In 1937, Isaac Stern played with the San Francisco Symphony, and his performance was aired nationwide. Seven months later, the 17-year-old violinist considered giving up his career. Critics had reviewed his New York debut unfavorably. But Stern's ego prevailed, and he went on to play for audiences all over the world. Mental strength was also instrumental when he saved Carnegie Hall from being demolished in 1960. With no previous training as a lobbyist, he was able to convince the city of New York and private donors to buy the historic concert hall. Since then, he has been president of Carnegie Hall. Stern, whose parents moved from Russia to San Francisco when he was ten months old, is celebrating his 80th birthday on July 21st. He has been honored as a soloist and chamber musician, as mentor to generations of young violists, and as a representative figure who speaks out on artistic and political topics. Georg Hirsch met Stern at his farm in Connecticut.
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