Cellist. As a child, he survived a pogrom. As a young man, he performed with Chaliapin and became first cellist for the Bolshoi Orchestra. At about age 18, he escaped to Poland by swimming the border rapids with his cello held over his head. Stories report that his orchestral entrances, with his cello triumphantly held high as he moved through the orchestra, were founded in his early experience. His US debut in 1929 launched a 20-year professional career that, despite bouts of stage fright, included world tours, performances with Jascha Heifetz and other well-known musicians, and a teaching stint at the University of Southern California. He told his students, "You must be able to say with great feeling, 'I hate you' or 'I love you.' Once you are able to say that, you will find you can play the cello."
Bio by: Shiver