Francescatti, Zino (actually René-Charles)

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Francescatti, Zino (actually René-Charles)

Francescatti, Zino (actually, René-Charles), eminent French violinist; b. Marseilles, Aug. 9, 1902; d. La Ciotat, Sept. 17, 1991. He studied with his father Rene, a violinist and cellist, and with his mother Erneste, a violinist. When he was only 5, he made his public debut in a recital. At age 10, he appeared as soloist in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. After making his Paris debut in 1925, he toured England in duo recitals with Ravel in 1926. He soon established himself as a virtuoso via tours of Europe and South America. On Nov. 18, 1939, he made his U.S. debut as soloist in Paganini’s 1st Violin Concerto with Barbirolli and the N.Y. Phil. After the close of World War II in 1945, he pursued an outstanding international career until his retirement in 1976. He then sold his celebrated “Hart” Stradivarius of 1727 and established the Zino Francescatti Foundation in La Ciotat to assist young violinists. In 1987 an international violin competition was organized in his honor in Aix-en-Provence. Francescatti’s playing was marked by a seemingly effortless technique, warmth of expression, and tonal elegance.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire