Life - Part 7

Hirshhorn came to Valdemar Sturestep in the first grade, or possibly even earlier. He finally parted with him as his teacher only when he finished the conservatory. Hence, it turns out that almost half a life he spent ‘under the wing’ of this big, smiling man, who in all photographs literally has his students clinging to him, including very young ones.

In his youth, Valdemar Sturestel was a concertizing violinist and even managed to perform at the First Venyavsky Competition – the one at which Ginette Neveu beat David Oistrakh. He worked in the Latvian Philharmonic after the war and participated in more than 500 concerts. But beginning in 1950 he dedicated himself to teaching. This means that Hirshhorn was one of his first students. What kind of pedagogue, teacher of the craft and art he was no one can say any longer, however much you try to find out. It would appear that he was, firstly, a good man who loved children and secondly a person who knew the most important thing – not to kill the students’ interest. Several memoirists say that he had studied with Shevchik and link this with a certain excessive pedantry in practicing with which he infected his students as well (including Hirshhorn).