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HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > WESTSIDER PINCHAS ZUKERMAN
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Violinist and conductor


"Travel is not fun anymore," sighs world-renowned violinist, violist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman. "It used to be. Now there are all the checks and securities at airports, and the hotel standards have gone down. The old-style luxury hotel is gone. Now it's a businessman's Ramada Inn, kind of hit-and-run hotel. But you learn to live with it."

Since making his American debut with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein 11 years ago, he has been a soloist with every major orchestra in Europe, and acted as both conductor and soloist for most of the leading orchestras in America. His schedule of 120 concerts a year is solidly booked until 1982, and he has a discography of several dozen recordings on four labels. For personal credits, Pinchas — or "Pinky," as he prefers to be called — has lived on the West Side for 17 years, been married to Eugenia Zukerman for 12 of those years. They have two daughters, one of whom is a skilled pianist.

The New York Times has called him "one of the world's leading violinists," the London Times has said he is "absolutely without peer," and the Washington Post has labeled him "the most versatile of all major musicians." Born in Israel, the son of Polish survivors of Auschwitz, he was invited to perform at the White House last year for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. "I want to tell Sadat he should set up a recording studio inside the pyramids," he joked before the event. This year, Pinky's greatest honor was his appointment as music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the only full-time chamber orchestra in America.

But the most astonishing thing about this burly, muscular man who speaks nostalgically of the "old days," may be his age. He's 31.

"I think I had as normal a childhood as one could expect from a talented boy that had to work," he muses in his living room overlooking the Hudson River. Serious one moment, clownish the next, he frequently punctuates his remarks with loud belly laughter. Pinky's sense of humor is one of the things that endears him to his close friend, violinist Itzhak Perlman, who lives six floors above. They were born three years apart, grew up a few miles from each other, and both came to New York with the help of violinist Isaac Stern to study at Juilliard.

The pair sometimes travel together for concerts, and according to Eugenia Zukerman, "they do things like imitate apes at airports." Eugenia herself is an extraordinary wom............
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