At the recent lunch on March 30, Menuhin Scholars learned about the life of Yehudi Menuhin, considered one of the greatest violinists of all time, for whom the program is named.
Earlier this year, middle school math teacher and Nueva alumnus Steven Chanan, who helps coordinate the Menuhin-Dowling program and was once a Menuhin Scholar himself, realized that many Scholars didn’t know anything about Yehudi Menuhin. With a bit of research, Steven discovered precious resources about this great musician and began to share them with the students.
Menuhin Scholars gather as a group once a month to have lunch, perform for one another and get peer feedback, or for other related enrichment. At the lunch on March 30, Steven shared pieces of The Menuhin Century, an incredible collection of 80 CDs, 11 DVDs, and a hardback book commemorating the centennial of Menuhin’s birth in 1916. Over pizza, Scholars watched short clips of performances and listened to several recordings of a few of Menuhin’s most famous pieces, including Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B Minor, Opus 61.
Steven shared historical details from a signed copy of Menuhin’s autobiography, Unfinished Journey, which he found in the Nueva Library. Menuhin was born in New York, but grew up in San Francisco and lived most of his adult life in Europe. He displayed exceptional talent as a musician at a very young age and studied under several of the most accomplished musicians of his time. He made his first recording in 1931 at the age of 16, and he went on to become renowned as a violinist and then a composer. As an adult, he was involved in world affairs and used music to promote peace and cultural understanding.
In the preface to Menuhin’s autobiography, George Steiner, a French-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, and educator, remembers the musician. “Yehudi Menuhin is probably the most widely loved personality in the history of the performing arts.”
Steven described his hope to host a series of lunches focused on Menuhin’s life, including guest speakers from our community who met Menuhin. Steven told the Scholars, “Reading Menuhin’s autobiography has been an incredible experience. I plan to discover more about the origins of the Menuhin-Dowling Program at Nueva and share it with our community. It’s important for us to capture this history, especially during this, our 50th Anniversary year.
Nueva’s Menuhin Dowling Program is a unique component of the music department at Nueva.
April 7, 2017