November 1, 2004
UCSC music lecturer pens definitive biography
of legendary violin virtuoso
By Scott Rappaport
Roy Malan was the ideal person to write the definitive biography
of legendary violin virtuoso Efrem Zimbalist, one of the great
musical personalities of the 20th century.
UCSC Music Department lecturer, author, and concert
violinist Roy Malan will perform on November 5 at the Music Center Recital
Hall. Photo courtesy of Roy Malan
Roy Malan and violin virtuoso Efrem Zimbalist, age 92, in Reno, 1982.
Photo courtesy of Lev Rankov
Malan is the founder and co-director of the Telluride Chamber
Music Festival in Colorado and has been a concertmaster and
solo violinist for the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra during
the past three decades.
Prior to that, Malan studied music at the Royal Academy of
Music in London and the Juilliard School in New York. He also
happened to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia--the
world-renowned conservatory where Zimbalist spent 40 years teaching
and served as director from 1941 to 1968.
I was a student there under Zimbalist and toward the
end of his life, he asked me to write his biography, Malan
noted, which eventually took over 10 years, squeezed in
between concertizing and teaching.
The end result is Efrem Zimbalist: A Life, just published
by Amadeus Press. Based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews
with his close friend and former teacher, the book paints a
portrait of Zimbalists life, from his early musical roots
as a child in the Ukraine to Malans touching final visit
with him shortly before his death.
This anecdote-rich biography zooms in on a golden era in music
through the lens of one of the worlds greatest violin
virtuosos and features a cast of characters that includes Einstein,
Gershwin, Horowitz, Harpo Marx, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Prokofiev,
Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Toscanini among others.
I had always intended for the biography to be equally
a portrayal of the sort of world-- both artistic and social--that
comprised the backdrop for these incredibly colorful people,
Efrem Zimbalist: A Life is now available locally at
Bookshop Santa Cruz, Borders in Santa Cruz, Bay Tree Bookstore
on campus, or online at amazon.com. During October, Malan traveled
back east to Juilliard and the Curtis Institute for a series
of book signings to promote the new publication.
Malan joined the UCSC faculty in 1980 as a lecturer in the Music
Department, specializing in the instruction of violin and viola.
He will perform a recital with his longtime pianist and former
UCSC faculty member, Sylvia Jenkins, on Friday, November 5,
at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall. The program will
include works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Ravel.
Malan has recorded widely and toured throughout the U.S. and
Europe, as well as Latin America, Asia, and Australia. He recently
performed at LOpera in Paris, Lincoln Center, Kennedy
Center, and the Library of Congress. Malan is also a founding
member of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
For more information about his UCSC recital, contact the campus
Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159.
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