News Release

STATEMENT: NAC Flags Fly at Half-Staff in Honour of Former TSO Concertmaster

September 9, 2015

OTTAWA – The National Arts Centre (NAC) will fly its flags at half-staff in memory of Jacques Israelievitch, the former concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), who died of cancer over the weekend. He was 67.

“Jacques Israelievitch performed many times with the TSO at the National Arts Centre, especially after our orchestras began to perform annually in each other’s concert halls starting in 2004 as part of our special relationship,” said Peter Herrndorf, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre. “Our sympathies go out to his family and to all his colleagues in the music community.”


Born in Cannes, France, Israelievitch debuted on French radio at age 11, graduated from the Paris Conservatory at 16 — after studying under Henryk Szeryng, Janos Starker, William Primrose and Josef Gingold — and began his orchestral career at 23, as assistant concertmaster with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

After a decade-long tenure with the St. Louis Symphony, Israelievitch became concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a position he would hold for 20 years (1988-2008).

Renowned as both a soloist and a chamber musician, Israelievitch’s expansive discography includes the Juno-nominated Suite Hebraique — a collaboration with pianist John Greer — along with the first complete recording of Rodolphe Kreutzer’s 42 Studies for Solo Violin.

Besides playing with many of the world’s major orchestras, Israelievitch performed as a chamber musician with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman.

Just this past June, Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico released their first collaborative album, Fancies and Interludes, featuring a selection of music written by Canadian composers.

The pair also recorded all 28 Mozart sonatas on violin and piano in May, with a release expected early next year. Israelievitch was diagnosed with lung cancer in February. In August, he was presented with the Order of Canada in a ceremony at his Toronto home.

Israelievitch leaves his wife Gabrielle, sons David, Michael and Joshua, and grandchildren Aya and Bennett.

(With files from the Toronto Star)




Carl Martin
Senior Advisor, Communications
National Arts Centre
613-947-7000, ext. 560