|Birth: ||Mar. 5, 1950|
|Death: ||Feb. 26, 2011|
Musician. The first American violinist to take top honors at Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition, he had a noted, albeit brief, international career in the 1970s and 1980s. Raised on a Colorado ranch, he took-up the violin at age five under apparently strong parental pressure. Fodor made his professional recital debut at 10 performing Max Bruch's Violin Concerto No.1 with the Denver Symphony; he entered Juilliard at 15 and later studied at Indiana University and the University of Southern California, numbering among his teachers the legendary Jascha Heifetz. As a young man he captured the top prize in several local and national contests including the Merriweather Post Competition in Washington, DC, before venturing to Italy for the 1972 International Paganini Competition. After winning there he went on to the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition where he shared Silver Medals with two Russians, no Gold being awarded that year due to judging irregularities. Fodor immediately embarked on a busy recital career, soloing at Carnegie Hall, recording for RCA Victor, performing with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, entertaining President Ford at the White House, and even appearing on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" 14 times. All was not smooth, however; while none questioned his technical skill, some classical fans were put off by his "cowboy" personna while both managers and conductors took exception to his abrasive manner. Further, his repertoire, at least in the early stages of his career, was long on flashy show pieces and short on the staples that the audiences of major symphony orchestras pay to hear. Alcohol, cocaine, and heroin took their toll, both of his marriages failed, and in 1989 he ended up in a Massachusetts jail charged with drug possession with intent to sell. Probation and a long stay at the Conifer Park rehab facility in upstate New York followed, but his already damaged reputation was further hurt by a severely critical article in the "New York Times". Gradually he put his life back together, becoming a 'Friend of Bill' and resuming his performances, though no longer in top drawer venues or for the high fees he had once commanded. He won the 1999 Prix Europeen du Soliste award and earned high praise playing Bach as well as the almost inhumanely difficult compositions of early 19th. century master Niccolo Paganini, on one occasion in San Francisco even using Maestro Paganini's own 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin ("Il Cannone"). According to attendees at a 2008 San Diego recital his prowess was undiminished. Diagnosed with terminal liver disease in June 2010 he remarried his first ex-wife in November of that year and moved into her home, spending his last months establishing relationships with his children whom he had essentially never known. At his death much of his rather small recorded legacy remained in print. (bio by: Bob Hufford)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Mar 02, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66364473
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