My Hero

By ORI KAM

My teacher Chaim Taub, the former concertmaster of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, was a real inspiration to me. I recently sat in his living room and listened to stories of his childhood in what was then Palestine under the British mandate. He spoke of sneaking into concerts to hear the Palestine Symphony Orchestra to see Arturo Toscanini conduct, and of his teachers, some of that ages's greatest musicians who had fled Facism in Europe. Later on, determined to enroll at the Juilliard School, he travelled to New York on a US military ship carrying troops returning home after the Second World War. He hadn't registered or auditioned, he just showed up one day and demanded to join Ivan Galamian's class. He was admitted and finished his studies there.

Chaim was a very demanding teacher, but his criticism was always constructive. He taught me the language of music and how to interpret it. Well into his 80's today, he is still at it in full force. I wish him, and us, many more musical years to come.

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