin, Donald Spieth, Russell Stanger, David Stern, Michael Stern, Simon Streatfeild, Hans Swarowsky, Ken Takaseki, Michael Tilson-Thomas, André Vandernoot, Edouard Van Remoortel, Frederick Waldman, Alfred Wallenstein, Akeo Watanabe, Otto-Werner Mueller, Robert Whitney, George Zack, Hans Zanotelli, Ottavio Ziino…

Daniel Barenboïm
Daniel Barenboïm
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Sergiu Comissiona
Sergiu Comissiona
James Conlon
James Conlon
Antal Dorati
Antal Dorati
Sixten Ehrling
Sixten Ehrling
Leon Fleisher
Leon Fleisher
Enrique Jorda
Enrique Jorda
Milton Katims
Milton Katims
Paul Kletzki
Paul Kletzki
Josef Krips
Josef Krips
Erich Leinsdorf
Erich Leinsdorf
Seymour Lipkin
Seymour Lipkin
Peter Maag
Peter Maag
Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
Dimitri Mitropoulos
Dimitri Mitropoulos
Pierre Monteux
Pierre Monteux
Charles Munch
Charles Munch
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Paul Paray
Paul Paray
Jean-Bernard Pommier
Jean-Bernard Pommier
Fritz Reiner
Fritz Reiner
Hugo Rignold
Hugo Rignold
Artur Rodzinski
Artur Rodzinski
Alexander Schneider
Alexander Schneider
Gerard Schwarz
Gerard Schwarz
Jerzy Semkow
Jerzy Semkow
Stanislas Skrowaczewski
Stanislas Skrowaczewski
William Steinberg
William Steinberg
Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
George Szell
George Szell
Klaus Tennstedt
Klaus Tennstedt
Werner Torkanowsky
Werner Torkanowsky
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
David Zinman
David Zinman
Pinchas Zukerman
Pinchas Zukerman