Pyotr Stolyarsky

Pyotr Stolyarsky was a teacher not only by profession, but by calling. His impact on music education for children and his dedication to his students had no boundaries. “His teaching is something, that the world should be proud of”, said Jacques Thibaud.

Stolyarsky was a legendary teacher. It seemed like he was able to turn children into artists as easy as Midas could turn anything into gold. He knew the child’s soul like no-one else, could tune it into music and lead it to the heights of violin perfection. He understood not only the musical talent of a child, but his or her character, strengths and weaknesses. Mothers in Odessa hurried with great enthusiasm to bring their children to the “wonder-teacher”, saying proudly that they were going to be “trained to be the next Oistrakh”. And after the audition they trembled as Stolyarsky announced: “Your boy is a genius”.

From the very first musical steps of his little students Stolyarsky developed them into rounded musicians and future artists.

Stolyarsky insisted that students should have high expectations of themselves, taught them that work has to be loved and respected. He said: “Children, you have to practice. You have to practice every day! Because what you have missed today you can’t catch up tomorrow!” Stolyarsky insisted that children need to perform as much as possible. He thought that it is extremely important that the child didn’t have fear, but enjoyed playing for people, that he or she dreamed of becoming an artist performing on stage for the applauding audience.

In 1937 the Isaye Competition in Brussels was a true triumph for Stolyarsky. His student David Oistrakh won the competition and three other students: Elizaveta Gilels, Boris Goldstein and Mikhail Fichtenholz became prize winners.

Stolyarsky himself was very modest about his work. He just said that he gives children a “musical upbringing” and added that “good fabric needs a good tailor”.